Plumeria Nutrients 101
Plumeria needs to be fertilized because most soil does not provide the essential nutrients required for optimum growth. Even if you are lucky enough to start with great garden soil, as your plants grow, they absorb nutrients and leave the soil less fertile. Remember those tasty tomatoes and beautiful roses you grew last year? It took nutrients from the soil to build those plant tissues. By fertilizing your plumeria, you replenish lost nutrients and ensure that this year’s plumeria has the food they need to bloom and grow.
There are six primary nutrients that plumeria require. Plumeria gets the first three carbon, hydrogen and oxygen from air and water. The other three are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
Nitrogen helps plumeria make the proteins they need to produce new tissues. In nature, nitrogen is often in short supply so plants have evolved to take up as much nitrogen as possible, even if it means not taking up other necessary elements. If too much nitrogen is available, the plumeria may grow abundant foliage and become but not produce flowers. Growth may actually be stunted because the plant isn’t absorbing enough of the other elements it needs.
Phosphorus stimulates root growth, helps the plant set buds and flowers, improves vitality and increases seed size. It does this by helping transfer energy from one part of the plant to another. To absorb phosphorus optimally, plumeria requires a soil pH of 6.5 to 6.8. Organic matter and the activity of soil organisms also increase the availability of phosphorus. There is no need to use high Phosphorus fertilizers unless your soil is low in Phosphorus. Hawaii is one are that requires more Phosphorus in fertilizers.
Potassium improves the overall vigor of the plant. It helps the plants make carbohydrates and provides disease resistance. It also helps regulate metabolic activities.
There are three additional nutrients that plumeria need, but in much smaller amounts:
Calcium is used by plumeria in cell membranes, at their growing points and to neutralize toxic materials. In addition, calcium improves soil structure and helps bind organic and inorganic particles together.
Magnesium is the only metallic component of chlorophyll. Without it, plumeria can’t process sunlight.
Sulfur is a component of many proteins.
Boron plays a vital role in a diverse range of plant functions including cell wall formation and stability, maintenance of structural and functional integrity of biological membranes, movement of sugar or energy into growing parts of plants, and POLLINATION and SEED SET.
Finally, there are eight additional elements that plumeria need in tiny amounts. These are called micronutrients and include boron, copper, and iron. Healthy soil that is high in organic matter usually contains adequate amounts of each of these micronutrients.
Plants can absorb nutrients eight to 20 times more efficiently through their leaf surfaces than through their roots. As a result, spraying foliage with liquid nutrients can produce remarkable yields. For best results, spray plants during their critical growth stages such as transplanting time, blooming time and just after fruit sets.
What About pH?
Even if proper nutrients are present in the soil, some nutrients cannot be absorbed by plumeria if the soil pH is too high or too low. For most plumeria, soil pH should be between 6.4 and 7.0. We suggest getting a soil test to measure the pH of your soil. You can send a sample to a lab (contact your local extension service for a low-cost kit) or buy a home kit and do it yourself. Lime or wood ash can be used to raise pH; sulfur or aluminum sulfate can lower pH. Keep in mind that it’s best to raise or lower soil pH slowly over the course of a year or two. Dramatic adjustments can result in the opposite extreme, which may be worse than what you started with. Once again, a helpful solution is to apply compost. Compost moderates soil pH and is one of the best ways to maintain the 6.5 – 6.7 believed to be ideal for Plumeria.
Our slow-release, granular Excalibur Plumeria Fertilizer gives your Plumeria all the nutrients they need, including plenty of phosphorus for abundant flowering. For a healthy start, mix a handful into the soil at the beginning of each growing season.
How to Choose a Fertilizer
In most cases, all-purpose balanced fertilizer will provide the nutrients all plants need for healthy growth. If a soil test reveals certain nutrient deficiencies, or if you want to tailor your fertilizer to the needs of Plumeria, you should select our Excalibur 11-11-13, a special formulation just for Plumeria, available in 9 month and 6 month slow release. What you choose will depend on your soil and what you are growing.
The three numbers that you see on a fertilizer label, such as 11-11-13, tell you what proportion of each macronutrient the fertilizer contains. The first number is always nitrogen (N), the second is phosphorus (P) and the third is potassium (K). This “N-P-K” ratio reflects the available nutrients —by weight—contained in that fertilizer. For example, if a 100-pound bag of fertilizer has an N-P-K ratio of 11-11-13, it contains 11 pounds of nitrate, 11 pounds of phosphate (which contains phosphorus), 13 pounds of potash (which contains potassium) and 75 pounds of filler.
Fertilizers offered by Florida Colors Nursery are formulated specifically for Plumeria, to build the long-term health of your plumeria. Supplementing with a water-soluble fertilizer Such as Bioblast 7-7-7 or Peters 20-20-20 ensures that your plants have the nutrients they need when they’re in active growth and during stressful times.