Plumeria seed pods splitting open...what to do?

LoveMyGreenBabies(9)January 10, 2013

Hi all! I'm fairly new to the forum so this is my first time posting. I have a couple questions and any advice is greatly appreciated.

First, a brief (maybe not so brief) history. Two summers ago I purchased three plumeria trees from a local nursery, having absolutely no experience with them and questioning whether they would thrive or even survive the hot, dry summers we experience here in the desert. (I live in Twentynine Palms, CA. Summer days here usually hang around 115 degrees
And often reach into the 120s) To my surprise they have done very well. They spend their summers on a large north facing partially covered patio in the shade where they can get their morning sun and be shaded but receive reflected/filtered light from the blistering noon and afternoon sun. They have grown about a foot in height since I brought them home, and have bloomed every summer and even some earlier this winter.

Usually I overwinter them in the garage, but this year when it started getting too cold for them to be outside(mid-November), they seemed as if they didn't want to rest, and instead just kept pushing out leaves and blooms, so I brought them into my kitchen. One of them started dropping its leaves and I figured it was going dormant, until I noticed some webbing and spots all over the leaves, which to my horror I learned was a red spider mite infestation. I pulled all the leaves off after a failed attempt to wipe off the pests. Now the tree is bare and appears to be dormant. My other tree on the other hand, has no sign of infestation, and has even added almost a full inch of growth on the stems and several new leaves, since bringing it inside.

So here goes the questions (for anyone that is still reading, I apologize for the long-windedness)...
1. I noticed sometime around mis October that one of my trees (which happens to be the one that is still growing and pushing out leaves) had seed pods growing on them. I've read that they take about 9-10 months to mature. They likely were there longer seeing as how I was quite neglectful to my plants for a couple months. Well, the seed pods have begun to split open, and I have no idea what to do. I saw somewhere online about wrapping cheesecloth or pantyhose around the pods to catch the seeds, but I have neither. I also saw you can cut the pods off and place them in a paper bag, but I am wondering if it is too early for that. What do you recommend I do?
2. I see all of your plumerias on here have large clusters of flowers, and I'm jealous. Mine will push out about 3-4 blooms at a time, and the blooms seem to fade very quickly, lasting about a week at the most. After those blooms have faded more are pushed out in succession afterwards, and I suck at keeping records so I'm not sure how long this goes on for, but I believe it lasts a good chunk of the summer. I guess my question is long are the blooms supposed to last before shriveling up? I never have a problem with them shriveling before they open, but I wish they would last longer while they are open. Is it because they aren't getting enough humidity? And how can i get my tree to bloom more profusely? Also, you should know I never fertilize. I think I did once this past year. I know, bad me. I know they are heavy feeders, so I'm guessing I should start fertilizing, but when would be a good time? Should I start fertilizing now?
3. At the bottom left of my picture, there is a newer leaf that is oddly shaped. Every once in a while I get leaves like this. What causes it? Is it a pest, a deficiency,...?

Again, I appreciate any advice thrown my way.

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If it's splitting, it's ready to send the seeds inside
on their merry way. It's not too early, it's that time.

If you want to save the seeds, just cut off the pods and
let them open indoors.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 7:31PM
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Ok awesome!!! Thank you!!

    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 7:39PM
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Aloha...I did the seed thing back in 2005...waited for it to split open...once the seeds were dried, I kept them all between 2 wet paper towels that I misted with water...overnight...the next day...the ones that were puffed up, those were the viable seeds to work with. I got this info from the plumeria society. It took a long time for them to bloom, out of all the seeds...25 went on to grow and flower. What is fasinating is that each seed will/can be a different color/flower/scent...all different, even though the same pod. My seedling/babies I give away the ones that are too similar to what I have...BUT, I did get 2 great red do have to wait 3 years and photograph them each year of the bloom if you are going to register/name them...I do have another seed pod now almost ready of a great coral I brought from Maui...cannot is too short sometimes to do the seed thing...hope this helps...roxanne

    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 8:20PM
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I have been trying to find some information on exactly how to remove the seed pods as I do not want to damage the plant in any way. I am not sure if I just break them off at the base of each pod or cut them somewhere along the little stalk that they are growing from. Also, I keep seeing that you should wait until the pod is brown and dried-looking before removing them. Although mine have begun to split, they are still firm and green, only brown at the base of each pod and slightly at the tips, but definitely not a dried and turned brown kind of brown, if that makes any sense. For lack of better terminology on my part, they are still quite "fresh" looking. Should I leave them for now and put something around them just in case. I would love to have many of these babies and so scared I'm going to do something wrong. If I remove them now, will I reduce my chances of being successful in trying to germinate them?

    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 8:31PM
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what zone/area are you in? Just saw it...bring it into a sunny room if you can while we are having this REAL cold weather...I let mine dry ON the plant, then when it was obvious, cut it off cleanly leaving about 1 inch of the stem base on the tree so it could dry up and fall off on it's own...good luck..I am surprised that my seed pods are late this year as well but am willing to give it a go again. There is even a new way I saw of a guy who floated them in styrofoam chips in it..mahalo, roxanne

    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 8:39PM
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Hi Roxanne! Wow that is awesome! I am quite impatient so waiting such a long time to actually see the fruits of the labor will be painful, but it is so exciting to see what colors will pop out of those bad boys, so I think it will be worth it. Congrats on your success with your seeds, I can't wait to give this a try!


    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 8:55PM
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I'm in zone 9....have it on my profile which for some reason I thought automatically entered it into the top of each post. Silly me. Right now it is in the sunniest room in the house, the kitchen, right next to but not in front of a west facing window. I did happen to see the post about starting the seeds using the ghost poop (styrofoam peanuts). Sounds like an interesting way to do it, I might give it a try along with a couple other methods and see which works best for me, that is, if I have enough seeds to work with.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 9:08PM
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cool...I have not heard anyone call it ghost #@$!! for years now...I have not tried but a friend did it and said it is hard to get the seed with roots out w/o damage. I am up to over 130 now in our tiny I am moving the unwanteds out to the cold front yard in the ground wgere people seem to steel them, in the late part of March...survival of the fittest...that way I have room for all my really cool ones I have been buying since I learned a bit more. Cannot wait for the cutting sale at the Balboa Park from the San Diego group on the 1st weekend of wish list has 67 on it...OOPS! roxanne

    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 9:36PM
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Two things: first of all holy crap! 130???? I'm jealous. And second, where do you live so I can swipe some of your "unwanteds"? Lol I wish I lived closer to where there are things like cutting sales. I am about 3 hours away from Balboa, can anyone go? Although I think if I were to go I might not have any gas money to make it back haha. As of right now I only have two trees, started with three but sadly I gifted one to a friend who has made no attempt to replant it and bring it out of dormancy. Poor tree. I only have one place to get plumerias. I bought mine off a local nursery at $15 each for about a 2 1/2 foot tree. Can't wait to have more though. They make me happy :)

    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 10:08PM
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Anyone can go to the S.D. cutting sale and it is free...!!!!The rooted plant sale is on Sept.7th and 8th this year. Very excited to go to the cutting sale and get them back here and root them under the egg...roxanne

    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 11:40PM
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Super! Thanks for the info :)

    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 11:47PM
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Ok so as for now, I think I will leave the pods on the plumeria and loosely wrap some cheesecloth around them and see what happens.

I was wondering if anyone has any advice as to help with my other questions. Why the oddly shaped leaves, which you can see one in my picture above. Not every leaf, but more like 3-5 per plant. I read some info regarding leaf stress disorder, which if that is what mine is, it is a very mild case compared to the pictures I saw. Also when my tree blooms, it only gets four blooms at the most, which are replaced sparingly by a couple more once they are spent. And the flowers only last like two days before shriveling up. I realize I need to fertilize, which I don't. But I also read on this forum that there is a debate with success on both sides regarding repotting in the same pot after a root trim, and potting up. I have kept my plumerias in clay pots, which are now crumbling, and I am not sure what to do here. I live in a hot desert where the temps get up into the 120s and stay there. The black florist pots I have seen recommended on here I worry would get way too hot in the sun and cook my roots. Plus I tend to overwater during the summer months, which some argue is hard to do where I live. In addition, my plumerias are inside, and the one in the crumbling clay pot looks like it isn't going to go dormant. It has almost an inch of shiny new growth at the branch tips just from this past month and a half it has been inside. Would it be ok to repot now and then wait a couple weeks before fertilizing, or should I just wait for spring?

Thanks all! Cassandra

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 4:39PM
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I am sure I don't know near as much as some as these other plumerians on the forum, but we have had such cold weather, I would wait till March maybe to do anything. Do you know the name of the plumeria in question? Not all bloom the same or have the same characteristics. Some I bought years back that were not labeled are being given to neighbors..thinning the herd so to speak so I can get ones on our small lot that bloom/grow far as the black florist pots and the heat...I feel the same...too hot , however, we did see those all over Florida where it was scorching and the plants were fine...aloha, roxanne

    Bookmark   January 15, 2013 at 11:07AM
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grandy3(sub-tropical 10)

A good source for learning how to plant seed pods is I have been able to grow several trees using their method.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2013 at 1:45PM
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