Sooner or later you might run into problems and this last chapter in the series I hope will help you to solve most of them. Plumeria problems anyway. I will use a Q&A structure in the chronological order you might experience problems on your way from cutting to flowering.
My planted Plumeria cutting doesn’t seem to be growing. I see no new leaves coming. What can I do?
Most probably you just need patience. Some cuttings can take longer to root (especially dark red and evergreen varieties). Up to 2 months is normal. Try to provide more bottom heat. Check even the next question to make sure it is not the case.
My planted Plumeria cutting is not growing and the stem base feels squashy if I slightly squeeze it between fingertips.
Some shriveling and desiccation is ok during rooting, but if it feels squashy, it is unfortunately a sign of rot. Dig it up and make a new cut above the soft part. Cut until you see healthy wood with milky sap. Let it callus and plant again. Make sure to bottom heat the planter.
More on stem root at Plumeria101.com
Black spots appear on my Plumeria leaf stalks, midribs or on the branch tips. Should I do something?
This is a sign of Black Tip Fungus which most often strike plants growing outside in wet and cold conditions. Not as common in controlled indoors environment. If you see black spots on you plants, stop water spraying, remove all affected leaves and make sure it receives sun and warm. Treat the soil with a fungicide solution and spray it on the leaves as well.
If the growing tip is smitten, the disease will most probably stop in warmer and drier conditions and the black part will shrivel and eventually fall of. If it continues spreading down the stem you should cut it under the affected part until you see healthy wood with white sap. In both cases new growing tips will evolve within a month coming out from old leaf stalk bases.
More on Black Tip Fungus at Plumeria101.com
My Plumeria has yellowing areas on the topside of the leaves and orange pustules on the undersides.
Rust Fungus can affect many plants, including Plumeria. On the infected plants you will see powdery pustules of yellow, orange or rusty-brown color. Remove all the leaves on the affected plant(s) and spray the soil and the stem with a fungicide solution.
More on Rust Fungus at Plumeria101.com
I see tiny webs on the leaves and pale, speckled areas there.
Spider mites are unfortunately common seasonal dwellers on indoors plants. Sucking plant’s sap they can severely damage and stunt Plumeria. Spider mites thrive in dry conditions. The most efficient way to fight them is preventing their appearance by regular water spraying or having an air humidifier. When they are already there bring the affected plant to the shower and high pressure shower then all the leaves trying to wash off all the mites, their webs and eggs.
If this doesn’t help and spider mites return you can consider buying and releasing on your plants so called predatory mites. They are insects of about the same size as spider mites, which they are preying on. It will take predatory mites a couple of weeks to establish themselves on the plants and you can help them out by additional water spraying. Contrary to the bad guys they love humidity.
When established they will hunt down and eat all the spider mites, their larvae and eggs. When there is no food left the good guys will die or in best case will go hibernating waiting for the next outbreak of spider mites.
There is some sticky substance on leaves and white, woolly masses on the leaves underside. What is it?
Mealybugs create copious amounts of honeydew which make plant parts and areas around it sticky. They are serious pests sucking sap and can cause leaves growing warped and miss-shaped and will stunt the plant. Blast all your plants in shower and spray the leaves with neem oil. Check even under lips of pots and trays and its undersides as mealybugs like to hide there.
More on Mealybugs at Plumeria101.com
There is some sticky substance on Plumeria leaves and small yellowish to dark brown oval to circular shells attached to the leaves and midribs.
Those are scale insects sucking plant’s juices and causing it to stunt and build ill formed leaves. Use cotton pads with some weak soap solution to remove them from leaves and spray with neem oil than.
More on scale insects at Plumeria101.com
In general, the most common way of acquiring spider mites, mealybugs and scale insects is purchasing an infested plant. Always check your new arrivals before you introduce them to the rest of your plants.
Leaves on my Plumeria are growing misshaped. What is wrong?
Deformed leaves are a sign of stress. It can be caused by insects’ infestation, by root system damage or even just by relocating plant to a new location. If no insects are found and new leaves continue to grow ill formed consider replanting.
My Plumeria has stopped growing and loosing leaves. What is going on?
This is normal with deciduous varieties when days are getting shorter and the dormancy period gets triggered. Your options here are to prepare the plant for winter storage or to provide it artificial light. If yellowing and leaves’ drop happens during the growing season that might be a sign of over fertilizing or soil exhaustion. Try to flush the soil thoroughly in a shower to dissolve the salt depositions. If new leaves are not growing, repot the plant.
I have a flower bud coming, but after a month of growing it appears to be “bold” without any flowers. What is it?
Plumeria can do this sometimes. It can push a so called false inflorescence, which will not bear any flowers. The tip will branch anyway and all you can do is to wait another growing season.
Flowers on an inflorescence are falling off without opening. What can I do?
Make sure the plant is in a warm, sunny spot or put an artificial light 5-10 in (10-25 cm) above the inflorescence. Read more about artificial light in the previous post.
My Plumeria became too large for my apartment. Can I prune it?
Yes, indoors Plumeria can be pruned any time of the year and you can cut it down rather radically. So far you leave at least some old leaf bases under the cut surface in about a month or sooner you will see new branches growing from there. You can expect 1-4 new branches replacing one cut.
I will be traveling away and cannot water my Plumeria. What can I do?
If you are going away for a short time try to arrange watering with your friends or neighbors leaving them instructions not to over water it. For longer absence Plumeria’s natural ability to survive dry seasons will come handy. Strip down the leaves and put the pot away from the sun and it can wait for you for months.
And with that I finish my Plumeria growing indoors series. Thank you for reading! Aloha!
Other posts in this series:
Part 1: Introduction to Plumeria.
Part 2: Closer look. Plumeria cultivars. True or fake on eBay?
Part 3: How to start your own Plumeria indoors.
Part 4: Plumeria care and flowering indoors.
Part 5: Plumeria problem-solving (this post).
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