Plumeria forum: Help, did I screw up my cuttings?

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Name: Mark
Milwaukee, WI (Zone 5a)
gobble
Oct 2, 2015 5:23 PM CST
Hi, new to the forum. I took a number of plumeria cuttings back from Hawaii maybe 10 years ago and finally made it back last month. I was on a quest to find the best plumeria and brought back about 10 cuttings. I left them dry for maybe 20 days having sealed the bottom ends in plastic.

Then a week ago I finally got around to buying all the supplies to plant them. I left them outside in great weather for a week and now it has become colder here, 50's to 60's, so I took them inside by a window.

Did I screw up by not waiting until spring to plant them when they could have spent their early days outside in 80 degree weather? Anything I should do, like grow lights, to make sure they survive?

Thanks!
Name: Gigi
Florida (Zone 9a)
Plumerias Sempervivums Roses Cactus and Succulents Garden Ideas: Level 1
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GigiPlumeria
Oct 3, 2015 12:27 PM CST
Welcome! gobble. I'm assuming that 10 years is a typo?

What zone are you or where are you located it. This will determine if you still have enough time to grow these cuttings before it goes dormant. What soil mix did you use? If you can also post some pics it will help better.
©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: Gigi
Florida (Zone 9a)
Plumerias Sempervivums Roses Cactus and Succulents Garden Ideas: Level 1
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GigiPlumeria
Oct 3, 2015 2:23 PM CST
GigiPlumeria said: Welcome! gobble. I'm assuming that 10 years is a typo?

What zone are you or where are you located at. This will determine if you still have enough time to grow these cuttings before it goes dormant. What soil mix did you use? If you can also post some pics it will help better.


©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: Mark
Milwaukee, WI (Zone 5a)
gobble
Oct 3, 2015 4:31 PM CST
10 years is when I brought back my first plumeria. These new cuttings just came back in September.

I'm zone 5, Wisconsin. I used a mix of 2/3 perlite, 1/3 potting soil with an inch of pea gravel at the top. I'll have to take some pics, but there's not much to see yet.

I'm happy to purchase some grow lights if that helps. I've been searching but haven't found any tutorials with a "best" way to do it and a "best" light system to purchase.
Name: Gigi
Florida (Zone 9a)
Plumerias Sempervivums Roses Cactus and Succulents Garden Ideas: Level 1
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GigiPlumeria
Oct 3, 2015 5:07 PM CST
@drdawg may be able to help about info on grow lights (lumens, etc.). Most important for rooting plumeria is bottom heat, make sure the soil is not too wet to avoid root rot.

Bottom heat is important so, some people use heat mat but grow lights would definitely help too.
©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/
[Last edited by GigiPlumeria - Oct 3, 2015 5:09 PM (+)]
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Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
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drdawg
Oct 4, 2015 4:23 PM CST
Gobble, please take a minute to go to your profile and update it, adding you location. That way your location will show in the upper right corner anytime you post.

Welcome to ATP. Welcome!

Personally, I have never had any luck rooting cuttings during the fall/winter months. I have never used a heat mat(s) or supplemental light though. In my opinion, it is not how much light or how much (artificial) heat you give the cuttings, it is the fact that they are going into dormancy. Perhaps you can fool Mother Nature with supplement light/heat. I just don't know. I do take cuttings in the early fall, just before moving in all my plumeria. I don't do it to root them though. I have to limit the size of my plumeria to bring them all inside, thus my cutting them back. My cut-off date to root cuttings is Sept. 15. Any cuttings taken after that date are still put into 100% coarse perlite, and kept dry, but they won't root over the fall/winter months. Those taken after Sept. 1, but by Sept. 15 may root. Some (perhaps most) just won't do so. I can only tell you my experiences and results.

Why don't you use a heat mat with supplemental fluorescent lighting and see if you get rooting. You can then tell us whether you were successful and add to my and other's knowledge. Someone who would know more than I about rooting during the fall and winter months is @dutchlady1, and her name is Hetty.
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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
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Dutchlady1
Oct 4, 2015 5:19 PM CST

Moderator

Hello gobble and Welcome!
Being in Wisconsin, combined with the time of year, your cards are stacked against successful rooting. You will need to provide both heat and light. Be vigilant about moisture levels (a little misting is OK if the environment is very dry - but no watering until you see leaves growing). Keep us posted!!
Name: Mark
Milwaukee, WI (Zone 5a)
gobble
Oct 4, 2015 8:09 PM CST
Ok, that doesn't sound positive. I just ordered a 4 bulb T5 setup from Amazon that will be here Tuesday. I'll get that running right away..

I had them potted in 80 degree weather for 3-4 days then needed to take them inside by a window. They've been inside for several days now.

Maybe at this point I'm better off taking them out and letting them go into dry storage for the winter? Or too late for that?
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
Oct 4, 2015 8:11 PM CST

Moderator

Nothing lost by trying but you may not see anything happening until spring. Just be aware of moisture.... I would personally be happier with 100% perlite.
Name: Mark
Milwaukee, WI (Zone 5a)
gobble
Oct 4, 2015 8:49 PM CST
I could buy new ones if these fail, but they were cut on our honeymoon so wouldn't be the same.
Name: Gigi
Florida (Zone 9a)
Plumerias Sempervivums Roses Cactus and Succulents Garden Ideas: Level 1
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GigiPlumeria
Oct 5, 2015 5:13 AM CST
These are indeed special and You seem to be doing the right thing. If you keep it on the dry side, you will be fine. Both Ken and Hetty are successful with using 100% perlite.

The only reason, it might not do anything now is the plumerias are going into dormancy especially in your area. So keeping your plumeria cuttings media on the dry side is like keeping a cutting for next year's planting. You might get a head start because they could root early with you setting up a grow light. Dry, dry, dry soil with occasional misting on the stem to avoid dehydration would be key to making sure your cuttings will not rot. You can also wrap it with a moist paper towel early in the morning but making sure you remove them that at night so that the stems are kept dry to avoid any fungus.

Post some pics here of your cuttings and set up and we will look at how healthy are the plumeria cuttings you got (tips are shiny if they are healthy and stems would look tough not shriveled). If I were you, I will keep a watchful eye on them and document their progress by taking a photo at least a month (or posting it in this thread). It helps you see (and "us" if you post it here) if there is a drastic change that you should be worried about.

Happy growing Hurray! Hurray!

©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/
[Last edited by GigiPlumeria - Oct 5, 2015 7:13 AM (+)]
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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
Oct 5, 2015 6:13 AM CST
Mark, it matters not whether you leave those cuttings bagged, wrapped in newspaper, or their cut stems sitting in perlite. Keeping the cuttings dry is the important thing right now. I still like the idea of you trying to root them, but I am being selfish. I want to know whether it can be done since I have never been successful doing so.

I know what you mean by these cuttings being special. I brought back three tiny "sticks" from Maui 25 years ago, rooted them, and I still have those three plants. Their bases are huge (6" in diameter) but I have to take cuttings from them every summer/fall to keep them within 7' tall. Like you, I have to bring all my tropical plants (1000) in for the fall/winter months.
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[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: Mark
Milwaukee, WI (Zone 5a)
gobble
Oct 5, 2015 7:16 AM CST
When we're talking 100% perlite are we suggesting I remove them from the pots and repot them into only perlite? Won't that shock them in some way? Also, when I planted them I completely soaked the soil with the intention of not watering again until they have leaves. It was so nice here 10 days ago I wasn't expecting the weather to turn so quickly.

Or are you saying switch to 100% perlite and give up on trying to root them for now?

Will the T5's (4 ft x 4 bulbs) put out enough heat on their own or should I also look at heat mats? I stood in front of a fixture at home depot yesterday and thought I could feel heat, certainly enough to be 80 degrees or so.

I think it would be really neat to be able to give them light in the winter and keep them blooming. It was always an event at our house when the one I have right now actually bloomed. It made us feel like we were somewhere warm, sort of like going to a Jimmy Buffet concert.

A good part of our trip was scouting trees and finding the right time to snatch a piece of them. I'd hate to lose them. These are the flowers I took and they're in the pots numbered to match this picture. I'll shoot some pics of the stems tonight when I get home.
Thumb of 2015-10-05/gobble/e45e7c

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
Oct 5, 2015 7:18 AM CST

Moderator

It will only shock them if they have already started rooting; only you can tell that.
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
Oct 5, 2015 9:21 AM CST
Mark, as Hetty said, there won't be any shock at all (they are just "sticks") since there are no roots. People root their plumeria in everything from 100% perlite to 100% soil. Everyone seems to have their favorite way of doing so. The main thing, regardless what you use, is to have that rooting-medium dry so that your stems won't rot. Until they are rooted, these plants rot pretty easily since they have no way to utilize moisture. I guess I am trying to get across that there is no One Way to root plumeria.

I can't tell you whether the heat generated by those 4 T-5 tubes will do the trick. Someone who roots under lights will have to help you there.
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: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Oct 5, 2015 9:45 AM CST
Personally I would let those cuttings continue their natural dormant phase at this time of the year. Even with extra lighting and heating pads, the overall ambient temperature might still be too cold for it.

There is still hope, as long as it is kept very dry and warm, and continues to be firm to your touch all over. You can do an experiment if you wish, put two in your planned grow lighting and let the rest go into their dormancy. That way you do not lose all of them in one try. I see them being sold in some stores in the Bay Area, kept in their plastic baggie with some holes for air. They stay okay.

Name: Mark
Milwaukee, WI (Zone 5a)
gobble
Oct 5, 2015 2:54 PM CST
I like the idea of trying just a few if I didn't already take them beyond some stage where they can't stay in dormancy. I'm not sure how I would know that? I'll be home in a couple hours and can pull one out and look at the bottom. Maybe I just try that maroon color which I like the least?

Although if I'm going to pay for the lights to be on I might as well fill the area underneath....

Can someone clarify, what gets them started in their rooting media? We keep talking that they have to stay dry. Is that initial one time soaking in water that tells them to start growing roots? Or is the movement of a stem from a dry, dark place to a nice warm and sunny pot what gets them to start thinking they need roots? If the roots aren't out yet and the stem is still firm I can tell them nevermind, go back to your dry, dark winter resting spot?
[Last edited by gobble - Oct 5, 2015 2:54 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
Oct 5, 2015 2:55 PM CST

Moderator

Bottom heat!! That is what gets them going.
Name: Mark
Milwaukee, WI (Zone 5a)
gobble
Oct 5, 2015 3:04 PM CST
Then good thing I ordered a warming mat too.
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
Oct 5, 2015 3:13 PM CST

Moderator

I agree

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