5 Best Plumeria Fertilizers | How and When to Apply

The exotic plumeria (frangipani) is one of those plants that conjures up daydreams of balmy, tropical landscapes. Happily blooming in brilliant sunshine, while bathed in the gentle mist of a cascading waterfall. 

Plumerias are one of eleven “Apocynaceae” family species that are native to the tropical wildlands of central and south America. Out of 368 varieties, some are found in home gardens and often in surprising hardiness zones.

In zones 9-11, plumerias happily flourish outside but will need to be overwintered as houseplants, provided they are properly cared for and offered the best plumeria fertilizer.  

Best Fertilizers For Plumeria 

Best Plumeria Fertilizers

Best Water-Soluble Fertilizer For Plumeria

Miracle-Gro Bloom Booster Fertilizer 15-30-15

The fast-Acting liquid formula is suitable for use from bud onset and throughout the summer months. Revives ailing Plumeria and yellowing foliage in days.

Miracle-Gro | Shake 'N Feed Continuous Release 10-18-9

Best Fertilizer Granules For Plumeria

Miracle-Gro Continuous Release 10-18-9

Granules provide a continuous release of nutrients for up to 3 months. Ideal for use in semi-fertile soil where nitrogen levels need to be improved.

Espoma | Organic Bone Meal 4-12-0

Best Organic Fertilizer For Plumeria

Espoma Organic Bone Meal 4-12-0

Organic slow-release granules containing all-natural phosphorus and nitrogen-rich ingredients. Also suitable for use in heavy, clay soil.

Choosing Fertilizer for Plumeria (Frangipani) 

Plumerias are fairly sturdy plants when grown in their native hardiness zones. But, getting them to bloom in pots, even in a tropical setting, can be challenging.

This is why a consistent and effective fertilizing schedule is vital to happy plumerias, no matter where you grow them.

In addition to well-aged compost, a good fertilizer, whether organic or synthetic, should include all the macro and micronutrients that plumerias require. Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are standard components of most NPK fertilizers. 

The best plumeria fertilizer will also include micro compounds like calcium, magnesium, and sulfur. With trace elements such as zinc, iron, manganese, and boron. 

Each one of these nutrients is fundamental to overall plant health, regardless of their prominence in the formulation. 

The three primary macronutrients facilitate lush foliage growth, root and bud formation, and moisture and nutrient circulation. Yet, they depend on micronutrients and trace elements to accomplish these tasks. Without them, proper nourishment fails. 

Plumeria N-P-K Ratio 

Choosing the right NPK is easy when you understand what plumerias need. Every fertilizer label includes a three-numbered N-P-K ratio. Indicating that product’s proportions of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

For example, a 10-30-10 NPK has 10% nitrogen, 30% phosphorus and 10% potassium. Every plant requires these three elements for optimal health. Just in different proportions. 

The most popular NPK ratios for plumeria are 10-50-10 (for liquid options) or 10-30-10 (for slow-release options). The phosphorus content in these is much higher, as evident by the middle number. 

While plumerias need adequate levels of nitrogen and potassium, the significantly higher percentage of phosphorus, in the above examples, is what will promote increased flowering and substantial root growth. 

The high nutrient ratios in a 10-50-10 or 10-30-10 NPK, as opposed to a lower ratio like a 1-4-3, is due to plumerias typically being heavy feeders.  

Types of Fertilizer 

There are four different classes of fertilizer that offer flexible options for various uses and gardening styles. 

  • Quick Release – liquid and water-soluble options offer immediate uptake of nutrients. As well as accelerated improvement for ailing plants growing in poor soil.
  • Slow-Release – Heavily concentrated granules and spikes offer a slow and steady stream of nutrients for plants over an extended period of time. 
  • Organic – made from natural compounds like composted plant material and animal bi-products, these contain effective levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
  • Inorganic – manufactured with minerals and chemicals, these can result in more blooms on bigger plants. But, they can also potentially contaminate the soil and nearby water sources. 

Fertilizer Granules 

Slow-releasing granules are very simple to use and can provide consistent nourishment for up to nine months, depending on the brand. This means fewer applications, less work, and more garden enjoyment for you. These are also less likely to cause root burn or other plant damage.

Nutrients are first released when the granule coating is softened by warming temperatures. Soil microbes and fungi then consume these nutrients and convert them into a form that is easily absorbed by plants. 

Granules are applied by casting them evenly around the base of trees, shrubs, and plants. Watering isn’t needed to activate them so they’re less likely to leach into nearby surfaces or groundwater. 

Fertilizer Spike 

Nutrient-packed spikes are one of the most convenient fertilizer options to use, especially if you have a container garden or lots of houseplants. Pre-measured in various sizes, they’re easy to push into loamy soil and release nutrients in a similar fashion to granules. 

Being slow-releasing, they offer the same long-term benefit as granules and also run little risk of plant burn or run-off. As a result, they are considered one of the more “eco-friendly” options, despite typically being inorganic.

Due to providing consistent nutrient access, spikes carry the added benefit of stimulating an increased resistance to disease and pests. Unused portions can then be stored mess-free until needed. 

Liquid Fertilizer 

Liquid fertilizers are quite versatile and come in either a concentrated solution, water-soluble powder (both of which need to be diluted prior to use), or pre-mixed. Then, applied with a watering can or hose attachment, around your plants.

These can come in either organic or synthetic forms. But, with both, nutrients are immediately conveyed to the root system through the soil. Some are also formulated to be used as foliar sprays, which can provide instant relief for yellow foliage.

Liquid feeds are typically more economical than other options due to lower production costs. However, caution is recommended, as accidental over-feeding is common and could lead to severe plant damage. 

Synthetic Vs Organic 

When deciding whether to use an organic or synthetic plumeria fertilizer for your plants, take into consideration your gardening style, goals, application preference, and end-result expectations. 

In addition, a basic understanding of how each works and affects your environment can help support an informed decision.

Organic fertilizers:

  • Typically plant or animal-based
  • Contain moderate levels of nutrients, similar to what plants would get in the wild
  • Can nourish your plumeria plants, and others, for longer periods of time
  • Can improve soil fertility with little risk of contamination

Inorganic fertilizers:

  • Are mass-produced using minerals and synthetic chemicals
  • This can result in more lush foliage and a higher number of blooms
  • But, they can also potentially contaminate nearby water sources and soil

5 Best Plumeria Fertilizers 

In an outdoor garden, tropical plumerias are hardy only in zones 10–12. But, in other zones, they can live quite happily indoors, given the right environment and nutrients. 

I’ve tested a number of fertilizer options on my own plumeria plants and have compiled a list of the 6 best performers to share with you. Including results, ease of use, and product details to allow for an informed decision.  

Pros      

  • New buds emerging in just a few days
  • Easy to use and store

Cons

  • Not recommended for use on plants grown in fertile soil 

This high-phosphorus bloom booster from Miracle-Gro really brought a few of my ailing plumeria back to life. I liked that I could use it as a foliar spray, for yellowing leaves, and as a soil drench.

I found this to be effective on other flowering tropicals, like hibiscus and canna lilies, as well. Not only did the number of blooms increase but my plants experienced robust, overall growth, as well. 

How To Use: In a watering can or hose attachment, mix 1 tablespoon of Miracle-Gro per gallon of water. Then, soak the base of your plants every 7-14 days.

PROS

  • Contains natural ingredients to feed microbes in the soil
  • Includes vital micronutrients

CONS

  • Not recommended for fully fertile soil 

I found this granular option, with its simple “shake and feed” application method, to work best in the semi-fertile to poor soil around my potted plants.  Infertile soil, I found that higher nitrogen resulted in excess foliage growth. 

Using this, the bloom color on Plumeria acutifolia became more vibrant. As well as the veining and coloration in the foliage. I also no longer saw browning around the edges of leaves.

Each granule is formulated to be attractive to hungry soil microbes who then convert nutrients into a readily available form for plumeria. A profusion of healthy buds resulted and continued for three months. 

3. Espoma Organic Bone Meal 4-12-0

Best Organic Fertilizer For Plumeria

3. Espoma | Organic Bone Meal 4-12-0

Pros      

  • All-natural sources of organic phosphorus and nitrogen
  • Helps to loosen heavy, clay soil

Cons

  • Not recommended for plants that require higher potassium 

This granular bone meal from Espoma is a staple in my gardening arsenal. When mixing my soil, in spring, I’ll add a fresh dose of this around my tropical flowering perennials.

The natural phosphorus that this provides can’t be beaten for providing plumeria plants with what they need to produce abundant blooms. Especially if you’re an organic gardener. The NPK in this also offers just enough nitrogen to support healthy foliage growth.

How To Use: Apply 1 or 2 pounds depending upon the size of the shrub or tree. Apply 2 oz or one heaping tablespoon per potted plant and work into the soil.

PROS

  • A readily available source of organic nutrients
  • Includes vital micronutrients for optimal plant health

CONS

  • May exhibit an earthy odor 

Down to Earth is another brand I really feel confident using, as this option is purely organic. It provides readily available nutrients (no microbial conversion help is necessary) and also has enough supporting nitrogen in it for optimal foliage growth. As well as added calcium.

This is marketed for use on flowering bulbs. But healthy root development gave way to early season growth on some plumeria “candy stripe” plants I tested this on. Besides that, it is also a fantastic fertilizer for peonies, roses, and dahlias too.

How To Use: New transplants – mix in 1-2 tbsp per hole, then water well. For established plants – side dress with 2-4 oz per month during the growing season. 

Pros      

  • Optimal nutrition for bud production and green foliage
  • Releases nutrients gradually for up to 4 months

Cons

  • It may be too strong for houseplants 

This option from Jack’s Classic has become one of the most popular choices for improving plumeria size and color. And after applying it to a new pink dwarf I acquired, I couldn’t agree more.

A good soil drench with this triple 20 NPK will encourage strong root establishment and bud production. 

On the third application, though, you’ll want to start diluting it with water to lower the nutrient concentration, a bit. Not as much will be needed as plants become established. 

How To Use: Apply 1 tablespoon per gallon of water used. Repeat every 10-14 days.

Do Plumerias Need Fertilizing to Bloom 

When grown in fertile, ground soil that’s consistently replenished with organic material, like compost and bone meal, plumerias will typically find all they need in the soil.

In less-than-fertile environments, and especially in pots, plumeria will deplete their growing medium of nutrients pretty quickly. So, replenishing nutrients through fertilizing, in these scenarios, will become vital to a rich blooming season. 

If you have an adequate fertilizing schedule in place and your plumerias are still not blooming, consider the following:

  • Overwintered plumerias should be slowly acclimatized to outdoor temperatures in spring. Sudden temperature changes can affect bud production. 
  • 6 full hours of sunlight a day is necessary for proper bud formation
  • Plants younger than 2 years old may not be mature enough to form buds 

How to Fertilize Plumeria Trees 

How to fertilize your plumeria trees (or shrubs) will depend on your chosen application method. Liquids are applied using a watering can or a hose attachment. And should be applied in the cooler hours of the day, so as not to scorch foliage and flowers in direct sun.

Dry granules can be applied at any time and don’t necessarily require watering. But, applying them just before a forecasted rainfall will hasten activation.

Diluting water-soluble granules (like Jack’s Classic) and applying the resulting ‘tea’ can give you more control over dosage and frequency of feeding. Like liquid concentrates, this option also gives you a more immediate result. 

Just bear in mind that constant fertilizing (such as with liquids) can raise soil pH to a level that plumerias don’t like. 

How Often to Feed Plumeria 

How often to fertilize will also be dictated by your chosen brand and application method. 

For example, Down to Earth’s organic bone meal needs re-applying every 4 weeks. Versus Espoma’s formula, which only needs one application in spring and again in fall. 

Water-soluble granules, like my pick from Miracle-Gro, should be applied every two weeks for consistent nourishment. As should JR Peters BloomBooster formula.

When using liquid fertilizers for potted plants, the frequency could be even higher, due to water and nutrient leaching. 

Regardless of which brand you choose, label directions should always be followed to ensure that no damage is caused by accidental over-fertilizing. 

Potted Plumeria 

As mentioned, getting potted plumerias to bloom can be tricky. There’s more of a balancing act with these. Careful monitoring of available nutrients and moisture in the soil is a must, as these heavy-feeders can deplete the soil of them quickly. 

Potted plants, in general, require more frequent watering simply due to their minimized soil capacity. Increased watering will naturally result in increased nutrient and soil run-off or the risk of over-watering….and the cycle continues. 

Soil monitoring also helps prevent the effects of over-watering and over-fertilizing. Both of which can stunt healthy growth and bloom production. A sudden increase in soil pH can block a plumeria’s access to vital soil nutrients. Which poses the risk of fading and failing plants. 

Signs of Fertilizer Burn on Frangipani 

The first sign of over-fertilizing is salt build-up on the soil surface. This may also be due to minerals, commonly found in tap water, collecting there.

You’ll know if this is due to over-fertilizing when its appearance is coupled with the following plant symptoms:

  • Browning leaf tips
  • Yellowing of mature leaves
  • Stem wilting
  • Blackened roots

If you’re able to catch the initial effects of fertilizer burn, there are things you could try to help your plant recover. Remove any visible fertilizer, flush any remaining by running water through the roots, prune off any damaged bits, then wait at least a month before fertilizing again. 

When to Fertilize Plumeria 

Just as with other aspects of fertilizing, when to fertilize will depend on the formula and application method of your fertilizer. 

As a rule of thumb, outdoor plumerias should never be fertilized before April or after September. From October to March, they’re in a partial dormancy stage. Fertilizing now would only harm them. 

Overwintering plumerias as houseplants would follow the same rule. These two experience a partial dormancy and are not able to properly metabolize fertilizer. 

From April to September, however, ground-planted plumerias benefit from being fed according to your fertilizer’s instructions. Naturally, slow-release options will have a lower application rate than liquids. 

Plumerias are heavy feeders. But, if you’re concerned about over-fertilizing, remember that applying less but more frequently will provide the biggest benefit. 

FAQ’s Plumeria Fertilizer 

Best Plumeria Fertilizers Verdict

The verdict is in! The best fertilizer for growing Plumerias is one that supports their heavy-feeding preferences but only during the active growing season in summer. 

In addition, they require nutrient-rich soil and high phosphorus fertilizer to support them whilst they bloom. 

Remember, only commence fertilizing once the threat of frost has passed and stopped before the beginning of fall, and always bring them indoors to overwinter as house plants for regions other than those in zones 9-11.

My number one choice and the overall favorite for best Plumeria fertilizers is Miracle-Gro Bloom Booster for a water-soluble option and Miracle-Gro Shake ‘N Feed for fertilizer granules. I also recommend Espoma Bone Meal for an organic alternative.

Miracle-Gro | Bloom Booster Water Soluble Fertilizer 15-30-15

Best Water-Soluble Fertilizer For Plumeria

Miracle-Gro Bloom Booster Fertilizer 15-30-15

The fast-Acting liquid formula is suitable for use from bud onset and throughout the summer months. Revives ailing Plumeria and yellowing foliage in days.

Miracle-Gro | Shake 'N Feed Continuous Release 10-18-9

Best Fertilizer Granules For Plumeria

Miracle-Gro Continuous Release 10-18-9

Granules provide a continuous release of nutrients for up to 3 months. Ideal for use in semi-fertile soil where nitrogen levels need to be improved.

Espoma | Organic Bone Meal 4-12-0

Best Organic Fertilizer For Plumeria

Espoma Organic Bone Meal 4-12-0

Organic slow-release granules containing all-natural phosphorus and nitrogen-rich ingredients. Also suitable for use in heavy, clay soil.