Failure: plumeria

Last year one of the new plants I tried was plumeria. I bought a couple of cuttings (which looked like fat sticks), planted them in pots and waited. They eventually woke up and formed nice little plants.

The overwintering process was not kind to them though, and it appears that neither of them survived the winter.


This is what they looked like at the end of last summer:

Since they're not cold-hardy plants, I treated them like my Colocasia (elephant ears) and other non-hardy plants: once the temperatures got below 40ºF (4ºC) or so I moved them into the garage. Then for the next 5 months or so they received no water and no light.

I had read that plumeria are pretty easy to overwinter this way, but I think I made one critical mistake...

I didn't remove the leaves from the plants. I'm guessing the leaves contained enough moisture to allow the stems to rot.

The smaller one is most likely completely dead, rotten to the roots:

The larger one though appears to be solid toward the bottom of the stem, and there are some little "buds" there as well:

I'm hoping this means that it will produce some new growth, but I may need to purchase some more of these and try again.

I was so looking forward to seeing (and smelling) their blooms this year though, and now it looks like I'll need to wait another year for that.

That's one great thing about gardening though: there's always next year! (Much like the St. Louis sports teams I follow.)


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Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (June 3, 2011 at 9:33 AM)  

I love plumeria as well but they aren't hardy here either (although all the garden centers sell them in the summer). You may have to treat it like a houseplant, i.e. give it light and water in the winter.

Alan  – (June 3, 2011 at 10:12 AM)  

I know they can be overwintered dormant, and that's the only practical way for me really.

The Sage Butterfly  – (June 3, 2011 at 10:37 AM)  

I love plumeria, and I have two at the moment. I successfully overwintered these two this past winter, but in the past I have lost some over the winter as you have. I usually don't remove the leaves because they begin to fall off on their own. I am hoping they make it this winter, too. Good luck with your new ones!!

Wicked Gardener  – (June 4, 2011 at 10:08 AM)  

My parents accidently left their plumeria out during a freeze and their plants looked very much like yours. About two weeks ago several buds have come up from the base and the plant looks like it will live, so there is hope for yours. The one that rotted out probably did have too much moisture over the winter. We'd put babies on top of the fridge in the garage because they would like the dry bottom heat. Good luck to you!!

Donna  – (June 4, 2011 at 11:35 AM)  

great yr....maybe next yr my garden will be weed free and I'll have more time to attend to it...sorry they did not make it for you...

onetruth –   – (August 14, 2013 at 2:59 PM)  

I realize this post is a couple years old, but I had to comment. I am attempting to grow my first two plumeria trees (already rooted by the lovely gentlemen I purchased them from) and a cutting I took from my sister. Also...I am a hockey lover. Plumeria and hockey? Win!

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