What I learned growing Plumerias In 2012

purdee54April 22, 2013

Hello fellow plumerians. Today I welcomed and smelled my first flower of the 2013 growing season and as always it was Aztec Gold ( my most cold tolerant plumeria). Peg you should see that tree now! I learned new growing techniques in 2012 that resulted in over a hundred of developing 2013 inflos in a variety of plumeria species I've collected over the years.
My six favorites are Singapore (my least cold tolerant plumeria), Rainbow Moragne, Makaha Sunn, Ember, Scensation and Kapalua. They are no longer plants but trees. My two Mary Moragnes are over well over 12 foot. And that's precisely why I spent part of this winter and early spring thinning out some of my duplicates. It was a bittersweet experience but I got to meet some wonderful people and developed really cool friendships during the process.
My fertilizers of choice are Spray N Grow, Dyna Grow 7-9-5 and Dyna Tek. I saw significant growth improvements with Dyna Grow. All three worked extremely well for me last year and I'm sticking with them again in 2013. I don't use any insecticides and use mainly worm castings to drive off pests. A tip that Bill gave me few years back. It still works!

What I'm especially excited about this year is gritty mix. I'm always open to new growing techniques and thanks to a kind donation of gritty mix from a very good friend, I gave it a try on her recommendation. First I washed the roots completely clean of all previous growing medium. I then aggressively pruned the roots. With a big sigh..I planted one of my prized posessions in the gritty mix about six weeks ago. I held my breath and today the plant has very healthy looking leaves and ten new inflos. I also noticed the developmental growth rate of the gritty plant has exceeded my other similar sized potted plumerias. I will keep you posted on my experiment. But for right now.... the mix is working....quite well! Thanks LJ!!!
Last thing, I live in Tampa and we had a very mild winter however there were a few nights temps dropped low enough for frost. I was too lazy to cover my plants( major ordeal) and felt confident they would pull through. The only damage I had was to the tips of my Singapores. Frost damage on 90% of the tips on each of my five trees. However, the healing power of Mother Nature is awesome! On each of the damaged tips....what was once one branch are now an average of five brand new growth shoots. Might not get as many flowers this year but I'm already looking forward to 2014!
Happy Earth Day and have a great 2013 growing season...Manuel

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WOW Manuel...sounds fabulous. If you ever prune your Kapalua again...I would love to send you some cash for the cutting. I have been trying to get that one for some time and no luck. I am in California by the beach...do you think it would do well there? I have read it is the most orange of all the oranges and a great smell. The only con is...hard to root, was it for you? Mahalo, roxanne

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 10:27AM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Hi Manuel!!!

So glad to read this wonderful thread!!

Sounds like you have been a busy man!! I know it was difficult to thin out your yard, but i'm sure your other trees will love the room and just be rest assured, that all of your trees are in good hands!!!

I am so glad that you like the Gritty Mix!!!! Please keep me posted about the growing habits in the mix.. Which tree did you "hold your breath on..?" I didn't know which one you barerooted, maybe it was a good thing? ;-) I can't wait to see some pics of your trees. Sounds like you have a beautiful yard and have tons of inflos.. NICE!!!

Sorry to hear of the damage to your Singapores.. Mother Nature does amazing things.. Glad to hear they are branching for you!!!

Thanks for this informative post. Always nice to hear from you and see what you are up too! I also like to hear what fertilizers work for everyone.. This is how we learn.

I hope you have a wonderful growing season this year as well as in 2014. Something tells me that you will have beautiful blooms this year!!

Happy Earth Day to you as well....

Please post some pics for us ok?

Thank You Manuel for everything!!!



    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 12:10AM
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Manuel, I hear a few of your trees found VERY good new homes! You were very kind to share them. Sounds like you still have an amazing collection! Your yard must be incredible in summer.

I keep learning more every year, too, and keep experimenting to find the perfect mix for mine. This year I've incorporated mineral sands by adding some special rose soil. (I know, Laura, it's probably easier to just give in and buy some Dyna Gro, LOL, but I have to finish up all the other ferts I have lying around first.)

Looking forward to everyone's bloom pics!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 9:02AM
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"Wow" Manuel, You're going to have to tie the dogs out to the AG to keep people from helping themselves to a cutting! It's going to be beautiful. I know you were taking good care of your trees last year to give you all the inflos you have coming. It is hard to thin them out but I can see why you had to. You have some beautiful (BIG) trees.
Look at what I've got coming! I found them yesterday. I'm doing the happy dance and will be forever grateful. Peg

This post was edited by pcput on Wed, Apr 24, 13 at 13:35

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 1:34PM
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Very good news. I would stress that what you did last year is the reason for all 100 inflos. So whatever your technical approach was last year works and should definately be the basis for this upcoming year. Good luck and keep us posted.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 3:43PM
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Hi everyone. Thanks for the great replies. Laura, I barerooted one of my Scentsations and planted it in the gritty mix. Its doing quite well..plenty of new growth. Can't wait to monitor its growth progression this summer. But I should have used screen...lol. That mix really drains. When I'm in Alaska for two weeks this fall, I'm going to have to pay my son double to make sure they are watered.

It's only April and I have the plumeria fever starting again. You know the symptons 1. You check each tip, EVERYDAY, for signs of developing inflos. Hoping that your stare will make them magically appear. 2. Doing the happy dance when it works...lol!
Unfortunately Peg, I've already lost several branches to snatchers. I hope they provide them a great home. Your picture...Would those be inflos on a Kapalua? You got the touch!!!
What I did last year is really paying off, however I owe many thanks to the wonderful feedback and contributors on this forum. Without your knowledge, input and expertise, I would not be known as 'King Frangipani' in my neighborhood! I wish the little old lady down the street would stop calling me that...lol. Take care!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 5:01PM
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Manuel, are all of your trees in pots or do you have any in the ground? I'm over on the east coast, and I am trying to decide if I want to keep mine potted, plunge them or plant them.

I'm glad to hear yours are doing so well.


    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 8:38PM
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Hi Astrl,
My large Singapores and Aztec Gold are in 45 gallon pots that are plunged into the ground. Next year I will cut them out of the pots and plant them into the earth. They are just getting too big for the containers.
All my plants stay outside and uncovered during the winter. In the event of frost, I protect them with portable beach tents. During winter my yard sometimes looks like the state fair is in town...lol. I am 'plumeria' fortunate to live in an area where we rarely, if at all, get days below freezing. I only protect them if the forecast calls for frost and then they are uncovered the next day.
Several of my trees are planted but most are in twenty gallon containers or larger. I drill holes into the sides and bottom of the containers and plunge them into the ground. We do get tropical storms and daily late evening thunder showers with high winds. Plunging helps stabilize them. I recently dug my Charlotte Elbert to reposition it and the roots were literally ripping up and tearing through the plastic holes.
A few years ago, I remember Bill saying that small cuttings eventually turn into trees. Boy was he right! That's why I took some time last year to reduce my collection and only grow the ones that are very special to me. To answer your question, ninety per cent of my trees are in containers and plunged into the ground however within the next few years my plan is to plant them all into the ground. I hope I answered your question...Thanks!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 10:51PM
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When you repot, root prune and plant into a new mix, there are 2 things going on so be careful to assume it is the substrate when in fact it could simply be the beneficial root pruning which is responsible for seemingly better results.

I can't think of any dicot that does not benefit from periodic root pruning. Increasing the % of feeder roots is always a good thing. With monocots it is different. Palms and cycads for example can have roots die back to the basal growth plates from even minor damage to the root tips.

But for plumies go ahead and hack away, they respond well.


    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 9:42AM
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Yes Manuel, The inflos are "Kapalua" and it was your touch taking care of it last year that gives inflos this year. I just kept it alive during the dormant winter. So "pat yourself on the back for a job well done". It's future is now in my hands and time will tell how I do. Thanks again, Peg

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 8:37PM
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Thanks for the info, Manuel. We don't usually get freezes either, but two years in a row a few years back killed a lot of them for others around me. I guess it is just a risk we all take.

I'm curious where the Kapalua came from that you all are referring to. Is it from Exotic Plumeria or somewhere else?

I bought one from a bad seller back before I knew anything about bad sellers and I am still waiting for it to bloom to verify what it is. Believe it or not, that was 4 1/2 years ago. LOL


This post was edited by astrl on Fri, Apr 26, 13 at 9:26

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 9:24AM
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Hi Astrl. I remember that winter. It was brutal. Yes, I purchased the Kapaluas from Exotic Plumeria several years ago and paid a lot of money for them but it's been well worth it.

It's a fast growing tree and it really puts out the flowers. Cuttings need a lot of patience to root. I rooted two cuttings in early spring a few years back and it must have taken three months and a half months before I saw any activity that it rooted (leaves) successfully. Curiously...my mature Kapaluas have never developed seed pods.
Wow...4 1/2 years and still waiting to bloom is a long time. Maybe this is the year!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 1:14PM
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Lots of great info Manuel! I'm in the Tampa area now. All of my large trees are in the Keys, but I brought my small ones up here. Many didn't fare too well this winter. I guess they didn't like being uprooted from in the ground in October.

However, the rest are doing very well so far in the Gritty. The summer rains do have me a bit concerned but that is an issue whether they are in Gritty Mix or soil. The only time that doesn't concern me is when they are in the ground in fast draining soil.

I wish I had used screen in the bottom too. That mix pours out those holes of some of my pots but it's slowing down now. It does drain super fast BUT, don't let it fool you. The mix that is amongst the stem and root area stays wetter than you think. I know this because a couple of mine came out of the mix and it was dry on the sides, wet about 2-3" from the bottom and wet right in the center where the trunk and roots were. Once the roots spread out more, this is probably not the case but right after re-potting and or root pruning, it stays fairly damp.

My Mr. Ambassador was doing well when I re-potted it a couple of months ago, then it rotted. This one had been in the same pot since summer of 2011 and had lots of roots. Perhaps it is just fussy about having it's roots messed with, who knows, but that one and Heart of Gold did rot after put in the Gritty Mix.

Mr. Ambassador had not come out of dormancy yet and only showed tiny claws. I feel I should have waited to re-pot it when it was more active. Perhaps that played a part in it. Same thing with Heart of Gold so maybe something was going on with them or maybe they are both late to wake up but the other ones that were slow to wake up are in Gritty and are now waking up and doing well...so far!

Indeed this was a mild winter, and I hope this winter is the same. I'm still going to bring all of them into the garage, on pallets with a heater and humidifier this year. On days when it's about 65-70 I open the garage door and let them get fresh air. Not looking forward to moving them all in the winter. I'm not used to this. In the Keys it is never an issue. 50 is a really cold night down there and it never phases them.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 7:42PM
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what I learned is what I already knew, I need a better paying job.

Here`s hoping we all have great weather, plenty of rain, lots of blooms and cuttings that root easily.
Tally HO!

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 2:44PM
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