Can they be saved?

maark23 TX/8aFebruary 13, 2013

Hi a couple of months ago around october i I got some plumeria cuttings and I potted then up. The tops of some looked like the leaves were going to start growing once it got warmer. I gave them a small splash of water about two weeks ago and today when I checked them the stem was feeling soft. Can they be saved ? Or is it to late.

Thanks mark.

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Andrew Scott

Hi Mark,
This is a great forum for asking your question but we all are going to need more info if we are going to be able to help you. When you say the stem is soft, is it soft and squishy? How far up the stem is it soft? If possible maybe you could post a picture of it? What kind of soil mix are you using? In general, if your going to water your cutting, you should water it only after you see a leaves that are a couple inches long. Some people will pot up there cuttings and give them a splash of water.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 12:11AM
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maark23 TX/8a

Yes the stem is soft and squishy. They start from the bottom going at least 3/4 of the way up the stem. I hope these pictures work. Two of them seem just fine. I know one for sure is a goner it is to squishy and flopping over.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 11:08PM
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maark23 TX/8a

I'm not to sure how to post multiple pics. This is the one that seems like it's doing well

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 11:10PM
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maark23 TX/8a

Here's a other pic.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 11:16PM
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If the rot is starting from the bottom you could try to cut off the top part that's still firm if there's enough of that to cut. If you do, make sure you sterilize your shears in between cuts to keep it from spreading. You need to cut until you see clean, white wood. Then you would need to let the part to save sit and callous for a few weeks before putting it up to root again.

I'm sorry to say that front left one is not looking like it can be saved.

What I'm wondering about is the soil you have them in and the temps they are being kept at - is your soil really well draining? If not, make sure you get something really well draining right away for the one that seems ok and for any tips you cut off to save. I use regular Miracle grow potting soil mixed with about 50% perlite to break it up - you could also use turface, etc.

And then make sure they aren't getting cold and you should be on the right track. Give us an idea of soil & temps and then we can try to set you up for success. Keep us updated on your progress.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 4:19PM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

I agree with Emily..

Your soil looks really compact and to solid for your trees.

I believe that one is not going to make it, sorry.. But the others will have a much better chance to really grow once you can get them out of that compact soil and give them some mix that can breath just a bit easier..

I would wait for the ones that look healthy and repot in the late spring when they are ready to grow and are active and really healthy. That will be the best time to switch to a better aerated mix. You want the mix to be able to let the roots breath as well as retain the proper amount of moisture without sitting in water and rotting.(pertched water) is no good for any tree or plant.

Having a good routine of watering and fertilizing with help greatly!!

Good Luck!!

Let us know how they are doing and if you have questions, please ask!!!

Take care,


    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 11:26PM
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maark23 TX/8a

Thank you guys for everything. The mix I'm using is a mix between cactus soil and then some top soil from the garden. I am going to cut them until I see clean white wood. The temps I'm keeping them at us about 50 degrees or so. I will keep you guys updated! Thank you again very much!

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 11:03AM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Hi Marrk,

I'm sorry, but I have to ask.... Cut which ones until you reach white wood? Just that one I hope? I wouldn't cut any of those green stems or the ones that look like they are starting to push leaves.

Did you mention where you live? That would be very helpful to know....

Also, if I may? Your tree would be much happier if you used the cactus mix and either added some perlite or some pine bark or fir bark. Adding Top soil Is really not a great idea unless you are planting in the ground. I just wouldn't advise adding top soil to your containers. The thought of that makes my feet hurt! ;-)

Their are lot of mixes that we use..

We will gladly give you help if you want it for your mixes...

Good luck!


    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 12:41PM
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maark23 TX/8a

Oh yes just the one stem. I live in El Paso Tx. What would be an ideal mix for plumerias? This is the first time growing them. Can I repot them in the spring when the nights get warmer?

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 3:27PM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Hi Marrk,

There are lots of discussions on what is the best type of mix for Plumeria.

Everyone has their own version of a well aerated mix and then some stick to a certain type of mix..

People out in California use pumice , redwood, perlite etc.

Others in Texas, use a different type considering the heat they have down south.

I like to use Al's Gritty mix which is basically three different ingredients.

FirBark or PineBark

This works for me and I will be more than glad to help you.

There are lots of growers in Texas who will be happy to chime in and share what they use for their mix.

Lots of great information on mixes available for the overall health of your Plumeria.

Just remember, that the best thing for your trees is to be able to drain well and to keep the roots aerated so they have the right amount of oxygen needed in helping to keep the roots from standing in wet soil and or sitting in a perched water table. Learning how soils work and why is a great start for you.

I will attach a link for you to read and it might help you... Some other growers in Texas will hopefully chime in and give you some advise too !

Repotting in the spring is the best time to repot Plumies. They even do well in the early summer for me as we'll..

Hope this helps..

Whatever you will be a better mix than what they are in right now and I'm sure you will see a major improvement in the growth this season. Don't forget to fertilize too!

Hope this helps..


Here is a link that might be useful: Container soils- water movement and Retention XVI

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 1:13AM
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maark23 TX/8a

Thank you so much for all the information Laura. You have been very helpful. I will work on my mix this weekend and have it ready for time to repot m cuttings. Do you think keeping them in the dark could have caused them to rot? I have two other cuttings on a window sill an they seem to be just fine.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 11:39PM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Hi Markk,

Lots of people overwinter their plumies in the dark, so i don't think that was a factor in the root rot.

Cold, wet roots and or soil that doesn't drain well is the biggest problem.

Some varieties seem to be more sensitive during the dormant cycle. If you have good luck keeping them in a certain area, i would continue to use that spot. I have a few areas that i keep mine, but i dont have any more spare rooms!! ;-) I keep mine in the dark room with the shades down and the heat off in that room. I have now, raised the blinds, opened the heat vents and i have given them some water with a diluted amount of Foliage pro.

Some give Epsom salts to their waking Plumies, but with my Foliage pro, it has all the neccessary nutrients and minerals needed for their needs... once they fully wake up, i will continue with the FP and increase the dosage during the summer.

Good Luck..


    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 11:38PM
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