Plumeria seed embryos typically contain two cotyledons and are grouped as dicots or dicotyledonous plants. It’s usually easy to tell which leaves are the cotyledons. As they are the first leaves the seedling produces, they will be the lowest ones on the stem, the ones to which an empty seed case often clings. They also won’t look like any of the other leaves on the seedling.
The cotyledons or seed leaves provide the seedling with nutrients for the first few weeks of its life, but when the seed leaves dry up and fall off, the seedling needs nutrients. Some people like to pinch off the cotyledons after the true leaves emerge. Unless those leaves are in the way, it is best to allow the seedling to decide when it’s done with them, or you may accidentally break its stem instead. Plumeria cotyledons are photosynthetic producers, as photosynthetic producers, cotyledons essentially can synthesize the organic nutrients it requires for growth through photosynthesis.
Fertilizers are frequently referred to as plant food, which is really not correct. Actually, it is the carbon dioxide in the air and the water in the soil, which in the presence of sunlight are converted into sugars and carbohydrates by a process called ‘Photosynthesis’, that do the actual feeding of the plant. Fertilizer is much more analogous to vitamins. The Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium, and other trace elements contained in the fertilizers are necessary for cell division and enzyme processes that allow photosynthesis and growth to proceed. Photosynthesis is the process in which organisms use the energy from sunlight to produce glucose, a type of sugar, in addition to releasing oxygen. This glucose is the plant’s food.
Many methods and products are used by different growers to fertilize plumeria and plumeria seedlings. I’ve been experimenting with different plumeria seed growing methods and products over the last 20 plus year. The methods and products below are what I’ve determined to work best for me considering my growing conditions in South Florida (Zone 10b), so far.
The following is my current method for fertilizing plumeria seedlings for the first four months.
Over the last 5 years or so, I’ve been germinating and growing my seedlings outside in the full sun. (your weather conditions should be considered, not too hot, not too cold) Conducting experiments regarding when and how much to fertilize seedlings, some are complete some are still ongoing.
For the best results. so far, I use foliage feed with a liquid fertilizer at 1/2 strength for the first month or so. As soon as the seedlings have grown 3 or 4 real leaves I start spraying at full strength.
Fertilizing Plumeria Seedlings
- Fertilize with Bioblast 777 or similar as a foliage spray. If you use other balanced fertilizers, you should experiment, starting with 1/2 strength and increasing over time. When using a balanced fertilizer, I get better root growth and thicker trunks.
- When using a fertilizer high in Nitrogen as a foliage spray, the seedlings got very lanky very quickly. Lanky stalks and light green leaves can be a result of growing in shade or in a location with too little sun.
- When I using high phosphorus fertilizers as a foliage feed, I noticed the seedlings seem to shut down and didn’t put on as many new leaves. I suspect the seedling was having a hard time absorbing other nutrients.
- Micronutrients are important to healthy seedlings, so fertilizers I experiment with all contain micronutrients.
I’ve also fertilizes from the bottom up method by setting the pot or plug tray in a container filled with nutrients. Similar to hydroponic methods.
I don’t use granular fertilizers until I transfer to soil. I grow my seedling for the first stage in foam-injected peat plugs and then transfer the plug and all into a good soil mix.
I will transplant in pots when plenty of roots are protruding out of the plugs. This usually takes 2-3 months, depending on the time of year and weather conditions. The 2″ x 3″ plugs allow me to transfer directly into a 1 gal or larger pot mixed with ProMix without damaging the roots.
When I transplant into pots, I add granular fertilizer. I use Excalibur VI and apply twice a year. The season is almost all year long in South Florida Zone 10B.
Why Use Flexi Plugs? – Why Use ProMix? – Why Use Bioblast? – Why Use Excalibur Plumeria Fertilizer?