Plumeria forum: Stem rot in Plumeria?

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Name: Margaret
Atlanta, GA (Zone 7b)
mgritchie
Jun 28, 2016 7:17 PM CST
Hi all,

My plumeria is going on three years old. I haven't had any blooms and I was hoping this year would be the year. But when I went out today, I noticed the bottom of the stem looked really weird. When I knocked the surface with a knife, there was no milky white substance. I have put it out for a few hours at time but when the temperatures exceed 90 degrees, I place it in the shade. I also use fertilizer once every two or three weeks. I don't really know what I have done wrong, other than I might have watered too close to the roots. I am still getting new growth and lots of leaves are coming in. I would like to know what this is and how I can fix it without it killing the whole plant. I have attached two photos showing the base of the plant near the roots and two photos of the ongoing growth.

Thumb of 2016-06-29/mgritchie/d834dc

Thumb of 2016-06-29/mgritchie/4a4f0c

Thumb of 2016-06-29/mgritchie/8ed83d



Thumb of 2016-06-29/mgritchie/8eef5e

Name: Jeff
Hudson, Fla (Zone 9a)
Region: United States of America
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Moe
Jun 28, 2016 7:31 PM CST
That could be sunburn !! I would stick a needle in it a good 1/4 inch then see if you get white sap...Im not sure where you live but if you are getting hit with this heat wave you may want to put her in some partial shade..If still no sap i would expose the roots and get a good look..
Name: Jeff
Hudson, Fla (Zone 9a)
Region: United States of America
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Moe
Jun 28, 2016 7:34 PM CST
another suggestion squeeze the base and see if it is squishy first...If it is it most likely is rot..Your leaves look healthy so I am guessing this may be sunburn..
[Last edited by Moe - Jun 28, 2016 7:36 PM (+)]
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Jun 28, 2016 8:07 PM CST
Hi mgritchie! I agree with Moe, it does seem to look like sunburn. But do check below soil line carefully so you don't damage the roots, just to rule out that it is not starting to go mushy.
Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
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Dutchlady1
Jun 29, 2016 3:04 AM CST

Moderator

I agree, and it is most likely caused by the reflected heat off the sides of the pot. Please, always fill your pots all the way.
If this is only on one side the plant will be OK. If it is all the way around the cambium may be burned completely and the plant will no longer be able to thrive.
Name: Margaret
Atlanta, GA (Zone 7b)
mgritchie
Jun 29, 2016 4:06 AM CST
Hi guys,

I live about 40 miles north of Atlanta. Most days have been between 95 to 100 degrees the last two weeks. The stem doesn't feel like there is any give to it.

How can I check below the root line without damaging the roots? Should I bring it in for a few days to give it relief?

When I push a pin in that area, no milky SAP comes out. The sunburn/stem rot isn't consistently around the plant, it's spotty. The other side of the stem is a bit darker than green but isn't like the side that's in the picture. When I move some of the soil aside, the stem is dark brown below the soil line.

I am just confused because I have two new inches of growth. Last week, I had nine leaves with two coming in. Now, I have to the nine leaves which have gotten bigger and five leaves coming in quickly.

Thank you!
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
Jun 29, 2016 4:24 AM CST

Moderator

If it's not all the way around, the plant should be ok. But as soon as you can (and I personally would do it now) fill the pot all the way. It might be best to just fill over what is there now to bury some of the sunburned part.
Name: Jeff
Hudson, Fla (Zone 9a)
Region: United States of America
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Moe
Jun 29, 2016 7:30 AM CST
I think it will be OK...No mush is good news !! I would definitely do what Hetty said and fill the pot to the top..On the bright days in high temps I would find a semi shaded area maybe under a tree or in between some other plants to act as a filter for the intense sunshine... By the way Welcome! ..Lots of good people here with great advice...Have fun !!
Name: Margaret
Atlanta, GA (Zone 7b)
mgritchie
Jun 29, 2016 8:11 AM CST
Thank you Jeff and Hetty! I moved her to the front porch where she can still get some sun but she is protected by the covered porch and other bushes.

I still have hope for a bloom this year! She keeps getting taller and always gets tonsbof leaves, but no new branches.
Name: Margaret
Atlanta, GA (Zone 7b)
mgritchie
Jul 2, 2016 11:14 AM CST
Moe said:I think it will be OK...No mush is good news !! I would definitely do what Hetty said and fill the pot to the top..On the bright days in high temps I would find a semi shaded area maybe under a tree or in between some other plants to act as a filter for the intense sunshine... By the way Welcome! ..Lots of good people here with great advice...Have fun !!


Quick update! There are more leaves. The middle of the stem is now soft, NOT mushy, but the top and bottom of the stem are fine. The bottom and middle portion of the stem are not producing milky white sap but the top part top of the stem is. I am so baffled. I don't want to assume it's fine and then the whole thing dies. But it has new growth on the stem and even more leaves. I added soil all the way to the top of the pot. The leaves are the biggest I have ever seen them and they are a beautiful, vibrant green.

So what should I do?
Name: Gigi
Florida (Zone 9a)
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GigiPlumeria
Jul 4, 2016 3:07 PM CST
It might be fine if you have healthy Leaves
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