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I could use your advice!

Posted by moonie_57 8 NC (My Page) on
Wed, Sep 26, 12 at 15:25

This will be my first winter of having to overwinter multiple plumerias. Maybe all of you could tell me what you do, or what you would do in my position. Last year I overwintered one of my plumies at work, in a greenhouse that doesn't go below 60*. It dropped it's leaves sometime in January and then pushed an inflo. The first flower opened late February or early March and it has been blooming nonstop since. Now, I know that each and every plumie will respond differently, but I'm pretty sure that keeping it in the greenhouse did influence it to some degree. What do you think?

So, I'm trying to decide which of my plants I will take to work and which to leave here at home. No, don't even suggest it, I would be too embarrassed to take them ALL to work, my co-workers would not understand! LOL I know, hard to believe! :)

Not only that, but I have actually had things disappear/get sold in the past! So, I need to keep my stash as small as possible in my own little corner where no one else is allowed to browse.

Am I correct in thinking that I should definitely keep the grafted ones in the greenhouse since I stand a better chance of them blooming next year? Can you give me examples of varieties that are young bloomers which may make me decide to keep that particular variety in the greenhouse? Any other suggestions to help me decide which ones to try and keep awake? Any that I shouldn't try?

I'm turning the spare bedroom into a plumie room but how do I want to keep the temps? My house is very very dry in winter. Should I cover the heat vent in there? What about a humidifier? I've always kept plants in there but not a large amount that's super important to me.

I do have a couple of heat mats and lights for seedlings and cuttings. They will winter over in the same room. Should I partition them off and keep my other plants from receiving the light? Is too little light better than no light? Worse?

Should you try to help your plants along to go dormant? Do you try to keep your plants from -going- dormant? How long generally does the dormancy period last?

What do you guys do?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: I could use your advice!

A greenhouse is always best, as your plant has shown you! The light and warm temps bring them out of dormancy earlier. As long as there are leaves, some moisture. As soon as leaves drop, withhold moisture. I'd keep as many as they will allow and not think you're nuts, but also label really well 'NOT FOR SALE!'. But don't take what you'd be heart-broken over if it got stolen!

For your spare bedroom, I would close off vent to keep cooler and not so dry. More light is usually better than less light I think.

You'll need to remove most leaves before you bring them in. Spray for bugs. You may also bring in an ant colony. LOL! Hope you don't have fire ants down there!


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RE: I could use your advice!

Emerson cuts all the leaves off, stacks them in his garage and closes the door. The garage is totally dark and does get to or even below freezing. He said he does lose some smaller ones every year but even in our hard freeze they were fine.

Becky puts all hers in a greenhouse where they are not watered all winter, they drop their leaves on their own. She starts watering when they begin putting out new leaves.

I drag mine in if it is predicted to freeze, stick them in an unheated backroom and forget them until I go to dig something out of the storeroom and trip over them. It is freezing in that room and dark. probably 40 average temp over winter.

Let them dry out, stick them in the spare bedroom. Turn off the heat in there if it won`t cause that room to drop below freezing. Don`t worry about it being dry, they are dormant and dry is always better in that case, humidity will give you problems.
When they start to wake up or your temps warm, whichever comes first bring them out, water them and let them go. I have had plumeria bloom in the backroom when I forgot them in the past, how they know the days are longer I will never know. The cuttings have been known to bloom sitting on shelves or in packages hanging on racks in Hawaii.

Have a mild winter!
Tally HO!


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RE: I could use your advice!

Hi Mona,
I have been growing plumeria for 3 years now. I live in western NY, and our winters can be VERY cold some years. Because I live in zone 6 and I love growing other tropical besides plumeria, I invested into a 600 watt HPS light. People that grow with lights would say that it would be better to use halides, since they encourage more vegatative growth and the HPS encourages flowering and fruiting. This is exactly why I chose my HPS light, not only that but it was about $250, and that included everything including the light bulb.

Now, I also have my set up in my bedroom(this year it will move into my spare bedroom) and I have hot water base board heating in all my rooms in my apartment. The actual individual units do not have controls to adjust the heat on them, and between the base board unit and the heat produced by the HOS light itself, the temperature is usually between 86 and 90 degrees...yes, pretty darn hot, BUT, this was how I maintained blooms on my 1 Penang Peach plumeria tree from November when the inflo just started blooming till just after Christmas, and then it rebloomed again around Valentines day to about mid March.

I have to agree with Dave on a few points, the main one being that it is CRITICAL, to remove the leaves on your trees, and SPRAY, SPRAY, SPRAY!

For me, I don't remove the leaves on any cuttings that I rooted this year, or any of my newly purchased smaller trees that are in 1 gal pots. For example, my J.L. Dane that I got from Matt before he stopped selling J.L. trees, I will keep that going, but I also will not remove any of the leaves before I spray. I will probobly spray 3 or 4 times beforeI bring them all in, waiting about 3 days in between each spray.

I like to also wash the pots down. This year I am going to use Lysol wipes to clean them. You just have to be really carefull not to get the inside of the pot when you wipe them. I just use a wash cloth and hot water for that.

Once I have them under the lights, I keep the light on for about 12 hours each day.

I hope that info helps you, and if you have any more questions, just let me know, and I will help you if I can.

Andrew


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RE: I could use your advice!

Ok, I will be keeping all my rooting cuttings here at home on the heat mat, in the spare bedroom, heat vent closed, no humidifier and as much light as I can give them. As far as my young plants, I have not decided yet which to keep home and which to take to the greenhouse.

Dave - do you find that a NOT FOR SALE sign makes one look even closer? LOL
Actually, I have yet to bring in an ant colony and I sure don't want this year to be the first! Luckily I have seen no signs of ants in any of my pots. Lots of millipedes, though. Don't want them in the house, either! I don't know if the 3 n 1 will work on them?

Andrew - I should have done like you and gotten a good light system. Well, actually, I should have put the money into a new heating system for the greenhouse and I would be a lot happier. The 2 years I heated the greenhouse was expensive, heating with propane Mr. Heaters. I was spending about $60 a week for probably 15 weeks or more? 2 of our colder winters and my DH wasn't exactly tickled with that. Maybe next year I'll spend my play money more wisely. :)

My Bayer 3 n 1 is ready to go. I am going to start with that tomorrow and spray again a few days before I bring them in. Will that suffice, you think? Our weather is making me antsy, not knowing if our first cold spell is going to be early or not.

What is the reason for washing down the outsides of the pots with lysol wipes? Is your intention to keep fungus down? Mold and mildew? With the heat in your apartment, how often do you have to water? I am also concerned with getting the watering right with whatever state my plants will be in at the time. Which, I'm sure will depend on how I decide to overwinter them. These are first year cuttings so I need to keep them wide awake, I'm just unsure what conditions I will be able to offer.

Now Greg will understand why I was relieved not to have any more grandchildren. My g'kids have a great Christmas so Grandma has to sacrifice! *drat*

Tally - I think I probably will water a bit like a few others on here do. It just goes against everything I feel to -not- water for such a long time. Know what I mean? LOL


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RE: I could use your advice!

Grrrr.. just thought of something concerning taking trees to the greenhouse. RUST!


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RE: I could use your advice!

Hi Mona,

It will all be ok!!!

Actually it is harder on us than the trees going into dormancy!! LOL...

If you are going to spray your trees with 3 and 1, i would only spray once and not spray again in a few days. make sure you read the label and not cause problems. Don't spray on trees in the sun. This will not be good for the trees and cause damage..

OK.. Here is what i do. We are close in Zones..

Most of my trees will go and hide in the backroom for the winter. I will decide which will go into the backroom on how large they are. How healthy they are ..how mature they are etc. Mainly, i want to get them out of the way.

I will watch the low temps and when it starts to get down (nighttime) around 45* one week or so before. ( I ususally start around mid OCt) I take the trees that will be heading into the bedroom and cut the leaves off leaving about once inch of the stem left (from the main tree) They will fall off in about a week to two weeks from the main tree. I will spray a couple of days before i bring in those that i have given a "haircut to" I won't spray them if im cutting the leaves.. It is a waste... so i spray after the leaves are gone. I let them dry out. Then i bring them in and place plastic on the carpet and set them there for the winter. I get my plastic at Lowes in the paint section. (drop cloths) They will sit in there with the blinds closed and the vents off. The temp in the room doesnt really get that cold cuz it is still around the heated house.

I do water my trees slighty and sparingly in the winter.

Some say the best is to let them go dormant naturally.. i agree.. but when we live where we do and have so many trees.. i have to help nature along. When i water, i give them just a taste once a month. Lets say my five gallon containers get about 1 cup every month. My 1-3 gallon may receive 1/2 cup per month. Some say to water, some say not...

it just depends on your trees and how you want to handle this time period. I actually don't worry about the trees in the bedroom. They sometimes won't go to sleep when i want.. : ) But, they finally cooperate..

The other trees that are in one gallon and the newly rooted ones, will be placed under my T-5 lights. I do have a greenhouse, but it does cost way to much to keep it heated like i would like, so i use my greenhouse in march to start bringing them out of dormancy.

Using the lights has it's problems too. Spider mites are an issue. I wouldn't be concerned about rust. I have to spray over the winter to control the mites. The trees do lose some of their leaves and this is normal. Some even lose all of the leaves under the lights. They are still watered when dry. Not as much as in the summer, but more than the ones in the back room.

It sounds complicated, but it really isn't. Don't worry to much about them and they will be fine. Keeping them on the dry side is better than having them wet in the winter.

I will post a pic of my trees in the backroom when they were placed for the winter..

Try and forget about them.. (when in the backroom)

Hope this helps... I will start to put the ones that will receive "haircuts" in a certain area on the deck. The ones that will stay active in the greatroom and under the lights will be sprayed leaves and all before they come inside. (cloudy day..)Probably in a few weeks.. I think it was around Halloween when i brought them in last year.. it just depends..

Take care,

Laura


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RE: I could use your advice!

Thanks, Laura. You guys have been great as always! It's so nice when someone can come here and get in depth answers. This is what makes this forum so great! Thank you all!

So, I believe we have a plan of action and tomorrow I will work a little more in the spare bedroom and have everything ready to go. Hopefully I won't procrastinate when it's time for everything to come in. Usually I'll be out at midnight, trying to find a place for my tropicals because life ain't worth living if you aren't doing it on the edge! LOL

Thanks for the "haircut" explanation, when you do and when you don't. Gives me a good feel for what needs to be done.

Laura, so I should not use the 3 n 1 now, then use it again a month from now? No, I have not yet read the label, but of course would have before using.

I'm worried about the rust because I will be taking it to work. It's not concern for spreading rust, it's the concern of my boss being worried about it should he spot it.


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RE: I could use your advice!

Hey Mona,

DO any of your trees have rust that will be going to the greenhouse?

I would spray them (the ones that you are going to keep active if it makes you feel better about rust and other insects now. (cloudy day) Then again in three weeks..depending what the label says.. I cant remember what it actually says.. but i know they wouldn't be happy if they had back to back spraying of the 3 in one.

I use this time to get ready.. i clean out the area that i need to use for the space for the trees in the backroom. I mean move things..lol Spare rooms always seem to find things that land in there!! : )

Ok.. so about the rust? Orange rust? Do you see any on them? Orange rust is very bright and easy to spot. The bayer 3 in one will help control this if yiu have an issue with this. You can always cut the infected leaves and discard them away from your other trees. That will help.

I don't have rust, but i did have this a few years back at this time of the year... you can always use a spray at the greenhouse to keep the trees under control. I like the recipe that Al has used .. it calls for Neem oil, Murphys Oil soap, Water and Rubbing Alcohol. I will post the recipe when i get home.

Oh.. i promised a pic.. Don't laugh.. I know they look pitiful.. But they all did great when i keep them like this and i haven't lost one.. (gosh..did i say that?) I don't want to jinx myself.. : )

Relax.. i also am one who is outside at all hours of the night. I have been known to move trees at two in the morning.. LMAO!!

Just get ready and have a place to move the trees when the temps go down... I will make that call when i watch the forcast.. I still think we have a good couple of weeks left. Maybe more...

Pics..

Photobucket
Photobucket

Here is a pic of the ones that stayed active all winter under the T-5 setup...

Photobucket

Hope this helps..

Laura


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RE: I could use your advice!

Hey Mona,

DO any of your trees have rust that will be going to the greenhouse?

I would spray them (the ones that you are going to keep active if it makes you feel better about rust and other insects now. (cloudy day) Then again in three weeks..depending what the label says.. I cant remember what it actually says.. but i know they wouldn't be happy if they had back to back spraying of the 3 in one.

I use this time to get ready.. i clean out the area that i need to use for the space for the trees in the backroom. I mean move things..lol Spare rooms always seem to find things that land in there!! : )

Ok.. so about the rust? Orange rust? Do you see any on them? Orange rust is very bright and easy to spot. The bayer 3 in one will help control this if yiu have an issue with this. You can always cut the infected leaves and discard them away from your other trees. That will help.

I don't have rust, but i did have this a few years back at this time of the year... you can always use a spray at the greenhouse to keep the trees under control. I like the recipe that Al has used .. it calls for Neem oil, Murphys Oil soap, Water and Rubbing Alcohol. I will post the recipe when i get home.

Oh.. i promised a pic.. Don't laugh.. I know they look pitiful.. But they all did great when i keep them like this and i haven't lost one.. (gosh..did i say that?) I don't want to jinx myself.. : )

Relax.. i also am one who is outside at all hours of the night. I have been known to move trees at two in the morning.. LMAO!!

Just get ready and have a place to move the trees when the temps go down... I will make that call when i watch the forcast.. I still think we have a good couple of weeks left. Maybe more...

Pics..

Photobucket
Photobucket

Here is a pic of the ones that stayed active all winter under the T-5 setup...

Photobucket

Hope this helps..

Laura


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RE: I could use your advice!

i have no idea how that happened.. lol..

sorry!!


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RE: I could use your advice!

Gardenweb seems to doublepost from time to time. Maybe a software bug.


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RE: I could use your advice!

Hi Mona,
Loving Laura's advice. She really is an expert when it comes to growing these trees in our cooler areas but she has been growing them for years now.

I agree with her. I think the most critical step is making sure your pots are completely dry before moving them in. Ok, maybe not 100% dry but pretty close. I change my mentality with plumeria when fall arrives and they have to come in. I think of them more as a cactus. Cacti HATE weet feet, and do not require much in terms of water. Plumeria are succulent for a reason. They can go a long time without adequate water, and it wont hurt then, except for when there active and growing and blooming that is!

I think she got it right in terms of watering too. I kept most of my trees in the basement last year, and they hardly ever got watered. I did water them when I noticed that they were dessicating but that was about it. I wont do that again, in fact, I am not planning on putting any of my trees in the basement this year. I lost 7 or 8 last winter and that was because I didn't have a barrier in between the stone floor and the pot.

I wish you the best Mona, and also in terms of rust, don't worry. I had rust on all 4 of the trees I brought back from Florida Colors. Some people actually said that it was terrible that they would sell trees like that. They all were not covered in rust, and because I was bare rooting them to bring them home, I cut off all the leaves. I didn't spend money on a spray either and guess what? The new leaves grew in great and NO RUST! If your removing your leaves before bringing your trees to your work, then you should have no problems.

Andrew


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RE: I could use your advice!

it is very hard for people not to water, but you are way more likely to lose them if you water as opposed to not watering.
Remember the plants are dormant. They may dessicate but will plump back up in the spring when you start watering. If you saw how people here store their plumeria in winter you would have a heart attack.

I would suggest a bleach solution to wipe the outside of your pots, it will kill the bacteria/mold/whatever, is cheap, works way better than Lysol and readily available.
Just don`t spill it on your clothing.
Tally HO!


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RE: I could use your advice!

Regarding watering in winter, I would just say that a 3 to 4 month dormancy down South is different than a 6 to 7 month dormancy period up North! These plants, while able to survive a period of dormancy and drought that long, really do not appreciate it from what I've seen. Seven months of no-water brings dessication to a whole 'nother level...especially with low humidity.

I agree they can be killed by overwatering in winter...especially when they have no leaves to transpire moisture. I've had that happen, but I think very small amounts of water around the perimeter of the pot can help keep main roots somewhat hydrated -- not wet, but hydrated.

In Hawaii, I think I've read, that the dormancy period is really only about 2 months at most. Plants can bloom year-round. Is there at least some moisture in the soil? Most likely. In fact if you look up rainfall records for Honalulu you'll see that they can get anywhere from 1" to 6" of rain in the winter months. Obviously soil is volcanic and freely draining, winds and sun dry soil quickly. Plants likely remain foliated longer -- well into December.

I think cold, wet, defoliated and too-long dormancy make for a bad combination.

My 2 cents.

Cheers!

Dave


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