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As the images below show, the greenhouse has changed during the last five years, but only a bit of an increase in numbers of plants. As the weed fabric did little, I removed it this year. Aesthetically, it looks better. The plants look better too, being on a regular schedule of fertilization, and an over-abundance of water as well.
A note on the potting medium I use. Since I can't guarantee that the soil from my yard doesn't contain pathogens and/or nematodes, and I am reluctant to bake the soil in order to cleanse it, I have stuck with potting mix that is boosted for aeration with a generous amount of perlite. This year eight adult Plumeria rubra plants that were in large pots were top-dressed with a mixture of chicken manure, potting soil, and a bit of bone meal. Two adult P. rubra plants in large pots were not top-dressed. All the plants, including P. obtusa and P. x stenopetala, were fertilized on a regular schedule using an inexpensive bloom booster fertilizer at levels dispensed by a sprayer/bottle feed hose connected device. The bloom results appear to be inconclusive and it would have been preferable to have had more adult controls, as one bloomed, while five of the treatment plants bloomed, leaving a 10% difference between the two groups. With more controls the data would be more clear. What I do know is that those which were top-dressed also had an abundance of new feeder root growth, which is expected.
Since I know that the "wild" ones I've seen in various areas around the western hemisphere receive whatever is available in regards to nutrients, I geared earlier growth towards meeting those levels where I saw them struggling (just enough to keep them going), and the differences in appearance from this year most definitely show that pampering them provides a flush reward in both growth and of course more blooms. The interesting question, which I hope to observe and have some insight into over the next few years, will be how these very same plants now respond to the various pests/diseases which regularly attack them, both inside the greenhouse (stem rot) or outside (mites which are blown in with the winds). Aphids have only appeared once on these plants (2010), occurring on a single adult plant, transported inside and rather ignored by myself until noticing the blotches appearing on the leaves. For information on how they did outside this year see "Effective Predators".
October 9, 2011