Please be careful removing your plant from it's packaging.
Getting started -- Your plant was grown in filtered light, not direct sun, so it should be acclimated to direct sun slowly. I recommend starting your plant in a 1-2 gallon pot, so you can slowly move it from shade to sun over a period of a few weeks. Plan on giving it filtered sun for the first week, and then increase the sun by an hour or two every week, with some protection from strong afternoon sun.
Soil -- The Marmalade Bush does best in well-draining soil. A good mix is potting soil mixed with perlite in a 2 to 1 ratio. Transplant carefully to avoid damaging the roots.
Watering -- The plant prefers soil that's consistently moist (but not soggy). Don't allow the soil to dry out. You may use a moisture meter probe, which you can buy at garden shops for about $5. You simply stick the probe down to the root level and read the dial. Water whenever the needle is 1/3 to 1/2 across the dial.
Planting out -- You can keep your plant in a pot, or plant it out in the ground if you're in a frost-free area. Transplant gently to avoid damaging the roots. If you keep it in a container, repot again to a larger pot whenever they become root bound. The size of the final pot depends on how large you choose to let it grow. A full-sized bush should have 20 gallons (75 liters) or more, although a small plant can be kept in a 5 gallon pot (20 liters) if pruned regularly.
Climate - The Marmalade Bush can probably take only a light, brief frost, so it needs protection from all frost. I don't know how much heat it can handle. If it shows signs of heat stress, give it shade during the warmest part of the day. Normally it likes full sun to half-shade. You may grow your plant indoors in a sunny spot.
Fertilizing -- During periods of active growth, feed about every 6 weeks with an all-purpose fertilizer at 1/2 the recommended dose. It's normal for some of the older leaves to turn yellow and drop throughout the year, but if it's excessive, it could be from not enough fertilizer, particularly nitrogen. It could also be from overly dry soil.
Pruning -- Feel free to prune your plant to shape it. You may remove side branches on the lower part of the plant to encourage upward growth. If you want the plant to spill over a wall or hanging planter, trim away the upward growing branches. Flowers appear on the ends of the new growth, so do most of the pruning from fall through spring. You may tie the plant along a trellis or fence, or over an arbor.
Bugs to watch for -- Spider mites (tiny "dots" under the leaves), Aphids (green ones are hard to see), white mealy bugs, and scale (brown discs on the stem - hard to see!).
If you have any questions or problems, please email me.
Enjoy your plant!
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