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Plumeria Growing Basics

By Mike Atkinson

Plumerias are very low maintenance. Here are the most basic principles for growing plumeria. 

Sun

Full sun for rooted plants in pots and in the ground. Shade or morning sun for cuttings that are rooting or newly-rooted plants.  (If you live in the desert, check with local growers, as this will change.)

Soil

Well-draining soil. If in pots, potting soil like cactus mix and add perlite.

Water

Only water when soil is dry (in the low yellow area of a moisture meter, which you can get at garden centers and are inexpensive. 

Food

Regular feedings are necessary – monthly preferred. The only synthetic fertilizer we use on our farm is Excalibur Plumeria Fertilizer © (slow release) or use rose food, orchid food, or Osmocote Plus (slow-release) from a local nursery/garden center; follow label directions. 

Note: Excalibur has 3 formulations:

  • Excalibur IX, NPK 11-11-13 – this releases food to the plant over 9 months. This is only needed in areas with a long growing season, like south Florida, south Texas, and deserts.
  • Excalibur VI, NPK 11-11-14 – this releases food to the plant over 6 months. This should be used in all areas outside of South Florida, South Texas, and the deserts.
  • Excalibur Boost, NPK 10-12-14 – this has a quicker release for newly rooted plants, transplants, and seedlings.

Here in southern California, in November or December, the leaves will fall off and the plant will go dormant. Place potted plumerias under cover (against the house, under eaves, patio, garage, etc.) to minimize soaking rain. Don’t water or fertilize the plant again until spring; if it’s a dry and windy winter and the plant looks wrinkly, mist the trunk with water without soaking the soil. New leaves should start growing April through May.

Here in southern California, in November or December, the leaves will fall off and the plant will go dormant. Place potted plumerias under cover (against the house, under eaves, patio, garage, etc.) to minimize soaking rain. Don’t water or fertilize the plant again until spring; if it’s a dry and windy winter and the plant looks wrinkly, mist the trunk with water without soaking the soil. New leaves should start growing April through May.

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