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Should I repot my clementine tree?

Posted by amywhipp West Michigan (My Page) on
Sat, Sep 21, 13 at 11:55

I am new to this forum as well as owning a citrus tree. I have done a lot if research but am still unsure of a few things, as I have run into conflicting information.

I just purchased a 3 foot Nules Clementine tree, which I have in a pot. I planted it in Miracle Grow Citrus and Cactus mix soil along with some additional potting medium I received from the nursery that I purchased the plant from. I already have 4-5 places that have new growth. Not sure if they are going to be blooms or leaves. Either way, I am very excited about this since I have only had the tree for 2 weeks.

On another note, I am having issues with fungus gnats, which I have been treating with an organic spray. I know that this only kills he adults. What is safe to use to kill the larvae so that this problem can be taken care of? Should I add perlite? If so, is there a way to do it without having to repot again? If not, will it harm the tree to repot it? I just don't want a total loss or close to it, as the tree looks healthy, for the most part. I can send pics if needed.

Any help/suggestions are greatly appreciated.


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Should I repot my clementine tree?

fungus gnats are a symptom of an over watered plant.. being that the media is staying way too wet ... on some level.. i fear you are on the road to loving this thing to death.. tread carefully ....

use the GW search engine for a lot of posts about such ...

you better solve this fast... or you will have plagues of them in the house all winter long ... as i presume it must come in for a MI winter ....

i would have sterilized my potting media before repotting as per the link ...

though you seemed to be on the right track with a citrus media mix.. what did they then demand you add to that mix?? .. and why ...

trees.. are rather hard in the house... especially if you have a forced air furnace.. humidity being the issue... keep it away from heat ducts during the long cold MI winter ....

and trees do NOT like to be kept as wet as other houseplants .. after all .. it isnt really a house plant ... its a tree that tolerates indoors ...

do not send me pix personally.. post them here if you wish ...

good luck

ken in adrian mi

ps: you might want to try the same post in the HOUSEPLANT forum ... you never know where the best advice will come from ....

Here is a link that might be useful: link

RE: Should I repot my clementine tree?

Thanks for the response. I have read that fungus gnats thrive in moist soils. I have only watered my tree twice since I have had it. It feels like there is some light moisture in the soil but it is very far from soaked or just wet feeling. The best way that I can describe it is that it is almost light and fluffy, for lack of a better word.

The potting medium that I got from the nursery was something that I had purchased in addition to the tree and thought it would be beneficial to add. It consists of vermiculite, compost, mycorrhizal fungi and peat moss. I am now thinking that I probably didn't need it.

Would it be beneficial to repot with soil that has added perlite? Or is there a way to add perlite without having to repot?

Also, I have heard that Gnatrol is very effective, safe and could eradicate the fungus gnats. Any suggestions on this?

Thanks again!

RE: Should I repot my clementine tree?

I disagree that fungus gnats are a symptom of an over watered plant. If fungus gnats are present, they can linger and reproduce, in a home or greenhouse setting, even when plants are suffering from lack of water.

I've found consecutive treatments of Knock-Out Gnats (similar to / maybe same as Gnatrol) very effective. I also place yellow sticky pads (I got mine from Gardens Alive - These are about the only things I'd buy from them) at strategic areas. Consecutive treatments are necessary to control multiple generations, until the problem is addressed. The sticky pads increase effectiveness by working to reduce the adult population.

I don't think adding perlite to your existing mix would do anything to address the gnat problem.

RE: Should I repot my clementine tree?


I did a little more research this evening and decided to bite the bullet an order some Gnatrol. I also ordered some of the sticky yellow sheets/pads that you also mentioned.


RE: Should I repot my clementine tree?

Please let us know how the Gnatrol works! Fungus gnats are a problem that many indoor gardeners face.

RE: Should I repot my clementine tree?

Amy, the Citrus Forum is the best place for you to visit with all questions about your containerized Clementine.

I have to tell you that your choice of a potting mix is the reason for the fungus gnats. The medium must be very porous and fast draining....compost and vermiculite won't cut it. Vermiculite turns to mush in a container. Test that statement by moistening some then gently rubbing it between your fingers.

Excess moisture is not a requirement for the fungus gnats....but a high percentage of peat and compost is. I recommend that you begin with the gnatrol applications (read and follow directions) as part of your regular watering routine. It will work.

Over the winter, visit the Citrus Forum and read some old threads about the successes and failures of others. Citrus can do extremely well in the typical home with very few problems BUT you must provide an appropriate potting medium (buy it or make it) and a good citrus fertilizer.

By the least half of the visitors to the Citrus Forum grow their plants in containers which have to be dragged inside for the winter. They are surprisingly adaptable. Do your homework.

RE: Should I repot my clementine tree?

So I used the Gnatrol a few times as well as the yellow sticky cards since my last post. The gnatrol seems to have worked for the most part. I am getting only a couple of gnats on the sticky cards now vs. hundreds I was when I started. These two things have seemed to help greatly.

My tree is sitting in a south facing window and seems to be getting plenty of light so far, during these shorter days.

I have only noticed 2-3 leaves drop over the last couple of months, which I am assuming is normal. Also, I am super excited to see that I am getting, what I believe to be the beginning of fruit is several spots.

RE: Should I repot my clementine tree?

so did you do anything about the media.. or is that project for next summer outdoors???

in MI ... indoors... in a miserable winter.. i would probably NOT do further repotting .... ask the citrus peeps for timing on that ... i am thinking.. winging it here ... that a late winter .. very early spring timing.. would get its feet in some proper media.. just before it starts its next root growth phase ...

such will probably be triggered by lengthening of sunlight hours...

and i will yell... OR I HAVE IT ALL BACKWARDS BECAUSE THERE ARE SPECIAL RULES FOR CITRUS ... this is left to your research ...

my good friend rhiz said: Excess moisture is not a requirement for the fungus gnats....but a high percentage of peat and compost is.

==>> the wording just seems hard to me .... peeps who dont know how to manipulate their media... often make peaty media.. to wet .. thru.. excessive moisture.. so though i fully understand what she is trying to say.. and understand how she would handle it.... i am not sure her message is clear ...

and understand.. the important roots... are sitting near the bottom of the pot.. not the top of the media.. which dries from the furnace.. not the first inch or two where your finger is... but the bottom third.. which even thought all the former are reasonably dry ... is sopping wet ... you really should not water.. until the whole pot is dry-ish ... not a sip of water.. every time the surface appears/feels dry .... that isnt really where teh roots are.. is it????

when we talk of media and drainage ... we are talking about a consistency of the media from top to bottom ... i learned about this.. when i learned to tip plants out of pots.. to LOOK at how it all works ... i dont recall the size of yours and if that could be done .. and for sure..not on a recent repotted plant ...

BTW... late next august.. presuming you will be putting this outdoors in full shade next summer... late in august.. you treat the pot outdoors... so it is ready to bring it in the house in late Sept or so ... so all your bug juice is used out in fresh air.. safe is safe.. but treating stuff indoors.. even organically is not high on my list... unless.. as in your case.. the marauding hordes force your hand ... [in my experience.. no pot smaller than a bushel basket ever goes in full sun ... its all about baking the root mass in a small gob of heat retaining media... see.. we are right back to media ... and that is the lesson .... when dealing with pots]

report back often.. your clem is now my friend... lol


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