Help me diagnose my plumeria!

Calzoner(9b)July 24, 2014

Greetings fellow gardeners!

I need some help with a yellowing leaf issue with my NOID plumeria. I'm in zone 9 (central FL) and this is my one and only plumeria. It was gifted to me late last summer so this year is my first full growing season. Last year i transplanted this guy into Al's 1:1:1 gritty mix and i use 1/4 tsp Foliage Pro every watering (rain water). I currently have him in my covered lanai (east facing approx 5 hours of morning sunlight) and water him about every 2-3 days depending on the weight of the pot. The plant is potted in a ceramic pot as well. My issue is constant yellowing of lower leaves. The plant will grow 1-2 leaves but then lose 2-3 leaves shortly after. Upon doing research online the only issues that seem to cause this are pests (spider mites) and/or over watering? I feel i have a good grasp on watering with the gritty mix as most of my succulents are growing in it and doing well.

Approx 4 weeks ago, this plant was on my front patio, uncovered and west facing. My initial reaction was it was getting too wet from the rain (would be strange for plumeria to have this issue with gritty mix IMO) or maybe too much direct sunlight mid day/afternoon. This is when i moved the plant to the back lanai to receive less light and control the moisture entering my potting medium. At this point I also decided to spray with my mixture of neem oil/ rubbing alcohol and dish soup to kill any potential pest residing on the plant. The next 2 weeks or so, it grew 2-3 new green leaves and didnt drop any old ones. 2 days ago, I noticed yellow/green discoloration on one of the leaves. The next morning it dropped and by that afternoon 3 more were completely yellow (pics below)

Can anyone help me diagnose my issue. I've inspected thoroughly and can not for the life of me find any spider mites or other pests!

Please help =)

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Calzoner(9b)

Here is a second closer up pic...

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 8:15PM
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phalanx_viridis

im a nurse so I am like a moth to the light when I see the word 'diagnose'; hopefully someone in your area will chime in as they will know your humidity/precipitation/sunlight strength, but it might be too much water and the changes in sunlight hrs that is making it chuck leaves...also, I don't see spider mite damage like I have seen on mine.

Instead of watering every couple of days, try using a wooden dowel or a bbq skewer to test the growing medium moisture; let it dry between waterings/fertigations. I have several of mine in Gritty and I only water 2x a week in the hottest conditions and I am in SoCal=dry environment.

The green leaves look healthy, I think it is just throwing a tantrum with the changes in conditions...I would give it more than 5 hrs of direct sun to get enough energy to flower and try to let it dry out between watering.

-Stephen

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 9:25PM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Great advise, Stephen!!!!

Laura

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 10:08PM
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Calzoner(9b)

Thank you for the response. I was getting the same symptoms when my plumeria was getting full sun all day as well. Maybe due to FL rains almost daily it was too wet when exposed to the elements? I really feel that even though i water every couple days that the mix is pretty darn dry. I usually use the weight of the pot as an indicator when to water and I'm using that logic now but still having the issue. Any chance I'm keeping the plant too dry in the gritty mix? I would think typical dry conditions would tend to lead to droopy leaves and not yellowing but maybe I'm wrong.. My problem is if I want to give it more direct sunlight it will come with being outside and exposed to our daily/every other day afternoon rain showers.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 8:21AM
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Calzoner(9b)

Also, any idea what the black spots/dots are at the base of the leave stem? Each one has always had since I've had the plant.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 8:37AM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

I can't remember the scientific name. But it's normal....you are talking right at the base of the leaf meets the stem? ( at the node). It's normal...

I would give your tree more sunlight this time of the year. It's probably trying to adjust to moving it around... Trees like sunshine in the summer. If its in the gritty and you are getting lots of rain, I wouldn't worry.. You can water every other day in the heat or sunshine. I do here in Virginia.

Fertilizing? Moisten the mix before you fertilize to prevent burn.. Read label instructions..

Yellow leaves are normal while they are growing.. I go outside and when I see them , I pluck them right off...

It looks great.. Get that baby outside!!! If you are worried, place it under a semi shady area t to acclimate.. Trees like to be outside. That's where nature intended them to be!! ;-)

Take care,

Laura

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 9:34AM
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Calzoner(9b)

Thank you Laura, I'm going to put it back out front where it receives more light!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 10:34AM
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Calzoner(9b)

Just an update for anyone facing similar issues concerning gritty mix and yellowing leaves. I put my tree back out in "fuller" sun and increased my watering by about double (water every morning instead of every couple days) and things have really perked up. Numerous more claws forming and no yellowing of bottom leaves.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 11:45AM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

That is fantastic!!

I am so happy for you and your tree!! !

Keep on doing what ever you are doing and I'm sure your tree will continue to flourish!! ;-)

Awesome job!!!

Laura

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 9:16PM
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lazybonz(7a)

Calzoner, thanks for posting your update.
It's nice to know both the symptom and the cure.
Posts like your can help others, whether they are forum regulars or just people surfing the net for solutions to their plumie problem.
Glad your plumeria has perked up

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 8:58AM
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