What can I do to make this plumeria root? - Knowledgebase Question

Fresno, California
Question by margaretKevorkian
August 29, 2017
I received a plumeria cutting in February this year - it was a healthy cutting from Maui. At first I put it in a small amount of water which I changed daily. After a couple of months, it produced beautiful blooms. After a brief rest, it bloomed again and produced seed pods. Then, slowly, leaves began to form. I put it in a porous soil mix and left it lightly damp, and, since then, have keot it on the patio in filtered light. I took it out about 3 weeks ago and there are no roots. I have the cutting only about an inch or less in the soil and propped it up with rocks( if I can
send a photo, I will. Our weather is HOT this week, so I may bring the cutting back indoors.

What should I do next? If roots never form, then what? Thank you for your advice!
Thumb of 2017-08-29/margaretKevorkian/785cbd
Thumb of 2017-08-29/margaretKevorkian/cad36b

Name: Lin
East Central Florida (Zone 9b)

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Answer from plantladylin
August 29, 2017

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Maybe your Plumerias (Plumeria) is just slow in producing roots? It's been a number of years since I rooted cuttings so I don't know how long it took. I always stuck the calloused cuttings into soil though, never tried rooting in water. Hopefully someone more knowledgeable with Plumeria will be along soon with suggestions. Once your plant does produce roots you can move it to full sun.

Fresno, California
A comment from margaretKevorkian
August 29, 2017
Thank you. Maybe my cutting was too busy with the flowering and subsequent leafing, so I will be patient.
I appreciate your reply.

Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
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Answer from tarev
August 29, 2017

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What worked for me before is to stick the cutting into porous media right away, water thoroughly, leaving it alone and positioning the plant in part sun (preferably morning sun)/shade. It has to acclimate to your growing area. Our very dry summer heat is too intense and stressful for this plant while it has no roots to drink water to help it endure this very dry season, but it will respond better being outdoors than being kept indoors.

I think what bloomed for your cutting are latent buds of the previous growing season so it focused its energy on the blooms and not on rooting. Cutting that inflo would have helped the plant refocus its energy instead to root formation.

On a worst case scenario, it may not make roots, but if it is staying firm from top to bottom and no visual rotting, then it will just go to dormancy when our cooler winter conditions sets in. I allow my Plumerias to go dormant in winter and just wait again for it to make new growth in Spring. Do inspect the bottom part of your cutting if there is no rotting since you have attempted rooting in water before. I am a little concerned with that wrinkly part of the stem, hopefully it is not rot setting inside.

By the way, just going to add, if you do repot and leave outdoors, for now position in shade, we are on excessive heat wave here in the Central Valley.

Fresno, California
A comment from margaretKevorkian
August 30, 2017
Thank you, Tarev! Your reply is both enlightening and alarming. I took the cutting out of the pot last night to have a look at it and I don't see any rot. The outer layer seems to be pulling away from the center a bit and, because the first person to reply here said something about the stem drying out, I did spray it this morning, hoping to prevent that from worsening.
i have it in filtered light, but it was so hot here yesterday I brought it indoors for awhile.
It is hard for you to tell, but that blue item is a paper cup with the bottom removed and the cutting is propped up by small stones.
When I looked at the bottom last night I noticed one
whitish bump that was firm to the touch. I'm hoping it is a root, but, it probably is not. The stem itself is
very firm but dark. That could be discoloration from the soil mix.

NEXT QUESTION: I have to go away for a few days in a week or so. Shall I place it in another pot and keep dampened moss around it to prevent the drying?
How I wish I had known what the flowering signified!
Thank you for your reply!

Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
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A comment from tarev
August 30, 2017
Hi Margaret, Plumeria is a tropical succulent. So in line with growing any succulent, I do not use dampened moss. Bottom heat triggers the root growth, so the ambient heat it can take, but not too much direct sun yet. Your cutting has leaf claws already, so just a little more patience, at least one leaf to open up properly then you can water away!

Fresno, California
A comment from margaretKevorkian
August 30, 2017
Oh, thank you for the reassurance. I do so appreciate it!

Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
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A comment from tarev
August 30, 2017
We still got about 2 months before it starts to go cold. I use 50F as my baseline overnight temperature before I bring in the Plumeria for its winter dormancy. So hopefully the cutting will still try to continue on with leafing, just got to leave it alone in one part shade spot.

Fresno, California
A comment from margaretKevorkian
August 30, 2017
Okay, I will leave it as it is. When I bring it in, as you say, are you talking about indoors, or a cooler location?
Again, thank you for your good advice,

Fresno, California
A comment from margaretKevorkian
August 31, 2017
Good Morning, Tarev - The cutting is enjoying a bit of
morning sunshine. It is kind of cool right now. I will bring it back to the patio in about 10 " . What I want to tell you is that I worried about the shriveling, so I stuck a pin in the stem in 3 different places, top, middle and end ( I had removed it from the soil to get another look because the stem looked dark). I was very happy to see that white fluid appeared in all 3 spots - not the very bottom where roots start - I saw nothing there. The leaf claws look vigorous.
THANK YOU AGAIN for your help. You are so nice to take the time to advise me.

Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
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A comment from tarev
August 31, 2017
That is indeed good news that the pin prick shows white liquid! Yes, it is a cool start for us here as well, so my plants are happy for the moment. Good to bring it in shade later and let it be. Typically plants, cuttings or not, will not do much when our temps starts hitting 90F and higher and our humidity going too low. Just leave your plant in that shady area for the rest of the week up to next Friday based on forecasts. Our Central Valley conditions are just too lousy right now. Just monitor the temps closely. I have to do the same here.

Fresno, California
A comment from margaretKevorkian
September 20, 2017
Hello, Tarev, I am sad to tell you that my cutting turned black and rotted. I am so disappointed -
there are no words to express how crushed I am.
Of course, now I want to try another one - this was a
particularly healthy cutting that my daughter brought back from Maui and I would like to try again. I have the instructions that came with it, but no address, so
if you know a source there, please let me know. It is silly, I know, 😔 but, I wish I could obtain another and, of course, one just like it!!
Margaret

Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
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A comment from tarev
September 20, 2017
Sorry to hear that margaret. You can certainly try again. At this time of the year when seasons are changing to the cooler months, I would suggest you delay new attempts to next growing season, in mid Spring. I know there are sources in San Diego, or you can also try another NGA member who sells Plumerias, drdawg. It gets frustrating to root them towards Fall and Winter, since this plant naturally goes dormant, light conditions going shorter, temperature going cooler. Don't feel so bad, it took me three attempts, three growing seasons to finally understand its quirks. I was also at the point of giving up, just takes awhile to get a handle of it, especially in our excessively dry area.

Fresno, California
A comment from margaretKevorkian
September 20, 2017
Thank you, Tarev, I will heed your advice and also try the sources you mention. I appreciate your reply.
Margaret

Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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Answer from DaisyI
August 30, 2017

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Your mistake was allowing it to bloom. The cutting is living on energy stored in the stem until it can grow roots and then leaves.

On your cutting, all that reserve energy went into producing the next generation (blooms and then seeds).

Roots should grow first and then leaves. The stem is shriveling because its running out of oomph. There may not be anything left to grow roots with.

Fresno, California
A comment from margaretKevorkian
August 30, 2017
I appreciate your reply. It is too bad I couldn't get advice sooner - I'm really afraid that this cutting is a goner. :(

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