Is this young Plumeria ok coming out of winter?

kostas_gFebruary 17, 2014

Hello :)

I got my first Plumeria early last fall(from a local nursery) and planted it while it was still somewhat growing. It grew some and kept its leafs till late January,even after 2-3 frost events(slight leaf damage). Now that I visited my garden again a month after,it has shed its leafs but I see certain marks that worry me somewhat and wanted to check with you. Here are some photos:

As you can see,there is an indented,darker area around the center of the stem that worries me but it's firm. I checked the whole stem and it's all firm to the soil. There are also holes at the center of certain leaf scars but it's all dry and firm.

What do you think? Are these normal? Are these something to worry about or all is good if it's firm? Do you think it will be fine,start growing normally and fix whatever damage may have gotten on the stem? I think the bark in Plumeria is pretty thick,so that indentation may be just partial bark damage that will fix fully and fast during the growing season?

I grow palms,cycads,ferns,bromeliads,bananas,orchids,aroids and other tropical plants for years,so I do know my plants in general but I don't have too much experience growing dicots and I am new to growing Plumeria rubra.

Thank you very much in advance! :)

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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

I think it looks fine to me. Maybe some old scarring but should be ok. Just watch for soft spots or wrinkling. those are typically the first signs of rot.


    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 5:30PM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

They look alright to me too! I do see those holes in the leaf scares.. That is different. Keep an eye on them and make sure that you don't have any insects boring Into the stems..

Take care,


    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 6:23PM
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Thank you very much for your replies,great to hear it seems ok to you and somewhat releaving as it's never nice to have to replace something and wait again for it to grow!!!

That dark indentation mark in the middle of the stem definitely wasn't there when I planted it so it's not an old scar but maybe its winter damage to tender greenhouse grown tissues that healed/is healing?
I just now saw it leafless for the first time so I don't know how normal the holes in the center of certain scars are but I think that this is the place where dormant buds normally are and to me,those holes would indicate that the pith/center of the stem rotted or it's still rotting but maybe it didn't spread to the vital parts like the bark,or it only affected that indented part of the bark. But the whole stem is firm and not giving in to pressure(well,didn't squeeze with crushing intentions,just gentle checking with gradual pressure). I guess boring insects could also be a possibility but the hole shape and smoothness or cracking doesn't fit very well with the usual look of borer holes in plants/trees. But maybe! I saw holes on the stem of another rooting plumeria I got from a seller and these seemed clearly borer holes so I grew isolated at Melissia,hundreds of km away from the pictured Plumeria, but rot set in in the middle of the stem and it was dead in no time. I saved a Pattaya Star from the same seller with no borer holes but rot at the growing point that must have entered from a claw and from possible surface cold damage as Melissia are quite cold and I didn't bring in in cold nights initially.

Have you seen similar marks develop on your Plumerias and did they live fine with them and heal nicely?

Thank you very much in advance :)

Best regards,

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 7:29PM
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I searched and searched for pictures of something similar to what mine is showing and I think I found something. Here is a picture of a plumeria stem with damage that should originally have looked like mine. This photo supposedly shows the stem a couple months after the damage:

And this is the thread I found the picture at:

Do you think mine has similar damage and grow over it? If yes,will the Plumeria eventually heal and close the wounds fully and nicely so as not to be visible after a year or two?

Thank you very much in advance! :)

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 12:26PM
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Hi there! Well, it's hard to say because in the thread you linked to, from what I'm understanding, that was from really bad sunburn. So I don't think your plant has the same, it hasn't been sunburned. At this point it's hard to tell what your plant may be doing in that section, although chances are it is fine since as you say it is still firm.

Where do you live? I ask to make sure boring insects are not common in your area. Also, the only other thing I may even be concerned about is how long it was exposed to low temps, as you said there were a couple of frosts, but as the others said, it's not indicating anything really bad right now.

Watch it for signs of changing and if it doesn't progress I doubt it will be too visually distracting, especially once it grows leaves.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 5:03PM
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Thank you very much for your reply!
In the thread I link to it says it's from sunburn or rot,the author isn't sure of the cause.

I live in Greece and my garden is in Pyrgos,Helia,a wet and warm part of southwestern Greece. I don't know frost duration but it was certainly very brief as only radiational freezes occur in Pyrgos at the coldest part of 1-2 nights a year and temperature climbs steeply to more than 10-13C as soon as the sun is up even on the coldest days. This year it may just saw 0C or -1C at the coldest and for very brief if at all,the frosts I talk about should have occurred with mostly above 0C temperatures,it's just that dew freezes radiationally sometimes. Plumeria specific borers shouldn't be widely present as Plumeria are somewhat rare here.

Good to hear it doesn't indicate anything serious and should be much disfigured! Looking forward to see it grow those beautiful big leafs again!!!!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 5:32PM
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