First and foremost is the fact that you need to plant your Plumeria in a
fast draining soil mix. The easiest way to create an effective mix is to mix up 50% regular
soil and 50% sand. Even better is 1/3 soil, 1/3 sand and 1/3 perilite. Another
easy way to ensure a good soil mix without the work is to use Cactus mix from
After you have your soil mix, put it in a 1 or 2 gallon plastic pot. Do not use clay as the roots will stick to the clay material.
Soak the soil until water is draining out the bottom of the pot. Stick your Plumeria cutting into the soil to a dept of 3 inches. Pull the cutting out. Now take your cutting and sprinkle rooting hormone on the very bottom. It is not necessary to use a hormone but it can help the rooting process go a little faster. Now stick the cutting back into the hole trying not to rub off too much of the powder in the process. Now pack the soil down so it is firm, this will help support your cutting and keep it from falling over until it has roots.
Here is a tip to help keep the cutting from falling over or accidently hitting it and tipping it over. Place several large stones around the base of the cutting for the first couple of months until the plant has a good root system. A rooted cutting should stand well enough on its own.
VERY IMPORTANT, THIS WILL MEAN LIFE OR DEATH FOR YOUR UNROOTED CUTTING
Now it is time to wait, watch and anticipate. You should begin to see some small leaves begin
to develop after 4 to 8 weeks. During this time it is very important to only water the cutting
once the soil has become very dry. Water sparingly during this time, just dampen
the soil at most. We suggest wetting the soil a little about once every 10 days.
Cuttings will develop stem rot if they are kept wet. Since they do not
have roots there is nothing to suck up the moisture and the soil remains wet. Let the soil dry out
completely (and stay dry for several days) before lightly wetting again. Unless you have heat mats and florescent lighting, it is recommended
not to root your cutting until the late spring. It should be at least 60 degrees at night before you
attempt to root. Cuttings can be kept in the pantry or a closet for many months and still grow once
planted. Rooted cutting are ok to plant in colder temps. They will just remain
dormant until the weather warms.
Once the cutting has 3 or 4 medium size leaves you can begin to water sparingly. Again, Plumeria do not like 'wet feet' so don't keep the soil wet constantly. After each watering let the soil become somewhat dry before watering again. In mid summer this may mean watering every day! During rainy periods or spring you may only need to water once a week or less.
Once the plant has 5 or 6 well developed, large leaves you should begin to feed your Plumeria with fertilizer. A product high in Phosphorous will promote flowering and branching. Look for a fertilizer with 10-50-10. You should feed the Plumeria 2 times a month. Your Plumeria will not flower without fertilizer and lots of sun, at least 6 hours of direct sun light.
Plumeria like temperatures between 60 at night and 90 or so during the day. Once the night time temps get into the 50's the plant will begin to go dormant. It will begin to drop its leaves and will not grow during this time. Stop fertilizing your plant in late September and slowly reduce watering around October. By the time the temps begin dipping into the 40's you should bring your plant indoors or into a sheltered location like the garage where the temps will remain above freezing. Temps approaching 32 degrees will kill your Plumeria. During the dormant period DO NOT WATER YOUR PLANT. Plumeria do not need water during this time. In fact you can cause stem rot if the soil is kept wet during this period.
Once the spring comes back around and temps creep back into the upper 50s at night you can put your little tree back outside and begin to slowly water as leaves resume growing.
So you can see that Plumeria do not require lots of constant care. Just keep them watered, out of the cold and feed them 2 times a month. By caring for them in this way they will reward you with quick growth and lots of beautiful and wonderfully fragrant flowers.
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