Plumeria forum: How big a cutting can you take?

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Name: Terry
Houston, Texas
Plumerias Region: Texas
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Terrynj
Jul 3, 2014 7:56 AM CST
I wanted to share this for those of you that have not experimented with cuttings off of a plumeria. We have been growing them for 20 years, but still did not know what the limits were...like how big a cutting can you root? We do not keep many plants in pots, as that stunts the growth of the plants and it is hard to keep that many watered.

This winter when the freezes started coming, we dug up most of our plants, but we had around 40 that were too big ...so we cut them completely up as a way of saving them and we are really glad we did.

Basically what we did is, we would cut the top 4 branches off where they branch out giving you very nice cuttings (there are plenty of writings on the specifics of doing this properly). Then we would cut the "Mid-section trunk into 3 ft chunks, leaving 4-6 inches of the root ball sticking out of the ground. Out of the 40 we cut up, we only had 2 root balls that didn't re-grow..and the trunks on all of these were totally frozen....oozing a black goo out of them..and they are now growing new growth.

I am not advocating you cut your plants completely up...I am just sharing because we have never tried to root some of the things we have now, successfully rooted. We took some cuttings that were 6ft tall with 4 main branches. We have rooted the mid-section trunks, and the root balls are now generating what will be plumeria shrubs. Our main plant was 10ft tall and 14ft wide and the root ball on it has 12 main branches and is growing out of control.


Thumb of 2014-07-03/Terrynj/9c22ae
This was our main plant (10ft by 14ft) The golf ball is there for size reference...this is a root ball that is around 7 weeks growth. If you are wondering how it can gro so fast...remember a plant that size has a HUGE root ball and will re-establish itself quickly. This plant froze before in 2010..I documented its regrowth then and this one is even more robust.
[url=www.flickr.com/photos/terrynj/sets/72157634973466062/]www.flickr.com/photos/terrynj/sets/72157634973466062/[/url]



Thumb of 2014-07-03/Terrynj/bdfbeb
Another root ball growth doing very well...this was a 9ft plant and we have 2- 6ft, 4-branch cuttings that are doing very well


Thumb of 2014-07-03/Terrynj/66a94d
This is a "Mid-section" cut about the size of your plant..doing really well and should prove to be a vibrant plant.



Thumb of 2014-07-03/Terrynj/6d6ddc
This is the main trunk of Texas Mango. It was cut about 3ft up from the ground and is around 3" diameter. It is rooted and growing fine. This is an experiment to see how robust a rooting this big will do...how fast it grows..bloom more? etc..


Thumb of 2014-07-03/Terrynj/34314e
This is a cutting from Texas Mango (it was cut off the trunk in the pic above) that is 5 1/2 ft rooted height. Multiple branches and doing fine. You can also see back around our fence where a lot of our cuttings are resting against the fence and root ball growths.

Thumb of 2014-07-03/Terrynj/cd4ab5
We would take some larger cuttings and lean them against the fence in a pot with soil...there was no need to support them any other way and it has worked great! we had 20 plants along the fence line and you can see their root balls regrowing. This is about 1/4 of what we have on the fence..

I will make a side note here...many many of our cuttings have Inflo's on them that started as cuttings and have bloomed successfully. But once they start rooting...they concentrate only on that ...and I wouldn't look for any blooms until they get rooted well.

As I was saying, I am posting this to share my experience and on what you can root. Don't be afraid to get aggressive with them if you need to. We did this in desperation, but in hind sight...it has given us many beautifully shaped, vibrant plants and forced us to do something we normally wouldn't do. We are like all newbies..you work so hard to grow these things it was almost impossible for us to cut them up. I cried the day I cut up 40 9ft children of ours. They were all perfectly healthy when I did.
Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Plumerias Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator Region: Florida Cat Lover Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
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Dutchlady1
Jul 3, 2014 8:16 AM CST

Moderator

Terry this is very well written and I have made it a sticky in the Plumeria forum. I too have plenty of experience with rooting large cuttings and it has never been a problem.
Name: Terry
Houston, Texas
Plumerias Region: Texas
Image
Terrynj
Jul 3, 2014 8:33 AM CST
That is great Hetty! Deb and I have had a terrible time over the years trying to get information like this and it is not really out there. You have many questions when you first start out, so I am just trying to share!
I still have so much to learn myself! lol
Thanks again!

Terry
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Jul 3, 2014 9:54 AM CST
By "large", do y'all mean the tallness of the cutting or the base diameter? I have several plants, though only 3-4' tall, that have bases 4-6" in diameter. I would literally have to saw those bases off. Has anyone rooted bases so large in diameter?
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Terry
Houston, Texas
Plumerias Region: Texas
Image
Terrynj
Jul 3, 2014 11:04 AM CST
I call anything over 7 or 8 ft large just because they are, and something like yours a mature plant because of the size of the root ball and age. I would much rather have yours than an 9ft young plant! Smiling

The base of the Texas Mango mid-section was probably almost 4"s and it rooted no problem...I was amazed. I think a plumeria is so resilient that if its alive and you stick it in dirt...it will grow.


[Last edited by Dutchlady1 - Jul 3, 2014 12:07 PM (+)]
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Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Plumerias Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator Region: Florida Cat Lover Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
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Dutchlady1
Jul 3, 2014 12:08 PM CST

Moderator

Since I made this post a 'sticky' we need to stay on topic, so I deleted your comments about orchids @Terrynj.

I too have rooted very large cuttings with no trouble.
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Jul 3, 2014 12:27 PM CST
I tip my hat to you.

Thank you for taking a look.

I am torn between sawing off my 5" base 'Celadine' a few inches above the soil-line and seeing what happens or leaving it be, knowing that I will be able to take 4-6 cuttings from its branches later in the summer. The 'Celadine' and the 'Vera Cruz Rose' both have about the same diameter base, and both are vigorous growers (and make great root stock for grafting). But I have several of the "babies" from my "Mother" 'Celadine' that have 2" bases of their own. IF I lose the mother plant I would be greatly disappointed, having had her for over 25 years, but at least I have those others. Oh, what to do, what to do?
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Terry
Houston, Texas
Plumerias Region: Texas
Image
Terrynj
Jul 3, 2014 1:48 PM CST
I guess it depends on what you are trying to do. I would only cut the main plant like that if I was going to lose it due to weather, or if the shape on it was terrible...really straggly, or very tall with growth only on the top.
Are these plants in the ground or a pot? Greenhouse? I know you are very far up north, so you would have to dig them up at the end of every season if you had them in the ground? I feel very comfortable that your root ball would re-grow if it was in the ground or established for a few years....could you post a pic of the one that is 4ft high with the thick trunk...I would like to see it. Do you just take a lot of cuttings from it?
Thanks Ken

Terry
Name: Gigi
Florida (Zone 9a)
Plumerias Sempervivums Roses Cactus and Succulents Garden Ideas: Level 1
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GigiPlumeria
Jul 3, 2014 8:02 PM CST
Thank You! for the great info Terry! All of mine are in pots. They look taller than they are because the pots are above ground. My Hausten White is the best when it comes to branching out. Sometime I get 5 branches after each bloom.
Thumb of 2014-07-04/GigiPlumeria/92386e

I've always had luck cutting the tall lanky plumerias but like everyone I still hesitate to cut them. I bought my J23 on clearance from BBB and it came to me as a long rooted 2 tip cutting. When I planted it in a 3 gallon pot it got even tallerand lankier. So I cut it up 3x, I rooted the mid section which branched out 3 branches, then rooted the 2 tip and left the main trunk which branched out 2 branches. To my surprise, the main trunk bloomed same year and rebloomed again this spring but my 2 tips seems to be stunted with no inflo in sight but I'm confident they will bloom this year. The blooms are big and it is almost basketball size. I took this pic this morning, its height right now is ideal for picture taking. Now I have 2 plants and I gave the midsection to my friend.
Thumb of 2014-07-04/GigiPlumeria/1e2305

©by Gigi Plumeria "Gardening is my favorite past time. I grow whatever plant that catches my attention." Plumeria Photos http://www.flickr.com/groups/calachuchi_plumeria_/ plant photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gigiplumeria/sets/
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
Plumerias Ponds Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level
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ShadyGreenThumb
Jul 3, 2014 8:16 PM CST
Pretty, Gigi!! You make me brave about cutting mine.
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
Name: Gigi
Florida (Zone 9a)
Plumerias Sempervivums Roses Cactus and Succulents Garden Ideas: Level 1
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GigiPlumeria
Jul 3, 2014 8:24 PM CST
Thanks Cheryl! I know how you feel though. But since you have yours blooming right now, you wait till it is done blooming. Maybe you can also trade your cuttings with your neighbor so you can have other colors.
©by Gigi Plumeria "Gardening is my favorite past time. I grow whatever plant that catches my attention." Plumeria Photos http://www.flickr.com/groups/calachuchi_plumeria_/ plant photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gigiplumeria/sets/
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
Plumerias Ponds Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level
Image
ShadyGreenThumb
Jul 3, 2014 8:33 PM CST
Gigi, I am glad to hear from someone else who grows plummies in pots. Is there a benefit of cutting a tall plummie? What height is considered leggy?? Mine are definitely trees, and not bushy at all. I am sure it will branch out again once it blooms. It seems all my plummies grow tall before blooming. They maybe reaching for the sun??
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
Name: Gigi
Florida (Zone 9a)
Plumerias Sempervivums Roses Cactus and Succulents Garden Ideas: Level 1
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GigiPlumeria
Jul 3, 2014 10:00 PM CST
I think cutting the plants short is a preference. The benefit is you get more plants/branches and you can see the blooms. My hubby like them tall so he doesn't get poked everytime he trims our bushes. It is true also that my plummies that get full sun blooms all the time, so maybe yours are reaching for the sun.

Mine was leggy since it was over 3 feet tall, thin and with 2 6 inches tips only before I cut it up. There are also really varieties that grow tall first before they bloom. I have the 2 noid with pink blooms (possibly Miami Rose) and they are 7 to 8 feet tall both with 2 tips (each tip over 2 feet long). These are candidate for cutting up after the blooms because I can't enjoy the blooms. But I'm waiting for it to be multi-tipped so I have instant tree when I root them.

Thumb of 2014-07-04/GigiPlumeria/d9b5d9
©by Gigi Plumeria "Gardening is my favorite past time. I grow whatever plant that catches my attention." Plumeria Photos http://www.flickr.com/groups/calachuchi_plumeria_/ plant photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gigiplumeria/sets/
Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Plumerias Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator Region: Florida Cat Lover Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
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Dutchlady1
Jul 4, 2014 4:58 AM CST

Moderator

Don't forget, these are TREES!


Name: Gigi
Florida (Zone 9a)
Plumerias Sempervivums Roses Cactus and Succulents Garden Ideas: Level 1
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GigiPlumeria
Jul 4, 2014 5:37 AM CST
Lovey dubby is this your tree Hetty? It is beautiful. I don't think mine will ever be as big as that since we get freezes sometimes.
©by Gigi Plumeria "Gardening is my favorite past time. I grow whatever plant that catches my attention." Plumeria Photos http://www.flickr.com/groups/calachuchi_plumeria_/ plant photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gigiplumeria/sets/
Name: Terry
Houston, Texas
Plumerias Region: Texas
Image
Terrynj
Jul 4, 2014 7:09 AM CST
I missed a bunch here...I worked late last night.

Ken- thanks for posting the pics..I did see the post and using the big can as a reference...its hard to tell from pix sometimes the size ...thats why a I put a golf ball in some of my pix. So your plants goes a ways into answering my question about the advantage of a mid-section rooting. To me they should be better because you will get a larger root ball quicker because of the circumference of the base. The roots start from the outer edge skin, and so does limb growth. I think of the white inner part as the pipeline that feeds the moisture and nutrients up through the plant. I think the large pipeline should be better at making a bigger healthier plant than a 1" diameter branch. Time well tell. Thanks for posting Ken

Gigi- Beautiful blooms on your J23, awesome. I love Hausten Whites, but I have only seen them in pictures.Yours looks to be an awesome plant...5 new stems off a bloom is incredible. Our best grower is what we used to think was a Sally Morange, but we finally realized we didnt get it from a Sally, we just thought it was because it looked like the pictures. Today we call De Luna Madre until we can sort it out. (She is pic of the big rootball growing at the first of this thread). She grows fast, blooms to the max, is almost disease resistant (we get rust around here and she will be in the middle of others with it, and she gets nothing) and she is the best at being resistant to freezes. We have purchased many plants whose blooms we loved, but they were terrible growers....we are starting to work with the growers and drop the problem children! lol
I also agree short is better, we feel fortunate we were forced to cut as ours, as last summer..I was dragging around an 8' ladder just to take pictures. Debbi doesn't like ladders, so she misses out on the smells. Now everything is the perfect height and we can do our evening strolls looking for new crowns and enjoying the blooms without a neck ache. Plus we have more plants!

Cheryl- I am excited to see you enthused about your new love. I agree to let it bloom the way it is, then to do what Gigi did with hers. Debbi is TERRIBLE about cutting up our babies...she is getting better, but it is hard thing today. Read up and get advice when you are ready. You will end up with a better plant you can enjoy!

Hetty- Thanks for the levity in pointing out what a tree is! lol. Most of the time I talk about size in reference to what I have. I would love to go to Dean Conklin Gardens in Hawaii to see real trees!
http://www.botany.hawaii.edu/faculty/bridges/Plumeria/plumer...

Since we never go more than 4 years without debilitating freezes, ours only get so big before the reset button is hit. I am really anxious to see how my mature root balls do with their re-birth. I know in 2010 when Sally was frozen back, she re-bounded soooo fast growing from a twig in May to being 5ft and 8 ft wide and crowned 3 times by Sept 1. She is twice as big this year as she was in 2010..she has been in the ground in this location for 10 years...the others for 4 years and they aren't growing near as fast.

Thanks everyone!
Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Plumerias Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator Region: Florida Cat Lover Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
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Dutchlady1
Jul 4, 2014 7:18 AM CST

Moderator

Gigi it is not my tree but grows around the corner from me, and I have (with the permission of the owners) registered it with the PSA as 'Beacon Lights'


Name: Terry
Houston, Texas
Plumerias Region: Texas
Image
Terrynj
Jul 4, 2014 8:02 AM CST
Dutchlady1 said:Don't forget, these are TREES!




Beautiful plant Hetty! Thanks for posting it!
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
Plumerias Ponds Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level
Image
ShadyGreenThumb
Jul 4, 2014 12:30 PM CST
Seeing Dean Conklin's Gardens is exactly how and why my interest in plumeria spurred. How can you NOT love them and all the varieties out there?? I want to go to Dean's now! That is how I ended up with all my plumeria on my driveway! I just had to have them! I never spend a lot of money. Some were gifts. I never knew how they would grow under my conditions so I am happy as all get out to have what I have. I have a few plumeria gathered from my travels that remind me of good times. I think that is what plant collection is all about. Those that remind you of a good time and/or who they came from.

While I can never have the tree like in Hetty's neighborhood, I am happy with the size of tree I can grow from a pot. I secretly love worrying about them in our harsher winters and am challenged to bring them back every spring.

This proves to be a good growing season for me this year. I must have done something right but I am not sure what it was that has been making them happy? Not all me, of course! I am sure Mom Nature has had a hand in this from the great summer rains we're getting to the bright sunshine in between!

This is my long way of saying that I will think long and hard before cutting down my plumeria "tree". Especially because it is blooming after 20 years of wait. It took a lot of love and worry this long to get it to this size and to bloom for me in my not-so-perfect conditions that I want to enjoy it in all it's glory even if I have to enjoy the flower viewing from the street or climb a ladder to see the flowers. Also, I am not one to mess with Mom Nature. If this is the way she wanted it to grow in our area, then I tend to say, "so be it". I will probably wait for Mom Nature to tell me when to get out the pruners. After all, I am only here to lend her a helping hand.

Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
Name: Terry
Houston, Texas
Plumerias Region: Texas
Image
Terrynj
Jul 4, 2014 1:29 PM CST
Cheryl- so you've been to the Dean Conklin Plumeria Grove? How exciting! It would be awesome if our plants could grow and grow without interruption...of course i would need about another 25 acres...lol.

I agree with Gigi too in that your plant is seeking sun and growing to reach it. They really need a lot of direct sun to be happy. That is probably also why it doesn't bloom much. You can only deal with what you have, but once you get them cut back and if you can get them in direct sun, they will fill out more and be bushier....and bloom.
Enjoy your new Inflo when it blooms. My wife and spend most of our time waiting for them to open and searching for new inflo's. We get a glass of wine and walk the plants in the evening looking for the next new surprise. I found three yesterday..2 of them on our named Seedlings..."Fools Gold", and "Kiya", and the 3rd was on "Dawn Pink"!! It is exciting to find them!

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