Plumeria

Plumeria : Introduction and Care

GENERAL INTRODUCTION

Popularly called as “Frangipani”,Temple tree’, ‘Champa’ or ‘Sampangi’, plumerias are delightful, fragrant plants for the tropics.  Known for their sweet-scented flowers, these plants grow to become medium to large shrubs or small trees upon maturity. In spite of their growth habits in nature, this genus makes for an excellent pot plant and rewards their growers with magnificent blooms in pots.

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Plumerias are relatively easy to grow and do not demand a lot of attention. They form outstanding outdoor plants and are highly recommended to all tropical gardeners and hobbyists – from the novice to the expert.

Native to the West Indies and parts of Central and Southern America, they thrive in a cool to warm dryish climate. This does not preclude them from being cultivated in hot and humid or hot and dry climates. It thrives across India except in the mountains where they spend most of the year in leafless dormancy.

They are available in a wide assortment of colours – ranging from plain whites to multi-colours thanks to some outstanding introductions from breeders worldwide. The most popular colours now are the yellows, purples and red cultivars. As the flowers are never true from seed, there is a plethora of new cultivars being introduced into the market on a day by day basis. The best cultivars are selected, grown on and sold under registered trade names world over. We are making an effort to bring to you the best of plumeria cultivars from Indian growers and from growers around the world.

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The flowers are used in Hawaii to make Lei (garlands) and for corsages in weddings.

OUR PLANTS

We currently offer two types of plants on sale, namely:

  1. UNROOTED CUTTINGS

These are our most popular form of plumeria sales as most cultivars are fairly easy to root. Our cuttings are mostly taken from our mother plants in the field and the cuts are allowed to heal before we ship them to you. All our unrooted cuttings are treated with a broad spectrum systemic fungicide prior to shipping. Although we hold no responsibility for guaranteeing rooting on the cuttings, we assure you that we ship top quality healthy tip cuttings and hence, offer 100% free replacements on all unrooted cuttings that don’t reach our buyers in good condition. Our unrooted cuttings are usually 10” – 12” long (sometimes more) and where possible, we try to ship multi-tip cuttings to all our customers.

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  1. ROOTED CUTTINGS

These are the safest way to buy plumeria’s from us as the plants are well rooted before we ship them out to you. Hence, you don’t have to have any stress about rooting them yourself! At our nurseries, our plants are usually 12” tall (give or take 20%) and take 60 – 90 days on average to form a good root system. Hence, we charge 50% over the rate of unrooted cuttings for our rooted plants and we assure you that the best of plants would be shipped.

We also do take pre-orders on rooted cuttings (given the lead time) and if you’d like to pre-order something, please click here and fill out the form.

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CULTURAL REQUIREMENTS

LIGHTING

Plumerias grow best outdoors - in bright light with at least 6 hours of direct sunlight a day. Growing your plumerias in low light conditions may not kill your plant but will significantly affect their growth and flowering. Hence, before making a purchase, we recommend that you identify a spot in your garden /patio/terrace/balcony with a lot of sunlight – to grow your plumeria in.

TEMPERATURE

In our experience growing them, we have noticed that they thrive in warm weather (to the extent that they don’t even go dormant in places where temperatures don’t drop below 18 degrees centigrade in the winter months). They tolerate heat up to 48 degrees centigrade without significantly dropping leaves / flowers! At the same time, they are cold sensitive and tend to go into a period of leafless dormancy when temperatures drop below 15 degrees celsius.

SOIL MIXTURE

Plumeria requires well drained soil that is slightly acidic in nature. The ideal soil mix is similar to that for cacti and succulents. We also suggest a mixture of loam, humus (organic) material, dirt and aggregates (sand or perlite) which give a coarse structure to the media and promotes good drainage. Fast drainage is imperative for younger plants and any kind of water logging in the pots can prove fatal. For best results use 13D Plumeria Mix.

WATERING

Generally, we recommend that you deep water your plants – i.e. water them until the water comes out of the holes at the bottom of your pot. Watering requirements will vary depending on your location, humidity and temperature.

Schedule watering only after the top soil dries out from the previous watering. During active growth and flowering, water your plants up to thrice a week for best growth. During winter months (i.e. dormancy), reduce your watering frequency to once in 10 days – 2 weeks. Plumerias hate water logging / wet feet and hence, a suitable potting mix is to be used while potting up your plants.

Over watering leads to fungal diseases and tip rot of the stem, which can be prevented by allowing the top soil to dry out between two watering cycles and by providing ideal growth conditions. If there is a tip rot infection remove the infected part with a sharp sterilized knife and burn the rotten portion. Clean the knife and store away.

Please remember: Underwatering is always safer than overwatering!

FERTILIZING

Plumerias responds well to regular fertilizing especially during the growing seasons. A fortnightly application of balanced fertilizer alternated with a formulation with high Phosphorus during the growing season is recommended for optimum growth in Indian conditions. This can be cut down as one approaches the dormant season – during which fertilization of any kind is to be avoided.

WINTER PREPARATION

During winter - especially in early November where there is a significant drop in temperature, dormancy begins. The leaves will turn yellow and will begin dropping off. At this time, its best to stop watering and fertilizing. Most places in Southern India will not face this phenomenon while we anticipate it to be a common occurrence in parts of Northern, Eastern and Western India.

PRUNING

Certain cultivars of plumeria’s tend to 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 potted plumeria helps to keep it small, and maintain a compact, fuller shape – irrespective of the cultivar. Heavy pruning will affect blooming of flower and hence, the ideal season to prune is in early spring (prior to new growth).

DISEASES AND PESTS CONTROL

Plumerias tend to be extremely hardy and drought resistant species. But, in the tropics, they are vulnerable to a few common pests and diseases. Common pests such as spider mites, white flies and mealy bugs attack plumerias. For prevention of most pest attacks and remedy for the same, the spray of neem oil (5 ml / litre), a insecticidal soap solution (5 ml / litre + 1 ml / litre) or a systemic chemical pesticide / insecticide (eg. Monocrotophos – 4 ml / litre) can be applicable for best results.

Fig: Mealy Bug Attack on a plumeria cultivar

The biggest challenge to the tropical plumeria grower is to keep their plants free of ‘Frangipani Rust’, a fungal disease. The presence of rust on the leaves is aggravated during rains and in the winter months. A broad spectrum fungicide can be used to control ‘Frangipani Rust’ (eg. Chlorothalonil / mancozeb application – 3-5 ml / litre depending on the severity) and best practices followed by us demand that infected leaves be removed off plants and incinerated.

Rust during the winter months

In case of both pest and disease attacks, please remember that it is best to spray the remedial treatment on both sides of the leaves!

RELATED LINKS

  1. The Plumeria Society of America - https://theplumeriasociety.org
  2. A treasure trove of knowledge on Plumeria’s by Dennis Schmidt - http://thefrangipaniman.com/index.html
  3. Top 25 Cultivars (as of August 2014) - https://garden.org/ideas/view/dave/2038/The-Top-25-Plumerias/
  4. Plumeria: World’s most beloved garden plant - https://www.thehindu.com/features/homes-and-gardens/plumeria-worlds-most-beloved-garden-plant/article3585171.ece
  5. ‘Plumeria Growers INDIA’ – Facebook Group - https://www.facebook.com/groups/461819443996411/
  6. ‘Plumeria Growers’ – Facebook Group - https://www.facebook.com/groups/34366160032/

 

From Rs. 100.00
From Rs. 100.00