Friday, August 13, 2010

The Plight of My Plumerias

I've been growing Plumeria (aka Frangipani or Hawaiian Lei Flower) since I started gardening on this corner of Katy. My mother gave me a branch of her white Plumeria and a friend from Corpus Christi handed out Plumeria sticks at a dinner with friends not long thereafter. Every time I'd visit her in Corpus, she'd send me home with another stick or two, which is how I came to own somewhere around 8 to 10 plants. None of them were profuse bloomers, owing to the fact that I'd forget to haul them out of storage in the garage until May or even June most years, and then rarely fed them. Eventually I passed most of them off to friends and fellow gardeners. I kept the one my mother gave me and I think the other, which is small tree sized, is one of those Jan gave me. It hasn't bloomed yet this year (no surprise there).

One of the problems I've encountered each and every year is pictured above and below. The leaves grow pale and scorched and they're a sad sight indeed. I'm wondering if the problem is due to my habit of placing the pots on the concrete driveway and in past years, on the concrete patios. Considering how hot concrete surfaces get in a Houston summer, I think it's possible that the intensity of the heat traveling up into the pot is too much for the plants. If there are any Plumeria fanatics out there who can tell me whether I'm right, please leave me a comment. If that's not the problem, I'd very much appreciate your input. For now, I've moved the pots into the garden, so they're resting on soil rather than concrete.

I'm happy that the white Plumeria is blooming: one whiff of the fragrance and I feel like I'm back in Hawaii!

6 comments:

Elizabeth Barrow said...

I sympathize with you and your plumeria. It is too hot. Pretty flowers -- glad to see that everyone survived the winter.

LindaCTG said...

Mine is doing this too, though I didn't have the problem last year. Maybe it's the heat; I sure don't know. But I'm going to give mine some fertilizer to see if that helps. They may just be pooped out a bit.

LindaCTG said...

Just went to Plumeria 101. Can't open the sun scald & yellow leaf pictures. Either something's weird on my end or theirs. Anyway, it doesn't look like sun scald. I was thinking lack of nitrogen. The picture at Plumeria 101 looks like an iron problem. Hope I can get it to open!

www.plumeria101.com/problems.html

Cindy, MCOK said...

Elizabeth and Linda, I'd heard that Plumeria don't want to be watered that often, even in hot weather ... now I'm wondering if the problem is too little water. I checked Plumeria 101 but the sun scald and yellowing leaves pictures wouldn't open for me either.

LindaCTG said...

I got the answer! Duh, I was going to suggest this last weekend: Epsom salt. I use it on my satsuma orange when it gets pale like that. But I was thinking too hard. You don't want much nitrogen on plumerias, you know that, but the high phosphorus ones have some nitrogen. But try the epsom salt. My expert showed me a picture of one in a stone pot on a stone driveway in blasting heat. I water mine deeply once a week or so and then leave it alone.

Cindy, MCOK said...

Linda, thanks! I think there might be some Epsom Salts somewhere around here. If not, I'll buy some. I've been watering the Plumerias more often and they look better for my doing it.