Plumeria leaf tips burned, leaves spotty, some curling

kariwojo(MO)July 14, 2012


I moved this plumeria from school & a south facing window to my home about 5 months ago. The only place I have to put it is near my balcony door, which gets afternoon sun. When I moved it, it had whiteflies. I wiped off the leaves occasionally but didn't worry too much about it. It did look like they were making spots on my leaves though, so I tried an insecticide. After that many of the leaves turned yellow & fell off--so I decided that wasn't the best route. I've been spraying the leaves, top & bottom, with soapy water. New leaves though are coming out with burned edges, spots, and the leaves are starting to curl. Should I continue with the soap spray? It looks like I've gotten rid of the flies, but they've come back before, so they need to be treated. Anyway, I guess my question is, are the flies the problem or is something else going on?

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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

Curious as to why its not outside. Is the balcony not an option. There are many natural predators that can help with pests. If you can Id take it out and give it a good spraying with plain water, fertilize, and let it have some real sun. Slowly at first then more and more.


    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 11:19PM
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Couldn't agree more. Try it out and see how it responds.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 10:31AM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Hello Everyone,

It does need to be outside during the summer.. Unless it gets really low at night in MO. I agree with K and Mike, the best medicine for your tree is to let it enjoy the sunlight that they want and need. All plants and trees need to be out and enjoying the sunlight. Then when it is time, bring them in to protect. Keeping them in year round only limits growth and helps pest thrive...

Make sure you acclimate it to the sunshine before you put in in direct sun.

Good luck!!

Take care,

Just my opinion of course!! : )


    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 11:10AM
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soap will do that if you are applying it that frequently. It has a chemical burn poor baby. Outside!
Whitefly are an ongoing problem for me in certain parts of the garden. GRR!
Tally HO!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 2:59PM
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Thanks everyone! I'll move it outside tomorrow & put up the umbrella to try to keep it from direct sun. That may be the problem I had earlier in the summer when I put it out and the leaves got crispy. We're expecting 100 degree weather next week, is that still ok?

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 11:01PM
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I would recommend putting it in shade, and then gradually moving it into full sun. Plumeria are truly tropical sun lovers and they wont bloom if there not in full sun, especially were you live as the sun intensity is far from what plumeria get in Florida, Ca, and HAwaii.


    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 12:21AM
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I don't have much shade, and it's too heavy for me to get down the steps. I put it out on the balcony yesterday morning, and put up the umbrella to give it some shade. The leaves looked a bit wilty, but I watered it, and the leaves, when the sun got low enough but before it was dark, and the leaves perked up.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 1:13PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

The first defoliation was most likely a function of the change in light between where it was sited at school and the lower light area where it is/was at home.

It's very possible that the crispy leaf tips/margins are being caused by over-watering, a high level of salts in the soil (from fertilizer and dissolved solids in your tap water), or a combination of both. If your plant is wilting when you can still detect moisture in the soil, it's almost certain that root function is impaired, and the plant 'perking up' as evening approaches supports that thought. Again, this may be the result of an overly water-retentive soil and the lack of air in the root zone that comes with it, or a high level of dissolved solids (salts) in the soil, or both. Even the recurring insect infestation can be resultant of a suppressed metabolism due to poor root health. The fix when your plant wilts while the soil is still moist is less water, not more, and a flushing of the soil to remove excess salts that may be inhibiting water uptake. A high level of salts in the soil can do the same thing to plants that salt does to cured meats, like ham, bacon, summer sausage ..... When the level of salts in the soil is higher than the level of salts in plant or animal cells (meat), the salt actually pulls moisture from cells. When this condition is severe, a condition called plasmolysis can result as cells collapse and plasma is torn from cell walls. Commonly, we call it fertilizer burn.


PS - it's much more important to shade the container than the foliage. A light colored cache pot filled with an absorbent material you can keep moist (between the 2 pots) or a pot-in-pot arrangement with the outside pot being white or a light color would probably go a long way toward keeping root temps out of the danger zone.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 1:38PM
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Thanks Al!

I had flushed the soil before putting it outside, and it finally started to dry out, so I gave it some food before I saw your post. It won't get water again unless it rains for a couple of weeks. I also had rocks on top of the soil that I moved so air can get to the soil better, and positioned the umbrella to keep the pot in the shade. It looked better this morning.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 5:05PM
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