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

1. 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

2. 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

3. 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.

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Choosing Fertilizer for Plumeria (Frangipani) 

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

In addition, a great 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. 

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.

Plumeria N-P-K Ratio 

For plumeria, I recommend an NPK ratio of 10-50-10 (for liquid options) or 10-30-10 (for slow-release options). You’ll notice that 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 

Fertilizers are available in a range of flexible options and which one you choose needs to be based on the plant you are fertilizing, how much time you have, and how nutrient-rich your soil is.

Fast-acting liquids and water-solubles allow your plants to have immediate access to nutrients. Expect to see results in just a few days and be preferred to re-apply regularly.

The nutrients in slow-release granules are released gradually and remain present in the soil for longer. You may not see results as quickly as with fast-acting formulas, but you also won’t need to re-apply as frequently.

After deciding if it’s quick or slow-release fertilizer your plants need, you’ll then need to select whether to opt for an organic or synthetic variety. The ingredients in organics are derived from animal bi-products such as blood and bone meal and composted plant matter such as seaweed.

Inorganic or synthetic fertilizer ingredients are manufactured using chemicals as well as minerals. Results are often seen quicker when using synthetic feeds, however, they can be hazardous to people, animals, and our water systems if misused.

Fertilizer Granules 

Slow-releasing granules are very simple to use and depending on the particular brand can continue to release nutrients for up to 6 months. This means fewer applications, less work, and more garden enjoyment for you. The risk of scorching leaves or roots is greatly reduced too, providing they are not used excessively.

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. 

Depending on the size of your plot, you can sprinkle granules by hand, or for larger areas use a spreader. To activate the nutrients, granules need to be broken down by water and soil microbes.

Fertilizer Spike 

Fertilizer spikes have the word ‘convenience’ written all over them because they are pre-measured and mess-free. These are compacted granules and are a great time-saver if you have a small container garden or a couple of houseplants.

All you need to do is remove them from their packaging, push them into the soil, and water them in. They last for up to 3 months before re-application is required.

The negative side of spikes is their tendency to cause root scorching if placed too close to roots and their cost. Although they come in various sizes, larger plants and trees will need more than one spike in order to access sufficient nutrients.

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. 

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.  


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


  • 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.


  • Helps to feed microbes in the soil
  • Convenient container and lid make for easy application


  • Only recommended where soil requires amendment 

I used this granular option on some potted plumeria where I knew the soil was only semi-fertile.

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. 

Expect vibrant and colorful blooms, less chance of brown edges appearing on leaves, and an abundance of foliage.

I would not recommend using this in fertile soil, as the high nitrogen can result in excess foliage growth. 

3. Espoma Organic Bone Meal 4-12-0

Best Organic Fertilizer For Plumeria

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


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


  • 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.


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


  • 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. 


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


  • 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. Here is what you should know about each type:

  • Apply liquids by diluting them first and watering the formula over the soil using a watering can or a hose attachment. These are best applied during the cooler hours of the day, to avoid accidentally scorching foliage and flowers.
  • Granules need to be sprinkled around plants and then watered in to begin the activation process. This can be done at any time of day but to save on water, why not wait until rain is forecast?
  • Water-soluble granules can be diluted in water and applied via a watering can. Similar to liquid concentrates, you can expect fast results. 

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 

The frequency of fertilizing plumeria depends on whether you use a slow-release fertilizer or a fast-acting formula.

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. 

If you select a water-soluble formula or a liquid feed, you will need to apply it as often as every two weeks to compensate for the rate at which nutrients are absorbed by plants and lost to run-off.

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 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. 

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

Best Water-Soluble Fertilizer

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.

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.

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

Best Fertilizer Granules

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.

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 as an organic alternative.

Espoma | Organic Bone Meal 4-12-0

Best Organic Fertilizer

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.