The plumeria is a beautiful plant whose flowers are put into the Hawaiian leis. It is also known as the Frangipani or the Lei flower. It doesn’t only grow in Hawaii though; you can grow it at your own home!
The plumeria is native to tropical areas of the Caribbean, the Pacific Islands, South America and Mexico. When they are grown in these tropical regions, they can become thirty to forty feet tall and half as wide! If grown in other areas, however, they will usually only grow to be large shrubs or sometimes small trees. The branches of this plant are spaced quite widely and are round or pointed. The leaves grow in clusters by the branch’s tips.
If you live in a colder climate, your plumeria should be grown in a container. They make great potted plants for your porch, patio, or greenhouse. If you live in a mild climate, they can be put into the ground where they will become beautiful small trees. However, if temperatures fall into the low 40s they need to be kept in their containers or uprooted from the ground and brought to a heated location. When you uproot this plant, try to get as much root as possible and put the plant into a heated garage or basement where the temperatures are above freezing. During the winter, this plant goes into a dormant stage and does not need light or water. Once all the leaves fall off, you can store it inside until spring comes again.
As soon as the temperature rises outside, you can bring the plant back outside or plant it again if you had it in the ground. It will start growing again as if nothing happened.
Starting in the early summer and ending in the early fall, this plant will make very beautiful, fragrant flowers. The fragrance of these flowers is amazing; it is very pleasant and sweet. The flowers also come in many colors, such as whites, reds, yellow and many pastels. The plant can flower for three months at a time and will produce new flowers every day. When you pick these flowers, they will last for several days if you keep them in water.
If you plant the plumeria in a container, use a well draining potting soil. Cactus mix or a mix with sand and perlite works great. Put the cut end into the soil about two inches deep and firm the soil. Plumerias have low water requirements. Only water them when the soil is dry. Stop watering them in the winter when the leaves fall off and resume in the spring.
Plumerias do need fertilizer that is high in nitrogen. Start giving the fertilizer in the spring when the new growth comes. If you want to encourage the plant to make lots of flowers, switch your fertilizer to one high in phosphorous in early May. Use the high phosphorous fertilizer every two to three weeks until the end of August.
The Plumeria is a beautiful, hardy plant that many people enjoy. If you care for this plant properly, you will be well rewarded with stunning, fragrant flowers. Most importantly, just make sure you protect this plant from the cold.