Overwintering advice needed

vajeff(7b VA)October 12, 2012

I grew my first plumeria this year from seed. They're about 2ft now and the new growth is the densest I've seen so far.

It will be in the 40's tonight and tomorrow night, and I'm wondering what to do with them. Should I store them bareroot or should I leave them potted in a sunny location?

I'm leaning towards leaving them potted because I'd like to cut as much time off as possible before their first bloom. We have a large east facing glass door that receives bright sun during the winter for most of the day, except for December when the tree goes up (but we do have grow lights for that period). It's not optimum lighting, but it works great for overwintering other plants.


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

Hey vajeff

I too started some seeds back in early summer and the advice i got was to do whatever I could to keep them growing all winter. From what i gather, in their juvenile years they dont really have the energy supplies to go dormant and start again. I could be wrong but thats how I understand it.


    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 2:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You may need to supplement the natural light with fluorescents. Plants react to the length of the day(or conversely, length of the night) and when the daylight falls below a certain number of hours, that generally triggers deciduous plants to drop their leaves and go dormant until spring when the daylight is longer. They should probably have around 12 hours of light daily to keep them going.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 8:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would definitely keep them in their pots, and I have been told they need to be kept awake and not let go dormant the first year. I have a lot of seedlings myself so I'm in the same boat - I just ordered some lights today, others say you can out them by a sunny window, I don't know but I don't have a good window with enough room for them all.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 9:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Hi Jeff,

Like others have mentioned and with great advise.. Leave them active as long as they can. I would keep them in their pots.. Barerooting in our area doesn't do well for our trees... Use lights and they will do fine. I keep my youngest under T-5 lights and the other older trees i force to go dormant for me because of the number that i have. I know.. all of you are chuckling right now.. Me too!

Congratulations on your trees!

Where do you live in VA?

I live in VB.



    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 9:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
vajeff(7b VA)

Thanks, everyone, for the help.

I've moved them indoors. They did not care for the movement and sudden change in environment. There were small drops of sap at the base of some petioles and randomly on a couple of leaves. I don't think the cold got them since they were sheltered in front of the garage door. I hope it's nothing serious. The leaves did become a bit wavy after being brought indoors.

I'm getting the fluorescent lights out today to check the bulbs. Will have to figure something out to support them since the plumies are too large for the mini greenhouse!

Laura, I live in Portsmouth.


    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 2:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Jeff, the sap was just from tiny breaks in the leaves, they bruise and tear so easily. Nothing to worry about.

Definitely keep them potted over winter as in your area, like Laura says, the dormant period is probably too long to bareroot. Barerooting is probably also only suitable for older trees with tough trunks and woody roots. It will also delay blooming, for us in Texas, about a month.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 9:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Hi Jeff!!

Glad to see another person from the "757" : )

We have a few here in VA, but not in the Tidewater area!!

So nice to have you here!!


You have three trees? Way to go!!! LOl.. wait until next year!!! 3 X ? = Lots of VW's LOL!!!

Please let me know if i can ever help you..

Peg lives close to me too here in VB.

She loves them just as much as i do!! :)

Take care,


I still have my trees outside.. ill be watching the temps and then bring them in.. I will probably spray them in a few days.. Take care Jeff

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 2:12AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Jeff, Welcome to the plumeria addiction group. Laura is a great source of info here in Tidewater. Follow her advice and you can't go wrong. There is a great group here with many experts willing to help. I have some one and some two year old seedlings . I kind of let them tell me what they want. If they keep there leaves I water and if they start dropping the leaves I cut back on the water. All the one year old seedlings last winter kept their leaves. I have some larger plants that keep theirs too. One of my biggest NOIDs only looses about 6 leaves over the winter. I've collected a lot more this year so I gave mine a hair cut (cut off leaves)this year to save on space. Don't know what I'll do next winter. Maybe move to a warmer climate. LOL Peg

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 7:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Jeff! I know a Jeff in Portsmouth (surely there is only one!) His mom's name is Peggy, his aunt is Ruth.

I'm down in Edenton, but used to live in Portsmouth.

This forum is the best for plumeria information. It will slow down for the winter but come spring this place will be hopping!

About what Laura said about VW's... our resident plumeria expert reminds everyone that a plumeria will grow big enough that you'll need enough yard space to park a VW bug. So how many VW's can you park in your yard? :)

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 8:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
vajeff(7b VA)

Thanks for the welcome.

You're kidding about the VW, right? Where am I going to put four of them?! I'm sure I could find a place out front if I moved a brugmansia or two... or allow a friend to "borrow" them for the season. Wow, it's going to be tough come winter when they're that large!

I have them indoors now, but not under lights just yet. Seems I've caught a cold that's been going around, so I'm behind on things. I haven't decided on what to use as a rack to hang them from. Might try pvc. The flush of leaves that started before I brought them in is looking a little pale and leggy, so the lights will go up any time now, hopefully. Each plant has lost one of its lowest leaves, but the rest look fine... save the rippled edges which have me a little anxious.

Moonie, I've known a few Jeff's in Portsmouth. Less than a handful. Surprising, but I guess it's just a small city... or it's not a popular name :(

I have questions for all of you! Do plumeria produce seed here? How well do those sunken into the ground fair during hurricanes - are broken branches to be expected?

I'm very eager to find out what color these NOID's will be! I might have to germinate more since it's so easy! The styrofoam "boat" method worked wonders.


    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 10:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Hi Jeff!!

I have had seedpods on my trees here in VA. (still do now on Five trees..) You can see some of them in my post here on this forum. They take about 9 months to open and im sure mine will stay on the tree for the winter and will open this spring. One is looking really large right now.."Leela" is making me think she might open soon, i don;t know why... just a feeling.

Trees do well "plunged" in the ground or just halfway in mulch here in our area. I just was looking at some of my 1 gallon containers that i had near the side of the fence for the summer, the roots have grown from the holes into the dirt. I will have to cut those roots to bring them inside. They will do fine here during storms, but during Hurricanes..i bring them all inside. If you did a search on my threads...there are a few pics of them inside during one of our last hurricanes. I always tie them to the railing of my deck anyway. They can get so top heavy and just a little wind can knock them over. You can also use rebar and drive it through the pot in the ground if you dont have anywhere to tie the tree too.

K in Texas shared a pic of one of his large Plumies and he had it staked in the ground, but sometimes the wind will take it anyway.. I like the railing method personally..

As far as broken branches.. It can happen anytime.. Dogs, kids, Us.. ; ) Strong winds can be a problem.. I just make sure they are all staked or tied to the deck..

Once spring rolls around, You will have to come and visit and i can fix you up with something that might bloom sooner than later for you!! Deal?

Take care and always ask questions!!



    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 12:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
vajeff(7b VA)

Sorry for the late response! I've been ill the past few weeks. The head cold decided to move into the lungs, and then Sandy decided to drop by, so needless to say this fall is not turning out to be the best ever... I don't know how I'm going to catch up with the fall chores now that I have hurricane clean-up to add to everything!

I like to collect and trade seeds, so that's great! Just another source to fuel the addiction...

I couldn't find the picture of them inside during a hurricane, but I did see all the others. Woah! I did not know that we could grow palms like those here... Well, at least not ones that would flower. That's amazing! And those plumeria have exploded since your earliest pictures. Love the DR's. Can't wait for mine to grow that large!

Does sinking the plumeria help lengthen the amount of time before they start to become root bound?

Staking shouldn't be a problem. I stake just about everything. I've definitely learned my lesson with this hurricane. Even those that I thought were sturdy (tree mallow, brugmansia) are leaning over. So next year everything will receive support of some sort! Rebar, conduit, bamboo...

How did Sandy treat you? Judging from your pictures, I assume you live near water. I hope there wasn't any flooding. We live near a creek. If the water had risen about four or five more inches it would have been in the garage again! I doubt we'll put off on sand bags next time... On a positive note, the wind knocked all of the ripe pecans out of the trees before the squirrels could get them!

Happy Halloween,

    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 9:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

YEA!!!!!!!!! Jeff. Glad you were undamaged by the storm. This has been some crazy weather everyone has been having. I guess if something good (saving pecans)came out of it than all is right with the world. Peg

    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 11:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

All good news to hear that damage was minor in 757 land. I have used rebar, tent stakes, big rocks, etc. to keep trees from going horizontal but Like Laura said sometimes the wind just takes them.

I am trying out some new pots I found at Lowes made out of High Density Resin. they are lower and wider than most. Earlier this summer Citizen Insane said pots should be wide (not tall) for Plumeria. Which made sense if you have ever seen a bare root plumeria. The secondary benefit will be the increased stability of a wide base. I also bought some square pots to see how they perform in high winds.

Here is my oldest (known last night as Princess Aurora)helping me transplant a scorched, root bound, and underperforming 2 year old Thorton Mardi Gras into the new pots.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 8:04AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm very interested to see how those wider pots work out! I also love the rebar method - I've been putting about 3-4 pieces around the outside of my pots and they work great.

Laura and Jeff, so glad you guys made it through the storm without much damage!

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 10:35AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

kms2m, Your helper is soooooooooo "cute". Love the gloves. I see your training her right. Hope she grows up with a love of the plants too.
I agree with elucas101, the pots look interesting. Will also like to hear how they work out. Peg

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 6:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Oh, yeah, start 'em young! She'll always be a great outdoors girl since she's learned to love gardening early on. What a terrific side benefit of this addiction!

I think I saw those same pots at HD here. They had another style--a plastic one I've tried before and really liked--and those were on clearance so I bought all they had left. Been looking everywhere for short, wide pots in a terracotta color, but they're not easy to find.

Mine says hello to yours, K. He was out with us last night, with his own tiny garden gloves, as we moved those massive six-by-sixes for the new "vegetable" bed. He was absolutely giddy with excitement at being able to use the tape measure and builders' square.

Jeff, good to hear that you guys are okay after those storms. And Laura, thanks for posting on the other thread about Alex being alright in NY. I thought I'd posted a response there but it seems to have vanished. You were so smart to start your preparations early and get everything inside!

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 10:48AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Hi Guys!!

Jen.. I am worried about Alex.. Can't help it. I know there was a post and all is ok, but i have seen the area and it is really bad. Hopefully we will hear something. I am worried about homes.. loss of power etc. ALex lives close to the areas that were hit hard. I hope all is well..

K.. Your little one is precious. Im sure she will be a big help with all of your repots.. :)

Like your pots too! They look like they will be sturdy too. I did buy some square pots to try. LOL.. We must be thinking... same Plumeria waves... LOL!!

Hi Jeff.. Can you believe they are predicting another noreaster on Tuesday that will effect us and points north into NJ? Looks like it will spin right off the Chesapeake Bay.. Argg.

I do live on the water here in VB. It takes 10 minutes to be in the Chesapeake Bay.. so i do have the problems with the tidal surges during hurricanes. We had record high tides with Sandy. The water came up over the bulkhead and caused some problems, Winds caused some downed Pines and i did just learn that my car was flooded while i was away on a trip during the hurricane. I came home during the hurricane as i was stranded in Charlotte NC. My crew rented a car and we drove home from NC. I left my car at the airport.. It has electrical issues.. But, i m not complaining.. other people have more problems than this little issue. We just have to be thankful that it wasnt worse for us here. We are a little more prepared for these storms. But sometimes we cant stop moter nature from doing damage.

Thank you for the kind comments on my Palms. I love these babies!! They do grow well here in Va. So you like DR's too? OH boy.. You are in the right place. Peg and i like them too! Lol.. It is fun to see the difference in growth in the years with my trees. I sometimes look back at those pics and i cant believe how much they have grown. Some that i brought inside are hitting the ceiling, so they will be trimmed this spring. If we lived somewhere that we could plant them in the ground.. well, that would be wonderful. But, we are in an area where we can only grow in containers. We are challenged.... but we can still enjoy the blooms. We just have to work a little harder. IT IS WORTH IT!!!

Hope you are feeling better.. I understand about all of the work cleaning up. I can't look at another branch or pinecone right now.. I have had enough. But,, when i feel like this... i think about the people that lost everything. So it puts me back in a good place.

Hi Emily.. Thank you for thinking of us.. : )

Take care,


    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 12:04AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
vajeff(7b VA)

Thanks, Peg! I agree. The weather has been a bit... bizarre this year. Hopefully it's not a sign of things to come.

Kms9: I'm a little depressed that I missed those at Lowes! I looked around this year for something more durable and wider for herbs (particularly mint), veggies, and annual plantings, but couldn't find anything worth the investment. I did read that plumeria roots grow outward rather than downward, so I'll definitely be on the search for something similar next year. I wonder how well they would work for a mini water garden. I saw one made out of a whiskey (I think) barrel somewhere and it looked neat.

Aww. A gardener in training! That's adorable!

Elucas101 & Jandey: Thank you!

Laura: I wish that I couldn't believe it, but with the weather lately... Who knows what will happen. Come to think of it, the last November noreaster, that I can remember, did flood the garage. Ugh, not looking forward to this one. We're ready to run out and grab sand bags if things start going south.

I'm sorry about your car! Why can't they design them so that all the important parts are waterproof? My father's car flooded and is experiencing electrical issues too. Sandy has been good to the automotive repair business. True, we're a bit accustomed to the flooding and winds here. I feel terrible for those up north that were blindsided. It's going to take a while for them to recover. Here's to hoping that they don't have a ton of snow dumped on them this year (knock on wood).

After seeing your palms, I've been browsing through catalogs and sites to see what's available for this zone. I think I might be a potential palm addict! If only I had the space and conditions for them... The Plant Delights catalog had a nice selection. The fan palms looked awesome (particularly "Vulcano"). Who knows, I might be able to squeeze one in somewhere. Yes! I love DR's. I only have one right now that I grew from seed, but I have many seeds left so I think I'll start some more next year. If we could plant DR's and plumeria in the ground I'd have a small tropical forest! The few months of sharing the house with them isn't too bad considering how great they'll look come summer.

I was raking pine straw again today. It never ends... The trees still have leaves. Ugh. I did manage to uncover another green tree frog! Poor thing, I hope its hibernation wasn't interrupted. Meh, what am I complaing about. It could be worse.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to treat for spider mites on overwintered plumeria? We brought the last of our house plants in last week (christmas cactus, spider plants, schefflera) and yesterday I noticed spider mites all over the plumeria leaves. They're in small clusters, so I'm sure they haven't been there long, but there are many clusters... I'm afraid this is just the beginning of something terrible.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 12:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Oh Jeff! I hope someone jumps in here with help for the spider mites. I battle them every winter. I use neem oil but that is a slow kill and I think works better as a preventative. I use Bayer 3 in 1 insect/mite spray but is it's not good in the house. I do get them outside on warm days to spray if I can and sometimes use the bath tub with the fan running if I have no choice. Also alcohol for a quick fix. I'm hoping someone else has a better answer. I got soil gnats bad last year so have put mosquitoes bits on top of all pots as they came in. I'm hoping that works this year. Peg

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 5:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Peg, I also got terrible fungus gnats last winter. By mosquito bits do you mean the grey stuff they make mosquito dunks out of, with Bt in them?

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 9:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Jen the bits are made by the same people that make the dunks but are pieces. I started using them after I had the problem last year and they seemed to help. I think someone on here talked about using them. This year that got them added on top as I brought pots in so I'm hoping. I bought a backup plan as Garden Alive sells something you mix in your water. The bits do mold if the soil is damp but doesn't seem to hurt anything and so far so good. Peg

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 6:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
vajeff(7b VA)

I'll try wiping the leaves with a cotton ball soaked in alcohol and see if that helps. Unfortunately, the new leaves are turning black at the tips and other leaves (that have the spider mites) are falling off while still green. I don't know if that's related to the mites or not... Hopefully so as I don't need something else to worry about.

Will look into the mosquito bits. The fungus gnats last year took out several of my seedlings and caused trouble with winter-sown plants, so that will definitely come in handy!


    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 5:24PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
How To Give Away Plumeria
I bought a plumeria (gorgeous pinks and yellows) before...
Jungle Jacks at Lowes
So, now that I have your attention....when do you think...
update wrong time of year cuttings.
So several months ago I showed the 2 cuttings given...
winter projects
well, it just finished raining in drought California....
what do you think of the callus?
The three on the left are hard and appear to be good...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™