Plumeria forum: Advice needed on pruning, leaf problems, etc.

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Name: Fiona
Central Texas (Zone 8b)
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fifitx
Jun 30, 2017 9:19 AM CST
Hello everyone, new poster here, but I have already learned a lot from reading through old threads. Apologies in advance for what will likely be a lengthy post with my plumeria's entire life story!

I never had a plant in my life until about 3 years ago when I chanced on a craigslist poster who was moving out of state and wanted to give someone their plants for free. She was a much better gardener than I am, and none of the plants look nearly as healthy as they did when I first brought them home (not to mention several which died within the first year I had them). However, I have managed to keep alive a few plants, including a small lime tree and a plumeria, both of which I have become extremely attached to.

After browsing the web a bit, I believe that what I thought was one plumeria may in fact be TWO plumerias in a single pot. I'm guessing this is not ideal, but when I repotted them for the first time last summer the roots seemed too closely entangled to be safely separated.

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It is potted in a mix of potting soil and sand, I can't recall the exact mixture. Since moving the pot outside this summer, I have seen a lot of leaf deformations that I speculated were due to under watering, as it has been quite hot. However, the soil didn't seem to be drying out too much. A couple weeks ago I bought plant risers to ensure the drainage holes can flow freely, and I have been watering more, and the leaves started looking a bit better, but I was still not seeing as much growth as I had in years past (and no sign of flowers Sad ) I also bought a moisture meter to take some of the guesswork out of watering.

Then last week I saw a web or two and suspected spider mites, so I took it into my shower and washed it off as best as I could. I think the new leaves are looking healthier so far, but in the past sometimes they have not shown deformations until they get bigger, so I'll have to wait and see.


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If anyone has other ideas about what's wrong with my leaves, please let me know!

I have never gotten many flowers from this plumeria, at most 2-3 at a time, although it has bloomed at least once every year. The picture in my avatar is the best shot I have of its flowers. I think the plant got a bit confused this year because it tried to bloom shortly after I brought it indoors for the winter, but the flowers fell off without fully opening. Because of this and because I took a cutting over the winter, I wasn't expecting any flowers this summer, but about a week after my plant had its washdown in the shower, I spotted one inflo on the same "trunk" I had cut from Smiling I had not fed the plant EVER until I started a few months ago, with Scott Super Bloom (12-55-6).



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Still teeny tiny!

Nothing so far on the other "trunk," which is the one that tried to flower this winter. As far as pruning goes, I have never cut that trunk, but it did branch on its own after last summer's bloom. The other trunk was broken two years ago in a storm, which devastated me at the time until the break grew into two branches and I learned that pruning can cause branching. This winter I tried to get it to branch again by taking a cutting, and while the cutting rooted and is doing well at my parents house, the branch I cut from callused over and never grew anything Sad

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You can see here where it was roughly broken by the wind, causing two nice branches, and where I carefully cut it, leaving nothing but a stick!! Confused

The whole plant is much too leggy and top heavy and needs to be cut down, but that experience made me nervous to try again. It is pretty unwieldy at this point, which is a problem because it needs to get moved indoors and back out again fairly regularly (when we have storms it gets extremely windy up here on the 2nd floor patio.) I have thought about doing it like this:



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However I am unsure about WHEN I should chop it up. I'm hoping if I trim the end of the "stick," it will start to grow again. On the one hand, it seems like doing this now while there's still plenty of summer growing season left would be wise. But on the other hand, I don't want to lose the flowers that are developing on that plant's growth tip.

As for the trunk/plant on the right, it seems like it will still be too tall/top heavy if I just make one cut, so I was thinking about taking a center cutting as well. It's hard to see in the previous picture, but it has two small branches at the top, and I actually think I see what might be a third branch starting to bud??



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Not sure what all those brown patches are, but does that look like a new branch budding between them?

Anyway, thanks for bearing with me through this long post. I would love to hear what you all think! Thank You!
Name: Fiona
Central Texas (Zone 8b)
Image
fifitx
Jun 30, 2017 9:30 AM CST
I forgot to mention the whole saga of dealing with ANTS and the problems they caused. I have read that plumeria attracts ants and I had a whole colony at one point. They also got into my lime tree while both plants were indoors for the winter and started cultivating scale insects, which I didn't notice until there was a massive number of them. I diligently wiped off all the scale but it kept coming back, even after applying Tanglefoot to keep the ants from climbing up the tree, but finally I poisoned the ants and haven't seen a single scale since.

Strangely, I never saw any scales on my plumeria, although there were plenty of ants in the pot. Thumbs up
Name: Lucky
Sacramento CA (Zone 9b)
Plumerias
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luckyzl230
Jul 1, 2017 1:06 AM CST
I've notice those brown patches on a few of my plumerias. I was worried at first then noticed that was where they were sun burnt from the previous year. This year it seems the plumeria is trying to grow a new coat to replace the sun burnt part. Almost like it's shedding. I'm not sure if that's what's actually going on but the plant still grows just fine and is now blooming.
Lucky Patrick
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 2, 2017 12:56 PM CST

Moderator

The best time to prune your plant is in early spring when it is just coming out of dormancy. The cuttings will root easily then too.
Your plant should be in FULL SUN in order to thrive and bloom satisfactorily. And please give it a well-balanced fertilizer: Super Bloom is designed for annuals and will do nothing to make your flowering tree - which is what a plumeria is - grow healthy and strong.

Happy growing!
Name: Fiona
Central Texas (Zone 8b)
Image
fifitx
Jul 3, 2017 10:32 PM CST
Dutchlady1 said:Your plant should be in FULL SUN in order to thrive and bloom satisfactorily. And please give it a well-balanced fertilizer: Super Bloom is designed for annuals and will do nothing to make your flowering tree - which is what a plumeria is - grow healthy and strong.


Thanks for the tips!

Unfortunately my patio is fully covered so there is nowhere that gets full sun. I put the plumeria at the western edge of the patio, where it gets direct sun about half the day. We rarely have overcast weather and it gets very hot in the sun here, regularly reaching the 100s during the day time.

I picked up Super Bloom specifically because I read that plumeria like fertilizer with a lot of phosphate--is that not correct?
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
Image
Dutchlady1
Jul 5, 2017 5:09 AM CST

Moderator

Please read the following:

https://www.floridacolorsplume...
Name: Fiona
Central Texas (Zone 8b)
Image
fifitx
Jul 12, 2017 6:38 PM CST
Hmm, that certainly makes sense about the micronutrients but I don't understand why literally every site I've found online suggests high phosphorus fertilizer rather than something more balanced! Confused
The only other food I have on hand is Citrus Gain, which is 8-3-9 with micronutrients, so I might give it a bit of that until I can pick up something else.

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
Image
Dutchlady1
Jul 13, 2017 4:52 AM CST

Moderator

For years fertilizer with a high middle number were heavily promoted for plumeria. Unfortunately that info is still on the internet.
Name: Shannon
Washington, DC (Zone 7a)
Plumerias
Image
kanona82
Jul 13, 2017 5:30 AM CST
@fifitx It's amazing that you have two plumies in one pot - they're basically Siamese twins! I wonder at some point if you decide to re pot if you'll be able to separate them.

Regardless, you brought up a question I've been wondering about my plumerias:

"This winter I tried to get it to branch again by taking a cutting, and while the cutting rooted and is doing well at my parents house, the branch I cut from callused over and never grew anything."

I had a Y shaped plumeria that I successfully split into two separate plants this year, but now I'm wondering about future cuttings. I want to take some more from the plant on the left (with a shorter trunk and longer branches) but I am worried about the branch on the host plant just callusing over and no longer growing. Does anyone have any advice?

(Note- I have some empty Tupperware containers in each pot for trunk support - I'm currently working on getting some non-stake supports. Ghetto looking but they work!)

These photos were taken in February and July of this year. THANK YOU for any assistance!

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