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Brown Spots On Plumeria Leaves [Causes & Treatment]

Plumeria is a tropical plant that is very popular because of its soothing bloom fragrance, and it might worry you if you see brown spots on your plumeria leaves.

Also known as frangipani, the plant is used in landscaping and outdoor aesthetics.

Like any other plants, plumeria plants add value to your property and offer a relaxing environment when you want to unwind.

Why Plumeria Leaves Have Brown Spots

Plumeria is prone to a wide range of diseases.

It is crucial to inspect them periodically to detect any unusual elements on the leaves, flowers, and stems.

Brown spots on plumeria leaves are prevalent.

It is time to act when you notice brown spots on your healthy plumeria foliage.

These spots, also known as plumeria rust, are caused by the coleosporium plumeriae fungus that only affects the leaves.

Why Brown Sports on Plumeria Leaves?

The brown spots on plumeria leaves are not part of the plant.

This is a fungal infection that affects foliage.

Once they appear on a single plant in your garden, they can easily affect the entire plumeria population and possibly spread to neighboring gardens.

Plumeria rust fungus is airborne, and its spores spread through the air when it rains or water them.

The water in the leaves makes them moist, creating the right conditions for the fungus to thrive.

The spores are so light that they easily stick to the foliage and start multiplying.

Once the fungi grow, you notice brown spots in the leaves’ upper part.

The spores spread fast to the underside of the leaves depending on how moist they are and how long they stay moist after watering.

Infected plumeria leaves end up curling since they are not getting enough sunlight.

On the other hand, the fungus drains the water circulating in the leaves, leaving them dry and withered.

The plant foliage drops in less than two months, leaving only the stems.

Other Causes

The most common problem with plumeria leaves is that they can develop brown spots, and you might find diagnosing and figuring out the cause challenging.

If you find this problem during winter, remember that plumeria is dormant and does not need much water.

So with poor drainage, moisture builds up in the soil, creating a welcoming environment for fungal diseases.

If your plumeria leaves look like they have been dusted with flour, it is undoubtedly a mildew infestation.

When mildew invades the plant, its spores burrow into the stomata of the leaves.

Another problem is sooty mold, a fungal infection caused by insects.

When your plant gets this, a black powdery coating will cover the leaves and stem of the plumeria.

Frangipani mosaic virus (FMV) is another disease that affects plumeria plants, giving the leaves a mottled appearance, and is transmissible through the plumeria sap.

Fungi are the usual suspects for plumeria leaf problems, but other issues mentioned in this article can also affect your plant’s health.

How To Fix Brown Spots on Plumeria Leaves

Since it was discovered in 1902 in West Indies, plumeria rust has continued to spread across continents, especially those in the tropics.

However, the fungus can be easily treated.

Here are some methods to fix the ugly brown spots on your plumeria leaves.

There are two main ways to fix the plumeria rust problem.

You can use the safe cultural control method or chemical control.

The culture involves cleaning the garden of infected leaves, while the chemical option entails using fungicides and sanitizers to treat the plumeria leaves.

Clearing Foliage Affected By Plumeria Rust

Clearing the leaves is a must if you notice the presence of plumeria rust in your plants after the foliage falls.

What dies first are the plant leaves, and when the fungi lack food, they spread to the next plant.

Collect all affected leaves on the ground and plant, put them in a protective bag, and safely dispose of them.

This is the first step towards stopping the spread in your garden.

After disposal, ensure the tools used are sanitized thoroughly to avoid future rust attacks.

Sanitizing and Fumigating Plumeria Leaves

Sanitizing and using fungicide on brown spotted plumeria leaves is another method to fix the fungus spread.

Some agents might not completely do away with the rust but effectively control its multiplication and eventual spread.

Brown Spots on Plumeria Leaves

Plumeria rust thrives on moist leaves, and using sanitizer and fungicides makes the fungi’s habitat unfavorable for survival.

It slows down their spread and multiplication, giving the leaves space to breathe.

For better results, do not only apply the fungicides to the leaves and stem alone; they should also be used in the garden soil.

Improving Air Circulation Around Plumeria Flowers

Plumeria rust is airborne; air circulation in your garden is essential to control its spread.

Ensure the plant spacing is ideal and the plants are well aerated.

To improve air circulation, clear weeds growing in and around your garden.

These create a humid environment for plumeria rust to thrive.

To increase air circulation, consider pruning the plants using sanitized shears and other tools to avoid spreading the infection.

Planting Plumeria Rust-Resistant Varieties

Two varieties of plumeria plants have proven to be resistant to plumeria rust or plumeria brown spots.

Planting these varieties is a surefire way to keep the fungus away.

Landscaping using a variety of plumeria plants can help keep a wide range of diseases and pests away from your flower garden.

Whichever method you use to fix the plumeria rust infections, ensure it does not affect the microorganisms in the soil.

The method you choose should not only take care of the plant leaves as well as the roots and nutrient intake.

Brown spots in plumeria leaves become pronounced when it is warm and humid.

These conditions enable spores to grow and multiply and spread fast, destroying your entire garden.

It becomes hard for them to destroy the plant foliage by disrupting their ecosystem.


Detecting the presence of brown spots on plumeria leaves early helps you take timely measures to stop their spread.

The rust destroys vibrant plumeria plant gardens if not contained in their early stages.

Regular foliage inspection helps it take remedial measures on time.

To ensure rust doesn’t attack your plumeria plant garden, avoid watering the plants from the leaf level.

Instead, water at the bottom of the stem to avoid creating the right environment where the rust thrives.

Keeping your garden free of weeds is a surefire way to reduce the chances of plumeria rust attacks.

The fungus loves damp and humid, and excessive weeds create the right environment for them.

Preventing the fungus infection saves you the headache of battling with the airborne once it invades your garden.