How to Care for Plumerias During the Fall & Winter Season

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How to Care for Plumerias During the Fall & Winter Season

Many customers have dropped in to ask why their Plumerias foliage is turning yellow and even starting to defoliate.  Fortunately, this is a natural response to the local climate turning cool to cold. Very common for Plumerias at this time of the year in our location.  Depending on the variety and flower color, some plants will either start partially or completely defoliating around November.   Don’t worry.  The common response is “they don’t defoliate in Hawaii.”  Southern California has a totally different climate.   It’s beneficial for plants to go dormant.  They store their energy until the weather warms up, then pushes new foliage and flowers.

Last year my Plumerias started pushing around the later part of April through May because of the cooler temperatures.

Caring for your Plumerias in the fall and winter is simple.  If you wish for them to continue blooming and maintain lush foliage, then simply bring them inside your home in a well lit place.  Make sure to water thoroughly and drain well before bringing them inside.  Watering is usually not necessary while they are inside, but this depends on how large the container is and if the plants are near a heating vent.  If your plants have no leaves, I would not water them at all until they start to push new foliage in the spring.  It is not necessary to add fertilizers at this time.

This is first of a series of blogs I will report on about Plumerias so stay tuned.

Steve Goto


By | 2017-09-29T15:21:37+00:00 January 19th, 2016|California Friendly Garden Solutions, Gardening|10 Comments

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  1. frauleduc January 27, 2016 at 8:04 pm - Reply

    Thank you for this information. Could you tell me I can propagate my plumerias from existing branches?

    • Roger's Gardens January 29, 2016 at 9:06 am - Reply

      Yes, Propagation is easy. The simplest way is to cut off a 12 to 18inch piece of an available branch (cane). Use a very sharp pruner to cut the cane. The cut should be as sharp and clean as possible. Let the cut end callous ( set in dry air ) for a week or two. Mix a soil mixture of 50% peat moss and 50% perlite and hydrate well. Fill a one gallon container ( or any container with the same soil volume with drain holes ) with the hydrated mix. Moisten the calloused end of the cane and dip about four inches into a rooting hormone. Press the callous end into the soil about four inches. Keep inside in a warm area about 70F or outside when temperatures average 70F plus. March through September are optimum months. Tip: Once you “stick” the cane do not water on a regular bases. Watering once every three weeks works for me. Tip 2: A cut cane can survive without soil for several months without moisture or roots! The cane is the perfect survival vessel holding nutrients and moisture until it can root.

  2. Kathleen Reardon May 10, 2016 at 2:54 pm - Reply

    Could you tell me if the plumeria I put in the groung a month ago ( 6 inch long ) Should start having leaves . Should I put it in a pot now ? I am wondering if it was too small to put in the ground ? Thank you .

    • Roger's Gardens May 10, 2016 at 4:59 pm - Reply

      Hi Kathleen,

      Plumeria cuttings can take quite a long time to root and begin growing. I would normally suggest starting a plumeria cutting in a container for the first year or so and then planting it out into the garden once it has fully rooted. In the meantime, I would not be concerned at all if your young cutting is still completely dormant. In fact, that would be what I would expect. Just give it time and be patient with it. If you have done everything else right, the biggest risk right now is that the cutting actually rots from over watering. Too much care right now is the biggest worry. Keep the plant quite dry, which is contrary to most people’s human nature. But until the plant has leaves and begins growing it has very little use for any water at its base and too much water there will actually rot the cutting and kill the plant. Once the top begins to expand and show some leaves, then you can very slowly begin adding a little irrigation. Leaves equals water with a plumeria.

      I hope this helps.


  3. Loren October 16, 2016 at 2:24 am - Reply


    I am in Southern California. Los Angeles to be exact. My question is someone just gave me a cutting from a beautiful tree. It is October 16. Should I try to root it now or wait until next spring. If you suggest next spring then how do I keep the cutting alive until then. Thanks so much.

    • Roger's Gardens October 24, 2016 at 1:13 pm - Reply

      I would only attempt to root it if you have a heat mat or an insulated green house. Propagating a plumeria is a little tricky this time of the year because of the temperature swings we can experience.
      If you decide to try to root it in the spring, remove ALL foliage. Make sured the cut end has callused (takes about a week) Fill a small bucket with water and add 3 drops of Superthrive” then place the callused end into the water for 3 or 4 days. Remove, dry the end then store in a cool dry location. I usually keep them on top of my work bench in the garage. Your cane should be fine until spring for planting. Good Luck!

      Steve Goto
      Sales Manager

  4. Ingrid Selzer January 16, 2017 at 12:12 pm - Reply

    I live near Galveston Texas my plumeria is starting to show new little leaves at the top , shall I start watering them ???

    • Roger's Gardens January 16, 2017 at 3:05 pm - Reply

      Hi Ingrid,

      It really depends. . . but, I need some more history like are they in the ground or in a pot. Or when was the last time they received any water? I prefer to keep the soil on the drier side. Even though foliage is pushing I still wait for the soil to dry out first. Water is important but overwatering is definitely not recommended for Plumerias.

      Steve Goto
      Nursery Sales Manager

  5. Jack October 7, 2017 at 5:12 am - Reply

    I planted 4 cutting that I bought from Amazon on Father’s Day. As of today, 10/7/17, only the white plumeria has flowers. Yellow and red are catching up, then pink is at dead last but reasonably healthy. I live in Columbia, SC.

    -At what temperature should I start bringing my babies in?
    -Where should I place them (by the window)?
    -Should I buy a lamp or lamps? Any brand/type recommendation if I buy it from Amazon?

    I’m new to this so I want to make sure my plants survive the cold season. Thank you!!

    • Roger's Gardens October 9, 2017 at 12:38 pm - Reply

      Hi Jack,

      I’m excited that you thought of us all the way out here in Southern California, but of course my comments about Plumeria culture in your area are a bit speculative.

      It is not at all unusual to be without flowers on such young plants. Give them time, they will eventually all flower. Take the Plumeria indoors at the first sign of frost (night temperatures below 32 degrees). They may still have leaves on them when you do this. That is OK, but once inside they will fall off in a couple of weeks.

      When inside, they can be in total darkness and do not need any water. They will be completely dormant during those winter months, so just ignore them. No need for any lamps or other equipment, they will be leafless and sleeping – like a bear hibernating for the winter. No, you do not need to put them by a window, although if you want to, you can, but they are going to be dormant anyway.


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