Plumerias are a plant that, like many others, can be grown in pots both indoors and outdoors. They need a good deal of sun, which is about six hours of direct sunlight every day and water along with fertilizer when they are in their growing stage.
So, if you do it right, your Plumeria will grow and the flowers will blossom regularly. Here’s a lowdown on how to take care of it, especially in the tricky winter months. We have all the answers to your Plumeria winter care questions.
Growing Plumeria Plants: A Brief Look at the Basics
Now, it is important to note right away that while these plants are known to love water, you should not let them be stagnant. That’s one of the reasons you need to plant them in well-drained soil.
As mentioned earlier, these plants like direct sunlight for about six hours every day. So it is not surprising that they are native to the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America. But even if you don’t live there, you can still grow Plumeria plants well enough. You just need to know a couple of things.
These are small shrubs that need a well-draining soil mix that is also a little acidic. A cactus mix with perlite and sand will also get the job done. Plumeria plants are pretty good with windy weather and salty air. They are not so great when it comes to cold weather. We’ll get into that in a moment.
Regular Care for Plumeria Plants
No matter the weather, it actually does not take a whole lot of work to care for a Plumeria plant. The first thing you need to know about these plants is that Plumerias must be deeply watered while making sure that the roots are not sitting in stagnant water. This is the rule of thumb for the summer season.
By mid-fall, you can reduce the watering and by the time it is winter, you can bring the watering to a complete halt. Following that comes spring when it is time to get back on the regular watering schedule.
During their growth spurt, Plumeria plants work well with a fertilizer. You should create a schedule where you feed the plant once every two to three weeks.
Commercial fertilizers like 10-30-10 or 10-50-10 that are rich in phosphate will help the plant bloom regularly and well. Fertilizers that are rich in nitrogen will encourage the growth of leaves.
So, pick your fertilizer depending on the kind of result you want. Most of them go for the ones that are rich in phosphate because these plants have beautiful flowers.
In late winter and early spring, when it is time for the Plumeria plants to start growing again, a little bit of pruning (about 12 inches) is not out of order. But if you overdo it, you will see that the plant’s ability to bloom takes a hit.
Meanwhile, if you have plants to propagate the Plumeria plant, keep some seeds or cuttings aside. Remember that propagating them through cuttings is relatively easier and preferred.
What’s So Special about the Winter Season?
Now, defoliating is this plant’s natural response to winter which is when they go dormant. And by dormant we mean no light, water or soil. But that does not mean you leave it unattended. At this time, they sort of hibernate and save energy for the growth season which comes right after winter.
Plumeria plants don’t do very well in cold weather. So, if you live in a place where the winters get freezing cold, you must take some measures to keep the plant from dying. Now, it’s not the toughest thing, but you must get to it in time.
If your Plumeria plant is outdoors, start by digging it up and bringing it indoors. This is the easiest way to save the plant. If you don’t do this, you will notice that the leaves start turning yellow or worse, the plant starts to defoliate.
But there are a couple of other things to do.
Special Care in the Winter Season
You now know how to recognize when a Plumeria is getting into its winter groove (or the lack of one). The best way to handle these plants in winter is to keep them in a dry place where it is not freezing.
Keeping it near a sunny window is not a bad idea and it might help the plant bloom sooner. And if you have a young plant, a cup of water once a month is also not a bad idea. But they are capable of living without any of this.
You can choose to remove the leaves to about an inch away from the main stem. The rest will dry and fall in a matter of days (about a week to be precise). If the plant does not yet have leaves, don’t water it at all.
And, of course, don’t feed it fertilizers. If you want them to maintain the existing leaves and flowers, keep them in a well-lit place away from the cold temperatures. If you are bringing them back home from the outside, you must water them properly and let them all drain before you do so.
Since these plants are usually grown in pots, you can either bring them inside the house or sink them into the ground. If you sink them into the ground, you must put in some extra work when it is time to bring them back up.
Take it out gently making sure that any roots that might have grown into the ground are cut properly releasing the plant back into the pot. You can trim the roots with a shovel or use a shovel blade to lift the plant out of the ground entirely.
Either way, you must get rid of the excess soil and trim the root ball if you have to and bring it indoors.
The winter season is a good time to get cuttings for propagation if you want more Plumerias in your house or garden. You can also use this opportunity to trim its roots. Since the plant is dormant, it won’t experience too much shock from all the work you are doing around it.
If you happen to break a stem in the process, just store it in the same warm and dry place where you kept the plants. Bring it back into the open when winter ends and the temperatures start to increase.
Basically, if you are worried about your Plumeria’s winter care, rest easy because it is actually pretty easy. That’s because all you need to do is keep them from freezing and they literally do not ask for anything else.
They don’t need light or water or even soil to stay alive. This shows how resilient Plumerias are. You only need to keep an eye out when the temperatures are starting to drop to see if the color of the leaves is changing or if they are falling.
Typically, you will need to do this when the temperatures fall and are consistently in the 40s. Make sure you bring them indoors carefully according to the guidelines above and let them shut down in peace for a long winter nap.
In no time, spring will be here and you will see them ready to bloom.