Overwatered Plumeria plants can be identified by brown spots on its foliage, yellow leaves, soft leaves, wilting, root and stem rot as well as a mold that appears on the growing medium. Despite this tropical plant being a moisture lover, it does not survive prolonged exposure to excessive moisture.
Also, several threats like pests and diseases are very common in overwatered Plumeria plant cultivation, considering that continuously damp conditions are conducive to their development.
It is disheartening to see your beloved plants dying and if you are desperate to save them, read through this detailed guide.
- Why Is Overwatering of the Plumeria Plant Happening?
- How to Fix an Overwatered Plumeria Plant
- Frequently Asked Questions
Why Is Overwatering of the Plumeria Plant Happening?
Overwatering is not only a result of too much water application to the potting soil but can be caused by other factors like poorly draining soils, slow-draining pots, too frequent irrigation, and environmental changes. Before watering your Plumeria plant, you should make sure that all of these factors are maintained.
If any of them is not maintained at recommended levels, unnecessary saturation of water in the potting mix results. Tropical plants are usually moisture-loving but their foliage will flourish if their roots sit in moist but not damp potting media.
– Poorly Draining Soils
Also known as the Frangipani, the Plumeria plant thrives in well-drained and well-eared soils because their roots hate prolonged stays in soggy conditions. When potting this tropical plant, you should ensure that the soil’s porosity is high so that it loses excessive water shortly after watering.
Fungi that cause root rot manifest and multiply in continuously wet potting mixes, which is why soils like clay are best for their breeding. As the roots start to die slowly, you will notice the Plumeria’s leaves wilting and yellowing up.
If you do not notice signs and symptoms of overwatering at an earlier stage, rotting extends to the Plumeria stem, thereby causing even more damage.
Poor draining soils also have the effect of limiting the amount of oxygen that is needed by a Plumeria plant’s roots as the airways are closed due to compaction.
To aid aeration, you should consider adding a large amount of sand or gravel to the potting mix. Fine soils easily compact, a scenario that ultimately blocks the air and waterways.
Poorly drained soils greatly affect the drainage abilities of the pot used as they easily form up and block the drainage holes. This causes the water to remain in the system for a long time because drainage will be much slower than required.
– Slow-Draining Pots
Pots with too small or fewer drainage holes are some of the main drivers of overwatering. As you irrigate your Plumeria plant, water should smoothly pass through the growing medium and out of the container through the drainage holes.
This leaves the soil well-moisturized giving the best conditions for plant development. Please, bear in mind that the Plumeria plant’s roots are very responsive to their environment and should not be left sitting in too wet conditions.
Once the drainage holes cannot effectively release excess water, the roots will be left stranded in soggy conditions, a situation that ultimately leads to rotting. You may have acquired the correct pot for your Plumeria plant but, when combined with a slow-draining potting mix, the problem remains.
Regularly inspect the base of the pot and if the holes are blocked, you can use a suitable tool to pluck the dirt off. We advise you to use porous pots made of clay to eliminate overwatering chances.
– Environmental Changes
Sunlight, temperature, and humidity are the main factors that affect the Plumeria plant’s watering pattern. During winter, if you continue with the watering pattern that you followed in summer, overwatering is more likely to result.
In summer, temperatures and sunlight are generally high, leading to an increased rate of water usage and loss into the atmosphere which calls for more frequent irrigation. The low temperatures and sunlight in winter reduce the need for much frequent irrigation which causes the soil to be soggy for lengthy periods.
During winter, the Plumeria plant goes dormant, meaning that its development stagnates. In this scenario, you should reduce watering as this plant will do well with little moisture throughout the cold season. Also, be watchful of the changes in humidity around your Plumeria plants.
When moisture in the immediate environment is high, evaporation and transpiration are suppressed. This happens because the atmosphere will be already saturated with vapor so the plant will stay in wet conditions much longer which reduces the need for irrigation.
If you continuously irrigate the soil without considering changes in moisture levels, you risk overwatering your beloved Plumeria plants. One of the most common overwatering symptoms in high-humidity situations is the formation of mold on the soil.
– Misuse of Pebble Tray Systems
Most growers encounter overwatering issues while using the pebble tray method for humidity supplementation.
Indeed, using pebble trays is very effective when taking care of moisture-loving plants but, if you use them improperly, you risk losing your Plumeria’s vibrancy.
After placing your plant on a pebble tray, the roots should be way out of contact with the water. If the Plumeria’s roots touch the water, it is as good as the Frangipani directly sitting in stagnant water which ignites overwatering problems.
You will notice the plant’s roots becoming mushy, which is a sign of rot. Also, you will see the Plumeria’s leaves turning yellow, wilting, and dropping. Once root rot takes over, the water will be contaminated with rot-causing organisms and if you still want to use the pebble tray system, you should change the water.
– Using Water to Wash Off Pests
Hosing off pests like spider mites that have taken over your Plumeria plants is a very cost-effective method but you should assess the risk of overwatering first. When using pressurized water to wash off pests, the soil gets saturated with moisture despite not being the right time to irrigate it.
If this process is done before the potting mix is ready for another watering session, the Plumeria plant risks being overwatered. We advise you to check the soil to know if it is ready for irrigation and take advantage of the irrigation time to hose off these intruders.
In the event that the soil is wet, and you wish to use the hosing method to wash off pests, first cover the potting soil with plastic paper. This way, the water, and washed-off pests will not access the potting soil.
In cooler seasons, it is better to consider alternative pest elimination methods and avoid using the hosing system. You should also be very careful when using the hosing method to avoid Plumeria rust which is transmitted from one plant to another through the backsplash.
How to Fix an Overwatered Plumeria Plant
As much as Plumeria plants hate staying in too wet conditions, they also easily succumb to underwatering.
In your endeavor to reduce the amount of water that you apply to your plants, do not let the soil dry out completely for a long time. We encourage you to closely monitor the performance of your plants so that problems like overwatering can be detected earlier.
If you are growing Plumeria plants in the landscape, get ready to fight overwatering once you notice earthworms at the surface of the soil.
These earthworms will be trying to avoid drowning in soggy soil so they will be seen at the soil’s surface. Even if your Plumeria is suffering from root rot, you should not panic because it can be treated.
Discoloration of leaves can also be reversed as it mainly emanates from the malfunctioning of the roots. Reduced root efficiency leads to insufficient water and nutrient absorption, which limits the plants’ growth rate and vibrancy.
– Overwatering Evaluation
During the growing season, Plumerias should be watered once every one to two weeks when grown indoors. You can know the correct time to water your plants by using the rule of thumb where you stick a finger into the growing medium to check its level of dryness.
In the event that you are following the correct Plumeria watering procedure, but overwatering signs are showing up, you should inspect the soil and pot to see if their drainage qualities are good enough.
Also, consider the plant’s immediate environment and see if the temperatures, humidity, and sunlight are conducive for a once-a-week watering pattern.
Evaluating the causes of overwatering helps you to apply the right steps to revive your ailing plants. In some cases, the plant just needs to be moved from one place to another to give it the best conditions depending on the results of your evaluation.
In the event that the state of destruction caused by overwatering is high, you can consider propagation using plumeria cuttings.
– Cut Back on Watering
Reducing the frequency of irrigation is the first step to helping your Plumeria to recover. In light cases, you should see your plant starting to show signs of revival after you allow the soil to dry out a bit before irrigating again.
If you are watering your plants more than two times a week during the growing season, you are probably overwatering it. You need to reduce the watering frequency to the recommended once to twice a week to help your Plumeria grow healthily.
If you are continuing with a single watering in one or two weeks during the winter season, the soil remains saturated with moisture and this can cause overwatering problems. You should, therefore, cut back the watering frequency accordingly, allowing the soil to dry up before irrigation it again.
In low evapotranspiration situations, you should increase the period between waterings to give the soil enough time to lose moisture. Evapotranspiration is the process whereby the soil and plants lose moisture to the atmosphere through evaporation and transpiration, respectively.
– Remove the Plumeria Plant From the Pot
If the plant does not respond to reduced irrigation, it is time to take plant inspection to the next level. If you are growing your Plumeria in pots, hold the container upside down and gently tap its bottom to avoid disturbing the root network.
Use distilled water to clean off all the remaining soil particles from the roots. Please try to be gentle when handling the Plumeria plant to avoid breaking its leaves.
Removing the plant from its pot will hasten the rate at which the soil dries up. This will, in turn, help the plant to recover quickly.
– Cut Off Diseased Roots and Discolored Leaves
You should use sterilized scissors, knives, or shears to prune off all unwanted roots and leaves. Inspect the roots first and if you notice any of them being dark, mushy, soft, or spongy, these are signs that they are rotten.
Rotten roots also produce an unpleasant smell. This revival step does not apply to seriously affected plants where a substantial number or all the roots are rotten.
You may also encounter situations where the base of the stem turns brown or black, this is an irreversible extent of rot where you should consider discarding the entire Plumeria plant. After removing dead or diseased roots, also cut off all discolored leaves to pave way for new growth.
You should support the recovery and regrowth of roots by reducing their load, so you should remove the excessive foliage. This allows the roots to effectively take up adequate nutrients and water that is enough for the Plumeria’s development.
Please, properly get rid of the trimmed-off roots to avoid recurrences of root rot. The rot-causing organisms for instance the Phytophthora, Pythium, and Aphanomyces can survive on these root pieces after being pruned off.
Before cutting the leaves, you should consider wearing protective gloves to prevent your skin from getting in contact with the irritating milky substances that ooze out of the plant.
– Treat the Remaining Roots
The best way to eliminate the remaining fungi that might be left clinging to your plant is by washing the roots using a bleach water solution.
This way, you will be preparing the plant for repotting into a fresh soil mix. Given that you take proper care of your repotted plant, the chances of root rot recurrence will be greatly reduced.
– Prepare a Potting Soil
Plumeria plants appreciate well-drained soils due to their incredible drought tolerance. You should make a Plumeria potting mix using coarse sand, grit, or vermiculite, which provides the best drainage facilities for your plant.
We also recommend loamy garden soils as they maintain the right moisture levels that are needed for the Plumeria’s upkeep.
The potting soil should have water retention abilities so choosing a cactus mix for potting is a good idea. Cactus mixes retain water perfectly and are good in curbing overwatering cases. You should ensure that the soil mix has enough compost to enhance water retention.
The composition of coarse sand in the potting mix creates spaces within the growing medium which ultimately increases water and airflow.
Adequate oxygen circulation around the root system keeps them healthy and free from rot-causing micro-organisms. You should never reuse once-infected soil, so it must be thrown away from the proximity of your plants.
– Repot the Plumeria Plant
Under normal circumstances, a Plumeria plant should be repotted once in two to three years. However, in overwatered situations, you can consider promptly moving your plant to a new soil mix and a suitable pot.
Look for a pot that has adequate holes to drain excess water out. A combination of a well-draining soil mix and pot is excellent in giving the correct moisture levels to your recovering plant.
Place a thick layer of the potting mix in the pot, making sure that it covers its base. Take the Plumeria plant, position it in the center of the pot, and add more of the potting soil to hold the plant firm.
Fill the sides with a fresh potting mix and make sure there is a firm root-to-soil contact. You should fill the pot with the rest of the soil mix but a two-inch gap should be left between the top of the pot and the soil level to allow for watering.
Please note that you should not fertilize your plants soon after repotting because the tender and recovering roots will be much more susceptible to burning. Once the few remaining roots are burnt, the entire recovery process will be jeopardized.
– Move the Plant to a Position Where it Gets the Best Care
Place the recovering Plumeria plant in a shaded place where it receives a minimum of six to eight hours of indirect sunlight. You should avoid exposing it plant to direct sun rays which can scorch the leaves and scald the stems. When grown outdoors, placing it in a partly shaded spot is a great option.
The spot that you choose to place the Plumeria tree should have between 40 to 50 percent relative humidity. If the moisture levels in your places are too low, you can use a humidifier to raise them to the desired level.
Misting the leaves is another option you can consider to keep the plant moisturized. You can move the plant to a bathroom or near a kitchen sink as these places are associated with high moisture levels.
Maintain temperatures around 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 27 degrees Celsius). Any temperature levels that are below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) will cause the Plumeria leaves to start turning yellow and eventually shed off.
Once the plant establishes itself, you can use a Plumeria fertilizer that is rich in phosphorus. The nitrogen content in the fertilizer should be very low when growing this plant in pots and limited space as it encourages rapid foliage development.
Frequently Asked Questions
– How do I Know if my Plumeria Needs Water?
You should water Plumeria plants once the first two inches of the growing medium dry out. Before watering Plumerias, use your finger to test the readiness of the soil for irrigation.
We also advise you to consider using a Plumeria moisture meter for more accurate readings. You should know that if you see the Plumeria leaves turning yellow, wilting, and discoloring, moisture stress is the problem.
When watering Plumerias in summer, you should expect a higher rate of moisture loss compared to the winter season. This entails that signs of moisture stress are much more frequent in summer, and this ultimately calls for more regular replenishment.
– How Much Water Does Plumeria Need?
The Plumeria plant requires deep watering once or twice a week depending on the rate of moisture loss. During the cold seasons, Plumeira survives with less water because it enters dormancy and shades part of its leaves reducing the need for much irrigation.
When growing your Plumeria indoors, you should regularly inspect your plants for early detection of overwatering problems.
Below is a recap of the important points that were covered in this article.
- Slow-draining soils, high watering frequency, water-based pest treatment, misusing pebble tray systems, and mismanagement of environmental conditions affect the watering pattern of Plumeria plants.
- An increase in moisture around your Plumeria’s immediate environment results in reduced evapotranspiration, and this calls for less watering.
- The first thing to do in your quest to revive an overwatered Plumeria is to evaluate and identify the cause of overwatering on your particular plant.
- Please, use only disinfected scissors or knives to cut off damaged or dead roots so that you avoid transmitting even more fungi to your ailing plant.
Having your beloved Plumeria plant recovering is quite heartwarming. You should put this guide into action and get your lovely plants back to life!
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