Since we had such a mild winter here in Florida, some plumeria trees never went completely dormant and still have leaves with rust fungus. Normally, leaves will drop for several weeks in the winter and by the time new leaves emerge the rust is gone. But that hasn’t been the case for some trees here in Florida, which have been putting out new leaves that keep getting infected. You want to get a handle on it before it gets out of hand.
First, pick off all of the leaves that are heavily infected. Throw them in the trash along with any that have dropped on the ground. Mix 1 heaping tablespoon of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of Neem oil(or other horticultural oil) in 1 gallon of water, along with a few drops of dish soap (soap helps it stick to the leaves). Using a tank sprayer, spray the entire plumeria plant or tree once a week, especially the new growth. Make sure to spray under the leaves. This should keep the rust under control.
Note: When it gets warmer, do not spray in the heat of the day – Neem can burn foliage. Neem oil is available at Ace Hardware, Home Depot, Lowe’s and other garden centers.
Plumeria flowers come in many colors- yellow, red, pink, white, orange… as well as the endless rainbow combinations of those colors. Other than blue or green plumeria flowers, which do not currently exist other than on photoshopped images created by unscrupulous morons, the most coveted and difficult to attain color is purple. Which makes me wonder why, of all the classic plumeria colors, “Purple Plumeria” would be a Pantone color. Purple Plumeria, color code 19-3716 TCX is a deep dark purple on the Pantone Color Chart (which incidentally, has been used to identify colors when registering plumeria with the Plumeria Society of America). Under ideal conditions (high heat, strong sun) flowers in shades of purple can be achieved with varieties like Purple Jack, which has been very popular in recent years. Most plumerias referred to as purple are really more of a deep lavender or mauve, not a true purple. They certainly don’t come close to Pantone’s “Purple Plumeria”. As with the blue and green plumeria photos, a plumeria photo that appears in this shade, is surely doctored.
The closest I have come to a true purple is Purple Jack. This un-retouched photo was taken when a cloud was passing, casting a shadow.
Anyway, maybe it was chosen because a purple plumeria flower is so elusive and coveted. (Maybe I chose purple as a background for this site for that reason as well?) Maybe it’s just a simple marketing ploy – the name plumeria is paired with a plum color. Easy to remember and familiar.