When my husband and I were married, we honeymooned in Hawaii. One of the souvenirs that we brought back was a cutting of a plumeria tree. Although the plant produces new leaves each spring, mine has yet to blossom. Partially this is because I have been negligent in providing proper sunlight, water, fertilizer and potting soil.
But this hasn’t stopped me from trying to grow the plant. Here is what I have learned about plumeria care from my attempts to get my own plant to blossom.
Plumeria, which is also known as frangipani, produces cream colored flowers with yellow centers. These flowers produce a perfume that will fill an entire garden. If the plant’s basic needs are met, it will grow quickly and produce these flowers.
To plant plumeria, place your cutting into well-drained, organic soil. Place the plant in a location where it will receive sunlight for a half day or more. Keep the soil moist and feed the plant with a phosphorous-based fertilizer.
Like clematis, plumeria prefers to have its roots in shade and it’s foliage in bright sunlight. If you grow your plumeria in containers, keep it on a wooden deck. Heat from concrete can bake the roots of the plant.
Part of what makes plumeria a great plant for containers is that it has a very small rootball compared to its size. Repot your plumeria each year to keep it from becoming root bound.
Plumeria grows best in zones 9 through 11, where temperatures remain mild year-round. In cooler temperatures, bring the plant indoors during fall and stop watering it. Over the winter, the plant will gradually loose most if not all of its leaves. If you continue to water plumeria, it may develop root rot. In spring, move the plant outdoors and resume watering. Some gardeners like to take the shrub out of its pot each fall when it becomes dormant and store it bare root in a warm location.
Cuttings for plumeria should be taken from mature wood with a grayish sheen to it. The best time to take a cutting is in winter when the plant is dormant, although any time of the year will suffice. Cuttings may be stored for months before being planted. This is how I obtained my cutting: From a souvenir shop in the airport in Hawaii.
Start your cutting anytime from mid spring to mid-summer. This will give the plant enough time to produce a healthy root system. Remove all of the leaves from your cutting and dip the end in rooting hormone before planting. Place the cutting halfway into the soil. Make sure that the cutting remains stable, since new roots are fragile. You should keep new cuttings in a warm to hot location with indirect sunlight until a healthy canopy appears. A healthy canopy is a sign of a healthy root system.