I have two 3-ft. gardenias in the ground I need to move. WHEN should I dig them? HOW should I dig them? WHERE should I move them? (N,S,E,W facing?) I have a lot of shade but do get hot sun in the afternoon. Any info would be greatly appreciated. I started these bushes from tiny twigs and hope to keep them alive forever!
Fall is probably going to be the best time to transplant things in your area, but spring could work as well. If they're in a spot that's not good for them then I'd move them in the spring since you don't want to leave them in a bad spot for longer than you need to, but if they're fine where they are and you just want to move them at some point then you could wait until fall. Just don't do it too late in the spring because then they don't have a chance to settle in before the weather gets hot. In my area they definitely do better with afternoon shade (morning sun is good though) but I think in more humid climates they can do OK with more sun so wait until someone from your area (or at least somewhere else in the southeast) chimes in.
I have gardenias in full sun here and they do fine. If you are looking to move it now, I would suggest pruning it back before you transplant and making sure it is well watered a couple days before the move. Try and get as much of the rootball (intact) as possible. After the move, soak it well, use a root stimulator, mulch it heavily and then make sure it gets a good soaking weekly(either rain or hose or a combination).Give it a couple weeks to settle in with the root stimulator, and then fertilize it. It may lose a few leaves, but should settle in nicely and bloom well the next year. This is one of mine in full sun
Thanks so much for your response, themoonhowl. Sorry for my delay in responding. The picture of your gardening bed with the gardenia was very beautiful. I hope mine does half as well. I have not moved it yet due to fear I will lose it, but shall move it next week. It is much too close to its sibling (within two feet). I shall post a picture if mine lives and thrives.
If you get a sudden hot spell, and it is too soon after you transplanted it you might give it some shade by hanging some cloth or burlap on some sort of small trellis on the south side to shade it from late morning until the heat is gone.
I would move them now, providing you're prepared to dig a nice, big root ball. In total agreement with the instructions above. Just finished writing about the same thing as moonhowl about an Azalea (pasted below,) but moving any shrubby thing is the same process, just a matter of timing.
To build on Diana's temporary shade idea, I also use anything I can move, a chair, little table, a tall potted plant, whatever's handy can make a little shade if needed. As long as you won't be gone more than a few days at a time for the next couple months, it's all about making sure it doesn't dry - but yet not drowning it unnecessarily, once moved.
There are different Gardenias out there, the ones all around this neighborhood look like all the same kind though, do best in as much sun as possible. I've started many new babies from taking cuttings of "a big mama" in the yard but just started doing it last summer, so will be a while before any of those are big "wow" shrubs like your 3-footers! But about a month ago I needed to trim a branch in the way of us walking around the corner of the house and chopped it into about half-a-dozen pieces. But they were still much bigger than any I've tried before, some almost 2 feet, and some pretty thick around. Stuck them several inches deep in the ground, more shady spot than where they will eventually go, but they're still looking great! I know I'll be itching to move those as soon as they are making new leaves.
Here's what I said about moving someone's Azalea... "(After making sure there are no utilities buried in the area,) there's no reason to not dig it out and attempt moving it. As a general rule with moving any woody and/or well-established plant, the bigger/deeper chunk/ball of roots you excavate, the higher the chances of survival. I would trim at least half of it (in regard to mass of leaves, not necessarily plant size, the plant needs leaves to recover more quickly,) to make it more lightweight, and to give the plant less mass to support since some of its' roots will be lost. Water well 2-3 days before digging, to make sure it's not thirsty when dug, but area is not too muddy for you to work (or whatever interval you determine appropriate to achieve this in your particular soil.) It's not a potted plant, so I make no attempt to trim or remove old soil in these situations. Having the hole where you want it to go prepared is always a good idea. Put plant in new hole (same size as needed to have the plant at the same level with the surrounding soil that it was before) right away. I like to water the hole, then put in the plant, since I know the roots are already wet from my recent pre-watering. Then water lightly, just enough to make the surface even, DON'T pack it down, let the roots have an easy time penetrating the loose new boundary."