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  • Dropped some "leftovers" from a tangerine I'd been eating in a fresh Dieffenbachia pot, before filling it up complete with this turf.
    Now I have two micro(-for-now) mandarin orange trees coming out.
    Help!

    They're 6.

    Any advice?

  • 6 inches? 6 plants? 6 weeks old? As far as advice, it all depends on what you want to do with them... outdoors and in the right climate, they can reach 25 feet tall (~8 meters) unless they're a dwarf hybrid variety (which is probably not the case if you planted seeds from a commercial food mandarin). They will not tolerate freezing or standing in water-soaked soil and require full sun with lots of citrus and organic fertilizers. There are some folks in cooler climate areas who plant them in very large pots on wheels, rolling them inside during cold seasons and outside after all danger of frost/freeze. Because they require a lot of sunlight, there may not be many places inside a typical house that will work well unless one has a large 'patio' or 'picture' window fully facing the winter sun. Usually if they're grown indoors/outdoors, they won't reach 'full' height - but you still may need to eventually prune them to keep them from hitting the ceiling.

    Another thing to consider is that if they're grown indoors/outdoors, the plants tend to be under greater stress and that makes them more susceptible to infestation from white scale insects (which can be picked off readily, but you have to keep checking for new outbreaks).

  • Black, thing is they're 1) in a pot occupied by a dieffenbachia, 2) too close to one another.

    They're not rushing to grow now having reached an inch or two, but I've no idea if their underground parts are growing and at what rate. The seeds are rather deep under - up to several inches.
    So I'm thinking I'd better outpot one or two the sooner the better.

    I'm aware of their requirements. I was thinking about giving them out to somebody with a proper place to have them: some well-lit offices/halls, not know of someone with orangeries.
    Well, the local library said they'd take one.

    1. What about their root parts' grow rate? Should one worry 1) they'll entangle with one another, 2) they'll mess with the dieffenbachia's roots?
    2. Should I exercise some caution when digging them out to repot separately?

    PSt: I hope they're not gonna be growing too much during this winter season. Looking o'k, assymmetric a bit but o'k for now.
    Three have grown to an inch or two; the three others that I can see up are closer to the pot's rim and very close to one another, so/and they've not grown that much - they look undecisive. Can they be one with three branches though? Within an inch together.

  • Their root systems are almost certainly growing faster than the above-ground parts. If you're going to move them, probably the sooner the better for the sake of minimizing damage to the dieffenbachia's roots. I would carefully dig down around one of the mandarins and try to remove it for repotting with as little damage to its fine roots as possible, checking to see just how much overall root size that one has. The mandarins near the edge may be easier to get at, but the dieffenbachia's root ball may also be pretty thick and entangled up against the pot wall if it's an older plant and becoming pot-bound. Generally, a plant's roots are reasonably durable for gentle handling, the underground world being what it is with burrowing critters and all, but use reasonable care. Try not to break off major roots of the seedlings, especially any central tap-roots, and avoid excessive handling that breaks off the finer roots.

    Be ready to replant the mandarins immediately when they're removed, so their roots don't dry out - which means have your pots and potting soil right at hand and big enough to handle whatever root size you run into. Replant to the same depth as they were originally, which might mean a fairly deep pot. Water immediately after repotting (without drowning them) to settle the soil around the roots to prevent drying out from all the buried micro-pockets of air in the disturbed soil, but I'd hold off fertilizing of any kind until at least two weeks after repotting. Be sure the new pot has drain holes and a dish to catch run-off without damaging whatever it's sitting on.

    Probably each mandarin will be roughly similar in root length and breadth since that's initially age-driven, so you can repeat the process accordingly for the rest that you want to move. The ones too entangled with the dieffenbachia could cause root shock to the dieffenbachia, so I'd move very slowly and carefully in such cases. If it comes down to it, you may have to sacrifice some of the mandarins for the sake of the dieffenbachia, in which case, just cut the mandarin stems off as far down as you can safely reach. The one(s) at the pot edge are most likely separate plants, since the mandarin doesn't ordinarily branch out underground.

  • ...but the dieffenbachia's root ball may also be pretty thick and entangled up against the pot wall if it's an older plant and becoming pot-bound.

    No, it is a freshly potted offshoot.

    1. Yes, I should outpot them soon.
    2. The pot(s) should be rather deep.

    The one(s) at the pot edge are most likely separate plants, since the mandarin doesn't ordinarily branch out underground.

    Noticed! 🆗

    The ones too entangled with the dieffenbachia could cause root shock to the dieffenbachia, so I'd move very slowly and carefully in such cases. If it comes down to it, you may have to sacrifice some of the mandarins for the sake of the dieffenbachia...

    You're sure I can't leave some one or two within the dieffenbachia's pot?
    Ever? Damage inevitable, they can't coexist like? 😕


    ...but I'd hold off fertilizing of any kind until at least two weeks after repotting. Be sure the new pot has drain holes and a dish...

    1. I repot I use a new, reach soil, just bought or something: so I usually follow that it doesn't need fertilising for a year, or a season.
    2. I always.

    So, should I replant some right away - this very autumn?
    I'd wait for the rest till the next spring. Like those near the edge. As the dieff is freshly repotted, not being "pot-bound" yet. 😕

  • You can try anything, and for a time the mandarins and dieffenbachia will indeed peacefully coexist. 😉 I'm just noting that the mandarin is, after all, a 25-foot tall (and wide) tree at maturity, and will tend to eventually express that characteristic. Trees of that height develop root sizes to match, so at some point, the mandarin will attempt to take over the entirety of the pot's soil in its attempt to live out its 'tree' destiny. How fast that happens, and how well the dieffenbachia tolerates it, is hard to say. What can be accurately said is that the roots of the two kinds of plants will gradually become hopelessly entangled with each other in the confined space of a pot.

    My guess (and its only a guess based on a lot of gardening experience with other plants) is that you have perhaps two or three months of root growth before anything irreversibly harmful occurs... but it will become gradually more difficult to safely separate with the passage of time.

  • @blackbird71

    Bought some soil and finer drenage and outpotted those yesterday.
    Yes, they sat rather deep. Almost touched the dieff's root, had to extract some MT not very carefully, but planted all, managed to separate their root parts.

  • Well, it sounds pretty fair so far. If they're going to make it, things should be apparent in about a week or so, otherwise the leaves will start to show stress (wilt, droop, etc). Just keep an eye on watering... it can be a bit tricky to get it right without over-watering. If your soil and pots drain well, that shouldn't be much of a problem though. As the plants get bigger, they get more forgiving about the water (though they'll never tolerate standing in wet soil for long periods).

  • ...otherwise the leaves will start to show stress (wilt, droop, etc). Just keep an eye on watering... it can be a bit tricky to get it right without over-watering.

    Some do look limp - the leaves. Others not.
    Well, I made the soil wet - perhaps not enough?
    Drainage is good. The surface doesn't look moisty in places. Should I water them again now?

  • I'd poke a finger down in the soil about an inch or so away from the plant stem and see how damp the soil looks down there. If it's damp, don't re-water yet. On small plants, the soil tends to dry out from the surface downward since the roots' water uptake is still low, hence it's easy to over-water by just looking at the surface. The plants with limp leaves are probably showing some root-damage stress, and they may recover with time if they put out new feeder roots. The way roots work is that they require moisture primarily to make dissolved soil nutrients accessible, and too much water can actually drown the root cells.

  • My finger felt like 30 to 40 per cent humidity, though I usually do it with pencils. By the time you read it, it'll be 25% or less, central heating on, temperature fluctuates between +17 and +20, approximately, centigrade. I've had an advise for some other plants that one shouldn't soak freshly potted plants whose root system's young, or even non-existent somehow: the soil should be moist but not wet, so that the plants knew there's water here, and they developed their roots. There's no need in higher amounts of water since their green parts are very small - right?

  • That's essentially correct.

  • advise

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