HD Miami Supreme

pullen126January 9, 2013


I have an HD Tree Miami Supreme Gardenia & live in MD 20 miles outside of DC. It had a wonderful summer outside in morning sun from 8 am till about 11. It was fed and cared for all summer into fall and brought inside to our south facing window in mid October. My beastly sheffelera gave it spider mites and Saturday i soaked each brach in a sudsy bowl of water & dish soap and tried to gently rub of netting infestations the next day I spayed it with water and soap then yesterday I sprayed Garden Safe houseplant & garden insect killer. Today I took it outside (it's about 55 degrees) and sprayed it with a garlic, lemon juice, cayenne, dish soap spray that I let marinate over night. It now sits in a huge pebble tray (lifted up by two plant tray inserts) my question is....do spider mites live in dirt? The plant gets watered twice a week when it dries out. I can't imagine they could survive but I put them right up there with roaches. We're forecasted to have nice weather this weekend and I'm planning on spraying it again. What spray should I use? I like the all natural approach rather than any more dish soap or commercial sprays. Will post pictures of past & present it has lost about 35% of its leaves.

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You've sprayed it enough for now.
Use that Garden Safe product on the dirt, on the top of the dirt. That will help keep the bugs down off it.
It will be fine now, you have sprayed it quite alot.
I know you hate the look of those spider mites, but the stuff you are using will work.
It looks beautiful!
Very nice plant.
Don't let it get too cool, it will complain on you and drop even more leaves.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 11:44PM
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Thanks butterfly4u,

Here's a today picture. Not so pretty but new growth! I looked all over it last night with a magnifying glass and didn't see one mite! At first it looked like a grave yard on all he leaves then I realized it was residue from the cayenne pepper.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 6:57AM
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Here is a pic of the pebble tray with the plant sitting up above the water line. From yesterday the water is barely visible in the rocks! It really must be dry in here :(

    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 7:07AM
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I forgot to ask if anyone uses Superthrive when feeding? What's your favorite food for Gardenias? Also does anyone spray their leaves with chelated Iron? If so what do you use and where do you get yours?


    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 7:14AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Your plant looks great! And the other ones sneaking into the pics!

Good luck getting more beautiful flowers soon! When was the pic taken when it was so loaded with them/buds? I don't know what kind is here in the yard but it's become covered with buds recently, as usual, and 2 flowers have opened so far. Whoever put it between the parking and the front door unknown years ago - bless you!

How long has it been since your plant was repotted? If the roots are in an unhealthy state, that would weaken the plant, which in turn would make it more susceptible to pests. If I left water stagnating like that in here it would grow mold/mildew...

You may also want to consider pruning it for shape a bit, and airflow. Everything should be pointing away from the center. Branches in the middle could waste energy making a flower you can't see/get your nose to. Tiny, spindly twigs are robbing the plant of energy that could be directed to more productive parts of the plant, as well as inhibiting air flow. Also, every time I prune something off of my shrub, it has a growth spurt - but I would never do that at an inappropriate time. For your particular plant and location, I would wait until there's more hours of sun later in the spring, maybe mid-March for repot & root trim, then do the shaping a couple weeks later. By then, you'll see which of the defoliated stems are going to leaf back out so you are better able to determine an overall shaping plan. Is it still staked?

Dish soap has ingredients that can harm some sensitive plants. It's not insecticidal soap. Spider mites can be decimated by just spraying with water, especially the underside of the leaves. That would be cumbersome for that plant, so a cotton ball damp with rubbing alcohol might be easier for removing them. Should work on the Scheff too.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 11:55AM
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Thanks purpleinopp,

i do great with every other plant i own but gardenias n the winter. The first pic was taken in mid to late June last summer. I repotted it last fall before I brought in in. I put in I a pot that was maybe in inch bigger and this planter was the only spare I had that size. I'm sure it will need to be repotted as when I move it the whole piece of dirt moves like one big piece of root. I have made a mistake in the past with a gardenia repotted in a pot way too big (with a host of other mistakes out of desperation) I have the tiniest of leaves starting poke out of the bark and every single branch has a new set of bud leaves ( they look like romaine lettuce hearts) haven't seen one bug since the garlic, lemon, cayenne spray!

If you scratch bark will a bud form? The thought of thinning at this point mortified me! I'll wait till I get at least 20% growth back :)

This house is so dry even with the humidifier from the furnace on high, if you pet the dog or cat they get shocked and they hold it against you :( just put more water in that tray again this morning and filled it to where it was yesterday.

I made a cutting out of a branch that broke from last summers horrible Duracho storm I just moved it into the sun this week it was in a north window with the monster Christmas cactus twins.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 12:46PM
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as purple mentions, i also have been told by a knowlegable gardener that regular heavy mistings with just water, several times each day for a period of at least 3 consecutive days, will disrupt the breeding cycle of spider mites.
make sure to spray the undersides of leaves, too.
they do not like wetness and are most seen during dry, warm periods.
chemical treatments may also kill natural predators and i have read that the mites can develop tolerances from repeated applications of certain chemicals.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 3:05PM
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Thanks Jeff,

I'll hold off on more soap or chemicals. I read the similar info about immunity from using the same thing over and over. I think everything gets ignored over the holidays here and that's how I get to this point come January every year. I'll wait a month or so and if growth rate is good ill be looking to repot. Do you use 511 mix? Anyone else?

    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 3:44PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Good point, Jeff, we want this stuff to work when we really need it, like antibiotics.

Pullen, your cutting looks fantastic! And, BTW, telling you about the rubbing alcohol cotton ball reminded me I've been wanting to do this to a few leaves lately, just to clean them, which works great as long as leaves are smooth. Got rid of some lime scale spots too.

"If you scratch bark will a bud form?" Hey, that would be cool! IDK.

"The thought of thinning at this point mortified me!" Oh no, I was going for informative and encouraging. Oops, sorry, but note I did say to wait until there's more sunlight, both by the sun being closer, and from it being UP more hours per day.

"I'll wait till I get at least 20% growth back :)" Whenever you feel confident about it, and the plant seems to be actively growing, that's the best time. Regarding the smallest twigs buried in the center of the plant that may be making new baby leaves, remember they're taking energy away from parts of the plant capable of making flowers. Just food for thought. There's no right or wrong, except what you say for your plant. Winter is a great time to learn enough about plants to fix previous mistakes, spring/summer are the best times to put that into practice.

"I repotted it last fall before I brought in in. I put in I a pot that was maybe in inch bigger and this planter was the only spare I had that size. I'm sure it will need to be repotted as when I move it the whole piece of dirt moves like one big piece of root."

This is blunt, but the above is extremely disturbing. The roots, the organs of the primary moisture system of your plant, are in danger in that condition. Explanations for that can be found in this discussion. And here is a repotting tutorial, and another one. Isn't the pot of almost every dead plant you've ever seen packed full of roots?

"This house is so dry..." If your tray is evaporating that quickly, more power to it! If you search the word "humidity" at the bottom of the house plant forum, you can find hours' worth of reading about dealing with it. Hopefully you can find some new things that work at your house. I sympathize and empathize, I used to live in central OH. Awww, like pets, babies don't understand static either, I used to feel so bad...

    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 3:56PM
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Spider mites can breed millions of eggs and as you kill off the mature ones, those millions will only hatch in three days agin.

It is recommended that a good spray of a smothering substance such a Neem every three days about 3 times will control your problem. Miss that third day, and they will be back.

Beautiful plant by the way!


    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 8:12PM
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Thanks Purpleinopp,
I see what you mean about the roots. All my other plants I can tell when they need repotting or potting up and can be pretty rigorous with them and they thrive. It reminds me of fat guy in a little coooooat. I guess all the crazy stories about these lovely plants fighting back like a 5 year old in tights intimidates me a bit ;)


I will be disciplined in my spraying. can over spraying with water only hurt?

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 1:38PM
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kemistry(8 - Oregon)

pullen, that Miami Supreme is so beautiful! I plan to get a large flowering gardenia this year but these type of gardenia don't seem to be as widely available as the smaller, compact growing type. Is Miami Supreme a fast grower? :)

    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 9:12PM
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