Plumerias: I'm done watering mine until spring. You?

grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)November 12, 2012

Hi everyone,

I hope you and yours, and your gardens, are doing well!

I spent time this weekend getting my plumerias (also known as frangipani in some parts of the world) ready for winter so I thought I'd share about it, and hear about what you do to get yours ready too.

I don't do much, honestly, LOL, but at this time of year, I do do one important task: I turn OFF the automatic irrigation to my in-ground plumerias. Actually, I don't turn it OFF, I just remove their emitters (the things that regular water at the end of the spaghetti line) and use a "goof plug" to cap it. That way they don't get water from the irrigation system even if it's running.

The plumerias still look great, overall, but I want to start toughening them up for winter by encouraging dormancy or semi-dormancy with reduced watering. That helps them survive. Mine have been in the ground in this garden for six years now, and I refuse to cover them winter or summer, and they've done fine.

The plumerias in pots are now located in a spot where it's hard for me to reach them to water them, and where they won't get any over-spray if I'm slopping watering OTHER pots. That should help them take a nap for winter eventually.

I know a lot of folks grow them, or recently started growing them, so I just thought I'd mention it.

This is the time of year when I stop watering a lot of winter-dormant or winter-sensitive plants: plumerias, adeniums, pachypodiums, etc.

What about you? Are you growing plumies? Do you do anything to prepare them for winter? What about your other plants? Any preparation there?

Take care and keep the fun posts and pics coming!


Oh, ps, here's a pic of my 'Kimo' plumeria this morning. It still looks good, but it's dropping a leaf or two every few days. I've had it for five years now. Wilson the tennis ball hanging out just to show relative size.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pics, so far, from my little garden November 2012

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euqruob(Phoenix, AZ)

My outdoor ones are done being watered. My little greenhouse cuttings are still getting water, and a fair 65 degree environment under my porch with some grow lights.....

But, man, what a growing year, mine went from about 3 ft high to 5.5 feet high, lots of branches, flowers, leaves...

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 9:53PM
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wrcaz(9 - Chandler AZ)

I'm in the process of re-doing my backyard and want to include plumeria in containers and in the ground. Can you give information on how often you water in the summer, soil composition, exposure and how you handle the summer sun? Thanks for any advice you can give1


    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 7:48AM
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Pagancat(Phoenix, AZ)

Yeah, I'm about to suggest them for someone with a 3x3 planter who wants the "tropical" look. Grant, do you mind if I use your picture to show him?

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 9:17AM
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My plumerias in the pots (rubra) have started dropping their lower leaves, but those planted in the ground haven't yet. I'll probably stop watering at the end of the month. My Singapore Pink (obtusa) will stay evergreen if I keep watering, but I usually stop in late December/January, let the leaves drop, and then start watering again in February. Singapore Pink:

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 12:54AM
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Thought I had attached the picture. Here it is - dwarf Singapore Pink (plumeria obtusa):

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 12:56AM
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Pagancat(Phoenix, AZ)

Wow, that's really nice. Are all of the obtusas dwarves?

Does anyone know of a place to get good sized plants at a decent price?

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 10:36PM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

Fun pics and updates, thanks for sharing them! Good to hear most of us have the same general approach of withdrawing water at this time of year. I really think it helps.

Pagan, feel free to use the pic of 'Kimo'. I've seen decent sized specimens at Lowes and Home Depot all summer, so they may still have some left before all of the Christmas Stuff moves in. Let us know if/when/where you find some.

euqruob, it really WAS a banner year for plumies, wasn't it? All of mine grew and bloomed a ton. My very favorite is still 'Celandine' for those huge, extremely fragrant, sun resistant blooms. It could possibly be my favorite floral scent of ANY variety of ANY flower. Yes, I love it that much. Anyway, definitely a banner year for them.

PhxLynne your Singapore Pink is really nice! Keep us posted on how it does for you. I have 'Divine' which is a true dwarf too and it has done really well, with lots of low branches. Great fun. I love yours and its bed and patio--lookin' good! Will you still water those petunias underneath in winter?

wrcaz, I'm sure others have ideas and notions too, but here's my general approach. I use regular potting soil soil for pots (either "Miracle-Gro potting soil" (without any water-retaining crystals) or Pro-mix). I put an inch of pumice or perlite in the bottom of the pot to ensure good drainage. In the ground, I add enough compost to have about a 50% compost/50% native soil mix and I plant away. All of mine in the ground and in pots very very much benefit from afternoon shade in summer; otherwise their leaves scorch in summer. Planting them on the east side of a building or wall or shade-giving plant or structure really helps. Mine get watered three times a week late spring through last week. They'll get no water now until they re-leaf in late spring, and when they DO leaf out, I'll only water them once a week or ten days until it is HOT. I slop water-dissolved tomato fertilizer on them every two weeks and water dissolved bloom boost fertilizer on them once or twice a month.

Spring is definitely the best time of year to buy/plant them, but if you can find one now and keep it try for winter it could be worth a try. Keep us posted!

Happy gardening all,

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 4:06PM
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Wow, I didn't know you could grow plumerias so well out here. I tried starting some cuttings i got from Hawaii, but they rotted away. I think I have a better way to root them now, so will try to grow some.

How much water do you give them in our long hot summers?

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 7:36PM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

Hi Toucan and all,

Mine get watered three times a week in summer. They are surprisingly drought tolerant. If they are *seriously* annoyed and thirsty, they will wilt.

I think overwatering is the number one killer, for cuttings especially. I'm finally getting good success rooting stem cuttings now that I follow this process below (adding link). My old success rate was about 10-20% but following the instructions below I'm up to around 75% success. Not perfect, but better!

Happy gardening,

Here is a link that might be useful: How to root plumeria stem cuttings

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 2:35PM
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wow! Those are nice!!! Grant, if you trim your Celandine, possible to get some cuttings from you?

    Bookmark   January 1, 2013 at 4:20AM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

Hiya Macboat and all, I'll definitely post an update if/when I trim my 'Celandine' (or if mother nature does it for me). Always happy to share.

I did pick up a tiny unrooted cutting of 'Celandine' on this summer's trip to Hawaii and it looks like it's rooted. We'll see for sure this spring. 5 out of 7 cuttings that I brought back (all commercially prepared and approved for the US mainland) seem to have rooted. Yay.

I see it for sale on Ebay now and then too, but I'll definitely post if/when I have trimmings/cuttings. For now it's almost, but not quite, asleep for winter.

Happy gardening all!

    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 4:22PM
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