What are Plumeria leaves? Plumeria is a genus of flowering plants. It is a deciduous shrub that witnesses growth in warmer regions worldwide and goes by an alternative name of ‘frangipani.’ Known and beloved for its signature fragrance, Plumeria flowers exhibit the unique characteristic of luring in moths at night( sphinx moths) to facilitate pollination.
The flowers, however, secrete no nectar, and the smell emanating is merely a guise. A guise that works ably well if I were to wager an opinion.
In this article, we will discuss the phenomenon of white spots appearing on Plumeria leaves, in addition to the antidotes that you can use to combat it.
What causes white spots on Plumeria leaves?
A condition that materializes similarly to the appearance of dust, a leaf affected by powdery mildew resembles a dusty leaf. Except on double-checking, you will find that you cannot remove the ‘dust’ by brushing it off.
It is a condition that spreads everywhere and quickly- both surfaces of the leaves, the stems, and often the flowers.
An extreme case of powdery mildew ceases to resemble dusty patches but instead turns the leaf yellow, following which death of the leaf is imminent.
Powdery mildew is commonly observed in dry, humid weather and usually when sunlight is inadequate.
As a result of overwatering the plant, Oedema is a condition that plagues Plumeria leaves.
When the potting soil is too saturated with water, the roots absorb more water than necessary, and you must eject it through the leaves/the stem. It leads to water damage, which shows up in the form of white spots.
Too much sun
The Plumeria likes sunlight. Gardeners and breeders see optimal growth in those plants exposed to the sun for around 6 hours a day.
A plant native to warm climes, the Plumeria is accustomed to warmth and light and is not likely to react poorly to it.
However, there is such a thing as too much sun. Unmonitored exposure to sunlight can result in sunburn, which leads to the emergence of white spots on the exposed areas.
Sudden changes in temperature
More easily noticeable during a temperature drop than a temperature rise, a sudden change in temperature causes the Plumeria plant stress. Stress is one of the primary reasons behind patchy discoloration.
Be wary during the winter months. If not protected adequately from the plant, the Plumeria will shed leaves, grow spots and turn dormant.
Pest infections in plants are a common occurrence. Although far from pleasant, the upside here is that they are generally easy to fix. The Plumeria is no stranger to bug infestations, which leave behind white spots, webbed markings, and silver stripes.
In addition to sapping the plant with necessary nutrients, these insects affect the delicate ecosystem that facilitates good plant health.
It makes the leaves brittle and can cause long-lasting damage. Some insects that like to feed on the Plumeria are mealybugs, thrips, spider mites, Leafminers, and Leafhoppers.
It cannot be easy striking the right balance with the fertilization of Plumeria plants. They are heavy feeders and generally require a lot of fertilizer in the spring and summer months.
An excess of fertilizer can lead to a nitrogen deficiency- a nutrient very essential for healthy growth. Sustained periods of inadequate nitrogen cause white spots and can cause the plant to die out.
Fungal infections can follow a pest infection if not curbed in a timely fashion. The insects that feed on Plumeria leaves leave behind honeydew secretions.
These secretions are the perfect environment for black mold to grow. The black mold turns the white spots black and leads to a further deterioration of plant health.
Access to enough ventilation
A lack of adequate air circulation in the plant’s environment leads to the emergence of white spots and the possibility of impending rust on the leaves. These symptoms increase by additional conditions, such as an excess of moisture in the air.
Too much/too little water
The fact that the right amount of water is essential for the right kind of plant growth is known to all of us. The disadvantages of overwatering, as well as underwatering, are many.
The former leads to flooding and absorption of excess water by the leaves, which results in flaccid areas on the surface and Oedema.
A lack of water turns the leaves and stems brittle and floppy, not enough nutrients are transmitted, and the plant turns pale.
How to treat white spots on Plumeria plants?
The methods of treatment available to us are, mercifully, many. The first thing that you need to do is to diagnose the cause of the condition accurately. Only then can one administer the correct treatment.
To prevent powdery mildew, place the plant in a sunny location subject to plenty of ventilation. Watering the plants during the early hours of the morning is advisable, for the sun’s strength facilitates quick absorption and fast drying.
If your Plumeria plant has already been the victim of a case of mildew, use baking soda and water to clean the leaves. It rids the leaves of the infection.
Do not scrub, as a cleaning solution will not affect the appearance of the white spots. However, the spots will fade as the plant regains normalcy.
For white spots resulting from light or water conditions, the remedial measures are quite simple. Always remember; placement is important. Where you position, your plant plays a large role in overall well-being.
Select a spot that is sunny and airy. As for water requirements, devise a watering schedule that does the job without overwhelming the plant. Since overwatering is a common problem, use a container with the right number of drainage holes. It allows the water to exit the pot and hastens the drying process.
Temperature stress is a common phenomenon during the winter months. To protect your plant from the cold, bring it indoors when temperatures dip below normal. If that is not an option, it might be wise to DIY a greenhouse where the plants keep warm even when outdoors.
Lastly, there are several ways to deal with a pest infestation. You can ward off a spider mite attack by regularly misting the underside of the leaves.
It is a preventative measure that works wonders. As mentioned earlier, cleaning the leaves does a good job of cleansing the plant of a bug infection.
There are a few different options available for use- baking soda, mouthwash, and dish soap. Remember to create a diluted solution of whatever reagent you choose to use.
Another preventative recipe a lot of plant growers recommend is neem oil. Neem is a natural anti-bacterial. It will not affect the normal pH of the potting soil.
When applied, it leaves behind a bitter aftertaste that keeps bugs from feasting on the leaves. If you are looking for a store-bought antidote, then there are several good insecticides and antifungal medications available in the market.
I have always maintained that prevention is better than cure. The preventative measures in question might be less work than you imagine.
Pruning your plants keeps them in optimal condition, as does a calibrated environment of the right amounts of light, sun, air, and water. Regular fertilization can help boost plant growth, as does the selection of the right potting soil.
Disease and decay are natural phenomena in all kinds of plants. Plumeria is no exception, and white spots are just another condition among many.
The good news is that this is an easily reversible ailment. Be watchful, and you will find that you have nursed back your Plumeria to good health! Patience and care are your two watchwords here.