Plumeria, also known as frangipani, temple tree and Hawaiian lei flower, is a deciduous flowering shrub or small tree that is native to tropical Mexico, Central America and Venezuela. Prized for its highly fragrant blooms in shades of pink, white, red and yellow, plumeria makes a lovely addition to home landscapes in USDA plant hardiness zones nine through 11. Luckily, gardeners outside of these hardiness zones can experience the joy of growing plumeria by planting their plumeria in a container and over-wintering it indoors. Whether you're growing your plant indoors or outside, learning to care for your tropical plumeria is simple and rewarding.
Plant your plumeria in a full-sun location in your home landscape that receives between six and eight hours of direct sunlight each day. Plant your plumeria in a container if you live in a climate where temperatures dip below 50 degrees F. Use a blend of equal parts peat moss, coarse builder's sand and perlite as the growing medium for potted plumeria plants. Position potted plumeria plants on a porch or patio where they can receive six to eight hours of sunlight each day.
Water your plumeria as often as necessary to keep its soil or growing medium from completely drying out. Keep the soil or growing medium moist, but never soggy, and allow the top one-half inch of soil or growing medium to dry to the touch between watering to avoid over-hydrating your plumeria.
Feed your plumeria plant with an application of a water-soluble, high-phosphorous fertilizer every other week during the spring and summer. Apply the fertilizer application according to the directions on the product label for best results. Cease fertilization in the fall and winter, when your plumeria is dormant.
Prune your plumeria plant in the spring, if desired, to control its size and shape or remove diseased, dead or broken branches. Minimize pruning stress by using only sharpened and sterilized pruning shears to make clean, angled cuts when pruning your plumeria. Dip the plumeria's pruning cuts in cool water to minimize the flow of the naturally-occurring latex sap.
Protect your plumeria from winter temperatures in cold climates. Move potted plumeria plants indoors in the late fall or early winter. Position potted plumeria near a window where it can receive at least six hours of bright sunlight per day. Water your potted plumeria very little, if at all, during the winter to prevent root rot. Return your plumeria to its original location in the spring, after the last chance of frost.