Plumeria Flowers In Chicago

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Plumeria Cuttings - When Not To Cut Off The Inflorescence

Welcome All Plumeria and Tropical Plant Lovers,
There seems to be some confusion among plumeria
gardeners when it is appropriate to cut off developing
inflorescences on rooting plumeria cuttings and when
NOT to cut off the developing inflorescences.
When your rooting plumeria cutting is rotting, which is
mostly caused by over watering in the early stages of
the rooting process, you need to cut your cutting back
until you reach white tissue.
At this point I highly recommend to cut off the
developing inflorescence.  By sacrificing the
inflorescence, you save the plumeria cutting. 
Let this new saved good portion of the cutting
callous before replanting it. 
Sometimes plumeria gardeners, including myself,
grow impatient when 'waiting' for their plumeria
cutting(s) to complete the growth process into a
beautiful flowering plant.  When a cutting "doesn't
seem to be doing anything" and the growth process
"seems to stall" even after it produced one
inflorescence with full sized flowers, the gardener 
begins the "worrying stage" and begins to think
something is "WRONG".
The gardener thinks of all the possible causes
for "why the cutting isn't doing anything?"
The gardener then decides to take action
to correct the problem in order to get the cutting
to "start doing something again". The owner cuts
off the inflorescence.... because "the cutting isn't
doing anything".
Unless there is real evidence that there is a definite 
defined problem, I encourage you to exercise
"PATIENCE" in these circumstances.  For plumerias
are unique with their own characteristics and
each one is different from the next. "Doesn't seem
to be doing anything" is not a valid scientific reason
to take the inflorescence to surgery. 
Often times, worry and impatience take over and
the gardener takes the wrong and unnecessary action
that causes the gardener not only to lose the one
beautifully developed inflorescence and the potential
growth of other equally beautiful inflorescences,
but takes the cutting all the way back to square one
to start the whole process over.
I would like to explain to you with examples when NOT
to cut off the inflorescences on rooting plumeria cuttings
which are planted applying the Egg Method.
The dynamics of the egg start to work soon after the
cutting has been planted and many times
inflorescences start to develop right away.
The following picture is of Plumeria 'Celadine'.
I planted this cutting with three branches on
March 19, 2011 applying the Egg Method.

Shortly after being planted the cutting started to
develop one inflorescence on each of the three
Each inflorescence grew about one inch and
stopped at this point..."wasn't doing anything".
Carefully monitoring the cutting's process,
I continued to provide moisture it needed
(to prevent dehydration) over the next few weeks.
Watering is a skill that is learned by developing a
relationship with your plants. It doesn't happen
from one day to the next but over time.
(Most plants die from over-watering).
Many factors influence how often one waters
his/her plants, including.....
  • temperature
  • wind
  • sunny skies
  • overcast skies
  • humidity
  • intensity of plant lights
  • pot size
  • potting medium
  • root system
In hindsight, during this period of "when the
cutting wasn't doing anything" from the gardener's
visual and mental perception, nature was at work
It was as if the cutting itself was "directing from within". 
The cutting sent a message to the top (inflorescences)
to halt any further development at this time while work
on the root system needed to be completed. 
In truth, during this same period of time, this plumeria
cutting developed a strong root system.
About six weeks later all three inflorescences started
to grow again. At this time there were no leaves present,
just some claws around the base of the cutting.
This was the time I began to water the cutting thoroughly.
The buds started to show color, leaves started to grow,
and the first flowers opened on June 2, 2011.
When inflorescences on your cuttings start to branch,
take your digit finger and thumb around the base
of the cutting just above soil level and GENTLY
try moving the cutting. If you feel resistance,
the cutting rooted and it's time to give it a good soaking.
Not watering at this critical point may result in the demise
of your plumeria cutting.
The following picture is of one of the three branches of the
Celadine cutting pictured above.

The following picture is another example of the power of the
Egg Method.
The picture shows Plumeria 'Mimi's Home Pride' which, 
according to the owner who lives in Hawaii, is extremely 
difficult to root and may even in Hawaii take six to nine 
months to root. 
This cutting of Mimi's Home Pride was, like Celadine, planted
on March 19, 2011 using the Egg Method, and opened its first
flowers on June 12, 2011.
Like the Celadine cutting, Mimi's Home Pride started to
develop its inflorescence soon after the cutting was planted.
It took less than three months from planting this extremely
difficult to root plumeria cutting to open its first flowers.
For more information on plumerias and the Egg Method
Happy Growing,
Bob Walsh