a new kid (Gardenia) on the block

khourshedJuly 29, 2011

this is my third trial, I know i am a killer but i could not resist its beauty !

so beautiful it is the fatal attraction

what drive me nuts that in the store it is dark, the soil is dry handled with tons of people and you can still see how it looks !!!

I always wonder what those nurseries feed those puppies

the scenario is usually after moving to a bigger pot (the current pot is really tiny) the buds will drop and with in 2 -3 month will be dead.

I have been reading the forum , i will try to go with what is written here wish me luck

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mehitabel(z6 MO)

Hi, Khourshed. Trying again is a great idea.

Can I suggest leaving it in its current pot for a month or so while it gets used to its new home? Once you know it is thriving (new growth appearing), then repot to a pot no more than 1" bigger than the rootball. A clay pot makes watering errors less disastrous, so I would suggest that.

In the dark, it should be dry. To set buds, gardenias need a lot of light, as in direct outdoor sunshine several hours a day. If you do plan to give it direct sun, be sure to adclimate it to the sun gradually over a two week period. As you increase the light, you can water more.

Bud dropping could happen because it was too dry, or because of the change in situation. As long as it starts showing new growth in your care, you are ok.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 8:41PM
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Great advice Mehitabel!

I think this person will do just fine with that!

Good luck and welcome


    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 9:14PM
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mehitabel, thanks for the advise. regarding the current pot it is so tiny compared to the size of the plant, just feel nervous keeping it like that, water i add leaks cause the root ball is so lose inside the current pot, but i will go with your advise. I bought already a cool clay pot from IKEA i will put on hold for now.
regarding the sun light you can see from the photos that it is full of buds in-spite no sun light and being neglected in the store!
I think nurseries have a secret food recipe to grow those buds which they will never share

    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 2:19AM
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mehitabel(z6 MO)

Khoursed, about the roots being in such a tight ball, "rootbound" or "potbound". You're right, when that happens, the water runs right thru and the plant doesn't get any of it. This is not good for the plant, it just gets drier and drier and drier. In that case, I think if it were mine, I would go ahead and repot. I only suggested waiting because you mentioned several others that had died after repotting.

This may not be the best solution, but it's what I do when I get a plant like that. I hope others will chime in with their tips for rootbound plants.

*Before repotting, soak the plant for a half hour to an hour or so. This makes sure the plant gets water at all. Add just a drop or so of some dishwashing detergent like Ivory Liquid to the water. This makes it "wetter" and helps make sure the roots absorb it. Doing this, you make sure the plant was properly hydrated before the repot. You could add a *very* dilute fertilizer to the water. Use fertilizer at 1/4 the strength suggested on the bottle.

*Use your fingers to gently try to spread the roots out and untangle them. Sometimes you just can't do this, the ball is too tight. If the ball is too tight to loosed, make several vertical cuts on the outside of the rootball, maybe 3 or 4 to the whole ball. Roots tend to branch when cut, and these new-growing branches will grow into the fresh soil in the new pot.

*When you water your newly repotted plant, use water with that drop of detergent in it for 2-3 weeks. Pour it in the center of the pot where you know the old roots to be. (You don't want a bunch of wet soil on the outside of the pot anda dry rootball in the middle). Here you are doing all you can to make sure the real roots get water.

*I would keep it in the shade for the first couple of weeks, til you get the feeling the repot is "taking". You don't want to stress a plant that has trouble taking in water by putting it in the hot sun in this kind of heat.

*Use no fertilizer or only 1/4 strength fertilizer til the plant shows you it is starting to grow into its new pot. How do you know it's taking hold? It just gets a "glow of health" about it. Starts to look really good. :)

This is what I do with rootbound plants. If someone else has another method of dealing with this, I hope they will post it.

Hope this doesn't dismay or confuse you. None of this means you can't get your beautiful new gardenia to thrive. Potbound plants are common as dirt-- but it's just to caution you that you need to take a little extra care to make sure the plant really is getting the water you are giving it until it shows signs that is is ok.

Good luck. I hope you'll let us know how it does.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 12:59PM
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What a good summary!

That is exactly what I would do if I had one that was very root bound. I have had to cut some roots out in wedges as suggested, and on others I have had to completely bare root.

I much prefer the bare rooting process because I can rest the roots in a whole bunch of fresh mix that is much more porous and better draining than the one they come in.
Cutting in wedges if need be will also encourage new root growth into a mix that is different than the one some of the root ball is tied up in.

The only time I ever do serious root work is in the spring.
As for potting up, I do that when ever it is needed with no consequences.
May I suggest that you start off with a very fast draining and porous mix?
That will be a well vested action on your part.

The above advice is beautifully written and I am sure that many here will benefit with that.

Thanks Mehitabel.


    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 6:40PM
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Mehitabel your procedure is very very scary, using dish washing detergent, spreading the roots. I am not brave heart guy. In the mean time doing that i think it may run out of nutrition. I know you said to give 1/4 strength fertilizer but hey the people who made those puppies use a secrete recipe to make them look like that. The photos I added is not great but in reality it is so beautiful very green. what i will do for now is pot in a pot technique. i will wait till those buds open i will enjoy the flowers and then i will do your plan. at least if she died i enjoyed it's flower

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 3:35AM
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Leave it alone. If it is doing great and you like the plant, don't mess with it.
You live in Saudi Arabia still I presume?
Enjoy the plant. It LOVES humidity.
Occasionally, put it in the room that you shower and let it enjoy the humid air.
Gardenias do just fine being in a small pot.
You will have to move it up to a size bigger when it constantly is bone dry and you seem to have to water it all the time.
Invest in a moisture meter. Very inexpensive, available anywhere plants are sold. Stick it down in the roots to see when the plant needs water.
If the plant is doing that good in the pot it is in, it is not suffering, so don't mess with it.
Foilage Pro, available online, is the most awesome fertilizer that many people use for pot plants.
Good Luck with your new baby.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 12:14AM
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