help!! want to plant my plumeria directly into the ground!!!

melitaJune 16, 2006

I am interested in transplanting my plumerias from pots directly into the ground. Our soil is clay big and deep should the hole be. I want them to grow 10 to 15 feet tall. And what should I use to keep thier feet dry!!! I will keep them in the ground year round. Any advise would be greatly welcomed!!!!!!

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greenwitch(Sz19 SoCal)

Well, not having done it myself, I can only recommend you look at how avocados are planted as they also demand very good drainage. You don't dig a hole at all, you put the root ball on top and mound a very porous soil mix over the top (and stake the trunk). With persimmons and cherries it is similar except you can plant them in the ground having worked in pumice, sand, etc. or build a raised planting box. Don't plant a Plumeria where there is an irrigation system with a daily schedule e.g. lawn. Good luck, I've seen many Plumeria trees in El Monte, San Fernando Valley and Orange County - you can do it!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2006 at 1:35PM
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pharoah(Sherman Oaks CA)

All my Plumeria are planted in the ground year round and it was the best thing I could have ever done. The first batch is in a planter that had decent soil to begin with. I simply amended what was there with lots of organics such as compost, organic planting mix and perlite. I continue to add organic fertilizer throughout the growing season and will do so every year.

The final batch was in a spot that had rock hard clay soil. I took my shovel and broke up the pieces, and then I did as Greenwitch said,(meaning I didn't dig a big hole in the existing clay soil), instead, I added bags and bags and bags of supersoil, compost, earthworm castings on top of that to a level of about a foot of new soil. I placed them all in the fresh new mix and that is where they will stay. I don't see a problem with the roots rotting if and when they hit the clay because it would take quite alot to saturate whats down there.

Good luck and if you plant correctly you will see an amazing difference in your plumeria!


    Bookmark   June 16, 2006 at 2:58PM
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Hi Tony,
On planting in the ground, great idea..but when the rains come like it did this FEb.. will a young plant make it? or is it best to wait on planting 2 yr one or? I am so afraid now of my plumies getting too wet from the sprinkler, how would they fair if it rained?

    Bookmark   June 19, 2006 at 3:19AM
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pharoah(Sherman Oaks CA)

From what I have been told, rain is never the enemy. Meaning they can take excessive rain and will not have a problem. If it is cold out (Winter) and you are watering with the sprinklers or tap water, then it will most likely be a problem. I have planted young ones and because they do so much growth in the ground during their first year, they have been fine, BUT... most people would recommend that you wait until the plumeria is at least 3 years old.

If you are worried, I would say wait and make sure your plumies are mostly dry during the winter.


    Bookmark   June 19, 2006 at 2:27PM
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Clay or adobe soil is tough, reminds me of Diamond Bar, Walnut?

If I were to plant plumaria in that type of ground, all I can think of is to dig a big hole, and that won't be easy.

When I lived in that area I dug a few holes, which was more like chipping ice. You cannot just sink a spade in that soil, and I would imagine that the plumaria roots are not very agressive, more like delicate?

Logical solution would to use a lot of plant mix in a large hole, but still the dranage won't be right, all rainwater will just sit there in your plant mix plumaria hole like a big sponge. Adobe does not absorb water and it doesn't drain, so plan your location with an eye towards runoff; pick a high spot.

Where I am, you start every hole with a pick and a pry bar, because of the rocks. You plant a bush wherever you can. And hopefully, without digging up too many boulders. But good drainage.

Good luck. LB

    Bookmark   June 20, 2006 at 3:20AM
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Thanks for your ideas, but the soil is different in areas even in the San Fernando Valley. Where Tony lives, he says is clay.. Where I live just a few miles away is very sandy, yes, rocks. heard where I lived, used to be a river bed..that would have been hundreds of years ago..ha . When I dig a hole was told to check, it drains immediately. stays wet deep, and dry above.
Shame your soil is so hard.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2006 at 3:40AM
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tdogdad(Zone 9)

When I made 6 planters for plumies years ago, I dug down like a giant tooth with root like holes going away from the center. Then I put gypsum powder by the bag in the bottom and sand and gravel on top. Gypsum breaks down clay. Next I put a layer of manure and then my soil mix with pumice. I raised each planter 2 bricks high and then when I plant, I raise a volcano of soil with the plumie in the center. I cover the volcano shape with gravel and then black, Mexican river rock for heat and to stop erosion. This has worked superbly.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2006 at 11:38AM
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That's an excellent solution, Bud. A lot of work, but probably necessary and even then, fifteen foot trees will be a long time in coming?

It just strikes me, as an admitted amateur; that plumarias and clay soil are a difficult combination.

Are those pics from this year, already?


    Bookmark   June 20, 2006 at 1:19PM
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Hi Tdogdad,
Great pictures, thanks so much for showing them, helps me understand how to plant them. How close do you place the plants? boy they look close.

Thanks Tony for the help.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2006 at 1:33PM
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tdogdad(Zone 9)

Pics are from last July. Much bigger now but also many have been trimmed. Plants are quite close (about 31-36") but this has not been a problem. I am shaping them up to about 6' and then letting them spread out. Any branches that invade the other plant's space become cuttings. Each plant is selected for color so when they all bloom it is a multi-colored hedge. It starts light pink, then dark pink (Evalani), then yellow (Heide), next yellow/pink (puu kahea), then soft pink unknown, then red (cerese), yellow/pink (intense rainbow) and last soft pink (grove farm). The planter beyond goes Lavender, Daisy Wilcox, pink shell, Lei rainbow, Aztec Gold and California Sally. The second pic starts with a Celadine on the right, up to a Guillots sunset, then a Lani, down to a U. of Hawaii orange, and a Housten white. There is a palomar white under the two rainbows that is struggling along and may end up being replaced. Yes, it was a big job but the results are very rewarding, and my neighbors down wind are my biggest fans. Clay is the worst soil so you need to do quite an alteration to insure results. I even did much more on a three foot high rock planter in the back yard which was a back breaker but is the best because it drains out under at ground level. However, building it with rocks collected from beaches in central Cal was like building the Great Wall of China. When I finished I felt I had aged several years.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2006 at 8:00PM
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Great job tdogdad. I hope my little island of plumerias will look like yours someday. Like lbinupland, my soil is chisel hard. I have to dig, pore water in, dig, pore more water and keep digging. My husband uses gypsom, horse manure and soil to mix in the hole and then plants his trees. Again, great job and please show us more pictures of the blooms.


    Bookmark   June 20, 2006 at 10:05PM
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Well, I have at least six buds forming on my deep red plumaria. Can't really understand it? Usually, if I'm going to get flowers on a branch, they start right away, visible when the first leaves begin to grow, in the spring, when the leaves are maybe 1½" long? But this year, some of my leaves are already eight inches long and I suddenly have tiny buds starting way down inside. I'm an amateur, but this isn't my first rodeo. LB

    Bookmark   June 20, 2006 at 11:53PM
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Janet705(So. CA)

You will love planting into the ground. Drainage and run off draining away is a must depending on your soil and location. Let us know how it works out for you.


    Bookmark   June 21, 2006 at 12:49AM
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First, I'd like to thank everyone for all the input!!!! Next, I'd like to update you all on what I've done and get some feed back if possible!!!!! I had my husband dig a hole that was 2 1/2 feet deep and 2 1/2 feet wide (it took him a day and just about broke his back!!!!). Then I put a type of gravel (sorry don't know the name) that soaks up water (only know about it, because I used it to build a fire place hood and I had to seal it like crazy), in the middle of the hole I used biggggg rocks and layed a flagstone shelf on top of that. Next, I filled the hole with pumice and supersoil (the one that turns clay into great soil!!) at a ratio of 40% pumice 60% supersoil. Another thing, my gardener picked up my plumeria, by one side of the pot and tore at least half of it's roots. I staked it upright (this happened months ago). It now has what I belive to be the begining of new roots where the roots were torn!!! This is the plumeria that I planted in my hole! I also put in a drip system with a valve, so that I can turn off the water to my plumeria if it goes dormant.... Some of my other plumeria plants have not gone dormant during the last 2 winters! Is there anything else I should do????

    Bookmark   June 21, 2006 at 12:32PM
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tdogdad(Zone 9)

Don't overwater. Plants on the dry side develop complex root systems as they search for water. Wet plants tend to shut down root development. Your soil would have been better if it was 60% pumice so watch the water. When plants are 5 years or older, well established, and healthy, they can take a lot of water. Up until then, it is better to keep them on the dry side and mist leaves in the morning or evening. San Diego is such a great location for plumies!!! Google the Southern California Plumeria Society which is a great place to meet plumieaholics and pick up shared plants. Enjoy.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2006 at 12:53PM
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Baby G (Z10, 300?CH, SoCal-LA)(10)

I'm trying to figure out the best placement for my plumies in the ground. Z10.

I'm so glad to read this thread! I'm in Los Angeles and I have two large (5 feet tall) potted plumies that I just picked up at a yardsale and one 18" potted plumie I grew from cutting. I also have several cuttings from a neighbor.

I have pretty good soil - not clay. Alkaline, its like most So Cal soil.

I have three or four patches in our back yard where sprinklers don't hit -- even the St Augustine dies there. One in the middle of the yard, the rest against chain link fence
I also have a xeriscaped and sloped front yard. It's covered with shade cloth and grey pebbles.

Both areas have good drainage.

I think any of these areas would be good for planting them, as long as I stake them, yes?

Since I don't have clay soil, what should I add to the planting mound, other than native soil?

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 6:58PM
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dethcheez(Sunny SoCal Z10)

You're in SoCal so it's all good
Just make sure you've got the room

Lost a few of the taller branches to wind
Use to be higher than the balcony railing
God knows how many cuttings I've taken from it

It's a Beast

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 7:13PM
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musaboru(Inland Calif.)

dethcheez, that is amazing! it reminds me of kudzu!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 7:40PM
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