mikeTBFebruary 26, 2012

I have been trying to find information on mulch for my plumerias. I have read both for and against, so I am confused. I have my plumerias planted in the ground and was wondering if it would damage the tree if I spread Pine Bark mulch around them. I have one planted that was established last year and did wonderful with a lot of flowers, and I have just planted four more that I started from cuttings last year. These are small with very nice root balls.

I am new to this and live south of Tampa Bay in West Central Florida. Any information anyone could provide will be greatly appreciated!


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I think Pine bark is fine to use. From what I have read is to keep it from touching the root flare or trunk to prevent transmission of disease. I don't know if that is absolutely necessary. I typically use lava rock as mulch but all of mine are in containers.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 7:45AM
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Thank you for replying to my question. I had not considered the disease transmission as I only read about the possibility of rotting the base of the tree. It gets very hot in the summer where I have them planted so I am trying to be careful about placing anything around them that would increase the heat, and certainly trying to keep them safe from me!

Thank you for the info it is appreciated.


    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 1:40PM
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I mulch with redwood bark. It's what's used here in SoCal.

Never have had any disease or rot problems. Mulch will
keep the roots cooler. My mulch goes right up to the trunk.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 3:27PM
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I thought the object was to keep plumeria roots on the warm side. Don't you keep the soil warm when you root cuttings? Personally, I wouldn't use mulch.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 7:35PM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia


My trees are all in containers and on my back deck. During the heat of the summer, it can get into the triple digits and can be very hot on my trees. I also put mulch around my trees because i feel it keeps the roots somewhat shaded and i even will put my containers inside other larger containers with mulch in between as a barrier to keep the temps from rising to high. I even sink some of the pots to keep them from "cooking" in the heat. You say that yours are planted in the ground so they have that extra protection. I also have heard of others mentioning that you should keep the mulch away from the base of the tree. You would be fine to mulch with Pine Bark and keep the mulch from touching the base. My trees have the Fir Bark right up to the stems of my trees. I think if you or someone was in a place that didnt dry out as fast as your area as well as mine, there could be a problem with mold etc around the base of the trees. Since yours are in the ground, i wouldnt worry about mulching causing any problems.

Good Luck!!!


Hi... Yes, you are correct to keep the new cuttings warm while rooting... Mike is talking about his established trees that have rootballs already. His are also planted in the ground. Some of us have them planted in containers and the heat can actually get so hot it will fry the roots. Sometimes i have to take my trees and keep them from the direct sun during the month of July and August in Virginia Beach. Im sure places like Texas and Florida have the same problems with the trees in containers during these dreadful hot times of the summer.

Warmth is needed while rooting cuttings though!!!

Take care everyone,


Here is a picture of my trees in the black containers. The next pictures are of my trees during the heat of the summer when i put the black containers inside another larger container and put the barrier of mulch to protect the roots...

Hope this helps!!!


    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 10:43PM
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Thank you very much for the detailed reply to my question. I was trying to figure out a way to replenish the soil for my plants as well as keep them a little cooler in the spring and summer here in West Florida. Your answer about the mold makes sense and as you say that would not be a problem here as the water drains very quickly and the soil dries out almost as quickly as you pour water on it! Thanks again and you simply have a beautiful house and those Plumerias are something only one can dream of having!!

Thank you for replying to my question. Laura was spot on about the conditions here and my concerns. When I rooted my cuttings I did it the way you suggested and they developed very thick roots and the plants are growing very nicely!

Thank you everyone for helping me out!


    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 10:34AM
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Mike, ploomer is right about soil temps. You may want to wait until April or May, whenever it gets into the 90's, before mulching. Mulch will keep the ground cooler when you want the roots warming up to wake up the plant.

Pine bark should work well since it's so porous and won't hold moisture right at the trunk where it can rot. I'd imagine plumeria in-ground appreciate the extra protection from extreme heat in summer, especially if their trunks are so tall that the canopy no longer shades the root zone.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 10:41AM
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I live on the sunny, sunny and HOT Texas coast and belong to the Plumeria Society here in Houston. I know some of the plumeria members here that plant their plumerias directly into mulch - no dirt, no rock - just mulch and they have some of the most beautiful plummies I have ever seen. They are not plants, they are bushes and/or trees. So mulching here definitely does not hurt the plumerias. We actually planted some of ours like that last year and they did great. Did learn that we need to space them out a little bit more. When they start growing they do take up the space.

We also sunk our potted plants into the mulch and they did good too so you might want to try some and see how they do for you.


    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 5:37PM
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Jandey, thank you for the advice on when to use the mulch. I know that I have probably started a little early. My plants have already started developing the claws and that started it for me this year.


That was a really interesting post about planting in the mulch. I have one more cutting that has developed roots from last fall that I am going to plant in mulch, Thank You! What type of mulch did you use?


    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 7:06PM
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They just used pine bark mulch for planting. We used some cotton hull mulch last year but it has broken down too much to reuse so we will be using pine bark mulch and probably mixing some of the cotton mulch with it. If I can find some of my pictures of their beds with the mulch I will post for you to see.


    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 7:27PM
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Mike, greetings from across the bay in St Pete. I've been using cypress mulch around my largest tree for a couple years- no problems. It is in ground and I don't give it supplementary water (doesn't need or want it from what I can tell.)

It is hard to mess up Plumeria here, cold probably accounts for 99% of the deaths. Depending on your exact area, this could be just a small problem or a bigger one. South St Pete and the beaches stay pretty warm whereas inland Tampa areas get significantly cooler.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 9:41PM
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irun5k, greetings to you! We are not far apart as I am in Bradenton. Thank you for your reply to my questions. We are close enough to the water so that we always have relatively mild winters and I have planted my Plumerias so that I can easily protect them so hopefully that will not be a problem.

Since we have the same conditions that you have I am going to try the mulch around mine as well. Thanks again,


    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 6:06AM
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Hi Mike,

Have you been to the Palma Sola gardens in Bradenton? I haven't been there, but their website says the Gulfcoast Plumeria Society planted two groves of Plumeria there. I am not sure what constitutes a "grove" but it sounds enticing.


    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 8:29PM
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Update: a little more googling revealed that Palma Sola has 75 different plumeria planted. Probably not as good as Bill or Laura's yards but a notable collection just the same!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 8:35PM
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