The fragrant flowers of Plumeria are often used in Hawaiian leis. Rich, green leaves are a staple of a healthy plumeria plant. Plumerias also known as frangipani, are crisp, bright and gorgeous addition to every landscape. Plus, we love their highly-fragrant blossoms on sunny days.

If you happen to spot yellowing plumeria leaves, you want them to return to their green glory. A friend recently asked why her plumeria leaves were turning yellow – and what to do to fix it.

There are several reasons why you too could see yellowing leaves on plumerias. Figuring out what causes Plumeria leaves turning yellow is the only way to prevent it or fix it.

Plumeria leaves turn yellow due to cold weather, overwatering, underwatering, too little sun, nutrient deficiency, high pH levels. Leaves of the plumeria plant may also turn yellow due to aging, fungal diseases, poor drainage, root rot, low humidity, insect infestation, excessive feeding, or root-bound (not enough space to grow).

Why are my plumeria leaves turning yellow?

Your plumeria leaves are turning yellow for several reasons:

  • Cold weather
  • Not enough sunlight
  • Natural aging
  • Too much water
  • Not enough water
  • Too high pH level in soil
  • Poor drainage
  • Root bound – No space for the root to grow
  • Nutrient deficiencies

How do you treat yellow leaves on a plumeria plant?

To prevent plumeria leaves from turning yellow, you need to fix the underlying problem. First, provide your plumerias with adequate water. That means only water the plant when the top of the soil feels dry to the touch. Make sure that you position your plumeria in an area with plenty of sunshine. Also, ensure that you control harmful insects and apply fertilizer.

Do plumeria leaves turn yellow due to cold weather?

Cold weather can turn plumeria leaves yellow. In fact, when temperatures dip below 60-degrees Fahrenheit, Plumeria leaves turn yellow. And your Plumeria will drop all of its leaves when temperatures consistently drop below 60-degrees Fahrenheit. In the low temperature, the Plumeria goes dormant. So if you live in a climate with freezing temperatures, you should move your plant indoors to protect it from freezing and stop watering entirely.

Keep an eye on your Plumeria during the winter months. Make sure the trunk is still plump and healthy. However, don’t panic if the color of the trunk is more brown or green than usual. Slight color changes are expected while plumerias are dormant.

But, if you notice vertical wrinkles that stretch in the direction of the Plumeria’s growth, it’s time to water your plant. If there is no change in the branches and trunk, there is no need to water the soil.

Do plumeria leaves turn yellow due to nutrients?

Plumeria leaves may turn yellow if they don’t get enough phosphorous, calcium, and nitrogen.

Most soil doesn’t provide enough essential nutrients for the plumeria plant. Therefore a fertilizer is essential for optimum growth. Even your garden has excellent soil, as your plumeria grows, it absorbs nutrients, leaving the soil less fertile.

Remember those highly-fragrant blooms and leaves you grew last season? Unfortunately, it took nutrients such as phosphorous, nitrogen and potassium from the soil to build those healthy plant tissues. By fertilizing your plant, you replenish lost nutrients and ensure that this year’s plumeria has the food they need to flourish.

Phosphorous stimulates growth and is necessary for blooming. This nutrients also increases seed size and improves vitality. It does this by supporting energy transfer from one part of the plumeria to another. Most plumerias require the soil’s pH level to be between 6.5 and 6.8 to absorb phosphorus. The activity of soil organisms and organic matter also increases phosphorus availability.

Nitrogen is necessary for plumerias to produce new tissues. Naturally, plumerias get a low amount of nitrogen. Therefore, use a fertilizer with high phosphorous and low nitrogen content. If too much nitrogen is in the soil, the plumeria may grow abundant foliage but not produce flowers.

The cell membranes of the plumeria plant use calcium. Calcium also helps bind organic and inorganic particles, improving the soil structure.

Plumerias also require magnesium to process sunlight.

Does too little sun turn plumeria leaves yellow?

Too little sun can turn plumeria leaves yellow. Plumerias are sun-loving plants, and they do well in locations with at least eight hours of bright, direct sunlight daily. If a plumeria doesn’t get enough sun, it won’t bloom.

Plumeria prefers full sun, and even during the winter months, they require plenty of light. Make sure your plumeria is in a location with at least six hours of sun exposure daily. Please your plumeria near a south-facing window.

PH levels and yellowing Plumeria leaves

Soil pH is a potential culprit for yellowing plumeria leaves. The imbalanced soil pH often results in nutrient deficiencies.

Understanding the pH of your garden soil is key to preventing yellow leaves in your Frangipani. If the pH is not properly balanced, the soil locks nutrients in. The result is the root system of your plumeria can’t get access to the nutrients in the soil. Even if the soil is properly fertilized, an unbalanced pH level can result in nutrient deficiencies.

Does acidic soil turn plumeria leaves yellow?

Acidic soil can turn plumeria leaves yellow. Plumeria leaves turn yellow because nutrients such as molybdenum, phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium bind themselves to the soil. And as a result, these nutrients can’t become available to the root system of your plumeria. This process results in nutrient deficiencies, resulting in yellowing plumeria leaves.

Does alkaline soil turn plumeria leaves yellow?

If you place a plumeria plant in alkaline soil, yellowing leaves occur as a result. This condition is also referred to as lime-induced chlorosis. That’s because, in alkaline soil, copper, iron, manganese, zinc, and boron are less available for uptake by your plumeria plant.

After the leaves turn yellow, they will fade to white. To correct alkaline soil, you need to add sulfate. Sulfate will decrease the pH of the soil.

Test your soil regularly to avoid yellowing leaves due to a pH imbalance. Based on the test results, you can add the required nutrients to the soil to prevent yellow leaves.

Nutrient deficiencies and yellowing Plumeria leaves

An imbalance in nutrients can also cause Plumeria leaves to be yellow. For example, high manganese, calcium, copper, and zinc levels can slow or completely prevent iron uptake. And a lack of potassium can also block iron uptake for your plumeria plant.

Foliar feeding – feeding nutrients through leaves – could help if your Plumeria suffers from nutritional deficiencies. But keep in mind that no amount of foliar feeding can make up for unhealthy soil. Nevertheless, it is a fast way to provide plants with yellowing leaves with some much-needed nutrients.

In addition, you could add a teaspoonful of Epsom salts per gallon of water to give your Plumeria a temporary boost to avoid the development of more yellow leaves.

Which missing nutrients turn Plumeria leaves yellow?

Young leaves turn yellow if there is a lack of iron in the soil. Without adding the missing nutrients, older plant leaves will turn yellow too.

Older leaves will turn yellow when there is a lack of zinc, nitrogen or manganese in the soil. Therefore, it’s critical to feed your Plumeria a meal of high phosphorus throughout the growing season. But, you should stop feeding it during the dormant period.

Root rot and yellowing Plumeria leaves

Yellowing Plumeria leaves is one of the symptoms of root rot. Root rot or a rotting root system results from your Plumeria standing in water for an extended period.

Unfortunately, root rot isn’t easy to detect because the root system is covered by soil. Fortunately, Plumerias show rotting roots with their yellow leaves. Leaves are a telltale of too much or too little water.

The two main reasons for root rot are:

  • Overwatering – When the soil has too much moisture, the root system rots due to a lack of oxygen. This is an especially big problem for indoor plumeria plants. Therefore, it’s important to reduce the amount of moisture during winter.
  • Fungus – Overwatered soil will result in fungus (Fusarium, Phytophthora, Pythium, Rhizoctonia fungi). Fungi thrive in wet soil, and can move from one plant to another.

Poor drainage and yellowing Plumeria leaves

Poor drainage is a leading reason behind yellow Plumeria leaves. In overly wet soil, Plumeria roots can’t breathe. And as a result, they suffocate, shut down and stop delivering the water and nutrients plumerias need to thrive. With poor drainage, yellow leaves result.

To prevent or fix poor drainage issues:

  1. Start with porous, well-draining soil.
  2. Choose a pot with good drainage holes if your plumeria is in a container.
  3. Make sure the saucer is free of excess water. 

In your garden, avoid planting Plumerias where irrigation or rainwater accumulates. Mix in Instead, incorporate organic matter, such as compost, into your soil to improve soil drainage.

Give the soil the old “finger test” to make sure it is dry before adding water. Check the soil a couple of inches deep, and only water if it feels dry. Then water your plumeria thoroughly and allow the soil to dry before watering again.

Do Plumeria leaves turn yellow because of root damage?

Yellow leaves are a telltale sign of root damage. Once damaged, Plumeria roots may struggle to deliver oxygen, water and essential nutrients. In the case of root damage, roots can’t function properly, and problems manifest as yellow leaves.

You should check your container for damaged roots by gently sliding your Plumeria out of its pot. This will also give you a chance to check for moisture issues. Healthy Plumeria roots are whitish-yellow, but rotting roots smell foul and look dark.

Unfortunately, if roots are rotten, you need to replace your Plumeria.

Does a root bound Plumeria have yellow leaves?

Crowded roots will also cause yellow leaves. Plumerias don’t do well when root-bound. To avoid root bound, you should repot your Plumeria every year in the spring.

You can untangle roots before planting your Plumeria. Use your fingers to untangle its roots before planting.

Is natural aging a common cause for yellow Plumeria leaves?

Older Plumeria leaves may yellow. You can easily prune old yellow leaves with sharp shears, which will promote new growth. After you make the pruning cut, rinse it with water to seal it and stop the flow of latex sap.

Closing thoughts on fixing a yellowing plumeria plant

Regardless of where you live, you can always introduce a touch of the tropics with a gorgeous Plumeria plant.

If you know the possible causes for Plumeria leaves turning yellow, you can prevent or fix the problem. With the right knowledge, you can make the correct diagnoses.

Make sure your Plumeria receives full light. You need to have the right balance here to ensure that there isn’t too little or too much sunlight. Even when dormant in the winter months, your Plumeria needs at least six hours of sunlight. Use artificial lighting if necessary indoors.

Keep your Plumeria out of cold weather. You could store your Plumeria in your garage if the temperature isn’t below 50 Fahrenheit.

Ensure your Plumeria has enough water, but not too much. Overwatering and underwatering can result in yellow leaves. Check to make sure your plant has good drainage to avoid the perils of overwatering. Watering sounds simple, but you need to pay attention to the soil. Keep the soil wet, but don’t soak it and kill your plant. And don’t water until the soil has time to dry out.

For indoor plumerias, make sure that the container has good working drainage. Good drainage ensures that excess water can drain from the soil around the roots.

If you can, use rainwater for your Plumerias. There is no better water source than rain.

Keep the soil feed and balanced with just enough fertilizer. Fertilizer is critical during the growing season. But, when your plant is dormant, there’s no need to add fertilizer.

Before you add houseplant fertilizers, dilute them. Diluting fertilizers ensure that they won’t burn the roots. After a few months, leach out the minerals from the pot.

Plumeria is a tropical plant and loves humidity. Therefore, keep it in a humid environment and if necessary, use a humidifier.

You can prevent fungi by avoiding overwatering and ensuring your pot drains correctly.

Keep pests away from your Plumeria.

The yellowing of leaves is a common sign of trouble with your Plumeria. The reasons why leaves turn yellow are pretty straightforward. Luckily virtually all of them are avoidable. You have the solutions in the article above.

So, it’s time to take a look at your Plumeria and find out the real cause of its yellowing.