The top picture is a gardenia plant I purchased back in February of this year. It looks healthy, and the leaves are all green, but for some odd reason, it remains the same height, and nothing much has changed with it since then. I feed it with this at least once a month, but am puzzled as to why it just won't seem to grow. enter image description here The same is true of the container plants in the other pictures, each of which I also got in February. I moved them all outside about a month ago, after struggling for months to get them to grow indoors. enter image description here What should I do to make my plants healthy and keep them growing? enter image description here Gardenia I got in February

Porthos which I have had since February of 2015

Another plant, maybe Jasmine, that I got in February 2015 as well

Succulents I have been trying to grow since, you guessed it February.

  • What soil have you used to grow these plants? Is it the same soil for all of them, including whatever the seedlings are? and what are the oval, nut like objects sitting on the surface - I can see one or two are stones, not sure about the others. And which USDA zone are you in (assuming you're in the States)?
    – Bamboo
    Commented Jun 16, 2015 at 11:41
  • The oval nuts there are nutmegs to help ward off squirrels. The same type is essentially store bought potting mix---miracle grow which I then mixed up with perlite and some dolomite. And I am in Zone 6a
    – user272671
    Commented Jun 18, 2015 at 19:17

2 Answers 2


The Gardenia and whatever's in the third picture look very unwell - I'm assuming its the soil they're growing in, because that's what it smacks of. If you used Miracle Gro moisture control potting mix, that's already balanced, so doesn't need dolomite added to it - this addition will have reduced the ph and Gardenias like acid conditions. I can't tell what variety of Gardenia its supposed to be, but they're not called prima donnas for nothing - they like even, relatively high temperatures, no draughts, don't like to be moved, must be watered with tepid water, as well as acid soil conditions.

You probably would have done best just to use the Miracle Gro as it was for all the pots - something's out of whack with the soil conditions so the plants are remaining static. The dolomite has probably upset the balance - although its used in many potting composts, its largely because the compost has been based on a high peat content, so dolomite is added to raise the ph and allow better uptake of magnesium and calcium by growing plants. If it was already a balanced ph, you may now have knocked that out of whack and so the plants can't take up the nutrients they need.

Regarding the seedlings - if you didn't use potting compost for seeds and cuttings, but instead used the same Miracle Gro as for the pots, this is too strong, has to much fertilizer in it and burns the seedling's roots. Given you also mixed regular Miracle Gro potting mix with dolomite, that might explain the poor results.

I'd buy some more potting mix, unpot the plants, shake off what soil you can without breaking roots, then repot into the new potting mix - you can add perlite if you want, though its not essential, given this mix is 'moisture control'. And don't feed for a while - I believe one of the claims for this potting mix is the fact you don't need to feed plants for six months - if it is, don't feed for six months.

I'm somewhat curious as to what the orange deposits on the Pothos are - they look as if you've split builder's sand.

  • I added dolomite as a result of poor growth here. I have been having one constant issue with miracle gro moisture control and that is, my plants keep getting root rot as a result of bad drainage from using the soil. So, I added dolomite in an attempt to further improve drainage. Only some weeks ago, the same gardenia was wilting, and had root rot infection.It almost seems that no matter what I do, root rot shows up.
    – user272671
    Commented Jun 18, 2015 at 20:35
  • Perlite is useful then, if root rot is an issue. I've never used this MIracle Gro stuff myself, so can't comment on what its like other than what I've said. Are you using the correct size pot, with drainage holes, in ratio to the rootball of the plant (not more than twice the volume of the rootball) and watering only when the surface of the soil is slightly dry to the touch? And by the way, the Pothos doesn't look particularly bad, seems to be doing okay.
    – Bamboo
    Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 9:53
  • I just included a picture of my pots. In addition to the side holes(see picture), I have two big ones on the bottom of each pot as well. Yet, root rot continues to be a problem.Even perlite did not seem to resolve the issue much as I need to poke each pot with a long crochet needle to help encourage the water to flow through. I am really puzzled at this point.
    – user272671
    Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 16:35
  • Sorry, been on holiday for a week - you certain its actually root rot? If you are, and its not an insect invader eating the roots, then its likely the potting medium that's just poor.
    – Bamboo
    Commented Jun 28, 2015 at 12:20

You've got to give it time, to see growth. I got a Christmas cactus clipping before Christmas and it's now June. I've just now got new growth coming out. I bought an orchid from walmart years ago and it too 6 months to show growth and 4 years to bloom. I planted two lemon seeds march before last and I get several inches of growth every few months, with nothing in between. It just takes time.

I wouldn't fertilize any more than you already are, but you'll want to watch your water. Especially if you're having the heat we're having. The pot of small plants seems to contain regular plants and a couple of succulents. I'd probably pot the succulent leaves separately as they'll need less water than the others. Also, since I'm doing some of those now, I can tell you that their root system will be much shallower than you'd think and you can under water them in the beginning, thinking the whole pot needs to dry out before you water.

  • About the succulents leaves, you mean they need next to no watering?
    – user272671
    Commented Jun 18, 2015 at 19:19
  • It's not that they don't need watering, it's more that a clipping from a regular plant needs to be almost constantly moist, which will rot a succulent. Most succulent leaves, like the ones you seem to have, provide the water and nutrients for the new baby plant. Once they start drying up, you'll need to water more like a regular plant. I set mine in a shallow dish with a little succulent dirt on the bottom and mist heavily with a spray bottle. I let it dry out and stay that way for a day or two, then repeat. Once the roots start, it causes them to grow out and quest for water.
    – Dalton
    Commented Jun 22, 2015 at 13:12
  • When you mention watering, I have read in many other places that it is ok to water succulents like every other day. My next door neighbor even claims that is why hers are bigger than mine even though I have had some of mine for well over a year now. Is this a lie?
    – user272671
    Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 16:33
  • To be honest, I can't tell you for certain, because I haven't been growing succulents but for about a year. However, from what I've read and experienced first hand, a succulent is a needless cactus. While they don't like to go for months without water like some people think, they do need to dry out to prevent root rot. The leaves of most, but not all succulents, retain water and standing water rots the roots. As I understand it, they like the surface to be completely dry and then to be watered heavily, so I wait till it's dry, give it a few days and then water heavily.
    – Dalton
    Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 18:18

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