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Plumeria Care: Propagation & Ideal Growing Conditions

Increase your chances of caring and growing for plumeria by learning how to do it right

Plumerias are a type of plant that grows in tropical and subtropical regions. Many people associate these flowers with Hawaii. This is because they are a popular lei flower for visitors in Hawaii. Therefore, the plant is also known as frangipani and sometimes as the Hawaiian lei flower.

There are more than 200 different types of Plumeria, but they all have a similar appearance and can be difficult to tell apart from one another. Plumeria plants range in size from small bushes that take up just a few square feet to large trees with roots spreading across acres or more.

In this post, we will talk about how to care for plumeria plants. We will also discuss how to propagate Plumeria, how much water they need, the ideal temperature, and more!

How to Care for Plumeria

Plumerias are beautiful tropical plants that can brighten up any home. They grow well in humid climates and look great in pots on patios or porches. However, they require a lot of attention to be healthy and vibrant.

It is essential to water them once a day but not over-water them or keep them too moist because they can quickly develop root rot in poorly drained soil. They also require some fertilizer during the growing season of April through November.

Keep reading this post to learn more about caring for plumeria plants!

Light

A Plumeria tree needs to be planted in a place where they can get sun for the whole day. If you cannot do this, make sure that the tree is getting at least 6 hours of light every day and has some shade during the afternoon.

However, they should never be placed too close to a window without ventilation. This will cause them to get heat stress when there is excessive indoor heating.

Frangipani also need nighttime darkness, so don’t place any near street lights at night unless you want your plant’s blooms scorched before opening fully!

Plumeria-Propagation
Photo by Milkakotka

Soil

If you are potting your plant in a container, then make sure to use a well-drained potting mix. The best soil for Plumeria plants would be one that has been amended with organic compost or other mulches like shredded bark.

You can also add around ¼ cup of sand per gallon of a potting mix, as this will improve drainage in wet soils and help keep roots healthy when they’re exposed to air pockets at high volumes during watering cycles.

If you are planting your plant in the ground, use a soil mix with plenty of organic material like leaf mold and wood chips.

Ensure that it has no dead leaves or other decaying matter as this will decompose on top of the root system, weakening its health.

Water

How often do you water plumeria? Plumeria plants need a perfect balance of water to thrive. Therefore, they should be watered evenly, not too much or too little!

The soil should be moist but not wet when you water your plumerias! Always keep in mind that they need about ¼ inch of water per day. If it has been more than a week since the last watering, give them some water.

RELATED: Best Moisture Meter For Plants

Frangipani in containers have some holes in the bottom, so they have enough oxygen. If you overwater your plants, it can make pools of water that are good for mosquitoes and fungal diseases.

If the leaves on the plants are curling up or look wilted, there might not be enough water or too much water. Sometimes the plants do not have enough nutrients, and they are stressed. Try adding mulch near the plant to help it because it will have more humidity and provide nutrients, which can sometimes make the leaves curl up.

Temperature and Humidity

Plumerias are sensitive to temperatures and humidity. Therefore, they need warm, humid places with a day time range of 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21°C) to 85°F (25°C). The nighttime temperature should be around 60-70°F (16-21 °C) but no lower than 55°F(13ºc) because plumerias can’t handle the cold too well either. The most important thing is that the humidity level should never go below 50%.

Photo by Devasahayam Chandra

Plumeria Fertilizer

Plumerias are not heavy feeders, so you only need to fertilize them a few times during the year. One fertilizer that works well is Epsom salts which contain magnesium and sulfur.

Is Epsom salt good for plumerias?

Magnesium helps with chlorophyll production in plants while also helping to make it more resistant to salt damage.

Sulfur increases cell division rates as well as plant respiration for faster growth of new leaves and flowers.

You should use about two tablespoons on your Plumeria each month when they’re indoors or out but keep an eye out for any signs of nutrient burn (browns spots appearing). If this does happen, then cut back on how often you apply Epsom salts until the browning disappears!

Another option is a blood meal made from dried animal blood that has been finely ground.

This fertilizer contains nitrogen for fast-growing roots and leaves but doesn’t contain magnesium or sulfur, so it’s best used as an occasional supplement to Epsom salts if you have a plumeria with low light levels since these help the plant photosynthesize more efficiently.

It also works well on outdoor plants because, unlike most fertilizers, it does not produce any smell when mixed with water!

For flowering plumerias, you should use bone meal instead of the fertilizer mentioned above. This will stimulate flower production in your plumerias while giving them some potash nutrients they need for blooming.

Plumeria Winter Care

Frangipani needs to be protected during cold periods. Ideally, plumerias should go into dormancy by late November and awaken in early-to-mid March (USDA hardiness zone 8-11).

Do you water plumeria in winter?

Since Plumeria is a tropical plant, it doesn’t need much water in the winter, so just let the soil dry out, and it should be OK. It also can handle below-freezing temperatures as well as dry environments without any problem.

How do you winterize a plumeria plant?

Make sure your plumerias are well protected by following these steps:

  • Remove all leaves and branches, which will help prevent wind damage on top of frost damaging them too.
  • Prune off any dead wood at ground level (disease could take hold); Treat the base with fungicide spray or copper-based paint (this will stop any fungal infections).
  • Plant in a sheltered spot and mulch well to help keep the roots warm.

If you don’t have a tree shelter, cover plants with clear wrap or plastic, acting as an insulator against cold winds.

Growing Plumeria Indoors

The Plumeria is a beautiful flowering plant that can be grown indoors. Its flowers are fragrant and come in many colors such as white, pink, red, purple, or yellow. They make great house plants because they thrive in low light conditions and don’t need much care to grow well.

Here are some tips on how you can keep your indoor plumerias healthy:

– Blooming is best when the days are longer, and the sunlight increases. Spring is a good time for this because it has more hours of sunlight. To grow plumerias indoors, make sure that you don’t overwater them. If you do, then they might get root rot or mold problems.

– If your plant is wilting or drooping, you can tell it needs water. Plumeria trees need the soil to be moist but not wet, and their leaves should feel soft when you touch them. When they are blooming in spring, you can fertilize them using a diluted liquid fertilizer every other week for three weeks in a row. When growing Plumeria indoors, make sure that it gets at least 6 hours of sunlight per day!

– Indoor plumerias may show signs of stress if their environment does not match what they are used to, such as warmth levels being too high or low, dry air, or watering periods lasting more than two days.

– Indoor plumerias require winter care, which should include watering less often and keeping the plant out of drafts or cold areas. Also, ensure your indoor Plumeria doesn’t get too dry during this time as it may affect its appearance.

Blooming Stages

Plumerias are divided into three flowering stages: true leaves, blooming, and old blooms.

When Plumeria is in the “true leaf” stage, they will have only one or two sets of small green/blueish leaves that grow out from the stem.

In the “blooming” stage, plumerias will have many sets of new leaves growing while also having some older dark-colored flower petals left on their branches. For this reason, it’s best to prune away all but about four or five pairs of these lower branches as they can be too heavy for the plant if allowed to keep them at this phase.

Finally, when a plumeria has reached an “old bloom” state, you’ll know because all of the leaves have wilted, and several sets of brown petals are left on its branches. Plumeria can remain in this stage for up to two years before blooming again.

How do you keep plumerias blooming?

If Plumeria is not blooming and you’re sure it’s not in the “old bloom” stage, make sure that it has access to plenty of sunlight.

It should also be watered regularly and have a regular feeding schedule for fertilizers as well.

If these are all taken care of, then your Plumeria will eventually start blooming when it is ready!

The whole process can take up to two years from beginning to end, but if plumerias are properly cared for, they’ll reward you with beautiful blooms throughout the year!

Photo by Pisauikan

Repotting Plumeria

The best time for repotting Plumeria is when the plant reaches a pot size of 12 inches. When this happens, the root system will have reached its maximum capacity, and you need to transplant it into a larger pot with fresh soil.

If your Frangipani is not blooming or has wilted leaves, it may be time to transplant the plant because of one simple reason: its root system has outgrown its pot!

It would help if you had a larger pot than the current one and make sure it has enough drainage holes at the bottom. Also, use terra cotta pots if you want them to dry out more slowly than plastic or ceramic ones.

It would be best to consider using an organic liquid fertilizer because they are sensitive when they’re transplanted.

To plant your new planter with plumerias, dig a hole in the ground which is deep enough for your container but not too wide so as not to disturb its roots and then place it gently in the new planting area while filling up around with soil or vertisol (a type of compost). Make sure there’s some extra dirt on top just like before and water generously after finishing transplanting.

Are Plumerias Toxic?

Plumerias are not entirely toxic, but they do contain toxins that can be harmful when ingested. The particular toxin in Plumeria is called hydrocyanic acid (HCN). While HCN is dangerous for humans and animals alike, it typically doesn’t lead to life-threatening symptoms unless consumed at a high concentration. According to Pet Poison Helpline experts, for a dog to have any adverse side effects from the plant’s toxicity after ingestion, he would need a large dose of HCN within 24 hours. When consuming small amounts over time, Plumeria should be safe as long as there are no other health issues present with the animal. Some minor side effects may include vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

If you’re still concerned about the toxicity of Plumeria to dogs or cats after reading this article, consult your veterinarian for more information on how to use it in a safe way that will not harm a man’s best friend.

Pruning Plumeria

It’s essential to prune plumeria plants in the spring before they start blooming. When you prune a plumeria plant, it will grow new branches and flowers at the end of those branches. If you want flowers to bloom, do not wait until they are blooming or even in the winter. The branches that are not being nurtured by sunlight will never bloom, and it is a waste of time.

TOOL ADVICE:

Some people prefer to use garden shears for this job, but I find them too big, so instead, I recommend using small hand clippers like these: Fiskars Hand Pruners. They take up less space in my tool shed (I also have a set of electric hedge trimmers), and they are easier to prune with.

You want to make sure you cut off the dead or dying branches so that all of your energy goes into growing new healthy growth, but try not to go too far and prune off living flowers from their stems – this will give them time to grow back before next year’s flower season begins!

Propagating Plumeria Plants

Plumeria propagation is the process of taking cuttings from your plumeria plant to create more plants.

When is the best time to take plumeria cuttings?

The best time for this job seems to be when you see a new shoot beginning in early spring – just before or after it blooms. This should give you plenty of time and the ideal environment for growing and root during both periods.

How to propagate Plumeria?

The first thing you need to do is make your workspace. Put soil with fertilizer at one end and have containers ready on the other side. Next, fill the pots with water to absorb it without spilling onto their sides when planted.

After this, you need to cut the Plumeria. Use a sharp pair of pruning shears or hand pruners. Cut off any dead leaves from the bottom part of your plant first so that new shoots can grow up there. Leave at least one inch above ground level before cutting it with your device near the tip of the shoot by following its natural curve and removing any excess foliage that could get in the way later on.

Lastly, take another container filled with water and gently separate terminal buds or growths found at either end until they’re about two or three inches apart from one another. This will ideally create new shoots that’ll root more quickly and evenly in the process, which is what you’re going for at this point, so it’s not too hard to accommodate its needs as time goes on.

And that’s it… you’re finished with the cutting!

Photo by Davidf

How to Grow Plumeria from Seed?

Growing Plumeria from seed is relatively easy, which means you can start with the process as a beginner gardener.  As long as it’s not an especially cold winter or summer for your climate zone, starting seeds outdoors in pots will work just fine and provide plenty of space to grow them into plants that are healthy and strong enough to withstand life indoors when needed. 

The first step is to gather your supplies. You’ll need some potting mix, a container with drainage holes in the bottom, and of course, seeds to plant.

The next step is to fill your container about half full with a soil mix. Then level out the ground again so that you have an even surface to sow your seeds on. Put the seeds about one inch apart from each other.

 Now it’s time to plant your seeds, gently press them into the soil, and pat down lightly. Be careful not to cover the seed too deeply, or else it can’t get air which will kill your plants.

Once you have finished planting all of your seeds, water only with a light spray for now – don’t saturate the soil because this could cause mold growth which would damage your plants’ roots systems. You’ll want to keep these particular seedlings in their pots until they are about six inches tall, then transplant them outside where they can live on their own without needing any human care at all!

Common Pests and Diseases

The most common pest of Plumeria is the Red spider mites. They are small spiders that live on plants, drinking out their juices before they eventually kill them by sucking all their fluids dry through tiny holes called “stomata.” These pests will also be found living under long stems and leaf surfaces and near roots where it’s dark and damp. They’re difficult to see because they blend into green foliage easily, so you’ll need a magnifying lens to identify them.

Spots on Plumeria Leaves

Spots on plumeria leaves are most likely the result of bacterial leaf spots, familiar to many plants in hot and humid environments like Florida. It’s usually not very serious but can spread quickly, so it should still be contained ASAP with proper care!

Black Spots

Black spots on Plumeria Leaves could be from fungal infections or even pests called thrips – tiny black insects that feed off plant juices through small holes they make themselves known as “stomata.” These creatures will leave behind their fecal matter, feeding for some time until they cause the damage you see today!

White Spots

White spots on Plumeria Leaves could be from a fungus called powdery mildew, usually seen in humid climates. However, it needs plenty of moisture and cool temperatures to thrive, so it’s not often found on plumeria plants.

This could be due to not enough sunlight, taking your plant outside too soon after a long period of being inside, or just having the wrong type for where you live!

Brown Spots

Brown spots on Plumeria Leaves can come from winter care and overwatering. Still, it’s important to remember that if these brown spots get bigger, they’re likely infected with bacteria that will lead them to rot away – something you want to avoid at all costs!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do plumerias like coffee grounds?

It’s always best to use potting soil when planting your plumerias, but if you feel like adding coffee grounds into the mix, that would be fine. Plumeria plants require soil on the more acidic, and coffee grounds can help to achieve this.

Do plumerias require full sun?

Yes, plumerias require direct sun. Suppose you want to create a sunny location for your plumeria plant. In that case, we recommend buying artificial sunlight bulbs that mimic the natural sunlight and provide it in any indoor or outdoor space where there is no direct access to natural daylight.

How do I know if my Plumeria is dormant?

If your plumerias are not showing any signs of growth, you should know that they may be dormant. Plumeria plants require a certain amount of light to grow, and if it is too dark in the room where they are being kept or if there is no direct sunlight coming in through windows, this will cause them to become dormant.

What do Plumeria smell like?

Plumerias have a unique and sweet-smelling fragrance that can fill up any room. If you want to enjoy the smell of your Plumeria, we recommend making sure they are placed by an open window or in front of a fan because this will help with air circulation and increase their scent.

How fast do plumeria trees grow?

Answer: The plumeria tree is considered a vigorous plant and will grow rapidly with plenty of water, fertilizer, sun, and warm temperature. It can reach up to 12ft in height if planted in the ground; however, they only typically grow about half as tall when grown indoors because pots or planters confine their roots.

Do plumerias come back after freezing?

They will return after growth if they have been frozen to the ground or had less than 50 percent of their foliage damaged by frost/freeze. For best results, prune any dead wood and trim off any browning leaves before winter storage begins in late autumn, but this is not required for all varieties.

I hope you found this post to be helpful. Let me know in the comments below if there are any other topics that you would like for me to cover about caring for plumeria plants!

Theresa Lien
A professional writer who has specialized in houseplants and indoor gardening. She's had experience with outdoor landscaping too, having written about plants that grow well on balconies and patios as one of her previous articles for Wohomen.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I was trying to get my plumeria blooms to open up as it had been almost a month since buds started opening and they were starting to just drop off before full bloom. Went on a gardening group on Facebook and they suggested 1 CUP around the base of trunk and leave it…well you guessed it I burned them horribly. What can I do to fix them??

    • Hi Sylvia, I’m sorry to hear about the damage to your plumeria.
      The best thing to do is cut off the burnt parts of the plant as soon as possible.
      I would recommend watering the plants with a spray bottle every day for at least a week. It is also important to keep them in an area where they will get plenty of sun and air circulation.
      You may also want to fertilize them with a high nitrogen fertilizer or compost tea to help repair.
      It will take some time before they are fully recovered but it’s important not to give up on them!
      Let us know how things go!

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