Plumerias - Can You Grow Them?

Posted by @Dutchlady1 on
Plumerias are large trees in their native habitat that can grow up to 20 feet tall. These days, however, they are being bred much smaller and more compact, allowing more regions of the world to enjoy these beauties.

The Plumeria is a tropical tree, and some varieties can get to be 20 feet tall and just as wide.  These days, many people, seduced by the tropical island lifestyle this plant embodies, are growing Plumeria plants in pots on their patios, and even indoors. Hybridizers soon recognized the need for trees that would not become as big, and many dwarf or compact varieties are now available.

The incomparable ‘Dwarf Pink Singapore’ is a true dwarf, and even a mature specimen will not be much taller than six feet at maturity.

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Cultivars such as ‘Penang Peach’ have long been cherished for their compact growth, and recently ‘Divine’ and ‘Thumbelina’ have made quite a splash. These smaller specimens have made Plumerias available to a much larger market than the tropical and subtropical southern regions of our country.
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Growers outside of the native climate zone for these plants are faced with several challenges. First of all, the plant must never be exposed to frost. This means you will need a safe environment to overwinter your Plumeria. Fortunately, the plants have a dormant period in the winter and will be happy in a frost-free corner of a shed or garage. They do not need water or light during this time.

Also, you always have to provide well draining soil. A bag of ready-made compost from the Big Box stores will not do.

The biggest challenge facing the northern grower is the intensity of the light spectrum that a plumeria needs to show its true colors. I briefly grew Plumerias in England, and the best coloring you can hope to achieve there is a pale, pastel colored flower. If you are tempted by the brilliant bright hues of a variety such as ‘Jeannie Moragne’ or ‘Col’s Cooktown Sunset’, you will almost certainly be disappointed when you grow them in a northern area without supplemental light. However, many of the paler colored blooms, especially white, are intensely fragrant so there certainly is a reward for trying to grow them outside of their native zones. Why not give it a try?

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Comments and discussion:
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Plumaria's by rick122448 Aug 26, 2018 6:25 PM 1
Lighting? How much & how intense? by Skiekitty Jan 14, 2015 9:37 PM 10
Gloriosa lilies by Malcolmmann Nov 16, 2013 5:10 PM 0
very informational! by DavidofDeLand Nov 16, 2013 6:23 AM 0
Untitled by Samigal Nov 12, 2013 2:02 PM 1
Drawf Plumeria - "Divine" by Samigal Nov 12, 2013 1:59 PM 0

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