Plumeria..dormancy question

birdsnbloomsNovember 13, 2012

Howdy folks,

I've been meaning to ask about forcing my 'two' Plumerias into dormancy the last month.

Because I'm in IL, Plumerias are difficult keeping alive during winter.

For one, they're spider mite magnets.

What should be done?

Medium dries fast, needs water every other day.

Both were fertilized about 2 months ago.

Grafted Plumeria has foliage. Cane, 'el cheapo,' Plume has two, small leaves.

Do I stop watering?

Remove canes from medium, wrap in paper, then place in a dark area..'basement.'

Cut leaves?

Or wait?

Thanks in advance...Toni

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Mango88(5B (ONT))

Hi Toni,

I am from Ont Canada and my 3 plumerias are kept indoor and I keep all 3 by the kitchen sliding door as there are bright light. For almost 2 years now and I don't keep them in dormancy. I do however water the plants 1x/week during the winter and no fertilization till spring. Good luck with your plumeria.

P.S. I recently posted my plumeria that bloomed even in the winter.


    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 6:16PM
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Hello Mango,

After reading your post, I first checked out your Plumeria.

It's beautiful. I love its colors. I'm no expert w/Plumes but it reminds me of Rainbow.

Several years ago I attempted over-wintering Plumeria..more than once.
It looked terrible, loaded w/spider mites. I can't take the chance infesting other plants.

During winter, we sometimes go 5 days without sun.
Today was the first semi-sunny day in a week.

That's two reasons I want to force Plumes in dormancy. :)

I thought Ontario had similar weather to ours..I'm in IL.

Thanks, Toni

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 7:23PM
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I think most in northern areas try to force dormancy by cutting leaves, stopping the watering, and bringing into a protected area. They say that is usually enough to do the trick. You could also pre-emtively attack the spider mite issue by giving a good misting with neem oil.

I would not remove them from the soil nor place the plant on a concrete basement floor without some sort of thermal break. Hopefully someone else in a comparable zone with basement storage experience will post some additional comments for you.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 10:37PM
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Hello Kms.

Actually, there are two reasons I want to force Plumerias.

One reason is mites, the second is lack of light.
Windows with the brightest light, 'when sun is out,' are already filled to the gill. lol.

I thought if Plumes could be placed in a dark basement during winter, they'd have a better chance next spring..I feared setting them out this year, but next spring outside they'll go.
I should have taken Laura's advise..she said they should be placed outside, but I feared foliage would burn.

In the 90's, I ordered Plumes from HI. 1.99 plus 1.00 shipping. They were sent bare-root..well, cuttings w/o roots.
Once autumn arrived, I'd remove from pots, shake off medium, place in paper bags, then set in basement..'not on the floor.'
Once spring arrived, I'd check for new growth..As soon as I saw green, back in medium they'd go. This went on for 3 years until one autum, while outside, the cold killed them.

The problem is one Plume is grafted. I'd never had grafted Plumeria before, don't know how/if it'd over-winter.

I wish more ppl out this way had an interest in Plumeria and other exotics, but very few keep house plants, and those that do have basic plants..

Thanks for your help...Toni

Several years back,

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 11:37AM
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I cut all the leaves off and leave it in its pot.
Then I spray it down with bug spray and put it in a corner somewhere, not caring about light at all. The darker the better.
I put one of my plumerias asleep already, the beginning of November it was starting to hit the 40s at night, so he is leaf less and in dark room.
My other one is trying to bloom, so I have it by a window, and if it blooms, fine. if it doesn't, i will cut everything off and put it with the other one.
I water it once a month, a little water.
That's it.
In the spring when the days are in the 80s, I gradually bring them outside, half day sun at first.
You ahve the right idea, don't remove from soil tho, there is no reason to. You can put some newspaper crumpled up on the top if you want to prevent any hatchings of bugs if you want, just cut all the leaves off.
Don't water more than once a month tho.
Good Luck with your plummies.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 9:35PM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Hi Toni!!!

Glad to hear your Plumies are doing well and are ready for their sleep this winter!!

Like others have mentioned, you could let them stay active this winter or force into dormancy. I certainly understand your reasoning for wanting to cut the leaves and let them rest, especially because of spider mites. These really are "magnets" and i get so tired of fighting these little critters. I was going to let somme of mine ( 30 or so ) stay active, But i went ahead and cut leaves and put away just to have a break from mites. I also don't want them getting close to my other plants under lights this winter.

Butterfly.. gave you great advice.. sounds like how and what i do with mine during the winter!! ;-)

I cut leaves off for space reasons, but since you have a couple you could put them in a different room away from other plants to keep mites at bay.. spray and let the leaves fall of naturally. You do need to stop the watering weekly ( every other day) of these trees. I would let them dry out and place in a room that would work well for you to keep them "quiet" and away form other plants.

My trees go into a back room all stripped of leaves and i sprayed them before they came inside. The bedroom door stays closed, heat off and blinds closed. The others are upstairs and placed close to each other to save on space.

You dont have to do anything special to the grafted tree verses the other tree. They will both be fine. I do look at the trees at least once a month and i might give them a taste of water once a month. Others down south dont give water at all, but some people do.. Its your call. You have a long dormancy period like me, so we have them inside for longer than others do in Texas, Florida and others sunny places. Leave them in the container..i wouldnt touch the soil or mess with the roots at this time.. they will be fine as is.

Hope this helps..

Hope you are feeling better too! : )

Let us know how it all works.. i think the more you mess with them over the winter..the more you have problems. Try and forget them and they will be fine. It is hard to do, but they will be alright..

Take care,


    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 10:24PM
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Toni, they will be much happier outside next year. I have dozens of plumies and while some will burn when we have no rain and triple digit temps, some are just fine. Even with burned leaves they will still survive.

The bigger worry is when you get a new plumeria (cutting or rooted plant) and the stem or trunk burns so badly it causes the plant to die. That can be prevented by gradual sun exposure or foil to protect the trunk. After a season of root growth, sunburn usually won't bother them.

It is a very unusual plumeria that will bloom for you if kept strictly as a houseplant. They need sun, wind, humidity and fresh air to thrive. Good luck overwintering! Most of us are in the same boat, even here in Texas.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 9:21AM
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There's a simple and safe way to prevent spider mites. A product called Antistress 2000. It is a polymer that is sprayed on plants to reduce transpiration. As a side-effect, mites apparently are either unable to latch onto coated leaves, or the polymer sticks to the mites' mouth.

You can spray it all over your plants before dormancy. It is biodegradable and won't interfere with plant function. Downside is it's not cheap, about $30 a quart for concentrate, which will be enough to last forever.


    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 9:25PM
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