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PlantFiles: Nosegay, Frangipani, Plumeria
Plumeria rubra

Family: Apocynaceae (a-pos-ih-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Plumeria (ploo-MEER-ee-a) (Info)
Species: rubra (ROO-bruh) (Info)

Synonym:Plumeria acuminata

» View all varieties of Plumeria

4 vendors have this plant for sale.

56 members have or want this plant for trade.

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Tropicals and Tender Perennials

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
Pale Pink
Pale Yellow

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From herbaceous stem cuttings
From woody stem cuttings
From softwood cuttings
From semi-hardwood cuttings
From hardwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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By Floridian
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There are a total of 44 photos.
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13 positives
3 neutrals
3 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive YLgardenman On Feb 2, 2010, YLgardenman from Oroville, CA wrote:

I got my first cutting from my wives co-worker. Since then I have bought plants and received additional cuttings. Here in Southern California (zone 10) I am fortunate enough to be able to plant these in the ground. The average bush in my garden is about 7 feet tall.

I avoid watering in the winter unless it is unusually hot and dry. In the summer I water frequently to keep soil from drying. This plant will tolerate drought better than over-watering, but grows faster with more water and fertilizer when weather is hot. My plants usually start blooming in April or May and continue thru November or December. By January leaves begin dropping. Then new leaves start in march or April. This plant is very tolerant of varied conditions, in my experience "wet feet" or over watering is the worst thing you can do. While part shade is tolerated. Hot full sun is best!
Cuttings should be given several days or a week to heal or callous, then planted and supported until rooted well. Probably at least 6 months or longer if winds may affect your plant.

Neutral tulpen On Feb 1, 2010, tulpen from Los Angeles, CA wrote:

I purchased this plant 8 yrs. ago, it had plenty of sun (LA area) throughout the year and well drained soil. Unfortunately, it never thrived - hardly bloomed but plenty of leaves. Last year I decided to replant it to another location - pretty much the same results. The only interesting aspect was - after one of the neighborhood kids accidentally broke off a 2 ft. branch, after a few days I simply stuck it in the new planting compost and to my amazement it grew! Love this plant but it's not happy with me!

Negative SudieGoodman On Feb 1, 2010, SudieGoodman from Broaddus, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:


Positive junglegringo On Feb 1, 2010, junglegringo from San Jose Tzal [south of Merida]
Mexico (Zone 11) wrote:

Plumeria is a common sight here in Yucatan. I have several of these lovely shrubs growing here at my ranchito.
The Spanish name here is Flor de Mayo and in Maya is Nicte. The shrub was held sacred by the ancient maya, and the Plumeria rubra and the Plumeria acutifolia and white Plumeria were symbols for the sun and the moon for the maya xmem [priests].

The juice is often used as a treatment for wounds and the extract used in the treatment of skin and venereal diseases.

The sap is said to produce a good quality of rubber.

I have planted a 7 foot branch which fell during a hurricane and it rooted successfully.

Positive GrandmaMary On Feb 1, 2010, GrandmaMary from Smith's Parish
Bermuda wrote:

I did not know the real name for franjipani was plumeria! It grows well in Bermuda, where the soil has very little clay and drains well.. However it is quite alkaline soil, so I was surprised to read that it preferred acidic. If I get another one - the gardeners put the strimmer too close to mine and killed it :( - I will use Miracid or similar product to feed it now that I know. I also did not know you could grow them in a pot, as I think of it as a tree. The original one that ours came from was a large spreading tree..

Positive JaxFlaGardener On Aug 12, 2008, JaxFlaGardener from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

Last year, I took my Plumeria out of their pots and planted them in the ground. I provided winter protection by building a wood frame around them and covering the frame with 8 mil translucent plastic. Winter temperatures got down as low as about 28 F on a few nights this past winter in my Zone 8b garden. I didn't use any additional heat in the enclosure. The Plumeria did great and bloomed better than ever this spring.


Positive Clare_CA On Dec 8, 2005, Clare_CA from (Zone 10b) wrote:

The following excerpt was taken from the following publication:
Plumeria in Hawaii

By Richard A. Criley
Department of Plant and Soil Sciences
College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources
University of Hawaii at Manoa
January, 2005

Plumeria and Its Culture

Plumeria is known by other common names, including frangipani, melia (Hawaiian), and temple tree, and has many named cultivars. It is native to tropical America. In Hawaii, plumeria is grown as an ornamental and is not found in the wild. It has widespread use in tropical landscapes around the world and is frequently associated with temples and graveyards.


Plumeria is generally a small tree growing to as much as 30 ft. Its broad, usually round-headed canopy is often about as wide as the tree is tall. The species and hybrids vary somewhat in tree size, compactness, and branching character, leaf and flower size and color, and deciduousness. The leaves are usually glossy green but may be dull green; they are generally ovate, may be blunt-tipped (P. obtusa) or pointed (P. rubra var. acuminata or var. acutifolia), and range from 2 to 4 inches wide and 8 to 12 inches long. In deciduous types, the leaves fall during wintertime, and new leaves emerge during or following the spring flowering period. P. obtusa and its hybrids

tend to retain their foliage year-round. The flowers are tubular, expanding into a “pinwheel” of five petals that averages 2–3 inches diameter and may be white, red, yellow, pink, or multiple colors. Flowers of most cultivars are highly fragrant and bloom from March to October. The hybrids differ in their profusion of blooms, with some producing more than 200 flowers per cluster and others only 50–60 flowers.

Plumerias only occasionally produce seed. When pollinated, the flower produces two hard, narrow, pointed pods up to 7 inches long containing 20–60 winged seeds. Maturation of the seed pods is usually in early spring from a previous season’s pollination.

Location and landscape uses

Plumeria is a common ornamental in yards and other planned landscapes. It is easy to grow in hot, dry areas and is found in Hawai‘i from sea level to 2000 ft elevation. It requires full sun and grows best in well drained, slightly acidic soil. It has moderate wind resistance and salt tolerance. For best growth and flowering in the landscape, irrigation is needed during dry periods. The trees reach maturity (full size) in about five years. Plumeria can be grown to a relatively large size in large tubs.


The usual way to propagate plumeria is by cuttings, because this method maintains the selected cultivar. Tip or branched cuttings 1–2 ft long should be allowed to “cure” in a dry place for at least two weeks before planting. Plant them in well drained soil in the landscape or in a pot. Do not water too much or too often while rooting is occurring. Treatment of the base of the cutting with a rooting compound (0.3% indolebutyric acid) enhances rooting but is not a requirement for rooting. The young root systems are brittle, and transplanting, if necessary, must be done carefully. Do not leave plants in small containers too long, or the circling roots will cause problems of weak establishment when the plant is transplanted into the landscape. Plumeria can be propagated from seed collected from a tree, but seed is not commercially available. Seed from plants with white flowers produces mostly white-flowered seedlings. Similarly, dark red will produce red, and yellow will produce yellow, but pinks and multicolored plants are more likely to produce a range of colors in the seedlings. Flower quality is unpredictable, although it will tend to reflect the parent plant.

Collect seeds when the pod splits open and sow them shallowly in pots or trays. Dry seeds will keep for about three months in a plastic bag before beginning to lose viability. Seeds germinate in about two weeks. Transplant seedlings to individual pots when one or two pairs of true leaves have developed, and move the plant up to a larger container until it is large enough to plant out.

With plants started from cuttings, flowers can be expected within the first year, depending on the original cutting size and the time of year that it was taken, although only limited production will occur. Seedlings take three years or more to produce flowers.


When plumeria is grown for commercial flower production, it is planted 10 ft apart within rows 12–15 ft apart and pruned to keep the canopy low, encourage branching, and make harvesting the flowers more convenient. Branched cuttings are selected for propagating, and the branch axil is set low to the ground to result in a shorter-statured plant. Once established in the ground, a plumeria can reach 10–12 feet in 6 years, given adequate fertilizer and moisture.

Fertilize plumeria with 10-30-10 every three to four months at about 1 lb per inch of trunk diameter, distributing the fertilizer around the the plant to 2 feet beyond the foliage line.

Pruning is easiest in winter, following leaf drop, but heavy pruning sacrifices the spring bloom. Stems that are shriveled and bent have been infested with the plumeria stem borer and should be removed back to their juncture with a main branch (or lower if there is internal discoloration) and destroyed. Many old trees in home landscapes have responded well to the pruning practice known as pollarding. Pollarding is a method in which a framework of branches is established with yearly pruning back on each to a point called the pollard head. This head develops a number of growing points as a result of the pruning, and each year a new group of shoots is produced. In plumeria, the new shoots may develop flowers late in the year if pollarding is done during the dormant season. Pollarding during the summer growing

season will produce a series of short branches that will not set a flower head but will go dormant in fall and grow out as longer branches the next year, many of which will flower in late summer.

Pests and diseases

Plumeria has few disease problems. The plumeria rust (Coleosporium plumeria Pat.) is of fairly recent occurrence in Hawai‘i. It consists of orange blistering or powder on the underside of leaves, and it develops after prolonged wet periods. The leaves may fall if the rust is severe. Both P. rubra and P. obtusa are susceptible, but some of the uncommon species appear to be resistant. While fungicides specific for rust control are effective, they are not normally used, as the disease rarely is severe enough to damage the plant.

A black sooty mold develops on stems and leaves when scale insects, whiteflies, or mealybugs are present. These insects exude a sweet, sticky honeydew upon which the fungus flourishes. Although unsightly, the fungus does not harm the tree (although the insects weaken it). Ants nourish the insects and carry them up into the trees. The control for the sooty mold problem lies with control of the insects.

Plumeria may be attacked by the long-horned beetle (plumeria stem borer), thrips, a blossom midge, greenhouse and spiraling whiteflies, and mites. Normally, existing predatory insects keep populations of most of these in bounds. The borer is especially destructive, as its damage is done inside the stems where insecticides are ineffective. Immediate removal of affected branches and their destruction is the only present recommendation, because spraying with insecticide would need to be carried out too frequently to prevent egg-laying by the adult beetle. A new formulation of the insecticide imidacloprid is available that can be sprayed on the branches and foliage and offers up to four weeks protection against borer larvae feeding. Plumeria is most susceptible to this insect when under stress.

Special notes

Plumeria flowers are excellent lei flowers and are especially common and traditional for home-made leis. To harvest the flowers, grasp individual blossoms at the base and remove them from the plant with a gentle tug. Blooms may be strung lengthwise on strings about 38–40 inches long, or the lei may be formed by stringing the flowers crosswise through the lower part of the flower tube. Flowers can be kept for several days in a plastic bag in 48–55°F temperatures. All parts of the plant exude a milky sap when damaged. The sap may irritate eyes and skin.

Selecting plumerias

Many criteria can be used to select plumerias for a residence or a landscape. Lei flower producers are mostly concerned with productivity.


The plumeria may be used as an accent or specimen plant or for flower production (leis, hair adornments, or simply for their fragrance). P. obtusa (Singapore plumeria) is frequently used in mass plantings. Availability of named plumerias is sometimes limited. Shallow circular or lei-shaped vases known as “pansy rings” are available to display picked flowers.

Growth character

Some cultivars are upright and compact, while others are lanky and open and others sprawl. Dwarf types are becoming available with good evergreen foliage, but the flower qualities are poor. The P. rubra types are deciduous, while P. obtusa and other white-flowered Plumeria species are evergreen. Ease of rooting is also a consideration in selection.

Positive artcons On Aug 10, 2005, artcons from Fort Lauderdale, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

I have five of them with four pictured here. All are from cuttings taken at Key West. They are easy to care for, look great and the fragrance will make you smile. The flowers are bright, vibrant and vary from year to year.
My only problem with them is they don't like the wind much. I have a yard with a constant Easterly breeze most of the year. My plants are always a month or two behind the rest of the neighborhood where other plants get shelter from the wind. My plants bloom for a shorter time than the sheltered plants in the neighborhood. I have seen plants in this neighborhood bloom all year round.

Positive jimnesie On Jun 28, 2004, jimnesie from Anaheim, CA wrote:

This plant is very hardy in Southern California. I have fellow growers in Las Vegas who have success by wintering the plants. I have several plants that are over 25 feet tall. I have about 100 1st year seedlings growing now.

I find that they as much sunlight as you can give them (at least 6-8 hours per day), I use a high phos fertilizer during the summer and water constantly in the summer. In the winter, I do not water or feed them at all.

Cuttings will root nicely if they are allowed to hardened (about two weeks) and then I put them in a mix of mulch, sponge rock, and vermiculite. They will root in two months. You can tell when a cutting is rooting by seeing full sized leaves forming. Cuttings will sometimes bloom without leaves and this usually indicates they are not rooted yet.

Negative rwadleigh On Feb 15, 2004, rwadleigh wrote:

Red scale on the under side of the leaves of my Plumeria causes them to turn yellow and drop off leaving the plant completely void of leaves. The flowers remain. I have tried Manicure (by Lesco), systemic and oil sprays but nothing will control it. I have seen one tree leafless and another not far away with no red scale!

Positive Monocromatico On Jan 18, 2004, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

I didn´t notice how good it smells until last spring. I also noticed that the smell kinda fades away around noon, coming back strongly on late afternoons.

Positive suncatcheracres On Aug 29, 2003, suncatcheracres from Old Town, FL wrote:

I lived in St. Petersburg, Florida, zone 9b, for 10 years, and my neighbor and dear friend, who had once owned a plant nursery, introduced me to plumeria. She has a white variety growing up against a North fence, with the plant getting almost full afternoon Southwest sun, and lots of reflection from her concrete swimming pool deck. Every year this plant gets to be about 10 feet tall--the only shade it gets is from the house in the mornings and some nearby Dwarf Brazilian bananas in the afternoons. This plant perfumes her whole pool patio. Unfortunately, St. Pete is now in the urban heat island of the Tampa Bay area, and there are often water restrictions, but this plant always survives such episodes. If possible, it is generously watered.

Late one summer she was trimming off part of this plant that had gotten too large and was in the way, overhanging the pool deck, and she gave me about a dozen of the tips. They looked like grey/green sausages. She cut off the leaves and told me to put them in a dry place and the next Spring to plant them. I dried them on a newspaper for a few days, then rolled them in more newspaper and put them all in a shoebox in a pantry and promptly forgot about them. The next Spring my friend asked me about the cuttings, and I had to search for them, but finally found them. I really didn't believe her, but I stuck each one into a pot in a mixture of sand and good potting soil, watered faithfully, and each and every one sprouted into a beautiful little plumeria plant. I couldn't believe it--they were hard, dry, fat little sticks! This is an amazing plant, and incredibly beautiful.

Negative noway On Aug 28, 2003, noway wrote:

I am having an awful time with spider mites on my plumeria and I just can't seem to get rid of them. I am thinking I may have to throw out the plant before it infects everything else but I really like it and would rather find something effective to get rid of these pests!

Positive flafrangipani On Jul 5, 2003, flafrangipani from Kathleen, FL wrote:

I fell in love with Plumerias in Key West (Florida) several years ago. I bought my first rooted named hybrid cuttings this year ('Candy Stripe' and 'Pua Kahea'.) They are very easy to care for.

They become dormant in winter and must be moved into a cool, dry, dark area and protected from freezing temps. Stop fertilizing in October, as the plant begins to go into its dormant state. They may be stored by taking plants out of pots,shaking the soil off and removing any remaining leaves. Bring them out in spring, trim some of the dried roots, repot, fertilize and water and they are ready to start growing and blooming again.

I have many seedlings I have grown. (I am now addicted, and cannot get enough seeds, LOL.) Plumeria seeds germinate well if placed in a folded wet paper towel, then placed in a plastic "ziploc" bag. The seeds swell prior to germinating. Place bag in a window with southern exposure and keep paper towel damp. After about 2 weeks check seeds daily and plant seeds that have sprouted. They do not germinate all at once. Not all of the seeds will sprout, but when a little white root appears, (they start sprouting in about 2 weeks) place the rooted end in potting soil, leaving the winged top of the seed out & they will grow from there.

Plumerias do very well if the pots are sunk into the ground,in a well drained area and covered with mulch. They are easy to take up and store for winter this way.

The interesting thing about Plumerias (Frangipanis) is you never know what color flowers the seedlings will have until they grow and blooms. The only way to get flowers of specific color and scent is from a cutting. There are many named hybrids to choose from with a large variety of beautiful colors and fragrances.

Plumerias are heavy feeders and like 10-40-6 fertilizer (Pursell's Sta-Green Bloom Starter, for example.) They benefit greatly from the use of a fungicide. Some like to give dissolved Epsom Salts at 2 tablespoons per 5 gallons of water, watering with this mixture every time they water. This is thought to help the plant absorb fertilizers and prevent sunburning of the leaves, it also provides trace elements. Also, some use Calcium Nitrate, thinking it promotes lateral growth, rather than vertical growth. I have not personally tried the epsom salt or calcium nitrate yet, but plan on trying this regimen starting next week.

These are wonderful Plants and I highly recommend them for those who love beautiful, fragrant, tropical flowering trees.

Positive Jerome On Jan 21, 2003, Jerome from Beer-Sheva
Israel wrote:

This is a specimen known for flagrant, beautiful flowers. They need full sun and can grow on a wide range of well drained soils; if cold or prolonged dry periods it will lost all the leaves. A very showy bloom that can be white, red, pink or yellow, depending on the cultivar. The stem is succulent, green to grey. Propagation is by cuttings allowed to dry several days.

Positive IslandJim On Oct 17, 2002, IslandJim from Keizer, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:

Frangipani is a common name for Plumeria rubra, which is the red-flowered plumeria [see the first picture I posted].

I have no idea what the species [or cultivar] names are for the enormous variety of non-red flowering Plumeria, but most will not be P. rubra.

Positive meiyu On Aug 13, 2002, meiyu from san antonio, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

One of my absolute favorite plants - one of those "can't kill", fragrant, flowering plants that make me look like I'm an experienced gardener when I had absolutely no idea how it came to be!

My neighbor dropped off 4 bare stalks of this plant, as a house-warming gift to bring to my new garden - she claimed they were cuttings, but they looked like ugly greenish sticks that were almost dead to me. She told me to just stick them in some water, or even right into some dirt, until I could plant them at my new home. All she knew was that it was some kind of plant her mother got in Hawaii.

It was October or November when she gave them to me, and I didn't have anywhere to plant these long, ugly stubs until I finally built my first raised flower bed around the end of April, so they sat in a bucket of water, (getting rotten, I later discovered.) I was about to just throw them away, but I decided to cut the rotten ends off, and stick the rest of the stem into the ground. One gave me my first flowers in June! The one that makes me look like a pro gets sun from sunrise to about 2pm here in San Antonio, Texas, lives in moist, well-draining neutral soil (6.5-7.0), likes her SuperBloom feedings twice a month, and keeps her feet cool under thick pine bark mulch. She's doing so well, I got a few more of those ugly sticks in different varieties!

What I should have done was to keep them in a cool, dry place until I was ready to plant them, and just stick them right in the soil.

Everyone's getting one of those funky-looking sticks for Christmas this year, because that's all anyone who sees them wants these days (and I've got a whole lot more branches than dollars right now!)

My neighbor just covered her tree up with plastic, heavily mulched around the roots, and kept it warm during it's dormant period (December to February here), and it sprouted right back up in spring, getting bigger and bigger each year. I suggest cutting off some of the branches in the fall, and storing them until spring; in case yours dies, you can always grow about 20 more in May!

Neutral BotanyBob On Aug 25, 2001, BotanyBob from Thousand Oaks, CA wrote:

In Southern California this is actually one of the more drought tolerant plants, growing well in cactus gardens. However, the plant grows faster, and blooms better, the more water it gets (as long as it's warm and well draining soil). In winters here, this plant rots very easily, and in many areas it will not survive the winter. In most but the warmest areas it will at least mostly defoliate and cease blooming.

Though in So Cal it can sometimes grow into a small tree or large shrub, in tropical areas, like Hawaii, it grows into massive avenue trees. However, even in Hawaii, it has a 'defoliation season' (winter) and loses most of its blooms. The Singapore version (possibly a different species) is evergreen, and has smaller, shinier leaves, but only comes in yellowy-white flowers.

Cuttings are often sold of this plant at fairs. They are easy to start from cuttings, but the cuttings have to be firm. Soft cuttings usually rot and should be avoided. If making cuttings of your own, the cutting should be 'cured' for a week (left to dry out a bit until the cut end is dry to the touch) before placing back in a soil bed. Use the most well draining soil you can grow something in.

Neutral farmgirl21 On Aug 18, 2001, farmgirl21 from Hempstead, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Very easy to grow from cuttting, they like moist, well-drained slightly acidic soil. Super bloom every other week.

If planted in a pot or large tub, Plumeria can grow in any zone. To store in winter, keep it from freezing by removing it from its pot and wrapping in newspaper, or leave in pot, but water very little or not at all. You can also try to keep it growing in greenhouse.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Burbank, California
Carlsbad, California
Fullerton, California
Indio, California
Laguna Niguel, California
Lemoore, California
Los Angeles, California
San Diego, California (2 reports)
Tustin, California
Yorba Linda, California
Big Pine Key, Florida
Boca Raton, Florida
Cape Canaveral, Florida
Cape Coral, Florida (2 reports)
Clewiston, Florida
Daytona Beach, Florida
Deltona, Florida
Dunnellon, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Hollywood, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Kathleen, Florida
Lehigh Acres, Florida
Marathon Shores, Florida
Mulberry, Florida
New Port Richey, Florida
Ocoee, Florida
Orlando, Florida
Ruskin, Florida
Sebastian, Florida
Seminole, Florida
Tampa, Florida
Umatilla, Florida
Venice, Florida
West Palm Beach, Florida (2 reports)
Fort Valley, Georgia
Hawaiian Ocean View, Hawaii
Honomu, Hawaii
Kenner, Louisiana
Lafayette, Louisiana
St John, Mississippi
Broaddus, Texas
Brownsville, Texas
Canyon Lake, Texas
Dickinson, Texas
Galveston, Texas
Harlingen, Texas
Houston, Texas (2 reports)
La Vernia, Texas
Port Aransas, Texas
Portland, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
San Marcos, Texas
Santa Fe, Texas
Wimberley, Texas

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