Help on Gardenia first chop

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Help on Gardenia first chop

Post  ericksond on Sun Jun 10, 2012 11:13 pm

Hi again I am quite the newbie. I saw a Gardenia in the local nursery on sale for $15. I am not sure how to chop it. The base of the trunk is roughly 2 inches thick. The branching Y is really what makes the decision harder. In addition, I do not know the exact specie of this Gardenia.

Any ideas appreciated. I do not want to waste this plant with a first bad newbie chop.






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Re: Help on Gardenia first chop

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Mon Jun 11, 2012 1:15 am

I don't do Gardenia but, this plant is grafted, the fat area a few inches up the trunk is the graft. Below the graft is a different species of Gardenia than above. If you trim just above the little shoot you will get rootstock. You might Google grafted Gardenia to get some ideas about species.

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Re: Help on Gardenia first chop

Post  ericksond on Mon Jun 11, 2012 2:08 am

Billy you're the man! You nailed it. This is a no brainer now, I have to go with the rootstock. A few googling has showed me that most of the Gardenias sold here in Florida are grafted on top of a Gardenia Thunbergia.

Thunbergia, which is native to Africa and southern Asia, is used as rootstock. It is nematode-resistant. Seems like most of the nursery-based Gardenias are extremely susceptible to microscopic parasites called nematodes that feed on their roots when planted directly on the soil.

A few more googling for Gardenia bonsai indicated that: Gardenia jasminoides and Gardenia thunbergia are two of the most desired species as they are dwarf varieties of gardenia and produce the most successful bonsai specimens.

That is why the lower shoots have smaller leaves than the shoot just above the graft.

Thanks again Billy and I hope I do the chopping right. I'd hate to damage that shoot.

I have a follow-up question: If I intend to grow shoots out of trunk reduction, do I still have to apply sealant / paste?

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Re: Help on Gardenia first chop

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Mon Jun 11, 2012 11:22 am

I have a follow-up question: If I intend to grow shoots out of trunk reduction, do I still have to apply sealant / paste?

The use of cut paste is a debated topic. I think you should make an angled cut and apply something over the wound to keep out moisture. This will be a large cut. You can use a lot of things for a sealant, carpenter's glue works, so would some latex paint if you have it around, you don't need the special stuff sold for bonsai. The old Florida boys who grafted Citrus used wax, you could drip candle wax on the wound.

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Re: Help on Gardenia first chop

Post  ericksond on Mon Jun 11, 2012 1:03 pm

Thanks Billy I am now ready for the next steps.

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Re: Help on Gardenia first chop

Post  Russell Coker on Mon Jun 11, 2012 2:18 pm

ericksond wrote:
Thunbergia, which is native to Africa and southern Asia, is used as rootstock. It is nematode-resistant. Seems like most of the nursery-based Gardenias are extremely susceptible to microscopic parasites called nematodes that feed on their roots when planted directly on the soil.

A few more googling for Gardenia bonsai indicated that: Gardenia jasminoides and Gardenia thunbergia are two of the most desired species as they are dwarf varieties of gardenia and produce the most successful bonsai specimens.

Gardenia thunbergia. Thanks, I've been looking for that name. This is the single flowered variety the Japanese use for bonsai that produces fruit.

There's not much "dwarf" about any of the G. jasminoides varieties sold in the nursery trade. 'August beauty' and 'mystrey' have big leaves and big flowers. The "dwarf gardenia" sold in the nursery trade is G. radicans, a low groundcover shrub. Now there is another one out that looks exactly like radicans but is more upright called 'frost proof'.

So far, the nurseries still grow all of them on their own roots here. The only ones bothered by the nematodes here are radicans, you'll only get a couple of years out of them in the garden before the little bastards find them. My understanding is that they pretty much all need grafting in south Florida, and I've seen them at places like Home Depot that were brought up from Florida growers.

R


Last edited by Russell Coker on Mon Jun 11, 2012 4:19 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : clarification)

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Re: Help on Gardenia first chop

Post  ericksond on Tue Jun 12, 2012 1:27 am

Hey Russell thanks for the added info. I guess I will never be sure what the exact specie of the rootstock is until I get more foliage.

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Re: Help on Gardenia first chop

Post  ericksond on Tue Jun 12, 2012 6:18 pm

So I braved up and did the chop. I am also going to use the small rootstock shoot as the leader. Since I don't have a chisel I did not bother shaping the cut based on Naka's book. I also used the most readily available sealant - candle wax - based on Billy's recommendation. In my amateur opinion, it worked well.

I just noticed there are a lot of critters (bugs and cockroaches) in the soil. I will deal with them later when I re-pot it in the bonsai soil mix on a $1 colander!

Thank you all for the tips. I hope it turns out well.


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Re: Help on Gardenia first chop

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Tue Jun 12, 2012 7:39 pm

I just noticed there are a lot of critters (bugs and cockroaches) in the soil. I will deal with them later when I re-pot it in the bonsai soil mix on a $1 colander!

I am not sure I would repot this species this time of year in South Florida. Also I don't think I would use the colander.

South Florida this time of year is VERY HOT, as you well know, and this really isn't a tropical plant, so I would address the bug issue other ways.

Also the use of a colander may not be such a good idea. The purpose is to develop a fine system of roots using the air to stop roots from circling the pot.

I think would let the plant recover from the chop, use plenty of liquid fertilizer and maybe an insecticide on the soil, but often bugs are the result of too much moisture and old dead soil in the bottom of the pot. The most I would do now is to pull the plant from the pot and remove maybe an inch of old soil from the sides and bottom, put new soil in the bottom of the pot and fill in the sides with fresh soil. Hold off repotting until Jan.

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Re: Help on Gardenia first chop

Post  ericksond on Tue Jun 12, 2012 7:44 pm

Brilliant advice. I will do that. Should I use a potting soil mix or a substrate mix?

Thank you, Billy. Smile

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