Gardenia Plants

Starting Gardenias From Cuttings

joletta added on November 8, 2011 | Answered

I read the article about gardenias and have followed the project as described; however, into this will be the 4th week, and I'm noticing that some of the plants do have new growth and feel tight in the soil and there are those that the leaves are turning brown at the tips and don't feel tight in the soil. I fabricated some nice "greenhouses. " After the first couple of weeks of watering in the trays covering in indirct light, they all showed promise.  I live in St. Louis, so now my weather really doesn't permit outside exposure. I've kept the lids on and off and I don't think I've watered too much, but maybe. The parent plant is huge and blooms great. Maybe it's water, too much containment or a combination of the both. Should some starts crap out, would it be too late in the year to try again? Thanks so much.
Steve Malone

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on November 9, 2011

Yes, no matter how well you care for cutting, some will fail and die. When you are starting cuttings, you are on a race with time and nature in that you want the cutting to grow roots before the natural order sets in and the disconnected branch dies. Sometimes, natural order wins out.

That being said, you will see some tip browning. Tip browning normally occurs when the plant is not getting enough water. In this case, the cuttings have either no roots or immature roots, so they are struggling to counter that balance. That is why the mini greenhouses are important. It helps to keep what moisture they have intact. As long as you are seeing healthy new growth, browning on the old leaves is not a big concern.

If you are starting cuttings indoors, you may be able to take some new cuttings if you feel these have failed completely. But, I will say that soft wood cuttings root easier than hardwood and you typically only see softwood in the spring or early summer.

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