Plumeria leaves curl mainly due to Aphid/Mealybug/Spider mite infestations. Plumeria leaves also curl when the plant is underwatered/overwatered. Plumeria leaves also curl if the plant is infected by Plumeria rust disease.
Plumeria is grown for its beautiful flowers. The plant gives out pretty, white flowers but the foliage looks good too.
Plumeria is also called Frangipani. Plumeria plants are hardy in the USDA Zones 8-11. These are grown mainly for their fragrant flowers.
Plumeria runs into some problems too. Leaf curling is one of the most common problems the plant faces. Let’s see the reasons and ways to fix it.
Plumeria leaves puckering
Plumeria leaves become puckered when there’s a severe infestation of sap-sucking insects. Aphids, Mealybugs, Spider mites, and Thrips are the common insect pests of Plumeria. These sap-sucking insects cause leaf curling in Plumeria.
Aphids on Plumeria
Aphids come in various colors. Aphids are tiny insects that distort the healthy foliage of Plumeria and cause wilting.
Aphids are carried onto the host plants by ants. Ants do this in exchange for the Honeydew that the aphids produce.
Aphids cause yellow spots on Plumeria leaves, thanks to their feeding habits. Honeydew produced by aphids accommodates fungi called ‘Sooty mold’.
Aphids hide in the curled leaves and you can find large populations of them in the affected leaves.
These pesky pests multiply quickly, so you need to respond as soon as you see even a single aphid. Hang yellow, sticky cards around your Plumeria to identify them early.
Mealybugs on Plumeria
Mealybugs are tiny, white-colored insects that are often called shield-less scales. They appear like white, cottony mass on leaves, stems, and other parts of Plumeria.
Mealybugs are also sap-sucking insects that can damage Plumeria greatly. Mealybugs can multiply rapidly.
Mealybugs feed on the leaves and shoots of Plumeria. Mealybug infestation causes leaf stippling and yellow spots on the leaves.
Mealybugs produce Honeydew which is why ants are also seen around Plumeria when there’s a severe Mealybug infestation.
Spider mites on Plumeria
Spider mites are one of the common insect pests of Plumeria. Spider mites are usually found on the stems and undersides of the leaves.
Spider mite presence can be confirmed if you see webcasts around your Plumeria. These webcasts are usually around stems, leaves, flowers, and buds.
Spider mites are not easily visible to human eyes, so respond as soon as you see webcasts around your Plumeria.
A few of these insects might not do much damage but a large infestation can even stunt or even kill your Plumeria.
Ways to control Aphids/Mealybugs/Spider mites on Plumeria
Below are some means to get rid of Aphids, Mealybugs, and Spider mites on your Plumeria. Eliminate these pesky pests by following a combination of the below techniques.
- Spray water with a garden hose on the branches that are infested by Aphids, Mealybugs and Spider mites. This will dislodge the insects from the plant.
- Prune off the branches that are clearly infested by these sap-sucking insects.
- Wipe off these insects on your Plumeria using a cotton bud/cotton ball that’s dipped in rubbing alcohol.
- Spray Neem oil on the affected Plumeria to get rid of these sap-sucking insects naturally. You may need to spray more than once for effective removal of the insects.
- Spray Insecticidal soap on the affected Plumeria if the infestation is too severe.
Why is my Plumeria wrinkled?
Plumeria gets wrinkles and shriveled when it doesn’t get adequate water. Wilting is the first sign of an underwatered Plumeria.
Water your Plumeria thoroughly when you do water it. Let the soil dry out up to one inch before watering your plant again.
Leaves become wilted and the tips of the leaves turn brown in color.
Check the soil/potting mix with bare fingers if needed. Decrease the watering frequency in the winter season.
Don’t water when all the leaves are shed by the deciduous varieties. You may water your plant again in the spring.
Ways to fix an under watered Plumeria
- Check the soil with bare fingers to make sure the plant is under watered.
- Water your plant thoroughly for several minutes to rehydrate it. It should recover sooner than you expected.
- You may want to mulch your Plumeria to help it retain water. Remove the mulch afterwards if you feel the plant doesn’t need it.
Tip: Water your Plumeria only when the top inch of the soil goes dry.
Read also: Why Plumeria buds fall off.
Plumeria leaves wilt and become droopy when the plant is overwatered for a long time. Leaves of an overwatered Plumeria eventually turn yellow.
What does an overwatered Plumeria look like?
The initial symptom of an overwatered Plumeria is yellow foliage. Wrinkles can be seen on Plumeria foliage.
Eventually, the leaves become droopy and wilted. Such leaves turn brown as time goes on. Root rot/Stem rot is seen in such plants.
How often do Plumerias need to be watered?
I usually water my Plumeria once a fortnight. You can check the soil with your fingers and water only when it goes dry up to a depth of 1-inch.
In winter, don’t water your Plumeria as much. Increase the watering frequency and eventually stop until the spring season.
Stop watering after the deciduous varieties shed all their leaves. You can water your Plumeria again in the spring season.
Ways to fix an overwatered Plumeria
You’d wanna fix your overwatered Plumeria as soon as possible to prevent fungal infections/root rot. Below are some instructions to treat the plant.
- Once you confirm your Plumeria suffers from overwatering, stop watering the plant immediately.
- Remove mulch around your Plumeria if there’s any(If it’s grown in the ground).
- See if the pot has drain holes or not. See if it drains properly or not.
- Is the potting mix light enough? You need to make sure the potting mix drains the excess water efficiently. Add Perlite to it if it doesn’t drain well.
- Water only when necessary. Check with bare fingers if needed. Don’t water your Plumeria in the winter.
- Apply fungicide to the soil around your Plumeria to prevent any fungal infections of the roots.
Plumeria leaf rust
Plumeria Leaf rust is a fungal disease that infects only the foliage. This is caused by a fungal pathogen that only attacks Plumeria.
The fungal pathogen releases spores which are air-borne. The spores also spread via water splashing. The disease spreads quickly in warm, humid conditions.
Initially, yellow specks/spots are seen on the uppersides of the leaves. Powdery orange lesions are seen on the undersides of the leaves.
The powdery lesions are pustules of the fungus. The pustules produce the spores which further infect other Plumeria plants in your garden.
Infected Plumeria’s leaves get curled, distorted, turn brown-gray in color and fall off the Plumeria. Identifying the disease is advantageous.
If you don’t respond and treat the plant early on, the entire tree defoliates in 2 months or less.
Plumeria rust control
Below are some means to prevent and control Plumeria rust.
- Cut off the infected leaves of the plant using a pair of pruning shears. Disinfect the tool after using it on an infected plant.
- Collect the leaf debris found below the infected Plumeria and dispose of it carefully. This helps prevent the spread of the disease.
- Make sure the air is circulating well around Plumeria plants. This helps prevent the infection in the first place! Place your plants at least 6 inches away from one another.
- Control weeds around Plumeria to improve air circulation.
- Apply Neem oil/Copper fungicides/Insecticidal soap to control powdery mildew early on.
- You can treat mild infections of Plumeria rust by spraying GreenLight “Fung-Away” on the plant.
- If the infection is severe, spray fungicides that contain Bayleton.
Happy Growing 🙂