Among indoor ornamental plants, the plumeria flower occupies a special place. It is adored for its beautiful flowering, pleasant delicate aroma, high decorative qualities and unpretentious care. It is the ideal home culture, providing a cozy atmosphere and pleasing to the eye.
The beautifully flowering tropical tree plumeria belongs to the Kutovye family, it can reach large sizes, up to 2 meters in height, if it is properly cared for. The flowers exude a pleasant scent throughout the summer: a mixture of gardenia aromas, spices, jasmine, lily of the valley, citrus fruits. This tandem formed the basis of many perfumery products.
The foliage is collected in rosettes and has a bright green color. Suitable for the manufacture of wound healing ointments, natural aphrodisiacs, antipyretic and laxatives, natural cosmetics for wrinkles.
In its natural environment, plumeria is found in Laos, Vietnam and Mexico, the tropical islands of the Pacific Ocean. In Thailand, it is considered a sacred flower and is called “temple magnolia”. It is a branch shrub or tree with elongated oval or round leaves, bare grayish branches, refined and exquisite five-petalled flowers with one-color or two-color petals: white-pink, white-red, white-yellow, white-purple. In India it is considered Krishna’s “green favorite”, and in Peru it is still used for religious purposes. In Laos and Bali, plumeria is the national flower.
Types of plumeria
Breeders have identified more than 65 species of this ornamental plant, but only a few plumerias has become widespread in indoor floriculture:
Insects love the sweet scent of flowering shrubs, but it doesn’t release nectar or pollen. At the end of flowering, fruits are formed in the form of pods with seeds inside. They are dried and used for reproduction.
When the leaves are damaged, a very poisonous sap is released, similar to a white viscous liquid and can cause severe skin burns. This is important to consider when growing plumeria at home. It is best to keep it away from pets, small children and wear gloves.
Home care of plumeria
A tropical tree has powerful roots, so a spacious and deep pot is immediately taken to grow it. Some inexperienced growers often prune large root shoots. This is very dangerous and can lead to the death of the entire plant. As well as the wrong choice of substrate. Purchased land or one prepared independently of leaf turf and peat is suitable (taken in equal proportions). Also, sometimes peat, humus, sand and turf are mixed in equal parts. The main thing is to periodically loosen the substrate in order to ensure a stable supply of oxygen to the roots.
Lighting and temperature
To successfully cultivate a tree in a greenhouse or in an apartment, an average air temperature of + 20-25 degrees is required. In winter, the coolness negatively affects the culture, the leaf plates begin to darken, become thinner and stretched. It is impossible for the pot to stand in a draft, beautiful flowers simply will not open.
The level of illumination has a great influence on the development of culture. Plumeria loves bright sunlight, under which active photosynthesis takes place. It can be safely placed on the southern or eastern windowsill and not set aside for lunch in the shade. In the summer heat, the tree is usually placed on an open balcony or terrace, and in autumn and winter, it is provided with additional lighting using a special phyto-lamp.
Spraying, moisture and watering
In summer, during the flowering period, you need to maintain an average level of humidity. For this, the pot is placed in a pallet with wet moss, sand or expanded clay. The foliage is periodically sprayed from a spray bottle with water at room temperature, in the morning or in the evening, but not during the day in direct sunlight, so as not to burn the foliage.
As for watering, it is worth noting that the ornamental culture does not like overly moistened soil. For watering, you will need soft, settled or filtered water, it should not stagnate in the pan. Moisturizing the roots is carried out 2-3 times a week in the summer and 1-2 times in the autumn-winter season. But you need to make sure that the earth does not dry out during the dormant period in the cold months.
The introduction of additional fertilizers is an important condition for growing. To ensure active flowering, the formation of a beautiful crown and the growth of culture, the soil in the pot is watered with mineral preparations from a flower shop. Some dressings are intended for spraying the leaves. Experts recommend feeding the soil in the spring before flowering or in the fall during fruit formation. Active growth of buds is provided by feeding with phosphorus and nitrogen. It is advisable to alternate foliar and root fertilizers once every 2-3 weeks. During the dormant period in winter, there is no need for this.
How to transplant
The size and growth of the ornamental shrub are very easy to control. It has strong roots growing in proportion to the ground part. Therefore, if it is transplanted into a large flowerpot, it will soon expand significantly in breadth and upward. In order, on the contrary, to restrain active growth, the lateral root processes are carefully trimmed by 5-7 cm and placed in a new container with a substrate, but before that, they are dipped in crushed activated carbon or its aqueous solution. A large branchy tree is not transplanted, but only the top soil layer is changed to a mixture of sand, peat, humus and leafy soil. It is advisable to replant young specimens annually in March-April. Each next flowerpot should be slightly larger and more spacious than the previous one. But the species that have already turned 3-5 years old should be transplanted 1 time in 2-3 years.
This procedure is necessary to stimulate flowering and the formation of healthy dense branches, but it should not be carried out before the plant is 3-4 years old. Pruning branches and foliage is carried out in the spring when the culture is coming out of dormancy. The shrub is pruned using a sharp disinfected knife or pruning shears, not too much, remove only damaged foliage, dried branches. Slightly dried leaves are not completely cut, but only dead tissue is removed. Excessively elongated shoots are also shortened. All actions are carried out with gloves. The plant is not sprayed with water until the cut areas are dry.
In the winter months, plumeria begins a dormant period. Some varieties “rest” up to 6 weeks. At this time, it is not advisable to apply top dressing and fertilizers to the soil, to carry out frequent watering and pruning. The air temperature should also be monitored. It should not fall below +14 degrees.
Old foliage partially dries up and falls off – this is normal in winter, and not a sign of illness. In the spring, in its place, young shoots and buds will begin to be seen. Some specimens of ornamental shrubs do not hibernate at all. Throughout the winter, they continue to actively grow and bloom. They need additional artificial lighting.
Propagation by cuttings
It is convenient to propagate Plumeria with the help of young shoots – cuttings. They quickly take root and begin to bloom within a year after rooting. It is possible to cut “babies” from the mother tree in any season, but it is advisable to do this in winter or autumn. To do this, the semi-lignified tops of long shoots are cut at an angle of 45 degrees. Remove all leaves from them and sprinkle the cut sites with crushed activated carbon. The scions are wrapped in a clean, damp cloth and stored in a warm place for several weeks.
Then they are soaked in a rooting solution and placed in separate small flowerpots with universal loose soil. Drainage, for example, large pebbles, will interfere with the bottom. Then spread the soil and a layer of moistened river sand. It is necessary so that the cuttings do not rot. From above, the process is again sprinkled with prepared soil and lightly tamped. At the end, light watering is carried out. Vases with young shoots are removed to a warm room. After 2-3 months, with successful rooting, young buds appear on the cuttings.
Propagation using seeds
Not many growers decide to grow plumeria from seeds. At home, this is a rather laborious and long process, so only experienced breeders begin it. They take seeds from the fruit of a dead plant and soak them in a growth stimulant solution. For seedlings, small containers with a diameter of 5-6 cm are prepared, as well as breathable light soil, for example, a mixture from a flower shop. For young seedlings, it will be useful to enrich the soil with coconut flakes or vermiculite.
A small drainage layer of coarse river sand is laid on the bottom of the tanks. Fill them with earth and moisturize slightly. Seeds that have swollen during the day are laid out and sprinkled with soil, which is again moistened with water, but already from a spray bottle. Seedlings are removed in a warm, dry place and covered with plastic. Periodically, it is removed for airing, and when the first shoots appear (at 3-4 weeks), additional protection is removed. Fragile seedlings are not exposed to the bright sun for the first months. If it has sprung up too thick, a dive is carried out and the sprouts are planted in separate flowerpots. Flowers on young bushes will hatch only for 3-4 years of vegetation.
Diseases and pests
More often, the flower infects the spider mite, which sucks the juice from the leaves. To save the plant, the foliage is gently wiped with a wet cloth and sprayed with a special insecticide. To prevent the reappearance of insects, you should monitor the humidity level and treat the culture with special biological solutions several times a year. To prevent fungal infection, spraying with a fungicide is also carried out.
A tree with fragrant flowers begins to fade if its roots lack moisture or the pot is in a dark place. To restore health to the “green pet”, it is enough just to water it or rearrange the flowerpot, as well as to carry out additional fertilizing of the earth.