The Q&A Archives: Plumeria

Question: My plumeria is about 4 years old, and grew leaves the first year, but has never had leaves since. It grows small buds of leaves and then they turn brown and fall off. I was told it was black tip fungus, but no one knows how to treat the problem. Please I would appreciate any help you might be able to offer. It is my favorite plant and I would love to see it flower. Also, it continues to get new branches and grows taller.

Answer: It doesn't sound as though your plant is getting quite what it needs to thrive. I'd begin treatment by cutting back the affected plant parts, then providing the required exposure and care your plumeria craves.

Plumeria are tropical flowering trees, sometimes called frangipani, in the plant family Apocynaceae. Though tropical by nature, when protected from frost, they are well suited to subtropical climates in the United States in states bordered by the Gulf of Mexico, and in Southern California. They are prolific in Hawaii.

Plumeria are valued as landscape plants, ornamentals, and for their flowers. The flowers come in seemingly endless variety of color, size and fragrance. Flowers can be strung together to make a lei (pronounced lay) which is presented to friends and guests of either gender and worn around the neck like a large loose necklace.

Plumerias can be grown in containers, in the ground, or containers sunk in the ground. During the months of active growth, ample sun, food, and water are essential. Healthy plumeria will grow vigorously and bloom regularly and profusely when they receive at least 6 hours of full sun per day and an ample amount of the proper fertilizers. Plumeria love lots of water, but can't tolerate wet feet, so they must be planted in highly organic fast draining soil or in beds with adequate drainage.

Feed and water thoroughly using a fertilizer such as Super Bloom. If desired, there are specialty plumeria foods that can be used.

Hope your plant perks up!

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