Ask a Question forum: seeking transplanting advice

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Name: Beverly
Colima, Mexico (Zone 11a)
Butterflies Organic Gardener Tropicals Native Plants and Wildflowers Seed Starter
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vitrsna
Sep 19, 2015 3:04 PM CST
I have an Orange Jasmine (Murraya paniculata) seedling that just has its first two leaves. I am wondering if i should transplant it now or wait for two true leaves to show up? It has a taproot and i'm thinking i should transplant it right away from the seedling pot into the site where it will grow, but i'm not sure. What to do? I haven't a clue. Here is a photo of the little darling. Advice would be appreciated.
Thumb of 2015-09-19/vitrsna/a615c4

Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Sep 20, 2015 4:38 PM CST
I would wait until it's bigger to transplant. Tiny seedlings are very vulnerable to a lot of problems, like heavy rain, wind, fungal infection, insects, birds and even animals stepping on them. It's probably not ready for the direct, blazing sun yet either.

If there's any possibility of any of those things getting to it, it will have a much better chance if you wait until it's 5 or 6in. high and has a much more sturdy stem, and several leaves.

I see you are in Mexico, near Manzanillo, but inland. So is there any chance of cooler weather coming along in a month or two? If it's going to get cooler but not cold, that would be maybe a better time to transplant. Are you much higher altitude by any chance? Wet or dry climate? (my map didn't show whether you are in mountains or desert there)
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Beverly
Colima, Mexico (Zone 11a)
Butterflies Organic Gardener Tropicals Native Plants and Wildflowers Seed Starter
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vitrsna
Sep 20, 2015 10:35 PM CST
Thank you Elaine for your response and good advice. Generally i wait until a plant is well-established before transplanting it as you suggest. This plant though has a taproot and is a deep-rooted plant. I worried the taproot was about to hit the bottom of the seedling pot and also thought if i waited, the taproot might be too long to allow for a successful transplant.

I live at an elevation of 1800' (545m) in the foothills of the Colima Volcano, about half way between the Volcano and the Pacific Ocean. Year around temperatures vary from about 60 to 70 degrees F at night to high 70s to mid 80s during the days. Occasionally in December/January the temps can dip down to as low as 50 degrees F for a couple of nights (in which case we declare a national emergency and look for mittens :). About half the year is rainy, humid, and warm and half the year is dry and warm, generally described as tropical savanna with a some jungle mixed in. There is no desert here. Gardening is a year round activity.

I will be growing this plant in a tree-sized container because the roots are deep enough to cause structural problems and also due to the potential for root rot. The plant is solidly tropical (usda zones 9 - 11) and requires excellent drainage which it will not get with such deep roots during the rainy season if it is planted in the ground. This morning was fresh and somewhat overcast, perfect transplant weather, so i have already transplanted it into the large container i had prepared. The taproot was straight and had not reached the bottom of the seedling pot and the transplant was so quick and easy, i doubt the seedling noticed the difference. I have it under a shade screen which will allow some gentle morning sun but be protected from afternoon sun and it has soil with super dooper drainage. Now i will hope for the best. This is the first seedling that has germinated but i expect during the next few weeks a few more seeds may germinate. I think this little guy is going to make it though. I appreciate so much your input. Thumbs up

Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Sep 21, 2015 12:29 PM CST
Glad to year you resolved this, Beverly. Yes, we grow the same plant here in Florida, a lovely thing with beautifully fragrant flowers.

I would still take care to protect that tiny seedling, though. Maybe put some sticks or create a small 'cage' around it to protect it from birds or any animals that may find your planter. It sounds like your weather is ideal for transplanting, but if it gets dry, some misting with a spray bottle wouldn't hurt. Keep it out of the wind, too.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Beverly
Colima, Mexico (Zone 11a)
Butterflies Organic Gardener Tropicals Native Plants and Wildflowers Seed Starter
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vitrsna
Sep 21, 2015 4:31 PM CST
We probably grow many of the same plants Elaine. Garden-wise i relate mostly to the areas of SW Texas and Central to South Florida in the US. I also relate to India (central to south) and have a friend there who is very nearly at the same latitude and altitude, half way around the world. It is fun because we grow practically all of the same plants. The Murraya p. (native to the Far East) is very similar to Choisya ternata (native to Mexico). Both are Rutaceae. Because i grow plants for nectar-lovers i prefer the native plants of Mexico. Unfortunately, the Choisya ternata appears to be from the mountains of Oaxaca (a cooler climate than i have to offer) and it did not tolerate the heavy rainy season and the heat. It dropped dead after the first rainy season...verrry sad.

The little Murraya seedling grew over night. It is bigger and is starting to put out a first true leaf. The seedling experienced its first real rain (a very mild rain) and was busting its buttons this morning. Yes, i'll watch out for it as you suggest but it does appear to be insistent to grow as though it were saying "get out of my way lady, and let me grow" Rolling my eyes. I am an intuitive gardener more than i am a knowledgeable gardener. Intuitively, i am running at about a 50% success rate and it is helpful to me to have knowledgeable gardener input. This ups my success rate and i also learn things. I am excited about the Murraya p. and hope i can do right by it. Also am starting Plumbago for the first time this year. I think these two will be special additions to the garden. Thank you for your words of wisdom Smiling

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