First time cutting

Will07(5)January 3, 2013

My mother has a plumeria which was given to her from her father (my grandfather) many years ago as a cutting from Hawaii. He gave my aunt one also and hers blooms profusely in the spring with yellow flowers. She is on well water and has huge bay windows which face south. My mother's plumeria bloomed for the first time 2 summers ago when I fed it 10-52-10 starting in June and produced its first bunch of flowers around the end of August. It was the first time since she had it that it produced flowers though there were not many (it is most likely 15 years old). It is kept by a patio door in winter (facing south [and placed outside in full sun from June to September]) but unfortunately we do not have the tall windows my aunt has. It is kept in a room with free circulating air and the gas fire place can run for hours making it very hot and dry and is rarley watered. In past years the plumeria has sheded most of its leaves and had a very bad spider mite infestation when brought inside. This autumn I sprayed it with end-all and there is no sign of spider mites and very few leaves have droped. I was thinking of cutting it back as it has grown very large but I don't know if this is a good idea. My mother cut off a side shoot once and it never grew any new shoots from that cut limb. I don't have a picture of it at the moment but I would be interested in any advice. It has white flowers if that makes any difference, and also I live in Ottawa Ontario so the summer isn't as long as the plumeria would like. It is about 6'5"" including the pot which is about 12" diameter.

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Based on your description I would consider cutting it in March. After cutting New Branches form from old leaf nodes so if you do not leave some on a branch it will not regrow. I would cut a branch about six inches from the joint and that would give the best chance of re-branching.

I would also consider a larger pot. Go as big as you can. There are also many discussions on fertilizers but most Plumeria experts would recommend staying away from such a high middle number. Plumeria expert Jim Little states in his book a balanced fertilizer will work in most cases. good luck

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 10:48PM
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Thank you for your response. On a closer examination the pot is actually about 17" not 12". I know it is very root bound but I don't want to increase the pot size as it is not very managable as is. I also only feed it 15-30-15 now in the summer months and sometimes will give it fish emulsion 5-1-1, or 15-15-18 once or twice in the winter. I also flush the soil a couple times when the plant is outdoors in summer. It's been growing in Pro-mix HP for the last couple years so not much organic matter or nutrition other than the fertilizer I give it.
I'll take into account of where you say to cut the branches but until I can post some pics I won't make any cuts. I'm afraid if I cut it back too much it won't bloom again for another few years.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 2:18AM
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You could root prune it in the early spring as well. That would help with being root bound and would improve the overall health of the plant. I would cut the roots back to about the same diameter as a basketball. Maybe just under that diameter considering the size of your pot.

As far as not getting any blooms I guess I was under the impression that it's under performing for you right now. In my opinion this spring would be the best time to branch prune it and next year you will have a much stronger chance of blooms. Besides if you root the cut branches you may still enjoy any potential blooms that you may have cut off.

Since you are so far north I would also recommend a consistent fertilizing plan from mid spring to early autumn. I am a beleiver in using what you have available and those are the ferts you can get then those will work just fine. Simple consistency will give you good results and then you can build on it from there if you choose to.

I hope this helps.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 10:22AM
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Excellent advice K., I bet root pruning would do wonders for the plant Will07, freshen up your soil mix at that time too - a well draining mix.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 11:32PM
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I'm very ignorant when it comes to pruning the roots. If I prune the roots should I also prune branches? Should I increase fertilizer and water? I feel like if the plant is doing fine don't mess with the roots!

    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 11:37PM
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Believe it or not, pruning the roots actually invigorates the plant because as the roots branch out you get finer and finer roots that mostly become unuseable to the plant due to constriction, etc. Pruning the roots will breathe new life into your plant, guaranteed. Being root bound is not doing anything for your plant.

When you prune the roots, replace the old soil with new soil since you'll have everything out anyways. After you re-plant, water it in really well and don't water again until the soil dries out. I would personally probably wait to fertilize for a few weeks to let the plant re-adjust.

Pruning the branches is a totally seperate issue that can't advise you on, but many on the forum can.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 12:11AM
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finally got pics of the plumeria

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 2:14PM
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