Operation: Gardenia

HelloPandaNF(Zone Five)April 6, 2012

Infiltration at entrance (walk through door and show Member card)

Location of target (random walking around, accidental find)

Super strength to secretly remove branch (picking of small branch, hanging by a thread)

Undetected by guards (walking with twig in hand, no one cares, apparently...)

Small face-off with surprise ambush (spider mites found)

Enemy eradicated (washed in alcohol)

Safe return (placed in water)

Nonsense aside, I really hope this thing makes it! I'll just forget about that "suicidal gardenia thread"...

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Even though I know you were joking around in this post, I would caution people to be careful about taking cuttings in stores. Some places may not care (or might even give away cuttings if you ask the right person), but others may view it as shoplifting. It would be awful to get in trouble over something like that!

As for gardenias in general, I've had a small gardenia as a houseplant for two months now. The suicidal gardenia thread did make me very nervous about if it would survive. SO far, it seems to be hanging in there better than I expected. I don't feel confident enough to call it a success yet, but at least it still looks pretty healthy and it's even growing a new flower bud!

The first thing I did was take a lot of cuttings because of the reputation they have. One of the ones I put in water has rooted, happily, so I hope yours does too. I also put some other cuttings in vermiculite and perlite inside a ziploc bag. I can't tell for sure yet if those ones have rooted, but they still look ok.
While I am no expert, based on my experience so far:
It seems to me like one of the key things is to monitor the soil moisture VERY closely and strive for "evenly moist, but not soggy". It seems to pout if it goes bone dry, and of course staying too wet would promote rot. The roots of gardenias seem to be very sensitive to root disease, from what I've read, and I have a suspicion that is the reason behind many of the stories of mysterious slow deaths of these plants - I think the roots die and then the plant slowly wastes away no matter what you try to do.

For a while mine was in a low light area due to quarantine (I know gardenias can be buggy plants so I was afraid to let it go near my other plants until your post finally reminded me to move it to a better location today). It seemed to tolerate that better than I had expected actually.
I've been keeping it in my most humid room (a room with a couple of good sized fish tanks where the aquarium water evaporation adds to the ambient humidity) and I've been watering it with aquarium water. During the winter that room stays pretty cool and it seems fine with that.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2012 at 4:02PM
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That suicidal thread only gave me another challenge with another plants, and whalla. I have managed to keep a few alive and and only loose one to mites in the past three years! If I could, I would get more than the 6 I have, but no room.
One got so big, ok, I hate to say this, but I threw it away...

Good luck. You will do just fine if you watch your mix, use a very porous one, and never allow salt deposits to accumulate in your pots.


    Bookmark   April 7, 2012 at 7:14PM
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HelloPandaNF(Zone Five)

Thanks for the info! The entire time I was pretty much thinking, "okay, if someone asks about this, I'll play dumb and comment on how pretty it looks."
Though, I didnt feel as bad after I found it COVERED in spider mites, I must say...

Anyways, porous soil, even moisture, and no salting the soil! *tosses salt shaker*

Thank you!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2012 at 8:04PM
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HelloPandaNF(Zone Five)

Oops, where are my manners?

I am grateful for your warning, summer! It is very good advice for everyone.

I am also sorry to say, this is the second time something like this happened...the first was a leaf that dropped from a succulent in a store, which wasn't doing well either. Afterwards I was telling myself not to do it again, but the gardenia was too tempting...I am not a good example of a moral, self-controlled person, I suppose!

Note to self: never do that again, even if it's a gardenia!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2012 at 9:28PM
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Panda, love your first paragraph, lol.

I wonder what would happen if someone snatched a leaf and got caught?
Would policee be called? It's not like walking out with a lawn mower, lol.
What would the charges be? How would they determine a fine?

Most likely, the manager would tell 'leaf thief' to stay out. lol.

An ex-local nursery had a sign in the doorway about ppl who 'borrowed' cuttings..Something like, 'you'll be cursed stealing cuttings.' lol.

It's true, Gardenias are not the easiest plants, but with a little work and prayer, lol, they'll survive.
Gardenia cuttings are a whole, new ball game.

Good luck. I rooted Gardenia cuttings once..placed cuttings in a 5-gallon aquarium. They rooted..Because I prefer grafted trees, I gave the rooted cuttings to friends..they killed them..lol.

When I'm in a store and find a leaf lying on the floor/shelf, I'll take it.
I stick the leaf in the center of a plant I intend on buying, or hold in my hnd. Most stores, especially big box stores, don't care.
Family owned nurseries might feel different.

However, I never intentionally snapped a stem from a tree, lol.

Keep us posted on your progress..

Hey Mike..know what I did this wkend? Went through every plant..any w/Mealy were tossed. boohoo, hate those little demons. Toni

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 3:10PM
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HelloPandaNF(Zone Five)

A little late, but...

There was good news, but now it's bad news. :(

The cutting started rooting, with little white nubs sticking out...and then a black spot formed on the stem, which grew and killed the entire thing.

*sigh* None of my plants seem to be doing too well this year, but it's still early on...there's always next time!


    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 11:24PM
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I read a letter from a nurseryman in the British 'Garden News' years ago about two ladies who spent hours going around his plants, then came up to him with bags and bags of cuttings and asked him if he would mind naming them for them before they left.

I went to a well-known and respected local garden a few years ago with the local garden club. Never again! Three of the women, average age eighty, kept hanging back and purloining cuttings. I noticed after a while that a gardener was shadowing them and made myself scarce so I wouldn't get embroiled in any unpleasant scenes. One of them, whom I was invited to visit later, took me on a tour of her garden pointing out various plants and giving me details of their origins; it was like a who's who of famous sites of horticulture, both in Ireland and over the water.

By the way, I found out years ago that I could root gardenia successfully in water, after many times trying to get one to root in soil.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 1:42PM
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