Plumeria is a small tropical tree that thrives in warm tropical areas. Its flowers are fragrant and are used to make Hawaiian leis hula dancers wear around their necks.
Plumeria is also called frangipani. Although they thrive growing outdoors in warm climes, people in cooler climates can also enjoy this beauty by growing them indoors in pots.
This tropical mini-tree has thick stems, produces a good amount of blooms from summer through to fall, and its leaves feel like leather. Its many features make it a perfect addition to your tropical garden.
This guide will show you everything you need to know to start growing your Plumeria flower without hitches.
Popular Plumeria Varieties
The plumeria family houses about 12 confirmed species, with 24 more yet to be confirmed and about a hundred said to be synonyms.
Because of all these variations, I’ve put up some of its popular confirmed species to save you the time of sieving through them all.
1. Plumeria Rubra Flower
This is a taller plumeria that can grow up to 25 feet tall while producing red or pink flowers with five petals. Plumeria Rubra loves to grow in well-draining soil because too much water can damage its root.
Its leaves grow longer when not in bloom, about 10 inches long, and sometimes produce 8-inch long seed pods after blooming.
2. Plumeria Stenophylia
Unlike the Rubra variety, plumeria stenophylia is a dwarf variant only growing 8 feet tall. It is an evergreen tree that blooms all year round, making it an attractive option for gardeners looking to enjoy its beautiful flowers and fragrance all through the year.
The stenophylia leaves are shiny and elongated. Its predominantly white flowers are also extended and release the enchanting fragrance.
3. Plumeria Obtusa Flowers
Plumeria obtuse, also known as the Singapore graveyard flower, is perhaps the most fragrant species in the plumeria family. It is a small tree, usually rounded in shape, and produces beautiful white flowers with yellow centers.
This tree can grow up to 25 feet tall, but its average height is around 13 feet while spreading almost the dimension as its height.
This native South America and Caribbean tree bloom from spring till early fall.
4. Plumeria Stenopetela Flower
Although the plumeria stenopetela is not a common species, its unique shape and fragrance make it a must-have if you can find them.
Its flowers are white, extremely fragrant, and elongated. Its flowers are widely spaced and usually have a yellow throat. Stenopetela is another dwarf variety that grows just 5 feet tall and can even be pruned further and planted in hanging baskets in your patio.
Growing Conditions for Plumeria Flowers
Plumeria thrives in warm areas under the full sun, at least 6 hours of sunlight daily. Proper care needs to be taken if you want to grow it in a cooler environment, with growing it indoors your best option.
When it comes to the soil condition, it needs to be slightly acidic, and well-draining as too much water can cause root rot. Plumeria can tolerate acidity and windy conditions because of its fat stems.
Because of its spread, plumeria needs to be grown where there is enough space to spread.
When to Plant Plumeria Flower?
When is the best time to plant plumeria?
This is an important question you must get right if you want a successful plumeria garden. If you planted your plumeria in nurseries, the best time to transplant is around March to early May.
How Long does it Take Plumeria to Grow?
Depending on the part you’re planting, plumeria cutting will take anything between 1 to 3 years to bloom, depending on species. Plumeria grown from seed will take about 4 to 6 years depending on species to bloom.
Typically, Plumeria grows less than 2 feet per year, so the taller the species, the longer it takes to mature.
Before you start growing your plumeria tree, its growing conditions alongside several other conditions need to be met to ensure a smooth growing season.
Here’s what you need to do.
- Select the plumeria variety of your choice: your choice’s plumeria variety needs to grow comfortably in your region. Check the popular variety category to see a few of them.
- Choose a suitable land: you want to select land with enough space, access to at least 6 hours of sunlight daily, and well-draining.
- Clear the land: remove all debris and dirt from the land to make working the ground easy.
- Till the ground and work-in organic material: you need to loosen the ground by tilling and work-in organic material to loosen the soil and add nutrients.
How to Plant and Grow Plumeria Flower?
Although plumeria may look exotic and sophisticated, it is an easy to grow plant that will bloom with little maintenance. Nevertheless, it needs to be planted the right way for you to enjoy its many benefits in your garden.
But which way is the right way?
I’ll be showing you shortly how to plant this flower.
Plumeria can be grown from seeds or cuttings. You can get any of these from online stores like Amazon. There is a huge concern, though, as seeds and cuttings lose viability after some months. Your best is to get from a neighbor that already has plumeria.
Growing from Seed
- Wrap the plumeria seeds in a wet paper towel and allow for one day. This will bloat the seed and make it ready to germinate.
- Plant the seed in the ground, making sure you leave around 10 to 20 feet between each plant to allow for the spread.
- Water the seed after planting
Growing from Cuttings
- Use the bottom end of the cutting to create a hole in the ground by pushing it into the soil.
- Clean off the sand stuck on the end of the cutting. Dip it into the water and then the rooting hormone powder.
- Gently place the cutting into the hole and avoid disturbing the powder as much as possible. Cover the hole with soil.
- Do not water cuttings after planting for about 3 weeks. They can survive with minimal water, and watering at that stage can harm them. When in doubt, mist the leaves to provide humidity.
The same can be done when growing in a container. Find a deep and wide enough container with the right potting mix.
Once the plumeria is rooted properly, you’ll begin to see leaves sprouting. Cuttings will typically take more than a year before blooming, and you will see a bloom stalk called inflorescence when it is ready to bloom.
How to Care for Plumeria Flowers?
Before you even start to see flowers sprouting, you need to be taking proper care of the plant. Here’s how to do it.
As one of the most important factors in your plant’s health, it is ideal we consider it first.
Plumeria requires very minimal water to grow, especially at its initial stage. When growing from seed, you can afford to water immediately after planting. Still, when you’re growing from cuttings, the case is different. You need to allow the cutting to start forming roots first, usually about 3 weeks before you start minimal watering.
You can see how important watering is to the health of your plant.
Plumerias are heavy feeders, and you need to replenish lost nutrients if you want healthy growth continuously. This is particularly important for potted plants.
How often should you fertilize?
You must create a schedule for your plant. Fertilizing every 1 to 3 weeks in its growing season, which spans from spring through to summer.
Stop fertilizing in the fall as the plant is getting ready for its dormancy period in the winter.
Some plumeria varieties are overbearing and can grow very tall. This can become a problem, especially when you’re growing them in pots.
Pruning the plant will keep them under control, but how do you do this efficiently?
Before I show you how to prune, you should know that pruning heavily can prevent your plumeria from blooming at the right time, so do this sparingly.
Sharpen and sterilize your pruning shears before you start. Clip over bearing branches in one clean cut. The best time to prune is in spring or just after the plant has finished blooming.
Pests and Diseases
- Spider mites
You can fight insect pests by using a strong jet of water to spray the plant. You can also use cotton wool dipped in alcohol to rub on the insect protective patch.
- Root rot
- Stem rot
- Powdery mildew
- Rust fungus
By reducing the amount of water and ensuring the soil drains properly, you can minimize many plumeria diseases. Ensure the plant has a lot of space to grow and is not overcrowded.
As you can already see, plumeria flowers are easy to grow even though they may take a long time to bloom. Do not let that discourage you as its benefits are enormous, and your garden will thank you for it.