Identifying gardenia disease

garden_novice82August 25, 2008


I live in Los Angeles, CA and recently obtained a gardenia plant. The plant seemed healthy, but I found that it was infested with mealy bugs. I started treatment by dabbing with alcohol and followed up with a dish soap-alcohol spray, which seemed to keep the pests under control. The gardenia still has some mealy bugs, as I have observed, but it is considerably "better" than before.

When I got the plant, it was in a plastic, green, nursery container (about 6" in diameter and 5" in height). But, I recently gave it a new home in a 9" pot (probably 8" or 10" tall) with organic acidic soil/mulch.

When I removed the plant from its first home, I noticed on the sides (where the soil had contact with the pot) that there was a silvery, white web spread across the surface. This web also looked like it had 2 or 3 white sacs randomly scattered on it. Before placing the plant in it's new home, I removed as much of the original potting soil as possible - especially after seeing this strange webby, moldy looking thing.

Now, in its new home, I'm noticing that a similar web has crept to the surface of the soil and slowly spreading. It's hard to describe it without calling it "mold" because that's what it looks like. Given this information, could someone please help me identify this beast so I can follow-up with the appropriate treatment?

Much thanks!!

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Goodness, it is no fun dealing with any type of pests. I think you are getting acquainted with Root Mealies. ;-]

At this point the best solution I would suggest is re potting the plant into fresh mix. Since Root mealies seem to highly prefer any free draining compost that contains 'Bark'color> and 'Peat'color> stay away from those mixes. I would highly suggest using sterilized soil which can be found in any garden center.

Pick yourself up a can of Systemic Insecticide and add it to the mix according to manufacturers directions and soon you will be on your way to recovery.

Don't for forget to water the plant well prior to adding the systemic insecticide. Good Luck!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 2:54PM
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If it is a bug, spraying the entire plant down with Dawn dishwashing soap (small amount) in a standard spray bottle will kill the soft bodied bug for you.
If you try this, make sure you spray the entire plant including under the leaves, that is where they hide.
DO it every 7 days til you don't see any sign of bugs again.
Changing the soil again isn't really going to help anything if the bug is still on the plant.
Did you put a wick in the container?
GO to container forum and read about wicks for proper drainage for containers, this will be especially important for your gardenia.
Water it with rain water or distilled water that you can buy by the gallon at any drug store.(inexpensive)
Not spring water, distilled water, it's different.
Gardenias will thrive with water that doesn't have alot of minerals or salts in them, which many people have in their public water to their homes.
ANd most of all, enjoy your new gardenia!
GOod Luck to you!

    Bookmark   August 26, 2008 at 12:49AM
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since you are in a usda zone 8 or warmer, your gardenia can live in the ground outdoors and should be much easier to care for (perhaps you are in an apartment, though). morning sun/afternoon shade works well for me here in the hot and humid southeast u.s.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2008 at 3:15PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Yes, in LA they will grow outdoors year 'round but in afternoon shade. Will be easier than indoors for sure.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2008 at 3:25PM
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