Plumerias are tropical trees that are known for their stunning flowers. These beautiful flowering trees are common in South Florida, Hawaii, and other tropical areas. The famous lei (floral garlands) made from plumeria flowers are found in Hawaii.
The waxy plumeria flowers, which measure 2 to 4 inches in height, are fragrant and available in many colors. These flowers can be cut and enjoyed indoors. The tree is small, usually 10 to 15 feet tall, but some varieties can grow up to 30 feet in tropical areas. There are also dwarf varieties.
Although plumerias won’t survive the winter in Florida, you can grow them in containers, so they are available for use in colder months. Plumerias will lose their leaves in the fall when the temperatures drop to the 50s.
This is the time to take out the leaves and move the plant into a garage or another protected place.
A plumeria will not be fertilized or watered during winter. It will remain dormant. Root-rot can be caused by watering a plumeria in its dormant phase. This plant is easy to over-winter.
The plant should be brought out mid-spring when the temperature is 50 degrees or higher. May is a great time to plant in our region.
Place the plant in a sunny spot, water lightly, and wait for the new leaves to appear.
It can be difficult to find potted plumerias at local garden centers. You will most likely need to order a plumeria cut online.
If you know someone who has one, you can also take a cutting from their plumeria (buying them lunch might help).
Most cuttings purchased online are 12-16 inches in length. Don’t be surprised if you find the package empty. The plant is dormant and will have no roots or leaves. You can take a cut from a friend’s plumeria and let it dry for five to seven days before you root the plant.
The cutting can be rooted by dipping it in water, then applying a rooting hormone to the wet areas. Place the cutting in a container with a well-drained potting mixture about 3-4 inches deep.
To improve drainage, you may add some pine bark, cactus mixture, or perlite. You can water the potting mixture to settle it and then water when dry.
Rooting in spring will give you a full root ball within two to three months. It will root faster if it has more light and heat. It would help if you were not too strict with the directions. This plant is very forgiving. Too much water is the best way to kill the plant.
For plumeria to bloom, it must receive at least five hours of sun direct. This is a must – the plumeria needs to get at least five hours of direct sun each day to bloom. A water-soluble fertilizer high in phosphate can also improve blooming.
This is the middle number between the potash and the nitrogen. This fertilizer is sometimes called ‘Flower Food’ or ‘Bloom Booster. Would you please not use this product for general garden fertilizer? Florida soil already has high levels of phosphate, so we don’t need to add more.
Your cutting might not flower the first year.
Keep your plumeria growing and moving it to bigger pots. Your plumeria will eventually grow too large to fit in your garage.
It is now time to cut your plumeria and give it to friends. You never know, someone may buy you lunch.
Cloning a Plumeria Tree
Cloning a plumeria tree is easy, just like cloning a cactus. You need to remove a 2 ft. long leafy branch and let it harden for at least two weeks before inserting it into the soil.
The branch will eventually form roots, regardless of whether it was placed in a container or directly into the garden.
Plumeria trees will become more common as California water rationing becomes a daily reality. Imagine a medium-sized tree that flowers abundantly from spring through fall.
You can choose from white, pink, yellow or red flowers, as well as a mixture of both. Sweetly fragrant flowers come in many varieties.
Let me not forget that the plumeria’s water requirements match those of any cactus. This means that it shouldn’t need to be watered more than once a month, if at all.
A plumeria’s stem condition can be used to tell whether it needs water. Although leaves may be beautiful, it is time to wash them.