Plumeria Bud Drop: Why Are Plumeria Flowers Dropping

Plumeria Flower
plumeria buds
(Image credit: N_u_T)

Plumeria blooms are lovely and fragrant, evoking the tropics. However, the plants are not demanding when it comes to care. Even if you neglect them and expose them to heat and drought, they often thrive. That said, it can be upsetting to see plumeria flowers falling off or buds dropping before they open. Read on for information about plumeria flower drop and other problems with plumeria.

Why are Plumeria Flowers Dropping?

Plumeria, also called frangipani, are small, spreading trees. They deal well with drought, heat, neglect, and insect attacks. Plumeria are easily identifiable trees. They have gnarled branches and grow the distinctive flowers used in Hawaiian leis. The blossoms grow in clusters at the branch tips, with waxy petals, and a flower center in a contrasting color. Why are plumeria flowers dropping from the plant before they are finished blooming? When plumeria buds fall unopened to the ground—called plumeria bud drop—or the flowers fall, look to the cultural care the plants are receiving. Generally, problems with plumeria stem from inappropriate planting or care. These are sun-loving plants that need excellent drainage. Many gardeners associate plumeria with the Hawaiian tropics but, in fact, the plants are native to Mexico and Central and South America. They need warmth and sun to thrive and do not grow well in wet or cold areas. Even if your area is warm and sunny, be frugal with irrigation when it comes to plumeria. Excess moisture can cause both plumeria flower drop and plumeria bud drop. Plumeria plants can rot from getting too much water or standing in wet soil. Sometimes plumeria bud drop is caused by cold temperatures. Overnight temperatures can dip at the end of the growing season. With the cold night temperatures, the plants start to prepare themselves for winter dormancy.

Normal Plumeria Flower Drop

You’ve situated your plumeria in a sunny location and made sure that the soil drains fast and well. Yet, you still see plumeria flowers falling off, along with all the foliage. Take a look at the calendar. Plumeria goes through dormancy in winter. At that time, like other deciduous plants, it drops its leaves and remaining flowers and appears to stop growing. This type of plumeria flower drop and leaf drop is normal. It helps the plant prepare for the growth to come. Watch for new leaves to appear in spring, followed by plumeria buds and flowers.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.