Few things in life are lovelier than beautiful, fragrant frangipani! These lovely little blossoms add a subtle pop of colour and a summery smell to your garden. They’re also fairly easy to grow and care for. Let’s take a closer look at everything you need to know to successfully grow your very own plumeria plant.
What is Plumeria?
Plumeria was named after the 17th Century botanist, Charles Plumier. This famous flower is also known as kemboja in Malaysia, melia in Hawaii (where they are most commonly used in leis), phool in India and amapola in Venezuela to name a few.
They grow on relatively small trees that can reach up to six metres in height. These trees are usually quite wide and have what is best described as a “well-behaved” root system, making them the perfect addition to a home garden.
The flowers grow in clusters at the ends of the tree branches. They carry a lovely, distinctive scent and boast waxy petals. The flowers come in many colours, including white, yellow, orange, pink, red. The centre of the flower is usually a different, brighter colour to the creamy petals. Most commonly, you can expect to find plumeria with yellow centres, but some varieties of plumeria flowers have orange or pink centres.
Are Plumeria and Frangipani the Same?
There is no difference between plumeria and frangipani.
While Plumeria was named after the 17th Century botanist, Charles Plumier. Frangipani, on the other hand, was derived from the Italian nobleman Marquis Frangipani, who created a perfume that was used to scent gloves.
Regardless of what you call them, frangipanis can easily be identified.
How To Grow Plumeria
How to Plant Plumeria
Growing plumeria from seeds is possible but growing it from cuttings is a very easy task. Roughly one week before you wish to plant them, you need to harden your cuttings. This can be done by simply cutting a deep notch in the spot you wish to make your cut. Each cutting should be between 30 and 46 centimetres in length.
Ideally, you should wait about a week after you have hardened your cuttings before you plant them. This gives the newly cut ends time to callus and harden off, which can help prevent infection and encourage new growth.
Where to Plant Plumeria
When the time comes to plant your plumeria cuttings, prepare a mixture that is two parts perlite and one-part potting soil. Do this either in a large container, or directly in the ground if you live in a very warm climate. Dip the end of each cutting into a rooting hormone and sink them roughly halfway down into your soil and perlite mixture.
Once they are in the soil, water your cuttings right away and then allow them to dry for several weeks after. Be careful not to overwater them at this stage, as this could lead to rot. Make sure that your cuttings are placed somewhere with full sunlight or very little shade. Within 60 to 90 days, your roots should grow.
Can you grow plumeria indoors?
Yes, you can grow plumeria indoors as long as the plant has enough space and sunlight.
How To Prune Plumeria
Pruning is important to remove any diseased branches as it helps encourage new growth. When pruning a healthy plumeria tree, it’s advised that you do so only in winter or early spring so as to avoid damaging the tree’s blooming cycle. If there are any dead or diseased branches, you can trim them off at any time of the year as this will not affect the overall health of the tree.
You’ll need to have the proper tools for pruning.
A sharp knife is perfect for smaller branches, while sharp pruning shears or pruning saws are best for bigger branches. Make sure that whatever tool you use is as sharp as possible and can make clean, even cuts. Jagged cuts tend to invite infection to the tree. Be sure to sterilize your blade with rubbing alcohol after each cut to help prevent the spread of any disease, even if your tree seems healthy.
Do plumeria trees need full sun?
The said trees are tropical and as a result, do best in conditions similar to tropical or subtropical environments. These trees do best in full sun with at least half a day’s sun exposure, which will allow them to bloom properly.
How big do plumeria trees get?
The said trees can grow up to six metres tall and are known to spread just as wide.
Are plumerias poisonous?
All parts of the plumeria plant are considered toxic. It can also cause a rash in people with sensitive skin.
Are coffee grounds good for plumeria?
Avid gardeners believe that coffee grounds are good for plumerias as they are quite acidic, and the trees perform best in soil that is more on the acidic side.
Are plumerias poisonous to dogs?
Plumeria plants are poisonous to dogs. Ingesting any part of the plant could lead to an irritation of the digestive tract.
Do plumerias have deep roots?
Yes, plumerias have deep roots and an extensive root system.
Do plumerias lose their leaves in winter?
When temperatures begin to drop, plumeria trees will begin to lose their leaves and go dormant.
How do I get my plumeria tree to bloom more?
You can encourage your plumeria tree to bloom more by giving it bi-weekly doses of high phosphorus fertilizer. Most other fertilizers contain a lot of nitrogen, which promotes healthy, green leaves but does not encourage flowering.
How long do plumeria cuttings take to flower?
Plumeria trees grown from cuttings can take between one and three years to bloom. On the other hand, trees grown from seeds can expect flowers three years after they have been planted.
Fragrant and fantastic to sit under, plumeria trees are a wonderful addition to your garden. Planting one (or more!) of these trees can add a little happiness to your space.