Where to plant plumeria?

Caring for your new ROOTED Plumeria

  1. Pot it no more than about 3 inches deep for rooted cuttings that are under 15 inches. Larger ones may need 4 inches average depth–really big ones– more. Often times there will be a “tan line” on the trunk showing the depth at which it was potted before being cleaned and sent to you. You can use this as a clue of how deep to pot. Water in thoroughly. Water again only when dry. You might have noticed when your plant arrives, that some roots may have broken in shipping, or you might lose some while potting. These will re-grow in a little while quite easily if you follow these directions carefully.
  2. Use a VERY well drained soil mix and avoid mixes heavy in peat moss. You should use mixes with lots of bark and perlite. If your choices are limited, use Scott’s or Miracle-Gro soil and add plenty of perlite–up to 50%, and, if possible, finely chopped pine bark. On the West Coast many growers add pumice to their mixes with excellent results.
  3. Keep your plants in a very warm place–start out with partial sun, and work them up to a half day of full sun over a period of a week or so. Full-sun is actually better if it is the first half of the day, and not the hottest second half of the day. Newly rooted plumeria will appreciate a warm concrete or deck surface to help stimulate root growth. If you notice the lower leaves turning yellow and dropping, or that your stem is a little bit soft, do not worry as this is simply shipping stress and your plant will quickly stabilize. They have been through a lot to get to you, so be nice to them!
  4. When leaves emerge, water –like before, only when dry. Plumeria do not like “wet feet”. If your plant gets the summer rains and is actively growing, then you don’t need to even think about watering.
  5. You can use a liquid high phosphorous fertilizer once every 4-5 weeks (look for the high middle number in the formula (15-30-15 for example), for plumeria, such as Miracle-Gro Bloom Booster after your plants have been with you about 3 weeks and had time to settle in. A granular one such as Vigoro Bold Blooms (available nationwide at Home Depot: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Vigoro-Bold-Blooms-3-5-lb-Flowering-Plant-Food-120232/203092420 ) or other time released fertilizer will also do well. Just make sure not to overfeed with high Nitrogen (the first in the set of three numbers) or you will end up with longer, weaker stems and less blooming since Nitrogen primarily encourages leaf growth. Phosphorous (the middle number) encourages roots and flowers; Potash, the third number is for strong stems. Remember though–all things in balance. Our larger trees get fertilized once in spring and once in late summer–that’s it!
  6. Do NOT prune your plumeria as it grows, unless it gets so big it is out of control. Remember your flowers come from the branch tips. If you remove them all by pruning the plant, you will probably not see flowers until they regrow (which could mean a year without blooms). If you do need to cut branches to shape your tree, remember to treat the cut ends of the branches that are removed with rooting hormone, let these cuttings lie in shade for a week, then pot them up to start new plants. A great “How To” on rooting cuttings can be found at www.plumeria101.com and even has pictures.
  7. When plumerias drop their leaves in the winter and go into dormancy—watering is something that should only be done if the stems become shriveled or appear and feel too soft. Give a nice drink but do not soak. Remember that the plant has no leaves to take up water and therefore any excess will sit in the soil around the roots–increasing your chances of root and stem rot. During dormancy, dormant, firm-to-the-touch plumeria can be stored dry with or without soil in a warm, dry place until Spring. Basically, you forget about them and let them sleep. When the weather becomes warm again, gradually introduce to full-sun to avoid sunburn and only water them once, until you see green growth emerging.
  8. Remember that with Plumeria–LESS IS MORE. Don’t fuss over these plants. They don’t like it. Give them a little space to do their thing and they will surprise you with their resilience and beauty.

Rust Treatment

For treatment and prevention of plumeria rust on the leaves use could use a fungicide with Bayleton in it. “Turf Fungicide with Bayleton” or something similar can be used. Locally (Orlando, FL area), this can be found at Lukas Nursery. You can also check out the other options available from various nurseries and grower’s supply establishments. One last word on rust, while it is not pretty, in the Fall, it does work with Mother Nature’s cooler weather to defoliate your plant for winter dormancy. If you have fruit trees and food crops near your plumerias you might want to consider “going natural” with your plants in the Fall and allow the leaves to drop off(remember to gather them up, disposing in sealed plastic bags) instead of spraying toxic chemicals where your food crops, children and pets can also be affected. We discovered in our nursery that since we stopped the spraying, we only get it on certain trees–others seem unaffected. Also, the incidents are less severe. Perhaps Mother Nature is trying to tell us something? So, unless you are a person who must have picture perfect plants all the time, please consider these words, but, you can always experiment to find out what works for you in your area and local conditions.

For further helpful information on growing and caring for plumeria please visit: www.plumeria101.com

Kauai’s Top 3 Plant Disease Threats: Spot Them & Stop Them

There are countless reasons to follow the gardener’s golden rule: right plant, right place. Plants that are placed in an environment with the proper soil profile, sun exposure and rainfall will thrive beautifully with minimal extra “inputs” like fertilizer and other control products. And, this landscaping mantra extends to controlling threatening diseases.

When positioned in the right place, plants have every opportunity to grow strong on their own. When we force a flower, tree, shrub or grass to grow in conditions that are not ideal for its type, that’s when Mother Nature reminds us who’s really in charge. In fact, the three top disease threats in Kauai can be prevented by simply making smart planting choices.

Meanwhile, early detection of disease yields best treatment results. That’s why the well-trained eyes at No Ka Oi are constantly on the lookout for these diseases, and others that can develop when conditions are ripe.

Because our crews become regulars on clients’ properties, they become sensitive to plants’ health. When any change is detected, they’re prepared to act with appropriate treatment measures.

Here are three top diseases that threaten Kauai landscapes, along with how to prevent, identify and treat them.

Disease #1: Sooty Mold

Sooty mold develops when ants and mealybugs are left untreated, and these pests generally move in when plants are placed too close to buildings, under eaves or crowded with other plants.

For example, plumeria trees need lots of space, air, light and wind to stay healthy. But often, these trees are planted in environments where everything they need to grow strong is not available. Many times, plumeria trees are planted close together up against buildings.

While mealybugs can be ousted from plants using insecticides, treatment requires constant spraying—and no one likes that. Sooty mold can be virtually avoided by following the right-plant-right-place rule.

Sooty Mold Symptoms

Black growth covers leaves and blocks the sun from delivering much-needed light to the plant. This prevents growth.

Sooty mold is an eyesore in the landscape, which is especially troublesome for Kauai resort and retail properties, and other commercial developments.

Sooty Mold Treatment

An insect control program will prevent ants and mealybugs from infesting plants, which can prompt the development of sooty mold. Some general fungicides can be used to kill off the mold and prevent its spread.

Leaves of plants in especially visible locations can be washed to remove black fungal growth using diluted soapy water.

Disease #2: Fairy Ring

Many Kauai commercial property owners find seashore paspalum grass attractive. People love the grass, but they don’t realize that it can be difficult to manage when growth conditions are less than perfect. While this grass is highly salt-tolerant, which is great for beach properties and landscapes that weather lots of ocean spray, this grass does require full sun, and its tolerance to foot traffic is only fair.

Disease is more likely when seashore paspalum grass, or any plant, is placed in a less-than-ideal growing environment.

A common disease culprit on seashore paspalum grass is fairy ring. As its name implies, rings appear in the turf that destroy its aesthetic quality and overall health.

Fairy Ring Symptoms

The characteristic rings formed by fairy ring result from fungi that causes bands of turfgrass to turn darker green and grow more quickly than the rest of the lawn. Mushrooms may also crop up in diseased grass. Rings may extend several inches to a foot wide, and up to 60 feet in diameter. They can overlap, producing scalloped edges of grass that dies out. Mushrooms, toadstools and puffballs can form along the circular bands if soil is particularly moist.

Fairy ring can emerge in these conditions: stressed or undernourished turf; when warm, moist weather is followed by a dry spell; excessive irrigation; poor soil quality (soil not receiving enough air).

Fairy Ring Treatment

Fungicide applications can suppress fairy ring after the diseased lawn is properly aerated to allow air, water and treatment to penetrate the grass and reach diseased roots and soil.

Unfortunately, fungicides are not always effective and fairy ring can result in a damaged lawn that requires complete renovation.

That’s why it’s important to plant the appropriate grass type for your Kauai microclimate and to adopt cultural practices (proper mowing, watering, aeration) to avoid disease.

Disease #3: Plumeria Rust

Plumeria is a favorite plant in Kauai, but it may be susceptible to the powdery, yellow orange lesions that can develop on leaves with a disease called plumeria rust.

This can cause leaves to turn brown and fall off the plant within a couple of months, a disappointing (and costly) loss for Kauai commercial property owners, who look forward to plumeria’s fragrant blooms.

Planting in dry, less humid areas can reduce disease susceptibility, and there are plumeria cultivars available that are more disease-resistant.

Plumeria Rust Symptoms

Plumeria rust can first appear as yellow flecks on the leaf surface. Underneath are lesions bearing spores. As the yellow spots coalesce, they become sunken, angular, grayish-brown spots. Leaves in advanced stages of the disease may dry, curl and fall off the plant.

Plumeria rust can result in complete defoliation of the plant.

Plumeria Rust Treatment

Plumeria trees should be given plenty of access to air and light—room to grow. So avoiding overcrowding is important for staving off plumeria rust.

Preventing tall weeds from growing near plumeria trees can increase airflow to the plant and reduce humidity. Plumeria rust can be treated with fungicides.

Let No Ka Oi Help You Choose The Right Plant

We know that healthy landscapes begin with smart plant choices. At No Ka Oi, we work closely with Kauai property owners to help them select grass, flowers, trees and shrubs that will thrive on their properties.

Preventing disease begins with creating a solid foundation for the landscape. Let’s talk more about how you can establish a disease-resistant landscape.

Call us any time at 808-335-5887, or fill out our simple web form, and we’ll get in touch with you!

Growing Plumeria – How To Care For Plumeria

Plumeria plants (Plumeria sp), which are also known as Lei flowers and Frangipani, are actually small trees that are native to tropical regions. The flowers of these beautiful plants are used in making traditional Hawaiian leis. They are highly fragrant and bloom freely from spring throughout fall in multiple colors like white, yellow, pink, and red. These flowers stand out nicely amid the large-leaved foliage, which may be evergreen or deciduous, depending on the type.

How to Grow Plumeria Plants

Although you don’t have to live in the tropics to grow plumeria in the home garden, you should be aware of its growing requirements beforehand. Often grown in the garden as an ornamental shrub or small tree, plumeria plants need to be grown in well-draining soil that is slightly acidic. They also need at least six hours of full sun.

While the plants are fairly tolerant of both salt and windy conditions, they’re not tolerant of cold and must be protected. Therefore, they should be container grown in colder regions. In areas that may be warm most of the time but still fairly prone to cold winters, the plant can be dug up and overwintered indoors. Alternatively, you can sink container grown plumerias in the ground, bringing them indoors once the temperatures begin to drop in fall. Once warmer temps return in spring, you can return the plants back outdoors.

When growing plumeria plants in pots, use a coarse, well-draining potting mix—cactus mix or perlite and sand should be fine.

Care for Plumeria

Plumeria care, for the most part, is minimal. While plumerias don’t like wet feet, they should be watered deeply when irrigated and then allowed to dry out some before watering again. They also need to be fertilized about every two to three weeks throughout their active growing season. Reduce watering in mid fall and stop completely once the plants enter dormancy in winter. Resume regular watering as new growth appears in spring. A high phosphate (phosphorus) fertilizer, like 10-30-10, will help encourage blooms. Giving them too much nitrogen will only result in more foliage growth and less flowering.

Plumerias may be pruned as needed (up to 12 inches from ground) in late winter or early spring (prior to new growth); however, any drastic or hard pruning done may reduce flowering.

These plants can also be propagated by seeds or cuttings in spring, with cuttings being the easiest and most preferred method. Insert cuttings about 2 inches in potting mix and water thoroughly.

Plumeria (Frangipani; Hawaiian Lei Flower)

Interesting facts about Plumeria:

Plumeria flowers are commercially grown in Hawaii for lei production and used in making traditional Hawaiian leis. They are great for making leis because of their large size, lovely colors and strong scent. They are usually strung together in a single-strand lei to create the magnificent Plumeria leis. These flowers are the perfect accessories for a decorative welcome home lei or simply worn behind your ear.
In Hawaii, the Plumeria flower symbolizes the relationship status of the wearer. When a Plumeria flower is worn in the hair over the right ear, it suggests that the lady is still single. If it’s worn on the left side, it means that she is taken.

In the Indonesia and Philippines, Plumeria is planted in cemeteries for beautification.

The milky sap of the plumeria is poisonous and can be a skin irritant in sensitive individuals.
Ingestion of the sap can cause vomiting and diarrhoea.

Plumeria is the national flower of Nicaragua and Laos and has major cultural significance in these countries.

Plumerias are popular tropical plants that grow gorgeous, and very fragrant flowers. You might know them better as a Hawaiian lei plant (plumeria are the type of flowers used to make leis), or maybe by their proper name, frangipani.

You can only find them growing outdoors in the warm tropics, but did you know that they can easily be grown in pots in cold climates too! With the proper care, a potted plumeria plant can thrive and bloom year after year.

When I think back to my trips to Hawaii, one thing that I remember the most was all of the gorgeous plumerias growing and blooming everywhere! It made the air smell amazing, and made me feel like I was in a flowery wonderland.

So of course, I just had to bring a plumeria plant home with me when I came back to Minnesota. My new baby Hawaiian plumeria plant was only about a foot tall when I got it, and it bloomed shortly after I brought it home.

The blooms were beautiful and smelled fantastic!

Since plumerias are so exotic, and only grow in tropical places, most of us only get to see them when we’re on vacation.

The thought of growing them in a place like Minnesota sounds like it would be really hard. But it’s actually pretty easy to grow plumeria in pots, and require very little care.

White plumeria flowers starting to open

Tips For Plumeria Plant Care

With the proper plumeria plant care, these wonderful tropical plants can live for many years in pots. My plumeria is more than 15 years old (!!), and for most of those 15 years I was clueless about how to grow it.

So trust me, they’re pretty easy to keep alive (even if you’re clueless about how to grow them!). But, now that I’ve had plenty of experience growing them, I get to make it much easier for you!

So follow these plumeria plant care tips to keep your plumeria growing and blooming year after year.

Here’s what you’ll find in this plumeria plant care guide:

  • Plumeria Watering Requirements
  • Plumeria Light Requirements
  • Best Soil For Plumeria Plant
  • Plumeria Fertilizer Schedule
  • What Kind Of Fertilizer For Plumeria?
  • Propagating Plumeria Plants
  • Tips For Controlling Plumeria Pests
  • How To Prune Plumeria Plants
  • Plumeria Winter Care & Dormancy
  • Troubleshooting Common Problems
  • Where To Buy Plumeria Plants

Plumeria Watering Requirements

Plumerias like a lot of water during their active growing season (spring and summer), but won’t tolerate being overwatered. If a plumeria plant is consistently overwatered, the stem will rot and it will kill the plant.

It’s kind of a funny combination, give it a lot of water… but don’t overwater it? I know it sounds hard but don’t worry, it’s actually pretty easy.

During the summer months, give your plumeria a really good drink of water, and then allow the soil to dry out between waterings. If you tend to overwater plants, make sure to check the soil each time before you water your plumeria.

To check the soil, stick your finger about an inch into the soil and if it’s wet, don’t water it. You can use a soil moisture gauge to help maintain the right level of moisture.

You might also want to grow your plumeria in a terracotta pot, which will help the soil dry out faster.

Plumerias go dormant during the winter, so it’s best not to water them at all during those months.

Now that sounds easy, right?

Huge plumeria tree growing indoors

Plumeria Light Requirements

Plumerias will grow just fine in low light or shady conditions, but they need full sun in order to grow their best and also to bloom.

If you’re growing your plumeria outside, keep it in a full sun location. As part of my annual plumeria plant care routine, I put my potted plumeria outside during the summer in the full sun, and then bring it back indoors during the winter.

Be careful if you move it outside for the summer, because the plumeria leaves and stems can get sunburn when they’re not used to being in the sun. In order to avoid sunburn, put it in a shady spot for a few days, and gradually introduce it to a full sun location.

Best Soil For Plumeria Plant

Ensuring your plumeria is planted in quality potting soil will make plumeria plant care so much easier! Potted plumeria plants need to be planted in a fast draining soil, one that doesn’t hold much moisture.

You don’t necessarily need to buy a special plumeria potting mix, they will grow just fine in a general purpose potting soil (and that’s what mine is growing in).

But if you’re worried about overwatering, then I recommend mixing some perlite, pumice or coarse sand into your plumeria potting soil to help with drainage.

Otherwise, the best potting soil for plumeria plants is a fast draining succulent potting soil, or even a super coarse succulent soil if you’re really worried about overwatering.

Plumeria buds just starting to form

Plumeria Fertilizer Schedule

When I first brought my plumeria home from Hawaii all those years ago, it bloomed almost right away! I was very excited, and thought that getting my plumeria to bloom on a regular basis would be easy.

As it turns out, it is NOT easy when you have no clue what you’re doing.

It actually took me years to figure out why my plumeria wouldn’t bloom. Turns out, I was missing one key ingredient… fertilizer!

Plumerias are heavy feeders, and plumerias growing in pots will for sure need fertilizer to bloom. Most of the time a potted plumeria won’t bloom without it.

Now that I’ve learned this key plumeria plant care fact, it will be super easy to get my plumeria to bloom consistently every summer.

Yippie!!

The trick is to fertilize them every 1-3 weeks during their active growing season (spring through summer). It sounds like a lot, right!? But like I said, they are heavy feeders.

And just like with watering, you should plan your plumeria fertilizer schedule around the seasons.

So, fertilize them from spring through summer, stop in the fall, and don’t fertilize them at all during the winter when the plant is dormant.

That’s pretty straight forward!

Plumeria blossoms just about to open

What Kind Of Fertilizer For Plumeria?

As for what is the best plumeria fertilizer to use, you can buy organic plant fertilizer specifically made for plumerias and other tropical potted plants.

If you’d rather stick to using a more generic type of houseplant fertilizer, compost tea is always a great option. You can buy compost fertilizer in liquid form, or you can buy tea bags and brew your own.

Other great options for plumeria fertilizer are fish emulsion or liquid kelp (but only use these two on plants growing outside, they can get a bit stinky when used inside).

Plumerias also love it when you spray the liquid fertilizer solution on their leaves as part of your plumeria plant care routine, so don’t hold back! Just make sure to spray it on either in the morning or evening, because spraying plants in the hot sun could damage the leaves.

White and yellow plumeria flower right after opening

Propagating Plumeria Plants

Plumeria plants are pretty easy to propagate by stem cuttings. It’s actually very similar to propagating succulents if you know how to do that.

Here are the quick steps for propagating plumeria cuttings:

  1. After taking the plumeria branch cutting, remove the largest leaves from the cutting
  2. Allow the cut end to callus over for a few days before trying to root it, or it may rot
  3. Dip your plumeria cutting into rooting hormone, then stick it into a propagation soil made with perlite, soil and sand, or use a gritty succulent soil mix
  4. Mist the cutting regularly, or put it in a humid environment – but don’t water it
  5. Once you see new growth on your plumeria cutting, that’s a sign that it has grown roots
  6. Now you can water it, fertilize it, treat it like you would the parent plant

Get my full step-by-step instructions for how to propagate plumeria from cuttings.

If you don’t already have a plumeria plant that you can propagate, you can order plumeria cuttings online! In fact, I just bought a new red one myself.

Plumeria plant starting to flower

Tips For Controlling Plumeria Pests

I’ve never had any plumeria pest issues while my plant is outside during the summer. But, bringing the plant inside for the winter is a whole different story.

Over the years, I’ve only had problems with spider mites and whiteflies attacking my plumerias.

I used to battle the whiteflies, and get super frustrated by them until I learned that the best way to avoid plumeria pests is to allow the plant to go completely dormant during the winter.

When it goes completely dormant, it will drop all of it’s leaves. And guess what… no leaves, no bugs!

But, that’s no guarantee. So, if you still have issues with houseplant pests, I recommend using neem oil, which is a natural pesticide. It works like a charm, and I haven’t had a problem with whiteflies since using it.

If you don’t want to worry about mixing your own, you can buy a pre-mixed horticultural oil spray instead.

A soapy water spray is also very good for controlling spider mites on plumeria plants. I use a mixture of 1 tsp Dr. Bronner’s Baby-mild Liquid Soap per 1 liter of water, or you can buy an organic insecticidal soap if you prefer.

Be sure to spray both the tops and undersides of all of the leaves. Bugs (especially whiteflies) like to hide under the leaves. Learn how to get rid of houseplant bugs here.

Super healthy plumeria plant growing indoors

How To Prune Plumeria Plants

Plumeria plants will grow tall and leggy over time, so it’s best to prune them regularly to keep them looking their best (and to encourage tons of flowers!).

Pruning your potted plumeria helps to keep it small, and maintain a compact, fuller shape. Plumerias can handle a pretty severe pruning, but never cut them all the way down to the ground.

Also, keep in mind that heavy plumeria pruning will probably keep your plant from blooming for a while, so I don’t recommend it unless it’s totally necessary.

New growth after pruning plumeria

It’s best to prune plumeria plants in the spring, or right after they’re done blooming. Pruning plumeria encourages the plant to put on new growth, and you don’t want that in the fall or winter months.

Use sharp (and sterile) pruning shears to prune your plumeria, so you make sure to get a nice clean cut. You can wash your pruners with soap and water, or dip them into rubbing alcohol to sterilize them.

Also, plumerias are very sensitive to tip rot, so make sure to make your cuts at an angle where water can’t settle into the cut and cause the branch to rot.

Don’t forget to keep your plumeria cuttings and propagate them for new plants (see the section on propagation above)!

Plumeria Winter Care & Dormancy

If you live in a cold climate like I do, you can’t grow plumerias outside year round. Plumerias are tropical plants (one of the best tropical plants if you ask me!), and won’t tolerate the cold.

But, as I’ve already mentioned a few times, plumerias go dormant during the winter. This makes it super easy to overwinter plumeria indoors!

Once the temperatures start to cool in the fall, and there’s less sunlight, your plumeria will start to go dormant naturally. This is the time to stop fertilizing, and slow down on watering.

Overwintering dormant plumeria plant indoors

As your plumeria starts to go dormant, it will begin dropping it’s leaves. The leaves will turn yellow and then brown before finally dropping from the plant. This is totally normal, so don’t panic. Your plant might not drop all of it’s leaves though, and that’s ok too.

If you moved your plumeria outside during the summer, make sure to bring it back inside before the temperature gets below 40F.

Then you can simply store your plumeria in a room that doesn’t get much light through the winter. There’s no need to try growing plumeria indoors, or worrying about fussing with grow lights. It’s best to let your plant go dormant, and ignore it until spring.

Well, don’t completely ignore it.

You should keep an eye out for bugs, and also check it a few times during the winter to make sure there aren’t any signs of tip rot.

Read about bringing plumeria out of dormancy.

Gorgeous flower on my Hawaiian plumeria

Troubleshooting Common Problems

Potted plumeria plant care can be a bit tricky if you tend to overwater your plants, and plumerias don’t take kindly to being overwatered.

Other than rotting, the other main problem you’ll probably have to deal with are houseplant pests. (See the insect pest control section above for information about bug problems.)

  • Tip rot (the stem is rotting from the top) – In my experience, tip rot is a pretty common problem with plumerias, especially during the winter. Tip rot can happen if water somehow gets into the top of a branch, or there was some kind of a wound. The tip of your plumeria will turn gray, brown or black and be mushy. It’s not always easy to spot, so I try to check my plumeria for signs of tip rot a few times during the winter. If left untreated, tip rot will spread, and could eventually kill the plant. You can save your plumeria by pruning off all of the rotted pieces of the stem.
  • Stem rot (the stem is rotting from the bottom) – If the stem is mushy and rotting at the base, then you have a more serious problem. Plumeria stem rot is caused by overwatering. If left untreated, your plumeria will die for sure. If the rot isn’t too severe, you can save your plant by taking cuttings of the healthy stems or branches and rooting them (see the propagation section above for details).
  • My plumeria won’t bloom – This is probably the #1 question I get asked about growing plumerias, and there is one simple answer… fertilizer! Plumerias need fertilizer in order to bloom, and lots of it. The good news is that it’s such an easy fix. And, once you get the hang of it, your plumeria will flower from spring through fall. Wow! That’s what we want, and it’s why we love them so much, right! See the plumeria fertilizer section above to learn more about how to make feeding a regular part of your plumeria plant care routine.

Growing plumeria in a pot outside for the summer

Where To Buy Plumeria Plants

If you live in a tropical place, you’ll probably be able to find large plumeria plants for sale at your local garden center. But, if you’re like me and live in a cold climate, it’s highly unlikely you’ll find cuttings or rooted plumeria plants for sale anywhere local.

Lucky for us, it’s pretty easy to find plumeria for sale online. Just be sure to purchase plumeria plants and cuttings from a reputable source to ensure they will be bug free and healthy when they arrive.

Plumerias are wonderful tropical plants that are easy to grow in pots! And that’s great news for those of us who live in a cold climate, so we can enjoy these amazing beauties too!

Once you know the tricks for plumeria plant care, you’ll be rewarded with yummy smelling flowers all summer long!

Products I Recommend

More About Different Types Of Houseplants

  • The Ultimate Cyclamen Plant Care Guide
  • How To Grow Begonia Plants
  • How To Care For A Voodoo Lily Plant

Do you grow plumeria? Share your plumeria plant care tips in the comments section below.

Plumerias: Plant Care and Collection of Varieties

Plumerias are tropical trees famous for their gorgeous flowers which are used to make leis (floral garlands). In regions with cold winters, plumerias can be grown in containers and brought indoors when the weather cools in autumn. Other common names are frangipani and Hawaiian lei flower.

About plumerias
Plumerias have thick stems, leathery leaves, and an abundance of flowers from early summer until fall. In the tropics some varieties can grow to a height of over 30 feet. Shorter varieties can be planted and pruned into a large hedge. Plumeria’s waxy, 2- to 4-inch flowers are very fragrant, so plant trees close to windows or patios to enjoy the enticing fragrance. Flower colors include pink, red, white, and yellow. Plumerias are often planted in containers and make excellent cut flowers.

Special features of plumerias
Fragrant
Good for cut flowers

Choosing a site to grow plumerias
Select a site with full sun to light shade and well-drained soil.

Planting Instructions
Plant in spring. Space plants 10 to 20 feet apart, depending on the expected mature size of the plant. Dig a hole only as deep as the root ball and 2 to 3 times as wide. If your soil is in very poor condition, amend the soil you’ve removed from the hole with a small amount of compost. Otherwise don’t amend it at all. Carefully remove the plant from the container and set it in the hole. Fill the hole half full with soil, then water it well to settle the soil and eliminate air pockets. Let the water drain, then fill the remainder of hole with soil and water thoroughly.

Ongoing Care
Plumerias require at least 1 inch of rain (or equivalent watering) each week. More water may be required for plumerias growing in containers, but don’t overwater or the trunks will rot. Feed plants twice a month during the growing season with a high phosphorous fertilizer. Plumerias normally require little pruning, but any shaping should be done in spring. Plumerias are sensitive to cold and should be protected when temperatures dip into the 40Fs. Check periodically for pests such as spider mites, white flies, and mealybugs. Use a horticultural oil or insecticidal soap to control these pests.

Be Inspired Blog – Arizona

Do you need a new and beautiful plant to grace your garden? One of our top recommendations is the gorgeous, delightfully fragrant plumeria—also known as frangipani.

Keep reading to find out what they are, how to care for them, and how to grow them—particularly in containers.

What Do Plumerias Look Like?

Plumerias have thick stems and even leaves that feel like leather. They also grow a ton of flowers from early summer until the fall season, making this the perfect time to add one to your space.

There are many flower colors and variations available. In Maricopa County, plumerias are best planted in containers. Plumeria flowers can be floated in a bowl of water for a stunning table-top display.

In addition to their stunning appearance, you’ll also enjoy the sweet scents they put off—including rose, jasmine, gardenia, citrus and more…

Caring for Plumeria

Climates & Microclimates

As Phoenix Tropicals notes, although plumeria is thought of as tropical, they are able to tolerate temperatures down to freezing—and perhaps a little cooler for a very short duration of time. With a good microclimate, plumeria can grow well in the valley. You may not realize that different areas of town are warmer than others.

We recommend growing rubra varieties of plumeria. Rubra plumerias have duller pointed leaves and colorful flowers. According to Phoenix Tropicals, “Rubra plumerias are more hardy and heat tolerant than obtusa (varieties) and are therefore a better fit for outdoors in Phoenix with its temperature extremes.” During the hottest and driest months in Phoenix, plumeria will likely have some burnt leaves (similar to citrus plants). Phoenix Tropicals adds that, “The flowers do not take the heat as well as the leaves and for this reason a rubra will be more attractive if it gets afternoon shade. If moving a plumeria from shade to sun be sure to do so gradually. Like all plants, plumerias will burn if suddenly moved from a low light to a high light environment.”

Plumeria are very sensitive to cold, which is why they’re so great to grow during the summer. Make sure you protect yours when the temperatures drop into the 30F’s.

Watering

In the summer in Phoenix, we recommend that you water your potted plumeria at least twice a week—more frequently if needed. Remember, plants in containers will dry out faster than those planted in the ground. Be careful not to over water or the trunks will rot.

We recommend that you reduce the watering of plumerias in mid fall as plants start going dormant, and with winter temperatures in mind. Once new growth appears in the spring, resume regular watering.

Fertilizing

As soon as your plumeria shows signs of spring growth, begin fertilizing. Encourage flower bud formation by using a high phosphorous fertilizer, such as Grow More Hawaiian Bud & Bloom, and apply it every 2-3 weeks through August. Plumeria flower mid-summer to fall. When they bloom, you can snip flowers for bud vase bouquets or float the blossoms in a low bowl of water (which is a stunning, beautiful look). This does not hurt the plants and will provide a supply of attractive fragrant flowers to use around your home.

Pruning, Propigating & Pests

Very little pruning may be required in springtime. Gardening Know How also suggests that, “Any drastic or hard pruning done may reduce flowering. These plants can also be propagated by seeds or cuttings in spring, with cuttings being the easiest and most preferred method.”

We recommend that you insert cuttings approximately 4-6 inches in the potting mix and lightly water. Please note that cuttings need to dry out on their ends prior to inserting them in the soil. It usually takes them a few days to dry out enough.

Also, watch out for spider mites, white flies, mealybugs and other pests that can cause problems. SummerWinds Nursery’s Trusted Garden Advisors can answer questions about how to protect your plumeria from these types of insects. To deter insects, we recommend that you wash the leaves when watering.

Growing Plumeria in Containers

SummerWinds recommends planting plumeria in containers, such as pots, barrels, tubs and urns. Plumeria does best in part-sun with its canes protected from the extreme heat of the sun in Arizona. In order to help control the microclimate of your plumeria, you can move your container around, based on the season and the weather. We do not recommend keeping/growing your plumeria indoors; a shaded patio is ideal!

For more on how to successfully grow plumeria in containers, we love these growing tips from Easy to Grow Bulbs:

  1. Place your plumeria where it will receive part sun. These are tropical plants that like hot conditions. (For success in Maricopa County, SummerWinds recommends planting your plumeria so that it receives morning sun—until 11:00 a.m. or noon. Alternatively, you can plant them where they will receive bright filtered shade.)
  2. Fill your containers with good quality, light and porous soil that allows for excellent drainage. SummerWinds Nursery recommends E.B. Stone Naturals Cactus Mix. Make sure your container has adequate drainage holes; plumeria must never (never!) sit in waterlogged soil or they will die.
  3. Gently pull the plant and root ball out of the pot and place in a hole the same depth as the clump of soil. Firmly press the surrounding soil around the plant, checking to make sure the plumeria is settled, level with the surrounding soil; not deeper or shallower.
  4. After planting, add enough water to settle the soil around the root ball; the slim, leathery leaves will form within a couple weeks. If it doesn’t rain, make sure to water enough for a good drink, but allow the soil to dry out between watering. Infrequent deep watering is better than regular light drinks.
  5. Apply fertilizer (as indicated in the section above). Plumerias will flower mid-summer to fall, and when it’s time for them to bloom, you can enjoy their cut blooms throughout your home.
  6. When blooming has finished for the season and the weather begins to cool down, plumeria slip into a dormancy period. It is normal for leaves to drop at this time while the plant rests. Water infrequently during the fall and stop watering during the winter; do not let your plant freeze.
  7. Plumeria will rest for a few months while waiting for the spring growing cycle. During this time, you can enjoy the attractively branched, vase-shaped form which is completely visible when there are no leaves. When the weather warms up to spring weather and longer days, resume watering and fertizling according to the sections above, and watch as new leaves emerge.

Learn more helpful container gardening tips in this post.

Planting Plumeria in the Ground in Maricopa County

When planting plumeria in the ground, the most important thing to consider is location. SummerWinds Nursery recommends planting plumeria in the Southeast corner of your home, as this provides the plant with afternoon shade in the summer and full sun in the winter. If you choose to plant your plumeria in the ground (instead of in a container,) we recommend that you amend your soil to increase drainage, such as E.B. Stone Organics Citrus & Palm Planting Mix. For more information, speak with one of our Trusted Garden Advisors.

Favorite Plumeria Varieties

At SummerWinds Nursery, we have over 20 varieties of 5 gallon plumeria plants to choose from for $59.99 each. Three of our favorites include the Veracruz Rose Rainbow, Puu Kahea and the Bali Whirl Double Yellow.

Here is some information on each to help you decide which beautiful type you’ll want to pick up.

Veracruz Rose Rainbow

This plant’s beautiful flowers have a stunning mix of yellow and pink, grow in flower clusters and have a strong rose scent.

Puu Kahea

This plumeria variety comes in a few different shades including red, bright yellow and white. The best time for this variety’s blooming occurs in:

  • Late Spring/Early Summer
  • Mid-Summer
  • Late Summer/Early Fall
  • Mid Fall
  • Late Fall/Early Winter

This plumeria’s flowers are good for cutting, attracting bees and providing a sweet rose fragrance.

Bali Whirl Double Yellow

This plumeria variety is a little more subtle than the Veracruz Rose Rainbow and Puu Kahea. It blooms with bright yellow and white/near white flowers.

In search of other varieties? Stop by your local SummerWinds to explore our selection, which varies by location. Available while supplies last.

Taking Care of Your Own Plumeria

Who wouldn’t want one of these visually appealing and aromatic plants in a fun and unique container. Makes a perfect addition to your patio!

Visit your local SummerWinds Nursery to get your own plumeria and get some additional planting tips while you’re there. If you like, share your beautiful blooms on Instagram!

About SummerWinds Nursery
A leading high-end retailer of garden and nursery products. Headquartered in Boise, Idaho, SummerWinds Garden Centers, Inc. operates retail nurseries in the greater Phoenix, Arizona area, and in Silicon Valley, California, making it one of the largest independent retail nursery companies in the nation. SummerWinds appeals to both the serious and casual gardeners, with a broad selection of premium gardening products and a friendly and knowledgeable staff.

At SummerWinds, We Guarantee Success!

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