Q. I have a potted plumeria I keep outdoors on Long Island. Do I need to bring it indoors, or can I leave it in an enclosed patio?
The patio has no heat but is out of the elements.
Your plumeria (Plumeria rubra cultivar, also called frangipani) will become dormant for the winter period in the New York area and should begin to drop leaves in November. It is evergreen in its native habitat but semi- to non-evergreen in USDA zones 9 and under; exposure to cool temperatures initiates dormancy.
Allow it to become dormant naturally, but when night temperatures start to drop to near 40º F., move it indoors to a space that will remain cool but always just above 40º. If your unheated, enclosed patio stays above 40º and will not warm enough to break dormancy during the winter, that will be great. If it catches a lot of sun and heats up during the day, it might be too variable in temperature.
Unheated garages in our area are often dark, insulated and fairly temperature stable. The plant will have no leaves during dormancy and will not need water or light until the spring. Then bring your plumeria back outside once any danger of frost is past and night temperatures are reliably in the 50's.
Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service
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