Why Your Plumeria Is Squishy and How You Can Fix It!

Despite being renowned for their stunning flowers and alluring scent, plumeria plants can also be somewhat squishy. This is frequently the result of over-watering the plant. Continue reading if you’re curious about why your plumeria is so soft.

Your plumeria might be soft for a few different reasons. The roots will rot first if the potting soil is overly moist. Additionally, even if they don’t rot, plant roots can’t breathe when waterlogged. Essentially, they drown themselves. If this occurs, watering the plant again may not restore it to its original form right away. Another reason your plumeria plant may be squishy is dehydration—the exact opposite of the abovementioned reason.

What is Stem Rot?

For plumerias and other plants, Stem rot is a disease that causes the plumeria’s inner layers to decay. Stem rot usually occurs during winter storage when the plumeria is dormant or when attempting to root a new cutting. It is a fast-moving disease for plants and is often fatal for new plumeria cuttings.

Various fungi cause stem rot, including Pythium, Fusarium, and Rhizoctonia. It is highly contagious and can live for up to 5 years in the soil if it isn’t treated. It will affect any crop, including plumeria.

How To Identify Stem Rot

A few symptoms can occur if you’re plumeria suffers from root rot other than the stem being soft or squishy.

  • The first sign that you will notice is the leaves are dropping. Stem rot isn’t the only condition that can make a plumeria drop leaves.
  • You may notice black or white sclerotia (a compact mass of hardened fungal mycelium containing food reserves) and mycelium (network of fungal threads or hyphae) lodged into infected culms (the hollow stem of a grass or cereal plant, especially that bearing the flower).

Treating Stem Rot

When stem rot has occurred, there isn’t much that you can do for the plumeria. The plumeria, at this point, is most likely going to die. However, you can take steps so that future cuttings don’t suffer from stem rot.

  • Using unfiltered water or unsterilized tools can lead to the spreading of the fungus. I use Isopropyl Alcohol 70-100% to sterilize my tool whenever I use a tool on a new plant.
  • Roots from the previous plant being left in the dirt increase the likelihood of stem rot. Spores can also potentially enter the plant through any injured tissue on the plant.
  • Fungicides may also be used to manage the disease. However, I do my best to avoid using fungicides.

How to Manage Stem Rot

Home gardeners don’t have as many options as a significant producer or farm. However, we have a few precautions that we can take to protect our plumeria.

  • Do not reuse soil that has had plants affect my stem rot. Use only fresh soil when plants have been affected prior. 
  • Balance use of fertilizer can help aid against infection. 
  • Fentin hydroxide and thiophanate methyl can be used to fight stem rot. 

Stem Rot Is Not Always a Treatable

Early on, stem rot is a threat to plumeria cuttings. And if it occurs, the cutting will likely not root, and the cutting will die. If the cutting is big enough, you may be able to cut off all of the rot and save the plumeria.

However, if it gets past this stage and becomes a more mature plumeria, they no likely to be affected by stem rot. Even if they are, the plumeria will typically only lose a branch or two that will need to be removed by you. 

Plumeria Dehydration

Signs that your plumeria is dehydrated include the plumeria wilting, dry, dead leaf tips, and slow growth. Still, on occasion, if bad enough, it may be squishy around the stem of the plant.

You can remedy this reasonably quickly just by giving the plumeria more water. Give it a good soaking and check it after 12 hours to see if the plumeria stem has firmed up. It shouldn’t need much more time the this.

Plumeria is a resilient plant armed. Hopefully, with the information above, you will be able to protect your plumeria from stem rot and go on to have many striking blooms.