Rootbound Michelia Figo and Osmanthus Fragrans

aurorawa(8B)July 15, 2014

First, my vent (I apologize)

I bought these two items from member newlifenursery1dotnet on ebay. After being shipped last Monday, July 7th, they arrived at the local Fedex office Saturday, where they sat over the weekend. They were delivered yesterday.

Although the plants were large and alive, they were obviously in pots they long outgrew. Seller claims they were 3 gal (O. Fragrans) and 1.5 gal (M. Figo) and had the audacity to ask me if I even knew what rootbound is and how these plants are so large if they were in pot sizes not as advertized!
Forgive me if I am incorrect, but if the roots are circled around the entire ball, tangled, and matted, not to mention in the SHAPE of a pot (these plants did not come with their pots, they came out of their pots, dirt removed, except for in the center, where the dirt couldn't be removed because the roots were tangled around the dirt ball) does this mean anything OTHER than rootbound? And if the plants were indeed rootbound, that means they took up the entire diameter of their pots, which means the diameter for the top of the root system on a 3 gallon would not be 6 3/4 inches, and the entire length of the root system from top to bottom of pot would not be 7 1/4 inches! And a 1.5 gallon pot would not be 4 3/4 inches in top diameter and 5 1/4 inches in length of root system!
The seller also tried to point out that the O. Fragrans was 3 feet tall, how could it be growing in anything other than a 3 gallon pot? And the M. Figo was 2 feet tall, how could it grow in anything other than a 1.5 gallon pot? I hope I was thorough in explaining it is easy to cram a big plant into a small container and have it grow okay for awhile, but eventually, it will suffer.
The plants were large, but they were DRY. Bone dry. The roots were wrapped in newspaper that was supposedly moist (at one point they may have been, but shipping a large plant like that via ground IN THE SUMMER is not wise and I would have gladly paid extra for 2 day or overnight, had that been an option) and the newspaper was set in a bag. Styrofoam peanuts (I HATE THOSE) were used as buffer material.
I gave the seller a neutral rating, just stating the plants were rootbound and did not appear as sized.
I got the nasty message later, questioning my knowledge.

Ok, now to my issue...I am new to M. Figo and O. Fragrans. Can I apply the normal solution to rootbound plants (numerous downward cuts to the root system) to these two plants, or should I do a different method?

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I would also like to know if the 5-1-1 gritty mix should be used on the Figo, or if just standard 5-1-1 can be used. It will be an indoor plant, properly potted (starting with my 10 gallon and will move the plant to larger pots, as needed), with proper food and lighting. Is the root system for M. Figo similar to most other magnolias, in the respect that the system should be planted shallow?

This post was edited by AuroraWA on Tue, Jul 15, 14 at 17:43

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 5:40PM
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    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 11:42PM
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I wouldn't get hung up too much on root bound, and I certainly wouldn't get worked up over what some ebay seller has to say about your complaints about their product! If you can take some pics, we can take a look and see if it's really that much of an issue, but I doubt it is; you have a platform to work from, and that's all you can do. The roots drying out is another matter, but again, see how the plants do and worry about that when they die, if they spring back; no harm no foul.

Next time I'd suggest a reputable nursery like nurseries Caroliniana ( I got some really great plants from them, and they had great phone support when I had some concerns, they really went out of their way for me and can't recommend them highly enough. I try to stay away from ebay for everything but stuff I'm expecting to be of low quality or hard to find objects.

For the roots, take a power washer or hard stream of water to the root ball and/or or soak with water for a while and that should loosen things up.

Also technically there is no such thing as the 5-1-1 "gritty". It's either the 5-1-1 or Gritty. And the only reason I'm being nitpicky is because the gritty mix is a 1-1-1 ratio, so I don't want others in the future confusing the ratios of the different mixes.

My O. fragrans prefer the 5-1-1 mix as they don't like to dry out. I would assume the same for Magnolia. Gritty mix takes a very careful attention to roots drying out; I plan on planting only my citrus in gritty mix and leaving the others (jasmine, O. fragrans, Gardenia and Aglaia) in 5-1-1 as they are doing very well.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 2:14PM
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Great advice. When I get root bound plants,I soak them in water for few hrs and try to untangle as much as I can. I even prune some of the roots that are too long and spread the roots and plant. keep in shade and slowly acclimitize for sun..

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 8:27AM
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I did end up soaking, as I always do with bare roots and potted the Figo in 5-1-1(roots are not deep for now, as I expect it is like most other magnolias). The O. Fragrans is outdoors, in ground, where I planned it. I want to thank you so much for your help. And sorry for the vent! The Figo is about 2 and a half feet tall, will my 12 gallon pot be okay for it and do I need to repot it so the roots are deeper vs. shallow?

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 12:03AM
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