can't get my Plumies to go to sleep

sunslight(Utah z5-6)January 24, 2012

I live in Utah. Have 2 plumerias (golden something--anybody wanna feel generous and send some cuttings?) that I nurse along.

They go outside in early June and back inside in late September or when the night temps drop below 50.

Last year there were no flowers, but the previous 2 years, I finally got flowers. The plants are in 5 gal. buckets.

I want them to rest during the winter but have not been successful in getting them to sleep.

I wait until the night temp drops to the 45-50 deg range. But sometimes (many times) the weather has gone from 50 deg. at night, with the next night being in the 20s.

So, inside they go, before the low temperatures.

Because I bring them indoors, where the temp. is much warmer, they keep growing instead of going dormant.

I let them dry out as much as I can. This year I haven't watered them in 3 months and I cut off all the leaves. But they are still trying to put out new leaves, especially at the tip.

I opened a window in the room they are in--dropped the temp to 40, but when I close the window the temp goes back up to 60 or so and they seem perfectly happy to continue to grow, even though I have stopped watering.

The plants need to be divided. One year I tried to do cuttings indoors and even though I treated the ends with sulfur, then sealed them with wax, they went black & mushy. So, I know there are mold spores in the house that are just waiting to get at a wounded Plumie.

I'm afraid to do cuttings with them not being dormant & being inside, especially with loosing my other ones. And these are my last two.

If dormant, I assume there's much less of a chance of them getting disease when I make cuttings. But how do I get the darn things to go to sleep?

Or should I give in and keep them growing, with no rest?

I want Plumerias--even though I am in zone 5!



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Since they're native to the tropics, you really can't expect them to rest in the same way as temperate plants do. Some plumeria cultivars don't sleep at all, so don't sweat trying to get them to go dormant.

I always leave mine to do their own thing, never cutting off their leaves unless they're going yellow anyway. Mine stay in the house (temps in 67-71 range) from December to April and a few stay lush and green the entire time while some drop all their leaves in late December and don't flush out again until February or March.

Most will keep at least a few leaves over winter, but regardless, their dormancy is not long. Full dormancy is also not required for flowering the next season. Some plumerias just skip a year blooming while they put on height.

As for taking cuttings, late winter/early spring is the ideal time to do it, and preferably from wood that's not too green.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 1:42PM
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I also live in Utah (Cache Valley). All of my approximately 30 plumeria are growing under high intensity grow lights in a basement room. Only one has gone dormant. The others are growing like winter has not come. About 7 have bloomed since coming inside. I see no reason to make them go dormant.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 12:06AM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Hello !!!

I agree with Jen and Kevin,

Let them do what they like...If they want to continue to grow. let them!!! I have half of my trees growing and the other half in the back room resting for the winter. This for me is done because of space needs. The other trees are some of my favorites and have inflos still pushing and i want to see if they will continue to bloom.

Let them grow and then cut them in the spring then ( if needed) give away or root the cuttings!!! I will start to prune mine in early to mid march. I cant wait!!!

Good Luck Bob!!!

Take care,


    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 12:32AM
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Hello to you all!!! I am excited to say that I will too be in Utah soon.... maybe in the next month... moving to Pleasant View/Ogden area... happy to see that Plumies can survive.. just worried that they'll be shocked and wont survive. also have some succulents/cacti that I hope will be alright... but do have some hope! :)


    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 4:27PM
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sunslight(Utah z5-6)

thanks everyone. Now, I'm not so afraid of being unable to force them to go dormant.

Hope I can have succces with cuttings in March. Am a bit afraid of taking cutting of non-dormant plant, white sap dripn all over.

I suppose I let the wound callous before I repot (but that's another question).

To Chuy415, welcome to cold & dry Utah. Growing things here is really different than rest of the country. But it's still possible.

I even have a dwarf Valencia orange tree I got at nursery in CA. Carried it back in car. Keep it inside for 8-9 months of year (just like plumies), then it goes outdoors for the summer.

I get blossoms about Christmas time.

with the Plumies in Utah--I'm sure there will be some shock. Make certain they are transported in such a way that they don't get too cold.

Once here, you'll probably be able to put them outside, without threat of snow, in June. If you want to put them out earlier, watch weather, make sure you don't leave them out over-night. And it is so dry here, misting the leaves is helpful. Hope u enjoy the mountains.

thanks again everyone.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2012 at 6:38AM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Hi Sunslight,

Anytime you take a cutting from your tree, the best advice given is to wait at least 7 days for it to callous up before you repot to root.

Some like to seal the stem from where you took the cutting, some will leave it be. If it is exposed to rain and different conditions, then i would suggest to seal the cut. Some use Tile Sealant Latex and some like Waterproof Wood Glue. I prefer the wood glue, although the choice is up to you. This is to prevent anything like bugs, water to get in and cause more rot and damage to your tree.

Good Luck!!!


    Bookmark   February 7, 2012 at 11:26AM
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