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Jetson15(Va)July 13, 2014

Hi everyone. Just signed up. Needed help understanding my new habit.....I mean hobby. :-) I have always loved to watch a plumeria grow and I've finally got on board and have my start. Funny to note that I started my interest with plumerias when I was stationed in Taif, Saudi Arabia. Plumeria trees were everywhere there and grew like weeds.

I got my first cutting from a friend down in Florida back in the winter. It stayed dormant till about the end of May and then decided to take off growing. By mid June it had a flower spike but no leaves. The pic is this week. Seems to be growing faster each day. Some flowers have already bloomed and fallen off, but more are coming. I have decided to keep it indoors with my orchid collection. The spider mites here are terrible so better conditions inside. The yellow flag is to catch fungus nats. Works great. I also use my orchid fertilizer to feed. I have it growing under a 100 watt daylight (6000K) screw in fluorescent bulb. It also gets bleed over from the orchid lights and south window sun.

My first question is when do the limbs branch?. I assume it's after flowering, but where do they branch from. Is it the flower spike or around it?


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I'm guessing if you grow orchids, you won't have a problem with plumeria, but they actually will do better outside than in. You'll have better color and growth if it's in the sun. Just out of curiosity, what kind of soil is that?

As far as branching goes, you should be able to see it branch soon, if it's not already. I can't really tell from the pic. Do you have a close up? But, sometimes they can be stubborn and not branch. I can see where it looks like the other branch had bloomed, but didn't branch out from that. Not uncommon, especially on short branches. (sure was a lot of "b" words :)

And, welcome to the forum, Alan.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 9:43PM
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Hey Moonie

Agree that real sunlight would be best, but the environment here is a bit extreme as far as temperature and pests. I live in the Yorktown area at the base of the James River and it's, for all practical purposes, a swap. If I put my plants outside and the pest don't kill them, the pesticides would do the job anyway. I used to keep a large salt water coral reef system and got fairly proficient with lighting systems and have found for plant life) if you use daylight bulbs (6000K) and supply at least 3000 lumens you get very close to real sunlight without all the heat. Using daylight bulbs instead of grow lights provides full spectrum light so the colors look correct. My leaves are growing form start to 14 inches in about 10 days, so it seems to be working.

Here's a pic of the spike joint. The original branch started with the spike and then the leaf growth started afterward.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 6:55AM
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Whoops! Forgot to mention the soil. I used a combination of organic potting mix with fir bark (from my orchids) and sand. About a 40-20-40 mix. I keep about a half inch of sand on top to keep the fungus nats from trying to use the soil for eggs. It drains really well and right now I am needing to water about every two weeks to keep a "slightly moist" condition. You probably can also see the Mosquito Bits pellets on the sand. They also help control the nats. I think the nats became a problem from some bark I bought, but now under control.


    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 7:21AM
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This pic was taken early May. I was very surprised I got a flower spike before leaves started growing. Seemed a bit backwards to me, but I'm not real smart on this plant yet. Guess it knew what it was doing.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 9:23AM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

Great job Alan.

I do think you're getting a bloom from an 'inflo' (inflorescence) that was dormant on the cutting tip when you obtained it.

So, the inflo did not really form while you had the plant, it just 'grew up'.

I think you'll find that by keeping the plant indoors it just may not be able to have the energy to create new inflos. And the new growth will be weaker and much longer. I'm talking each new branch will need to grow about 2 to 3 feet before it (might) bloom.

Hope I'm wrong though. I totally understand about the mites issue though.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 1:53PM
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Hi Dave

All you said makes perfect sense to me. I'll just have to wait and see how well it performs. Right now I'm happy seeing a healthy plant without worrying about the elements. If it does keep flowering...that's a bonus. One thing I can do is increase the amount of light it is getting. It would be real easy to boost it up to over 5000 lumens. I had to do that with my bigger orchid plants and they all seem happy and are all putting out good flower spikes.

Thanks for the words of wisdom.


    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 2:45PM
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Got another question. I've got to give this thing a name. From the pics above, can anyone identify the plant for me? The leaves are large and measure up to 15" from base to tip. Flower is quite fragrant. This one is not quite fully opened.


    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 7:05AM
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What is the card you are using to keep the fungus gnats down? I am having that issue with many of my plants now.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 2:35PM
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The product I use is called Yellow Sticky Traps. Non toxic similar to a small sheet of fly paper. Check out this location.

That's half the battle. You can get rid of most of the adults that way, but you need to kill the larvae that are in the soil. That's where the Mosquito Bits pellets come in. They are sprinkled on top of the soil so when you water it gets down in the soil and the larvae eat it and die. Took me about 3 weeks to get them under control. Now I keep about a half inch of sand on top of the dirt mix in my Plumeria pot to keep the nats at bay. Unfortunately some of my orchid babies grow in wet bark so there's always a threat for more nats.

Hope that helps.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 2:55PM
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