Plumeria is an exotic plant that produces elegant and highly fragrant flowers. Also known as frangipani or Hawaiian lei plant, Plumeria usually grows in warmer climates. With proper care, you could grow a Plumeria plant in colder climates too.
Plumeria plants require a lot of water. However, water retention in the soil can damage the plant. Plumeria plants should be planted in fast-draining soil and must always be dried out between waterings.
Treading the line between watering and overwatering can be very hard. It is very easy to overwater a Plumeria plant. If you have overwatered your Plumeria, don’t worry. Here’s how to save an overwatered Plumeria plant:
The Problem with Overwatering
Whether you accidentally overwatered your Plumeria or heavy rains flooded the plant, overwatering can have disastrous effects on it. Coupled with poor drainage, overwatering can effectively kill the plant.
Overwatering causes water-logging. This creates a hostile environment for the Plumeria. It hampers the aeration of the soil. The soil becomes anaerobic.
The roots of the Plumeria lose their access to oxygen. The anaerobic soil makes the roots vulnerable to root rot. Sitting in water for long periods of time makes the roots decompose.
The roots of the Plumeria are no longer able to absorb nutrients. Thus, the plant starts to wilt.
Signs of Overwatering
Here’s how to tell if your Plumeria plant is dying of overwatering:
⦁ The potting mix will start to smell sour. This is because the good microorganisms in the soil have died out and the soil has become anaerobic. The decaying roots add to the unpleasant smell.
⦁ The plant is wilting and losing leaves.
⦁ Worms need oxygen to live like all organisms. If you have overwatered your plant, you will notice that the worms start coming up to the surface. This is because they are trying to avoid drowning.
⦁ The plant looks diseased or starts attracting pests. There might even be scum or residue on the soil.
Preventative care is always better. You can avoid accidentally overwatering your Plumeria by following a few simple steps.
⦁ Add coarse mulch or pebbles to the soil. This helps drainage and lets the soil dry quicker.
⦁ Choose pots with a lot of drain holes or make more drain holes in the post. This will help the water drain out faster.
⦁ Choose a porous pot. Porous pots let the water evaporate. You may need to water your Plumeria more frequently, but it will definitely help you avoid water retention.
⦁ Add compost to the soil. It introduces beneficial microorganisms and improves the texture of the soil. Better texture aids drainage and helps avoid water retention.
Saving an Overwatered Plumeria
If you have spotted the signs of overwatering and have a dying Plumeria on your hands, don’t worry. It is possible to save an overwatered Plumeria.
If the rot isn’t too bad, the plant is most probably salvageable. If there are any viable roots, you will be able to restore your Plumeria to its former glory.
Lay the Plumeria plant on its side and get the roots out of the soil. Get rid of the loose soil and brush away any clumps sticking to the roots.
Take a pair of pruning shears and dip them in alcohol to sterilize them. Examine the Plumeria roots carefully and identify all the decaying or rotting parts. They would have turned brown and mushy to touch.
Carefully cut away the damaged parts with the shears. Cut about ¼ inch into the healthy roots.
Next, remove all the soil from the pot. Remove any debris clogging the draining hole and wash the pot thoroughly with soapy water. Line the bottom of the pot with pebbles.
Next, put in moistened soil. Place the Plumeria roots in the soil and gently spread them outwards. Fill up the pot with the soil mix to anchor the Plumeria.
Let the top few inches of the soil dry out completely before watering the Plumeria. Keep an eye on the drainage and look out for any signs of persistent rot.
Is My Plumeria Dying or Dormant?
Plumeria plants are tropical and need warm temperatures to bloom. This doesn’t mean that you can’t keep a Plumeria plant if you live in an area with cold winters. You just need to move the plant indoors at the appropriate time.
At the beginning of winter, plant owners often think that their Plumeria plants are dying. The truth is, Plumeria plants go dormant when temperatures drop to 10 degrees Celsius.
While dormant, the Plumeria plant will stop growing and blooming. It will shed its leaves and remain barren till the growing period starts again in spring.
If your Plumeria appears dry and barren at the start of winter, do not worry. It is a winter-dormant plant. However, if you live in an area with a warm climate even in the winters, your Plumeria will not go dormant.
If it appears wilted or decaying, you may be overwatering it. Dormant Plumeria will start to recover in the spring.
As sun exposure increases in the spring, the Plumeria will require more water. Stay vigilant in this period. Always allow the soil to dry out before you water the Plumeria again. Use quick-drying, coarse soil to manage water retention.
Growing a Plumeria plant is not that difficult. They don’t require too much care and aren’t that expensive to maintain. Choosing a good fertilizer, using the right soil mix and avoiding overwatering is enough to have a lush, flowering Plumeria plant.
When it comes to overwatering, it is always better to prevent the situation rather than trying to save the plant later. It takes a lot less effort to avoid overwatering than it does to save an overwatered plant.
If the worst does happen, don’t fret. You now know how to save an overwatered Plumeria. If you catch it in time, you can definitely salvage your Plumeria. Keep in mind that the overwatered Plumeria will take a few weeks to recover.
Once it recovers, follow a dedicated watering schedule to avoid overwatering in the future. Always resist the urge to overwater! Your Plumeria will thank you later.