The Q&A Archives: Leaves Falling Off Plumeria

Question: My plumeria plant is growing and healthy until the leaves come on. They get black/brown spots, turn yellow and fall off. The first year I did get flowers. The plant is now three years old and I have had none since. I keep it in the sun room of our house with west exposure (afternoon sun). Last year I moved it outside from June thru mid-September. I feed it with tropical plant food they gave me when I bought it. It looks like I get small spider looking webs at base of connected leaves, but have never seen any bugs. I try to remove them as soon as I see them. Do I need to spray it?

Answer: Based upon your description, I'd guess your plant has an infestation of spider mites. The pests leave webbing, which is about the only way you know they're there, because they're tiny little insects. They also cause stippling and yellowing of leaves. You can deter the pests by misting your plant frequently (they love dry places).

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, as ornamentals, and for their flowers. The flowers come in seemingly endless variety of color, size and fragrance.

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.

Following the above guidelines can help your plant regain its health and grow lush and lovely.

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