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New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Posted by pirate_girl Zone7 NYC (My Page) on
Fri, Apr 14, 06 at 1:32

Hi Gang,

Against my better judgment, I bought a Gardenia. It was small, in bud & a very good buy. So I've have it all of 6 days & am trying to learn its watering needs.

I just did a Google search to read on various comments on Gardenia care. Have already seen conflicting info, on misting the leaves (which I did as it was drying out a bit & I was afraid of bud drop) only to see a site (aftr the fact) which counsels against misting the leaves.

So now I have yellowing leaves & it's not looking good at all. Can anyone tell me pls. are the yellowing leaves a sign of overwatering?

Toni (in particular), is it a goner already????

I know abt the famous Suicidal Gardenia thread, I know they're temperamental & can be difficult. I'm also realizing I think my apmt is just gonna be too darn warm for it. I feel like a MAJOR idiot!!!

Help pls. -- all advice is welcome. TIA

(PG) Karen


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Ha ha ha, check out my success ... Oh, boy, I am sitting very close to this wonderful all-natural air-refreshing machine ...


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Morning Karen,

Such a fussy plant Gardinia's are! Cool temps to set buds, bright light with no midday sun, keep soil moist (but not too moist), no drafts or drastic temp. changes..... the list goes on! My book says misting is a 'good thing' but I wouldn't think you would want to mist the flowers.(?)

Are you using tap water to water it? Le book says to use tepid soft water and keep it on a pebble tray.

As I mentioned on the other thread, I would be scared of Spider Mites! Any Gardinia's I've tryed to grow have died a terrible death from mites!(despite my efforts) I won't even look at them in the store any more!! Jasmine's and Hoya's smell and look just as nice!

Hope it all works out for you and your Gardinia!
Diane

Shic,
That isn't very nice to post a gorgeous plant photo like that and not even help a girl try to grow one... No advice to share??


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RE: New Gardenia -- Idiot? Not!

BTW. You are not a "Idiot" to try to grow one!!! They are beautiful and VERY tempting at the store.....We all learn from our mistakes (hopefully)and with any luck, you can get her to thrive!

Diane


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Diane, you have said it all. I would add picking the right soil to save you a lot of work. For indoors, also remember to add humidity tray. There are cheap products called "Azalea Fertilizer" which is a greenish powder. Water them with half strength. The acid chemicals and iron like Fe2SO4 are steroids for Gardenias. The plants will not survive if you frequently forget to water them (a big problem for many people). Once damaged, the plants look sick even when recovering. It does take experience. But their requirements are not impossible. These can adjust to dry home environment slowly, indeed. The bush won't explode like in a green house. Nevertheless, they have plenty of lovely flowers and shiny leaves all year round.


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Well thanks folks.

Shic, you're pix is way too big, made my computer crazy, kept jumping as it loaded & scrolling left to right to try & read is rather irritating & frustrating. Worse still, I couldn't enjoy what looks to be pix of yr. fabulous plant 'cause is was taking up my entire universe!!! Certainly got an eyeful of the spectacular bloom.

I do however, thank you for coming back again w/ some culture tips. I'm leaving it in the grower's mix (a reputable nurseryman) for a while, hoping to give it time to stabiize & get used to its new home.

Thanks Diane, I hadn't even thought abt mites. I put it on a pebble tray almost immediately & put some water in it even before I watered the plant. Thanks for encouragement.

I meant idiotic cause these plants are so famously temperamental & also 'cause they want cool to set bud. Cool is the one thing I don't have to offer. My windows are all due west & once summer heat kicks in, in it gets really hot (w/out AC) w/ a lot of direct sun. The Hoyas, Ficuses, Sans, etc. really seem to like it. Perhaps (assuming the Gardenia hangs in there) I'll have to back it away somewhat from the windows, right now it's a few ft. back from it.

Yeah, I saw other sites that suggested misting but not on the foliage (huh?). Would one really want to mist the top of the soil???

What abt the yellowing pls. folks? Toni (HopefulAuthor), I hope you'll stop by & comment. I seem to recall your discussing Gardenias in recent months.

She's looking a bit better today than yesterday; her mix seems to dry out really fast, I just put water in the pebble tray. Am contemplating watering the pebble tray every day or every other day, hoping that'll let her soak up as much water as she wants w/out overwatering it.

It rained here almiost all day (NYC), maybe I can convince the plant it's really the tropics >;)


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

The large pic reflects my huge happiness ... Oh, it also appears to me that these plnats do not like wind too much. Anyways, what a success! Imagine, I am sitting in the universe of their wonderful fragrance now.


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Pirate girl said:

"seems to dry out really fast, I just put water in the pebble tray. ... , hoping that'll let her soak up as much water as she wants w/out overwatering it. "
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I just read the last line of your post, are you SITTING the pot in water tray? This is a big NO NO.


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Linda, I'm sorry, didn't see your post before..We had to go out of town, attend a wake/funeral, then the rest of the wks been hectic..Plus I had a ton of emails, so didn't do much reading here on Gw..

Speaking of Gardenias, I purchased another bigger tree, about 4 1/2' tall, standard..

Linda, I'm not an expert growing gardenias, but I can keep them alive..they bloom when they want, but I think it's because I don't feed them like they should be fed. Plus I use more nitrogen which works mainly on foligage.

One other thing I want to mention..I don't think you mentioned the pot size, but I'm thinking a 4 or 6"..is this correct? I have to be honest, I've had better luck growing bigger sized gardenias than those in small pots..

Your plant may be rootbound. If when it dries, you can pull out of the pot, I'd go to a size up, as long as it's done carefully..Use a soil w/peat or additional peat and some sand/or perlite and all purpose, too.

New gardenias can yellow. I believe it to be 'the change.' LOL, pun intended.
Since your plant is flowering, I'd mist over the plant, not hitting the flowers..this will fade flowers faster..but I do mist my gardenias daily. Even when they're in bud.

Yes, denias are mite magnets, but I really think it's yellowing because it's in a different environement. Allow yellowe leaves to drop, or pluck off, place in bright light, cool area, and water only when soil feels dry.

The trey is a good idea, especially since you've used pebbles. This will help w/humidity. As long as the pot isn't sitting in a puddle of water it'll do fine.

If you can summer your denia outside it'll do great..remember they like cool temps, which also promotes flowering, so if temps don't dip under 45 then it's safe to place outdoors. (place in semi shade at first)

FEed w/Miracle Gro for acidic plants or Azalia fertilizer. Follow container directs..Once a month is perfect. ( I should follow my own advice about feeding once a month)LOL

I wish you luck, Linda..Gardenia's are not the easiest plants, but w/some effort they'll do beautifully..Toni
PS, if there's any aluminum around the pot, remove ASAP.


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Toni,

Agree, these are beautiful. I think it is not just the nice flower, it is the fragrance so exotic, spicy, powerful, sweet, pleasant and, believe or not, wild for me. When I am stressed, I stick my nose into a flower. Immediately, I feel so relaxed with joy.


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Hi Toni,

Thanks so very much, I knew you'd have helpful insights for me & true to form, you did.

First to answer both you & Shic, I have it ON TOP OF pebble tray, not in it. The plant had some fine roots sticking out when I got it which I cut off, but I see in a wk, some have grown back so I've left them on to absorb water from the bottom.

Well, I'm relieved abt the yellowing, it does seem to be on the lower leaves only, upper leaves surrounding the buds still mostly look good. Interestingly, the buds look pretty good & the upper growth areas look like they're improving. BTW, it IS a 4 1/2" pot.

Ta-da, the partial answer is rootbound, I just lifted it out before watering & the rootball is covered w/ roots & the whole rootball is very tight. I think after these buds open (or blast), I'll try to move it up a size.

I can't summer it out (no outdoors for it), fire escape only & as spring progresses (& certainly in summer) it would scorch, if not actually burn.

In the meantime, I took a chopstick & made holes down into the mix around the perimeter of the mix & then watered, so at least this time the water should actually penerate the rootball. I guess that's why it's been drying out so very fast.

No aluminun anywhere that I know of & I found some Scotts time release acid fertilizer. It's been repackaged from bulk by my local Society, so while is says how much to use, it doesn't say how long it's good for, so I'll have to ask. I figure since I've only had it a wk, I shouldn't fertilize it for another 3 wks at least so as to let it continue adjusting.

Toni, when I repot it bigger, can I use the technique of cutting vertical slits into the rootball & then spreading some w/ my fingers to help it make contact w/ new mix in larger pot? I'd be afraid to take all the old mix off, could just be too shocking.

I know you're no expert, but you've spoken abt them a fair amount, & from my time here you've been both very knowledgeable & generous w/ that. Since you do get repeat blooms, you're the one I thought to ask.

Thanks again, you've certainly helped is several ways: seeing that it's rootbound already is a big help & I am greatly reassured abt the yellowing. I'm very grateful (& to Shic too).

(PG) Karen


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

My "shrub" today:


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Wow! That "shrub" is just stunning! The blooms are so perfect, so clean and pristine looking. It took my breath away, and its not too big for my puter screen. Just right, in fact. That would make a GREAT desktop background, wouldn't it? And I beg to differ about Toni being an expert - she's helped me more than anyone will ever know with my plants. My dry home in summer is a spider mite haven when there are mini roses anywhere in sight, so I best stay away from Gardenias! I'll just admire at a distance. . .

Randi


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Yeah Shic,

Really nice pix & perfectly sized, thanks. So very pretty & vibrant, here's hoping its beautiful example will encourage mine!


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Hi everyone- I'm back, kinda. The pups have slowly started going away to their new homes and stress level is going down.

PG, I had a very pretty gardenia I got in Jan. It was doing a little too well for comfort really, because I knew it was just a matter of time before I saw those yellow leaves. I had it on my kitchen table ever since I got it- while trying to figure out the best spot for it. But, it started thriving there so well, I thought best to keep it there. Never touched it, in fear of a leaf turning yellow at contact!

Well, I went off on a trip for 10 days, left DH to water the plants. Strictly told him, DO NOT TOUCH the Gardenia!! Don't move it, don't turn it, don't do anything but water it! LOL. I return to a bunch of yellowing leaves. Not sure what he did or didn't do- but hope I can nurse it back.

I think, now that the light is changing, it's getting a bit more of the afternoon sun than it would like.

Oh Toni, my hib bloomed again- I walked into my home from the airport to a glorious yellow flower! I was too tired to go look for my camera and take pics, and slept all day and night and now it's too late.

There's another bud coming up though- hope it doesn't turn yellow. DH yellowed up a few buds while I was gone. I told him not to touch that one either!!


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Oh, Pirate GirlI can relate. But dont feel bad. It is possible to succeed with Gardenias. I love these plants, and although I do understand what their needs are, we dont get along very well.

Once upon a time, many moons ago, I couldnt pass up Gardenias. Every year I would tell myself that I would NEVER get another Gardenia. But every year I would walk into my local greenhouse and there theyd be in full bloom, a million of them (okay, maybe a few dozen). Theyd be right at the entrance so there was no way to avoid them. The scent of the flowers would cloak me as I struggled to get through pretending I didnt see them. But it wasnt that easy. We made leaf/eye contact. Mesmerized by the graceful, magical beauty of the flowers and drunk on their scent, I would find that seductive little she-devil sitting next to me in my car, going home with me. It would have been fine if wed been able to form a long lasting relationship but instead, the Gardenias in my life became one-night stands.

I have succeeded once in getting a Gardenia to bloom and I suppose that was my downfall thinking that Id learned the secret to their success. HAH! Boy was I fooled. Since that one lucky period I have tried everything to get them to bloom (or even just to thrive) and I mean everything from scolding to begging to voodoo dancing to spray misting with holy water to hand stands. Nothingno bloomsno lush growth. Time and time again I tried and failed. I decided at one point that I have enough to deal with in my life and that Im much too busy; I dont really need this grief. I dont deserve to be treated so harshly by such an extremely demanding wench; I deserve better than this. Going through withdrawal symptoms was difficult how does one live without such a beautiful plant amongst the collection - but I finally freed myself. The Gardenias and I finally went our separate ways.

Finicky and natural sulkers, I truly believe that the slightest little change leads these beauties to contemplate suicide. They literally seem to stop having the will to live unless you give them what they want. They threaten and moan and decline while you stand over them praying and worrying, wondering what they need, what you should do. (and yes, new Gardenias do yellow as Toni stated because they dont like change and they will nag you to death about it)

What do they need? Well, I do understand their needs and I also understand that a Gardenias requirements are very exact and these needs must be met; although even with their needs met, my own hazy past with them was not very prosperous. But maybe itll work for you.

They need (demand) bright light but dont like direct midday sun in the summer time (believe me they will let you know). They prefer a more acidic soil or as Toni stated a fertilizer for acidic loving plants. Humidity is essential and spray misting daily will help somewhat. Soil must be kept moist but never soggy (a fine juggling act indeed). They need to be fed and I agree with Toni about the once-a-month method. One of the most essential and critical elements required to make these plants bloom is the temperature. Ideally the temperature range should be from 60 to 65 degrees during the night and more or less 10 degrees higher during the day. Aside from being God-like, or a magician at the very least, I have always had difficulty trying to control the temperature. But the Gardenias dont care. They feel/believe/insist that they are entitled to their entitlements. How I will meet these needs becomes my problem, not theirs.

They love the outdoors! If you can put it outside for the summer, go for it! (You might score a few points for that)

I followed the above Gardenia commandments to the tee and my brood never cooperated (or even showed the slightest bit of gratitude). Now heres the clincher. My very, very dear friend has a huge Gardenia (tons of luscious, healthy growth, buds all year round) and knows absolutely nothing about houseplants or plants in general. Her knowledge goes as far as "You pot them up in all-purpose soil, water them when you remember, toss them out for the summer (all houseplants!) and bring them in when you start heating your house again" Her steps in Gardenia care are two! 1) Place it ouside for the summer. 2) Bring it inside for the winter. Same spots every year. I call it the Gardenia groove. Shes had the plant for so long and its so big that it seems to have made a groove in the spots she places it in year after year, indoors and out. The plant is not only beautiful, it is immaculate. The first time I saw it in bloom I had to go touch it because I thought it was artificial; too good to be true. Can you believe that? She does absolutely nothing for it and it is thriving beyond anything! Sometimes I swear tough love is what they need

The needs are easy to understand and not too difficult to apply (except maybe the temperature) so maybe you'll do better than me. Maybe they just don't like me. Good luck with your plant!


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I personally do not support "summer outside" practice. Of course, I could be wrong. I tried once before. Many leaves turned yellow by moving my plant outside. I think it took her a while to get use to the wind. In autumn, many leaves turned yellow by moving my plant inside. I think it took her a while to get use to lower light and small day-night temperature difference.

I just leave it at a cool with sunshine spot inside (or outside) for good. I have a hard time believing the story of your friend. How does she water her plant? What is the temperature at her house?


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Well, shic, I can't say I blame you for having a hard time believing the story of my friend the Gardenia owner. But it's a true one. I hope you are not accusing me of...storytelling...or worse lying? :) Next time I'm at her home visiting and her plant is in full bloom, I will photograph it for you. K? You will be surprised at just how magnificent her Gardenia is. I've never seen anything like it.

And if you must know, since you are inquiring, she keeps her home warm because her elderly parents live with her and her mother is always cold. She uses tap water for her plants and another kicker is that she keeps her plant in the kitchen in the sunshine. And you know how warm it can get in there. In the summer it's outside on her porch, again in the sunshine.

So I hate to break your bubble but there are no surprises or secret tricks in her bag. Some people just have something about them with plants that I've never been able to understand. My mother is one of them. Give her anything to grow and it blooms and blossoms with very little effort. It's one of those mysteries in life I suppose.


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Her tap water is very soft. Her kitchen may have cool nights. It depends on how the house is heated. You mentioned the kitchen is full of sunshine. That is a must for her plants. So, I say it is possible. I would appreciate it if you post pictures of her plant.


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

I don't know what type of water she has or if her kitchen has cool nights. Her house has electric heating, which makes for extremely dry winters. I lived with electric heating for most of my life and air could get so dry sometimes - the winters are very long and cold here - that my childrens' noses would bleed. I had to run humidifiers. Along with that, we live in Quebec and the heating period can start anywhere from mid October and run all the way to mid April. That's a long time to have electric heating and dry air. It's not a point of whether it's possible or not; it's happening. And maybe it's not just her. Maybe it's her plant. She may have an exceptionally hardy one. I have been to her home during all four seasons and there is nothing different there than there is in any other friend's or relative's home. My mother has a similar situation with her Azalea now and has had similar situtations in previous years with many flowering plants; no extra effort, just basic care. Now while I don't see my friend every day, I did live with my mother and can attest to environment and hands-on care. Trust me, there was nothing exceptional done.

Looks like I'm going to have to start taking my camera with me all the time from now on in case her plant is in bloom the next time I visit. I have to be ready to snap. When I finally do get a photo, you will be the first to know.


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The humidity level of a kitchen is a lot higher than other rooms ... caused by the sink, the running water, cooking, washing dishes, and the drying plates, etc ... if the temperature is constantly above 70 F, the plant cannot bloom well.


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Yes, yes...of course you are right shic. I can see you need to apply some type of logic to it to be able to justify it. I'm just impressed with the beauty of her plant. It's the most amazing one I've seen thus far in a home.

Pirate girl, let us know how your new gardenia is doing. I'd love to hear that it's taken to you :)

Toni, you seem to have a grip on gardenias. Do you place yours outside? If so, do you place it in the shade or sun? And have you made one bloom for you? I'm so curious as you seem to do well with the more temperamental ones. I have no intention on getting into the habit of bringing home gardenias all over again - I swear - but gathering some info on it just to learn new things wouldn't hurt.... :) My friend has offered cuttings from her gardenia and I've declined so far...it's tough though...


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Linda, now that you've had your Gardenia a few wks, how is it doing? Did you repot yet, or going to wait?
I don't know about spliting soil since I've never tried it..don't want to give you bad info. Keep us updated on your progress.

Shic, some ppl just have 'green' luck growing plants..My friends mother keeps African Violets in small, old butter containers w/o drainage..she doesn't fertilize yet those plants bloom yr round. She also grows Poinsettia's which, in my opnion, are extremely difficult to keep..I envy ppl who grow them yr round.

RAndi, thanks for the compliment..but think of it this way..I may advise, but you're the one actually caring for your plants, so the credit is due to you..(S)

Nota, congrats getting your hib to bloom..Oh you've got the yellow flower!! Is the flower all yellow? That's the next hib I'm getting..LOL. I think yellow flowers are so pretty. As soon as my grocery store gets hibs in I'll keep my eyes opened for one..Please take a pic the next time it blooms. Be sure all parts of your plant is getting sunlight..the more light the better chance of blooms growing all around the tree/bush. And if winters are bright, the hib is one of a few plants that bloom in yr round. They do not go dormant.

Nature, oh yes I take gardenias outside..If there ever comes a time when it's difficult for me to get plants out, I'll find a way to take certain plants outside even if it means pain..LOL. Those I find important to go out are Gardenias, Hibisucs, and Citrus.
My Gardenias go out front and get direst west sun w/some south and north. They're also one of the last plants to come indoors in fall. Sometimes as late as November, depending on the weather. Now that the temps are increasing, it's time they go out..I'm just afriad I'll haul more plants out and it'll snow..lol..
I admit, gardenias are not easy plants to grow, but w/a little effort, fertilizing w/an acidic food, good light, some humidity, and proper soil/waterings we can all have nice trees. Toni


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Well, thanks for asking. My gardenia is holding on. Got a bit scorched tho' as suddenly it became 60s to 78-85 degrees w/no warning, so my plant sitting abt 5' in from west window got some toasty leaf tips, but still looking OK (tho' a bit worse for the wear). Buds still look OK too. I do try to mist it once a day ... here's hoping.

(PG) Karen


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

I think yellowing and toasty leaf tips may suggest your water is too hard. Gardenias prefer rain/snow water. The calcium and magnesium in hard water are very harmful to gardenias. There are products to test your water quality (at WM fish section). If you are pursuing a perfect plant, I would always use distilled water with quarter strength acid fertilizer (the green crystal powder).


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Naturelover-- I believe you, 100%. I've seen the same sort of thing over and over. I've got a friend who has killed quite a few houseplants, and now she only grows a couple. One of them is a Rhizomatous Begonia. It's in the wrong spot-- near a forced-air heat register, way too far from a good light source -- and yet it's one of the most beautiful, lush Begonias of its type that I've seen. Go figure.
There was a thread on the orchid fourm not too long ago, about Masdevallias. Many of the species are quite difficult and fussy, and a lot of really good growers just can't manage success with them. One guy told about his elderly grandmother who has just a few plants, among them, a couple amazingly floriferous Masdies that she has put on a windowsill, and to which she gives no special care.
For whatever reasons, there are times when success flies in the face of conventional wisdom.
On the flip side, many of us who have fair experience with plants and can grow some challenging things, still have trouble with a plant or two generally considered easy to grow.
BTW- I enjoyed your description of your relationship with Gardenias!

Karen- Best of luck with your plant. You've gotten some great advice. Gardenias are beautiful, and so wonderfully scented, but they're a bit labor-intensive for me with the number of plants I already have. I hope you have wonderful success with yours!


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Karen, give your gardenia time to adapt..I went to a forum where everyone was discussing gardenias, and the majority had problems. I only wish y ou could take them outside...do you take other plants out? If so, perhaps you have a tree and can place the gardenia on the tree's soil?? Toni


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Thought you all might enjoy a really funny thread I came across this weekend searching something completely different. I'll try to post a link, but in case it doesn't work just search "the infamous suicidal gardenia thread". It was started in '99 and took on a life of its own. Very long and so far I've just skimmed it, but its good.

I'm always tempted by them too, but so far have always resisted. My aunt had a beauty for years, but back then I was too busy raising daughters and didn't need anything else temperamental around the house. Sandy


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I think I'm beginning to get a hang of the gardenia- IGNORE it! In fact, I think that's what my new motto for all my plants should be!

The gardenia is doing better now- not yellowing anymore and it's starting to produce buds again. Yipee! I can only see one, but hey, I'll take whatever it can give! I didn't do anything to it, other than water. I haven't even fertilized it since I got it.

As for plants thriving in the 'wrong location'- I have a calathea which is less than 2 ft from the heater (which blasted hot dry air through a high powered fan, all winter through), about 10 ft from a window and it held up pretty well. No humidity trays either. Now, with change of seasons, it no longer gets the heat, but no longer gets any light either. It's sprouting leaves galore! It's also a nice dark green color. Not sickly due to lack of light. Despite repeated advise from my dear friend Toni, I chose to keep it in that location because I figured, as long as it was doing ok, there's no need to move it. And now I strongly believe, that although it's good to learn general guidelines for different plants, I shouldn't always follow them to the T. I guess different homes have different conditions and I'll really need to figure out through trial and error, what works for me and what doesn't. For example, my apt is much warmer and claustrophobic in the winters than in the summers. It can get up to 90 on a sunny winter day, without heater on (night is a different thing though). Couple that with the dry dry air and it feels like your skin will wrinkle. But all my plants held up very very well. The few that I lost was to mites or my inexperience. In the summer, I don't get that much direct sun all through so it's very pleasant and breezy. It's still very bright but not as much as winter.

Now that the sun is changing position (moving north I suppose), I'm not getting as much direct sunlight into the house as I did, over the winter. Of course, the windows are sunny, but in winter, I'd get direct sun all over the living room. Now, they barely reach 4 ft past the windows. Time to move the plants- which is such a pity since I had them spread nicely all over the house. This will be my first summer with plants so let's see how they hold up. There may be only one week of the summer at the most that I use an a/c so that should help the plants somewhat.


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Hello everyone!
I am new to this forum. I also like gardenia very much! I live in Vancouver, Canada. Believe me, you can grow gardenias indoor without any problem.
I have 4 little pots (4" ones). They are all Gardenia Jasminoides Vetchii. I bought them at a local nursery about 3 months ago. I just put them at the south window without any light filter at all. They are "happy";grow and grow and bloom and bloom! I just water them whenever the soil is dry; check more often on sunny days. I fertilize them twice a month with fertilizers for flowerings. I don't really care what brand or what kind I should use. Acctually, I've learned something and I believe it is true that you should not do things by the book all the time. Just do what you think your gardenia'd like. Tell you the truth, I did murder one gardenia in the past because I was so serious in taking care of the plant. I did research, followed guidelines, tried this and that, everything you can find in the books telling what you should do in order to keep poor little gardenia alive and, of course, blooming. Well, my first gardenia died just after 3 weeks! I don't say all the info of the books out there are garbage though. Just don't be over obssessed with the rules. With some basic guidelines from the bookds and with your on going obervations, you will finally know what to do with your gardenia. Don't give up! Your beautiful, fragrant white flowers will appear! Good luck, everyone!


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LOL -- the infamous suicidal gardenia thread is what led me to really, really want to try ;-). I read the thread, and started looking for a gardenia (I love a good challenge). I'm on my second -- my first got spider mites something terrible, and is finally recovering (and actually setting buds, but since it's a gardenia, it'll probably never actually bloom!). The second was in full, fat bud (no blooms yet) at the grocery, and since I was so bummed about the first getting mites, I got it. (Sigh.)

Well, 3 weeks, later, the buds are still big and fat, but nada -- not opening, not dropping. The damn thing did also have spider mites -- had to use insecticidal soap and will follow up again in about a week. I think I've found the culprit that originally introduced spider mites to my houseplant population . . .

I'm starting to ignore rather than baby them, and they're left outside most of the time (3/4 day sun, nights still in 40s-low 50s, but I bring them in when I remember or if it's going to be really cold) so we'll see if they do better that way! They seem to be neither close to dying nor totally thriving, so as far as gardenias go, that's probably pretty good ;-).

:-) Mel


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Mel, the important thing is ridding those mites..I don't consider mites too difficult to evict, like say mealy bug, but I've seen the damage they do when not properly cared for.
You can always use 2=4 drops of dishsoap to a mister of water, and spray 2-4 times a wk. The suckers do not like soap or water. Spraying them in the sink keeps them at bay, too.
Gardenias are a challenge and like you, I love a challenge. I prfer growing anything deemed difficult..I have very few common plants in my collection. I enjoy hibs and azlalias..and Citrus..I love citrus. They're my favorite of plants. It's so rewarding getting flowers/fruits from our plants.
And speaking of gardnias, the small pots that fell behind the porch are doing poorly..I don't know what to do..if I should try saving or just give up..Toni


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

My Grandmother passed away in February and I was given this Gardenia Plant and a Peace Lily as a gift. The peace lily is doing great but the gardenia has only produced one bloom and since went down hill.

The Gardenia is an indoor plant and I honestly have no clue what else to do. I have the gardenia in a plastic pot that has a built in water chamber underneath. I got this pot because I was afraid of over watering the traditional way. I usually mist every evening with room temperature water. The leaves continue to droop and eventually fall off. The plant is starting to look really thinned out.

This plant hold special meaning to me and don't want it to die. What do I do???????


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Smiles, first I want to say I'm sorry about your loss.
I don't blame you for wanting to keep the plants.

Did the leaf loss problem start when you repotted in this self-watering pot? If it is a self-watering pot. I'm thinking water is sitting in the pot, keeping the soil too wet..
If it were my plant, I'd remove from the pot it's now in, and use a regular plastic pot and water when the soil feels dry to touch. Gardenias like most plants do not like sitting in water. Toni


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Toni,
Thanks!
I will repot in a regular plastic pot and do I need to put rocks in the bottom? I have read that it helps when you do this. My Gardenia and Peace Lily are my first 2 plants and I must say that keeping plants alive is hard! At least with the Peace Lily it lets you know when it needs watering b/c it will droop. Also,do I need to water with some of the Miracle grow food for Gardenia/Azalea? Thanks again for your help :) Heather


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Heather, some ppl put rocks in the bottom of the pot..by any chance are you confusing this with setting rocks on a larger saucer, filling the saucer w/water, and setting the pot atop rocks for humidity?
As long as you have well-draining soil, and drainage holes in pots, you shouldn't need rocks inside the container.
To test soil, stick your finger deep in soil..if it comes out clean, then it's time to water, but if it comes out moist wait a few days and check again.
Another way is to lift plant..If plant is heavy the soil is wet..if light it's dry.
After watering, thoroughly, lift pot to check its weight. This way you'll have some idea as to weather the pot feels light or heavy.
Read container directions, but I believe you can fertiilze w/MG once a month. Azalia food also works. Keep your plant in bright light, and cool..if you can place outside in summer your gardenia will reward you with flowers..especially if you leave out until late Sept, early Oct. But start off w/a shaded spot then work your way up to brighter light..Gardenias are beautiful plants with lovely, fragrant flowers..Toni


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Toni,
I probably am getting confused with setting rocks on a larger saucer, etc. I told you I am new at this ;)
When repotting do I need to take excess soil off and put fresh potting soil? I really appreciate your help with my Gardenia. It only produced one flower and that is what I clipped off to put on my Grandmothers grave. She absolutely loved Gardenias and her best friend is who bought this flower for me. Heather


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Heather, then I'm certain this woman was a great friend of your grandmother. That was very nice of her. I think houseplants are better to purchase because they can be saved..I mean, who's going to take those huge U shaped things home w/cut flowers?? I've seen ppl take home cut flowers but they don't last.

Okay, repotting a plant..When you repot, you don't want to use a pot more than 1-2 sizes larger than the pot it's in.
Add a little soil on the bottom of the new pot.
I prefer repotting w/a plant that's dry, even though most say you shouldn't..but the plant slips out of the pot easier when soil is dry.
Tilt pot over an area, either outside or on newspaper. Tap the side of pot, or using an old knife, slip the knife below the rim of the pot. This should loosen plant. Continue doing this until plant w/soil exits pot. Center plant in new pot, then w/(well-draining) soil, sprinkle around sides of pot, doing so in a circuling motion so the plant is centered. Continue doing this until your about 1" from the top of pot..Then give plant a good drink of water. It's best to water w/tepid water..I save old milk containers, fill w/water, then use to water plants after at least 24 hours.
For gardnenias, this his how I mix my soil..1/3all purpose soil (black soil) 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 sand or Perlite. Some all purpose soils have peat mixed in, so if you can find one silialar, use that and sand or perlite. Gardenias prefer acidic soil so this is where the peat comes in. And soil needs to be well=draiing so this is where the sand or perlite fits in.
Mist plant daily, espececially in winter when your house is dry..Do u know what size pot it's in now? To measure, using a measuring tape, set the end of tape on the rim of the pot, and measure across..this will tell u its pot size. Toni


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Toni,
My grandmothers best friend is an amazing lady and has a green thumb. I told her my problems with my Gardenia and she told me to not worry but just give it time. It's had plenty of time and still hasn't perked up.
I bought some Miracle Gro Potting Mix and it says that it's ingredients are forest product compost, peat moss, perlite and fertilizer. I'm sure you already know that :) Do I still need to mix with 1/3 more peat moss & 1/3 sand or perlite?
What are your suggestions on how much water to pour before I put the remaining soil on top?

Thanks again for all your tips! Heather


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RE: watering

Heather, as long as the soil doesn't feel heavy like outside soil would..do you know what I mean?
The soil should be light, brown in color.If it's black it still may be too heavy.
If not, then that should work.
I wouldn't pour any water in the soil until you're through repotting the plant..Then give it a good drink..If you're using a saucer that's not connected to the pot it'll be easier to see. You want to water in a circular motion, wetting all the roots..When you see some water drip into the saucer, your plant is watered.
If your saucer is connected to the pot it'll be harder to tell..you see, I don't measure water..lol..I do it by looking at the soil, so I can't give you numbers like 4 cups of water,etc..Let me know if the saucer is connected to the pot.

Daily misting really helps too but try not to wet the flower..Are you going to place this plant outside or keep indoors? Toni


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Toni,
The pot that I bought has the saucer connected to the pot. It figures I would pick the pot with more difficulty :) The potting soil that I got is black but light. I'm sorry that I am a green thumb idiot!
I would like to keep this plant indoors but if I need to move outside for CPR reasons I will ;0
Heather


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Heather, actually a pot attached to the saucer looks better.
Don't call yourself names, girl, we all started out asking questions, right? (S)
Well, water in a circulur motion, wetting soil thoroughly. Then if possible, lift the pot..Oh feel before you water, to get aquainted w/its weight..after you water, lift again..the pot should feel heavier. Make sure you give it a good drink though..
I still don't know what size your pot is..LOL..If it's small, say 4-6", check every few days to once a wk..stick your finger in the soil or lift pot..if your finger comes out clean then soil is dry..water..if not, then wait a few days and recheck.
If you plan on repotting you won't need to feed at least two months because of fresh soil..So, say you repot today, don't feed until July..Stop in Sept/Oct..
I've gotta run to the store but will be back later or tomorrow..Good luck, Heather..Toni


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RE: New Gardenia - Trouble Already

Toni,
Oops, the pot size is a 14". My next question is in regards to where I need to place my plant inside my house. I have a room that gets good morning sun and a room that gets good midday/evening sun. Which would better suit a Gardenia? Also, where in these room are good to place them? Direct or indirect sunlight? The one thing that concerns me is I have an AC register infront of all my windows. Is that good or bad for Gardenias? Talk to you soon. Thanks, Heather


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Heather,

These shrubs love direct sun. The more sun, the more flowers. However, they also need 60~63 degree temperature to set buds. I love gardenia as indoor plant. Mine never catch any bugs. Their leaves are very shiny. My problem is that they grow too large too quickly. I dont have enough window space.



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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Toni,
Now I am jealous!!!! I changed pots this afternoon and the soil was so wet. You were exactly right. I didn't wet it any more b/c it was so moist. I did mist the leaves though. I have many branches on my Gardenia that are completely bare from the leaves falling off. Will they produce more leaves or will that branch completely die b/c it looks very withered. Heather


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Hello All,

I am new to this site. This is actually my very first posting in any site! I found you by looking for information related to what I think are spider mites on my new gardenia. I bought her 3 months ago at a Sam's Club. She is in the form of a double ball topiary and had beautiful deep green foliage with a least 100 buds. The first bloomed yesterday and is quite beautiful. However, I also seem to have developed an infestation of spider mites. I first noticed the little webs and on closer inspection I do see the little critters.

I will spray with the soapy water today as well as fertilize as you have suggested. I have had very little bud drop and new foliage is coming in all the time even as I lose other leaves. The location I am limited to does not have full sun but is quite bright for most of the day. It has taken 3 months for the one blossom and I am hoping more will follow.

I also want to offer a gardenia story.

My mother was given a cutting of a gardenia from a friend's plant and grew the plant to live in a 15" pot with a 5 foot canopy. I cannot remember a time living in my mother's house without the gardenia taking center stage. She never fed it and I don't ever remember it having bugs. She watered it lovingly and spoke to it daily, always thanking it for the almost coninuous bloom. It was sensitive to her moods and gave very little bloom when I was in Europe for 4 months. Upon my return and the return of her peace of mind, the blooming picked up and didn't stop until the last year of it's 47 year reign.

Wish me luck...at 57 it is unlikly I will see my plant live for 47 years, but you never know.

Janice


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Interesting, I think they are just plants. Here, a different cultivar is blooming for me


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Heather, I'd first try the brighter spot and see how it does. That's ashame the soil is still wet..when did you last water? How many days between watering and checking the soil?
A 14" pot is big..Ihope your tree is large enough to take that much soil. How much room is betweeen roots and pot? Do you know what size the pot was when you bought it?

Now, about the ac..will cold air be hitting the leaves? if so, is there a way you can prop up the plant instead of leaving in direct cold air?

Janice, though gardenias like fertilizer, right now I'd concentrate on ridding the mites..An infested or sick plants should never be fertilized..Ridding mites isn't as tricky as say mealy..thank your stars..If you can somehow hose the plant every other day by either taking outside and hosing or putting in sink or shower..
If you mist plants, add a couple drops of dish soap to water. Then mist away..spray in-between leaves and stems. Mites find places to hide, so you want to get them before they get your tree..It sounds lovely. Toni


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Janice, I am not Toni. I also love plants and gardening.


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Toni,
The pot that I just removed the Gardenia from had a chamber below the pot that you filled with water. So, I would fill this chamber up every couple of weeks when it would be empty. You didn't water the "traditional" way with that pot.
I miss spoke about the correct size - it is a 12" not 14". The original pot size was a 8" and the roots were coming out of the bottom of that pot. There is probably 2" between the root and the sides and 4" from the root and the bottom.
My Gardenia is really starting to look bad. I'm afraid it is not going to make it. I think I messed up when I cut the dying branches off a couple of weeks ago. This was before I got on this sight about Gardenias.
I have it placed in the window that gets good morning sun and the ac register is not blowing directly on the plant.
Help, Heather


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Is putting coffee grounds helpful to put in Gardenias soil? I have heard that they are helpful to many plants but not certain about Gardenias. Thanks, Heather


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

My mother in law has two huge gardenia's planted in her yard in full sun. She's had them for about 10 years and every year they get taller and fuller and produce more blooms. They produce so many blooms that all summer she has bowls of water filled with gardenia blooms all over her house. She swears pickle juice is the key to lots of blooms. She dumps pickle juice on them every couple months. Other than that she has ignored them completely and now they tower above me. Ugh.
So, not to be outdone. I brought home a gardenia tree. I went through yellow leaves, watering it, feeding it, begging it, moving it to different spots. I did this for 6 months until the last yellow leaf fell off and I was left with a 4 foot stick. The roots are still alive and the stick is definately alive, so I am still doing the watering, feeding, begging and moving it thing with high hopes of a miracle recovery. One day I'll wake up and there will be new green growth all over the stick.
In the meantime, I turn my head the other way every time I walk by my mother in laws gardenias.


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

You have root burn/rot. "Feeding" is a double-bladed sword. For a healthy plant in growing season, "feeding" will bring you good. In all other situations, "feeding" is the fire, the poison. In your situation, you definitely should not feed it. Also, if your plant has no leaf, I would not think there should be a big need to water it. In general, I think you should know children are more adaptive. Next time, try to start from a small and cheap rooted-cutting. It will get use to your specific environment and thrive quickly. Try to treat it with scientific approach, avoid superstition like begging.


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Heather, is there a lot more soil than roots? Jumping from an 8 to a 12" is quite a leap. Then again, you can see how much room there is..wish I could, too.
Yeah, I'm not one for self-watering pots..I had bad experiences w/these containers therefore would never put a plant in one let alone a gardenia. Is the soil drying out at all? I think that's the problem.
I've heard good and bad things about coffee grounds. If you've ever seen or read Jerry Baker's books/tv shows, he uses all types of stuff in plants..
Do you use Superthive hormone? If not, I'd suggest getting some..
Though you like your pot, if the soil is constantly moist, I'd repot to plastic. One that you are in control. Perhaps you can plant a huge fern in the self-watering pot.
About the coffee grounds, do you have some type of filter you can set grounds in, set in a container of water, then water?
It's not that I'm against using grounds, but someone on another forum said it could cause rot. Of course this is someone's opinion, but who's to say? I wouldn't want you going through more problems than you have now..(S)
Heather, do you have a pic of your plant?

Fountain, maybe you should try the pickle juice..LOL..What does it do? I've never heard of it, but must be helping since your MIL's trees are doing well. Are her Gardenias trees or bushes?
To be honest, I have better luck w/trees than the bushes. I wouldn't give up yet. Keep working at it..Toni


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Hi folks. I'm a brand new member, and hope someone out there can advise. I'm in Zone 8 (coastal Virginia) where we can grow gardenias permanently outdoors. But, I do have some leaf yellowing. Does anyone know specifically what causes it? Is it a pest, a disease, or simply a reaction to certain conditions? They are just about to bloom, and I've picked off most of the yellow leaves, but I would like to treat the condition if there is anything that can be done. Thanks!


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Toni,
More leaves have fallen off but the remaining leaves look much better. The soil has dried out since repotting and I am making sure to not over water. I am still misting the leaves daily. I believe that it is liking its new location with the morning sun.

I am not currently using the Superthive hormone. Where do you purchase this and how do you use it?

I do not have a pic of my Gardenia right now but I'll try and get one this weekend and send it. Then you'll see my problems!

Anywy, I've been talking about getting a fern for my front porch so I just might do that now with the extra pot :) I really appreciate all your help with my Gardenia. Heather


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

hi all,
pirate girl- every fragrant flower is worth the trouble!!!! first, re yellowing leaves- i also think this is from getting used to the new home(!) - it happened with mine as well. my denia (which is in the garden) leaves also yellow in winter
from the change in weather; those fall off and new ones sprout.
truthfully I have never had much success with the blooms- one here, one there... but I really love it when it happens! after reading all these responses I am going to put it in a pot and move it in the late fall. (it has many buds now- who knows!!!....)

I have a question- the leaves, although it is NOT in direct sun are now pale green - I have recently fertilized as well as adding compost as I read was advantagious but the new (top) foliage is simply lacking that gorgeous, vibrant shiny green that it had when it was new and that the bottom leaves had... should I add iron? if so, diluted or sprinkle underneath then water....

also, if it is going to be outside in a pot, which directions are best? btw, my area suffers from occasional, strong winds both easternly and from the south...depending on the season...

please advise!
thanks!
cheers
dory


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Heather, are you going to post a pic this wkend?
Homeharvest.com and www.plumeriapeople.com sells Superthrive. You apply by adding 2-4 drops of ST to a gallon of water and water your plants. This is not to be used in place of fertilizer though.

Yellowing can be caused for several reasons including pests, lack of nitrogen, lack of iron, overwatering, underwatering..the list goes on.
After a person knows how to care for their plant, figures out its needs, an occassional yellow leaf will develope.

Gardenias should be checked for insects regularly since mites for one seem to like these plants, especially if the house is dry and there's no air circulation. Toni


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

OK, I bought a gardeniabush. Yes, I too, got sucked in at Home Depot. This is the ongoing saga of the Gardenia in Granbury, Texas. Because I believe my Gardenia bush is suffering from, amongst other things, perpetual PMS, I am going to call it a "She".

Note: She gets watered when the sprinklers water the lawn every three days at 4:00 a.m. It is 100 degrees in the shade on most days, (she only gets the morning sun for an hour or two).

The leaves started turning yellow a few days after purchasing her from the HD where they said it would be a cinch to grow, so I hunt down some help and find the Suicidal Gardenia. Laughed myself silly! So, I see everyone saying Coffee helps, so I trot out with my can of Maxwell House and dump some around the plant. The sprinklers kick on watering in the coffee, and the leaves turn yellow still. So, I go back to the suicidal gardenia, laugh myself silly again, and realize they said coffee GROUNDS. So I brew a pot, let it cool down, and go dump it on the plant. Two days later, more yellow leaves, and my neighbors are now wondering about my sanity. Apparently standing in your backyard muttering nasty things at a plant is considered odd---go figure. So, one more trip to the Suicidal Gardenia, more laughter, and I note everyone mentions Maxwell House or just generic coffee grounds (one honorable mention for Starbucks), which is what I was using. So, I think to myself, perhaps my Gardenia bush is a coffee snob, so I am going to now try Gevalia coffee grounds. I will also be printing and laminating some of the pictures of the beautiful gardenia bushes above. Perhaps if I put these pictures around my Gardenia bush, she will understand what it is I am looking for in a plant. Then again, she might see that as an affront...I would also mention that when I put the coffee on my Gardenia, I do so from about two feet away and try not to look directly at it while I am sprinkling the stuff. Perhaps ignorance will be bliss! Have fun, y'all!


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Two feet away and no direct eye contact? You'll have it blooming its fool stems off just to get your attention. Sandy


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Lemurn, do you have a pic of the yellow leaves? Coffee is used for the acidicity of a plant..maybe yours is a nitrogen problem..It's normal for some leaves to yellow, but if it's happening daily, then there is a problem. 1. nitrogen. 2 iron definciency (minerals) 3 insects 4.overwatering.
For yrs I fed my gardenias w/azalia food, plus gave an iron sulfate application every 3 months. (3 times a yr) Today, I fertilized mine, using Epson Salts, SuperThrive and Miracle Gro for acidic plants. This is an experement, never used the salts before.
Then again, if you girl is suffering from PMS, maybe a hit of Mydol will do the trick..LOL. j/k don't take me seriously..Toni


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Okay Shic.....here goes....It is one thing to "share your success"....Another is to gloat/brag......who cares....Your advice may be notable but your overall "attitude" to those of us wanting a wonderful Gardenia is just plain rude.....enough with the pics and how about some encourgement......We all started somewhere didn't we?.....Even you....


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Gretchenmi, I never expect my benevolent sharing of pictures could have offended you. Fine, I will just keep them to myself. I started having plants since I was in elementary school. I had wax begonias, jade plant and two jasmines then. I am not gloating about my "success" with my gardenia plants. Honestly, gardenias are for advanced gardeners. If something is wrong, they go down-slope really fast. My trailing gardenia died this summer. It had all yellow leaves when it arrived in mail. However, I also could have over-fertilized it. I mixed the little Azalea fertilizer beads into its soil according to its label description.

If you are frustrated with yours, you could simply try jasmine. My angle wing is really tough, i.e. much easier to keep. It flowers every other week for me. The fragrance is not as strong as gardenia. The life-span of the flowers are also shorter than gardenia. But mine is very exotic-looking. I am training it to climb a wrath.

Also, there are large quantities of gardenia plants at Wal-Mart in central NY, zone 5. They are in bloom and really cheap. You could have these for practice. If you want, I can root some branches of mine and give them to you for free. Just to show you that I do not possess any "attitude".


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Oh, the cuttings will come from this outside plant:


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Hello all,

I just signed up after reading so many posts on gardenias specifically on this site. Although there has just been too much differentiating advice on gardenia problems, really, to be of much help immediately to me.

Getting to the end of this thread, I sympathize with the absolute frustration of the numerous people having trouble with these gorgeous wonders. I have learned a number of things, and made a list I'm taking along with my gardenia who've I've named "Blanche" (_A Streetcar Named Desire_) to the best local nursery's ER right after this post. I confess, seeing EIGHT pictures of healthy plants has not made me feel hopeful, nor has been reading that "Honestly, gardenias are for advanced gardeners."

I love "shic 2006's" pictures, and hope that my gardenia grows as well one day. Likewise, I greatly appreciate sincere help and advice, but if condescension from anyone goes hand-in-hand, no thanks. Not to take away from anyone whose identity is tied up in blooms, but gardening isn't a club for the elite, nor does it have earnable color belts like karate. I look forward to learning from EVERYONE here, both those newer to gardening, and those who have been gardening longer.

I love gardenias, and I'm just trying to surround myself with what I love. Plain and simple.


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

stcroixmlle, That sentence is a folklore copied from another website. I mean to say "advanced gardeners have more success with these plants". It is understandable that you like to be surrounded with what you love. Of course growing gardenia is for everyone. The price of a small plant is only about $5 at Wal-Mart (less than a lunch). Every branch can root easily in the summer. Are you experiencing any difficulties at all? Let us in the thread know.


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

To anyone in the thread:

If you haven't looked at my page or my journal, I've named my new "houseguest" Blanche because she's fussy, fickle, and too good even for the cats just like the complexed character with her own superiority in _A Streetcar Named Desire_.

I bought this gardenia in early June pruned as a specimen tree. It had about 8 blooms to start which all flowered nicely. After they fell, I repotted according to standard recommendations (except my pot has 8-10 inches of drainage stones with no holes in the pot for indoor maintenance), and skipped the salt since it may have already been salted early spring, but added a half amount of fertilizer since it might have been fertilized in the less-than-thirty-days since I'd bought it.

"Blanche" was doing well despite numerous cloudy days here, dragging her in and out of the house because of the abnormal amount of June rain, and after fertilizing normally with the first watering of her 4th week in the house, I was really happy to see about 12 new bud stems emerging with one near flowering. Then I was forced on a week-long road trip. I was sure I'd miss every one of the blooms on this wretched trip.

I dragged her inside, put on the only plant light I had, put her near the sunniest patio doors, watered her well, and crossed my fingers leaving the house for a week. Upon return, I began experiencing severe stomach flu, and spent 2 days in bed. She looked okay, though, despite being still in wet soil. Taking care of other sick family members, I finally caught up with "Blanche" Thursday evening, and she looked horrible. Too many tiny new leaves yellowing and/or browning, she was chlorotic, the one pretty bud that was just beginning to open was brown-tipped. Well, you've all gone through this before, apparently. I've been reading nearly all the gardenia threads for almost two weeks. I panicked and put her outside in our first full day of heat and sun on Friday. Thinking the soil would dry out, her leaves would perk up, I curled up clinching my aching stomach. She doesn't even appreciate that I probably felt a whole lot worse than she did. Friday evening I check her on the deck and she's scorched, and worse yet, the soil didn't dry. I bring her inside under the plant light. With no change in water consumption, checking her Saturday, her leaves--all of them--drooped toward the floor. She was in real trouble. I surfed and surfed and surfed for highly specific help on this with accompanying pictures, but only found this site helpful.

I was able to surmise that she was suffering from inconsistent weather with less than tolerable light and the beginning of root rot. I repotted her Sunday in a new bag of peat, and consulted the "garden doctor" (they really have this position in my best local garden center) who advised not to put any chemical, even fertilizer, on her until her water consumption stabilizes. He agreed that repotting was probably best, and I asked if I should have washed her roots, but he didn't think that was really necessary. He did recommend, though, that I change pots or put holes in my current pot. He didn't agree that she'd get enough draining with the 10" of stone at the bottom.

For extra protection, I created a screened canopy just for her so that she wouldn't get scorched on the deck in full sun (though the doc points out that these thrive in FL where there is constant full sun). I used burlap draped over a three-screen tomato trellis staked into her pot. That filtered the light nicely since the deck faces southwest and takes a beating from 10-7 in full sun in summer. I also misted her six times today, and I'm hoping that kept the leaves a bit hydrated until she could use her root moisture. SIGH

I just don't want her to die....She can refuse to bloom for me the rest of the stinkin' year; I just don't want her to die.

According to the doc, the prognosis is hopeful, but no food for at least a week, and he advised moistening the peat before repotting, however, I had already repotted before talking to him, and that's his advice if I don't put holes in that pot. Of course, I will first thing tomorrow before the sun hits that deck at 10. It looks like we have a stretch of really hot days, here, now, so the blooms would probably drop anyway.

Shic...I have a gardenia tree which I've potted to be able to move indoors to a skylighted northeast room in harsh weather. She will only live outdoors while nights are 50's or higher. I've invested more than twice what I paid for this gardenia already so that she'll be a long-time companion. No "annuals" from Wal-Mart that root easily into beds for me. I'm in this for the long haul.


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Two pictures, one close-up of "Blanche" sickly as she is.

If anyone can tell me the stages of root rot, I'd appreciate knowing what to expect from this. She sat in very wet but good acidic fertilized mix (seems like I could have just bought peat) for about 10 days before repotting in fresh mix without disturbing the root ball. I considered washing the roots completely, but garden doc advised "not necessary."

[IMG]http://i59.photobucket.com/albums/g311/jamiescryin/Blanche.jpg[/IMG]
[IMG]http://i59.photobucket.com/albums/g311/jamiescryin/Blancheclose.jpg[/IMG]


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Blanche

[URL=http://i59.photobucket.com/albums/g311/jamiescryin/Blancheclose.jpg][IMG]http://i59.photobucket.com/albums/g311/jamiescryin/th_Blancheclose.jpg[/IMG][/URL]


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

One of mine experiences the same as your Blanche. Mine is recovering now. I am no expert, but here is what works for me. If you really want to save her, I have a few tips.

1. Add perlite into the pot to improve aeration.

2. Treat your plant like a rootless cutting, i.e. seal it in a misty large plastic bag. Refresh the air inside the bag every other day.

3. You can mist inside the bag and onto the leaves, but never water until the soil gets a bit dry. You can tell by the weight of the pot.

4. Do not "feed" them. Never apply any fertilizer in the soil this year. You can spray iron products onto the leaves though.

5. Try to use rainwater or distilled water during the recovering period.

6. Unlike other pets, large pot may cause root rot in plants. So if you have to repot, only increase about 1" in diameter every two years.

If you plant is recovering, you will notice the branches look more lively with no new yellowing; nor dry-ups.


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

If you want to post pics, use

< img src=http://www.yoursite.com/yourpic.jpg>


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

No HTML support on the board, huh?

Thanks for the tips, shic! I think she is improving, although the pot may be too large, there are holes now in the bottom, and I only included a bit of the already-wet peat mixed in at the sides and bottom with mostly totally dry peat-like mix. The branches are beginning to lift some with new green growth, although I can't tell if the brown edges were there from the beginning. I consider the growth her sign that she hasn't given up, either. I've picked off most of the totally brown or dried leaves that she's let me pick off. If I lift a leaf, and it doesn't leave the branch, I've left it on. The image is from Sunday. I'll repost when there's something to report either way.


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

I am sure Blanche will recover under your TLC.


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

It is great to learn that the branches are beginning to lift some with new green growth. This is because Blanche was deprived of water due to root rot. Now, she can absorb life-saving water from the misty air. Also:

7. Put the plastic-bag-covered pot outside on your deck, in shade. She will love the cool nights.

8. The whole process will take about 3-5 weeks. So be patient. She needs to grow new roots. Give her time to recover.

9. Next time when you are away on vacation, you can use the same "misty plastic-bag" method.


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

I'd remove all the brown leaves. Give a good shake, and/or pluck carefully..I can see buds coming in..That's a good sign. Toni


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Okay, I assumed you meant a clear bag, but I didn't have one, so I brought the gardenia inside where it gets lots of bright indirect light, and some evening direct sun (after 6). There's very little green left...I'll post a pic in a few days, and the green that had been coming up is quickly browning. THEN, one of my cats made a little box out of it to compound matters. I quickly put foil over the soil, but I'm scared to death what the cat pee did as well as wetting the soil. This only happened though as the soil was nearly all dry. I can't tell if I should water or not. I watered lightly once when I thought that I should have, but I think it was too soon. Since I didn't have a large clear bag, I put the potted gardenia on a rock tray. It took about 10 days for the water to evaporate, though, so I've also been misting. Nearly every leaf is dead or so dry it's useless, and the one little green sprout I found a few days ago has gone almost brown.

I have two questions: Is it okay to use a huge black lawn bag to bag this plant? It will get no light if I do that. Should I be concerned about light at this point? If the soil has dried enough to turn light brown again, is it time to water? I've never tried to recover a plant from root rot, so this is all new.


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

People make mistakes because they are not following advices. They follow their own eagle while that can be 100 miles away from the correct method. If you are not willing to buy a transparent trash bag, nor a moisture meter, then you should just toss the gardenia plant. We said a million times, day/night temperature is important, but you are not listening at all. Who told you to bring it inside? Who told you "indirect light" is the cure for your root rot plant? Toni did not, I did not. If you think you know how to care for it, just do it your way. There is no reason to ask us questions, then do not listen to it at all. You have wasted everyone's time, as well as your gardenia's life. Probably, you should try plastic/origami gardenia. I bet you cannot tell the difference anyways.


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Yes, thanks shic for your encouragement and help. If you re-read your instructions to me, you'll discover didn't specify any of the things I asked about including the type of bag. I've never dealt with a plant with root rot, and I mentioned that. I also mentioned in an earlier post that my deck does not get any shade during the day at all. From 10-8, it's direct sun. You said to put my gardenia in the shade, and I was at least cautious enough not to remind you that I had no shade, for fear of an impatient, or worse, a nasty reply like you did above. In your two posts with directions 1-9, also you never mentioned a moisture meter. I also never assumed indirect light was the cure for root rot, but it's the closest I could come to your advice. You obviously have me confused with someone else. Or perhaps you're just haughty and condescending who only made an attempt to help for fear of being seen as such by everyone who posts. Please, feel free to ignore any posts I make or requests for help. I don't want it if there's a remote possibility that you'll be rude again.


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Wow...I'm still on dial-up and it took this thread some time to load.....

How's your Gardenia doing, Karen?

I bought another one this spring...reduced....it had a few yellow leaves but was loaded with buds.
(Swearing that this is the *last* one I'll try!)

It placed it on my sunporch where it did nothing for the longest time.
The buds held on (only lost one or two) and it grew several new leaves, but not a single bud would open.
I should mention that while it was in that location, I did use distilled water for it's watering needs.

It was drying out often, so I did repot into a larger pot, using Pro-Mix, which is peat-based. I also gave it a little sprinkle of some outdoor Azalea/Rhododendron fertilizer.
Then I chose to place it outdoors, and I had read that they perform well in sun, so I started it out under a shrub and gradually moved it into full sun.
It's now receiving full sun for practically the entire day, and it has gradually opened each of it's buds.....granted, it's been one by one.....only two at a time, tops.....but it is blooming, the foliage looks fantastic and it's growing.

I'm one of those who has killed a few and this is my first time at success with flowers.

I have pretty much ignored it, besides watering and it's initial re-potting and feeding.

Just as the 'Suicidal Gardenia' thread shows.....different cultural aspects seem to work for different people.


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

nanw, if your plant is going strong, I think you can use tap water. I use tap water now. If you see any negative reaction, stop and change back.


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Karen, I'm curious as to how your gardenia is doing, too..Your thread has come a long way baby.. :)

Nan, I'm happy to hear your gardenia is doing well..I know people who grow them outside yr round in CA and Fl grow in full sun areas and they do fantastic..Flowers galore. It's only a matter of adapting.
Did you buy a tree or bush?
Now the hard part..getting by in WI winters. Toni


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Hello all,

Someone gave me a lovely gardenia plant as a gift. The buds fell off in shipping but after 2 months it is still shiny and green. However in the last week white fuzzy things have appeared on the leaves. Does anyone know what these are and is there something I should do about them? Thank you. - Maxine (a new and inexperienced gardener)


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Maxine, it sounds like mealybug..First, isolate this plant from any others you have..it's very contageous.

Next, Shower leaves..then w/Q-tip, swipe affected areas w/rubbing alcohol.

Can you place this plant outside? If so, I'd do so until late Sept early Oct. But keep an eye on it, doing the alcohol thing at least 3 times per wk until all signs of bugs are gone.

You said this plant came as a gift,..did it have that aluminum foil wrapped around it? If so, did you remove it? That stuff is murder to plants. yes, it looks nice, but harmful to plants..

It'd be a good idea to take to sink, tilt, and hose leaves. Good luck, Toni


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Hey stcroixmlle, finally, here is an Gardenia plant for you - made with chocolate, cream and cookies. No more difficult maintenance, just gobble it up and yummy ymmy.


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

HI guys,
I am new to this blog. I grew up in FLA and loved the smell of gardenias in the front yard! I now live right outside Atlanta and have bought my first gardenia. I planted it in a pot with Miracle Gro potting soil. The leaves from the bottom to about the middle of my gardenia has turned yellow with brown spots. The plant has about 5 buds but they dont seem to be getting bigger. I have my gardenia outside in part shade. Can someone please give me some advice on watering, and why my leaves are turning yellow.
I have read through a lot of this queue, and I have to say, it is making me want to challenge the suicide and grow beautiful gardenias! Thank you so much!!!


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Turkey, though I've seen several types of Miracle Gro soil, some are either too heavy or too light..You'll need to add other mediums mixed in the soil.
I use all purpose, (such as MG) sand, perlite and peat..many will disagree w/this combo, but it works for me.
You'll need something so the soil is well-draining..though Gardenia's don't like too dry soil, they don't like constant moisture either.
If you can summer your 'denia outdoors in summer till fall, the better..
Gardenias attract spider mites so check for pests..Toni


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Is it just me, or does shic_2006 seems a little-crazy?


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Hi greenchic,

I have been on this forum reading all gardenia threads. I decided to join just to say - I completely agree with you.
Oh, and best of luck to everyone!


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

i bought a huge gardenia bush from english garden, it is about 2 ft in diameter, the biggest gardenia i have seen and it had so many buds on it and looks green and glossy and it only costed 40$. anyway, in the first couple of weeks the temperature was in the 80's and 90's so sadly only 3 buds bloomed and the rest just gradually dropped. i have repotted it to a big pottery pot (i don't know the size but i can't lift the pot alone anymore) so far new leaves have sprouted and about 5 new buds for about 3 weeks now, but they are refusing to bloom. i have also taken 12 cuttings and tried rooting them last month, and they all have rooted and making new leaves ( still inside the mini green house) i afraid that they will regress and get worse when i pot them in separate pots without a greenhouse. any way, i have used those plant food sticks for potted plants. i don't know if they are doing anything. i occasionally water them when the top layer of the soil is dry. (i tend to overwater alot, my begonia is dying of root rot from too much watering :(
i don't know if i need to add iron or nitron or fertilizer, and if i do, i don't know which kind, i'm a new gardner and i don't know much about a lot of things.
also if anyone knows how to reduce transplant shock for the new rooted cutting from the green house, your help will be greatly appreciated.
(i've also had a lot of success with honeysuckle but i have killed almost every rose bush i bought)
i would post a picture of my gardenia bush but i have never done that and i don't know how


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

THEN: About 30 years ago, I bought a gardenia tree [a gardenia plant grafted onto the thin trunk of a pear tree, I think]. Despite many physical moves and hundreds of miles, the tree lasted for more than 20 years, blooming and growing, despite periods of neglect on my part -- not watering while away from home was the biggest problem.

NOW: In June, I traveled back to the Philadelphia area and visited the exotic nursery where I had purchased the first plant. I bought another. It was about 4 and a half feet high, was in bloom, and had many buds. It survived a 7-hour backseat car trip and was doing well during the summer -- on my apartment balcony. More buds developed. The first week of October, I went on a business trip, watering the plant thoroughly before leaving. It rained all the time I was gone. When I got home, some of the leaves had yellowed, but there were about 30 new buds on the plant. About two days later, there were more yellow leaves. I lifted the pot from its saucer and discovered two inches of water. I had to move the plant inside, because we have had two nights of frost. However, the leaves are still turning yellow, but the buds have not dropped off -- they are just drooping! I have not watered the plant in two weeks. This may sound strange, but the tree -- still 4 and 1/2 feet tall -- "looks SMALLER," like it has shrunk. The shiny green leaves are now dull-looking.

Can anyone offer suggestions . . . or sympathy, if I must prepare for a funeral service?

Thank you . . . Ted


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Ted, here is what you can do:

Carefully lift the root-ball with all dirt out of the pot. Sit it on a dry plate. Do not disturb any root during this process.

This allows the root of the plant to breath. You will see the root-ball getting dry. You will notice the plant looks more comfortable.

C


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Thank you, Snasxs. I will try your suggestion.

Ted


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Ted,

Do this ASAP. If the plant is large, you may need two men. I hope it is not too late.

C


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

I bought a Gardenia a few weeks back, and I haven't had the time to replant it, Well, I finally did this weekend, and I had the same problem, yellowing leaves starting from the bottom. i removed it from the store pot it came in, and it had the worst smell, I assume this root rot. I hope I am wrong, But if it is , is there anything I can do to get rid of it?

Thank You

Wanda


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RE: New Gardenia -- Trouble Already

Ok, I have read the infamous suicidal gardenias thread, then I found these instructions about gardenia growing, and so far they have proved good. So I translated them and give them to you, hoping to make growing a gardenia a pleasure and not an horrible frustration exercise. Good Luck!

GARDENIA JASMINOIDES
POT: Put your gardenia jasminoides in a clay pot, LARGE and DEEP (the bigger the better, it will keep the right moisture at the roots, even temperature and the drainage will be perfect), with soil for acid-loving plants.
In spring I spread on the ground a slow release fertilizer that I use for all plants or, alternatively, liquid manure 20-20.20 when watering every week in summer.

LIGHT: As soon as temperatures permit and it has already begun to vegetate, I place the pot on the terrace where it�s got the sun directly from dawn until about 2,30pm. Light is what makes it flower, so FULL SUN. In shadow it flowered a lot less.
WATERING: Water with tap water, often straight from the tap to the plant.
Every three / five years I change the majority of soil.
In winter, when the minimum temperatures are about 3 / 5 Celsius degrees, I move it to shelter in a small courtyard. Even if the light is low, the water does not ever freeze, it�s watered with rain directly from the sky and takes even the snow .... but it melts immediately.

Here are THREE MAIN SIGNALS that the plant gives me and that I understood.
1. the leaves have BROWN TIPS with yellow halo slowly, slowly advancing up the leaf to dry it completely. The plant has the SOIL TOO WET.
2. the LEAVS, the inner ones, old and attached to or near the main stem, become YELLOW, really yellow, as in a forest in autumn. The plant is suffering from the SOIL TOO DRY.
As a result,
1., Aerates the soil, rather difficult task because I find the roots pretty much just under the surface.
2., Water deeply.
Once done the above steps, clean the whole plant by removing the "messenger" leaves. This allows me to keep it better under control later.
3, sometimes, when new leaves are born, some grow all twisted and deformed. No problem I completely cut away the leaf with my nail: it will grow many more beautiful, fit and perky.

HUMIDITY: I do NOT ever spray it, no more than a shower, but very rarely. NO saucer with wet expanded clay to increase moisture.

PESTS: In all these years, I've never done preventive pesticide treatments and I have never pruned anything! Except for a year that I had to decimate it for being infested with aphids all summer that have all malformed leaves growth in that period. The next year I have drunk it of "Confidor" (a systemic pesticide).
This year, no nothing!
If the plant is generally in good health, leaf texture, gloss of the same, etc. .--- do NOT worry for a few yellow leaves or a few brown leaves or the loss of some leaf: it�s a natural replacement of old leaves, normal, especially in spring.
The action of insecticide and fungicide should be performed only after ascertaining the cause and intervene only when needed and never in advance.

RAIN: When there is a fine persistent rain let�s take it all. The soil will get rid of the salts accumulated during cultivation.
When to replace the pot
1 - The first sign that the plant sends us is the MORE FREQUENT WATERING.
2 - The second signal that it tells us when it appears to be running out a "PERMANENT" iron CHLOROSIS and the new LEAVES appear "SMALL".
3 � We have lots of "distorted" buds growing. In this case they will open all the same, but it causes several of them to dry (this happens even when the plant bears a lot of them, because it hasn�t the strength to take them to flowering).
4 - Another thing that determines that it�s time to change the pot is NO NEW GROWTH on the branches at the nodes where the leaves have fallen for the natural turnover.

If the plant has chlorotic leaves on the leaves of last year use iron Sequestrene, is more direct in addressing the issue, within three weeks you will have the green leaves. If, however, is the natural replacement of the leaves, which takes place this season, the leaves are usually more clear.

SOOTY MOLD: The gardenias aging tend to produce twigs scantily dressed with smaller leaves and become susceptible to the coupler cochineal / sooty mold. The remedy is a drastic rejuvenation: in late winter (March), take out the plant from its pot and greatly reduce the roots by removing about 5 cm. of soil on all the perimeter of the entire root ball, trying to free the roots from the old soil, do not worry if you break the roots, do it with your hands because that way is simpler and faster, nothing dangerous happens. It is very important, to avoid problems in a successful repotting to expose more roots as possible: in this way, once repotted, the gardenia roots will find new soil and will start immediately. It is essential to treat the plant well, leave it to settle and, at the appearance of new growth, begin a proper fertilization plan.
At the same time the plant is cut back drastically and without fear then repot it in a new acidic soil plus, depending on the size of the pot, one or two or three handfuls of manure at the bottom plus a good drainage layer at the bottom. In a year the plant will resume great.

Is it okay to start with beef blood but no more than two or three times, because using it more helps the vegetation at the expense of flowering and homogeneous growth.
After repotting from the bare branches will sprout new growth, you will lose the first flowering, but if you hurry you�ll have the one before it goes dormant.

To make it grow more compact, cut over a couple of leaves below the withered flower. The withered flower is cut at the base, near the branch, thus doubling the branch, so after it you�ll have two branches that grow in width instead of one.
The CUT MUST be done PERPENDICULAR to the branch so that the cut surface is smaller and heals more quickly with less risk of fungi or bacteria infection.

TheFALLING BUDS in a winter housed plant is a normal thing thanks to the warmth: the heat would be good but the light isn�t enough, so the plant cannot keep up the buds.
According to the plant strength, it has buds or causes them to fall throughout the year.

PRUNING of Gardenia jasminoides
It is a plant that doesn�t need pruning: when removing the whitered flowers the plant doubles the branch.
With the right fertilization the plant does not empty or becomes straggly (it keeps being bushy) even after many years of cultivation in pots.
Of course it needs to be well nourished so that it can carry on * all * of the vegetation and doesn�t not have to let go buds or leaves.

PROPAGATION.
just cut an apex, remove the leaves along the branch to be buried directly in soil for acid-loving plants. Water thoroughly, cover the cuttings with a well placed in the ground half cut plastic bottle.
Better to use the part with the cap, because if it creates too much condensation inside the bottle, opening the cap it decreases, and it can be close after it.
Occasionally check that the substrate is not too dry. In this case water it again.
By following these few rules cuttings root quickly.
So easy that I have done it several times in winter, take cuttings, prepared as above, at home in a good light and let it take care of itself.

CHLOROSIS: If the plant is subject to it, no point in using Sequestrene, the plant is telling you that the soil is depleted and must be replaced almost completely. By doing so for several years you will never see more chlorosis on the plant just watered with tap water, until the next soil exhaustion.>
This is the link (with pics) of the old lady author of the directions above. her nickname is pierabg, anf if you search for gardenia jasminoides pierabg you'll see her incredible bush, in a pot from almost twenty years in a region of Italy that has cold winters and snow.

Hope you'll find it as good as I did.

http://freeforumzone.leonardo.it/lofi/Gardenia-jasminoides/D5118047.html

Good Gardenia Gardening!
From Italy with love, Mimma


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