What Are Plumerias?
Plumeria trees (Hawaiian Lei Flower) grow fascinating, fragrant and tropical flowers that are relatively easy to grow with little care. Their origin is tropical Central America but have been cultivated in Australia, India, Thailand and most noted in Hawaii.
Florida and California are seeing a huge growth in Plumeria growers and collectors.
Plumerias come in a wide variety of tree types and sizes. Some grow tall and spread out while others are dwarf and semi-dwarf varieties that stay tight and compact. Colors of the flowers range in types and sizes and have various smells ranging from fruity and citrusy to Gardenia and perfume like fragrances. So, knowing the plumeria type and growth habit will ensure you have a plumeria that will work for the area that you have.
Often people start with a single plumeria purchase because they are fascinating and beautiful plants. Also seeing how easy they are to grow increases the confidence in growing them for even the brownest thumbs among us.
We have experience in growing plumeria for over 30 years. Allow us to use that experience to help you develop the knowledge and confidence in growing and building your collection of these fascinating plants.
Hopefully you can plan a visit to come see us and enjoy our collection of Plumeria ranging from 1’ plants to 10’ trees. Enjoy our 4-acre nursery dedicated to plumeria, bamboo, flowering trees and exotics.
Brief History of Plumeria
In 1860 Dr. William Hillebrand, a German biologist, brought Plumeria trees to Hawaii and with its warm tropical climate the trees flourished. Since then, hundreds of different types and cultivars have been developed and distributed around the world.
How to Care For Plumeria?
Plumerias need as much sun as possible and thrive in fertile, but well-draining soil and respond well to fertilizers high in Phosphorous (the middle compound in the numbers of fertilizer, NPK). A granular with the numbers 5-30-5 is a good balance for plumeria. Only fertilize when the plant has multiple leaves and root system is seen emerging from the drain holes or if they have been planted in the ground for over 2 months.
How to Grow Plumeria Trees?
If you’re interested in growing plumeria from cuttings, there are a few things you’ll need to know before you get started. Follow the below steps for best results when growing:
- Plumeria cuttings should be at least 14 inches long and made in the gray wood area and never in the newer green stalk.
- All older leaves and flower stalks (inflorescence) should be removed with the exception of the bud tip.
- Ensure the cutting has had 7 days to harden before planting in order to prevent rotting.
- Use a 2 or 3 gallon pot and place your cutting 2-3 inches into well-draining soil. Locate the plant in partial sun/shade while rooting.
- Rooting plumeria is most successful when temperatures are above 60 degrees.
- A wet-looking bud will soon put out new leaves. This is a sign that the root system is starting to grow. Unrooted cuttings do not need water until leaves start to develop.
- The soil should stay slightly damp but not saturated while the cutting is putting out new leaves. When a nice head of leaves develop then the plant can be placed in full sun.
Tips for Growing a Healthy Plumeria
- Plumeria can survive temperatures down to 33 degrees.
- If temperatures fall below 33 degrees:
- And the plant is grown in a pot, the plant can be taken inside.
- If planted in the ground they can be protected with cloth sheets draped over the plumeria and touching the ground.
- It is also possible to dig the plumeria out of the ground and place it under a heavy headed tree or covered with frost cloth.
Can Plumeria Be Grown From Seed?
Plumeria can be grown by seed. This can be fun as you may obtain many plants at once, however the plant generally will not have the same flower as the parent plant and most likely won’t bloom for 3 years if it ever blooms at all. Southern Blooms has grown over 300 plants by seed with 3% ever providing a bloom. Cuttings are by far the best method for growing plumeria.