A beautiful plant with fragrant flowers, plumeria is a favorite among gardeners and horticultural enthusiasts. As with any flowering species, conditions need to be just right for these plants to thrive, but luckily, their requirements are few and fairly easy to meet.
What is Plumeria?
Best known as the flower of choice in Hawaiian leis, plumeria is a tropical tree that yields fragrant flowers that are waxy to the touch. Their stems are thick and tough, and their leaves are large and leathery. A tropical species, plumeria require an abundance of sunlight, water and warmth to reach their healthiest state.
The most important thing to keep in mind when caring for plumeria is their environment. Because these plants are native to tropical regions, their surroundings should mimic these conditions as closely as possible. Warm climates make for the happiest plumeria plants, typically between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live in an area where temperatures tend to drop below 40 degrees Fahrenheit at any time, keep it in a container that's easily transportable so you can bring it indoors and keep it protected from chills and frost.
Plumeria also needs an adequate amount of sunlight to thrive, so place your plant in a spot where it can enjoy full sun or partial shade for four to six hours per day. If your home doesn't get great direct light, you can keep your plant under a fluorescent bulb as well, just add about ten hours to the exposure time.
As they are used to more humid surroundings they will need to be watered, on average, about one inch per week, depending on the size. Like most plants, however, too much water can result in unhappy roots, so be sure to keep your plant in a container with adequate drainage to prevent possible issues like root rot.
One way to ensure the care of your plumeria plant is with regular fertilizing, which will help it grow and possibly flower. To nourish your plant, look for a high-phosphorus variety that's low in nitrogen for the best results, and stick to a feeding schedule of every two to four weeks during the growing season.
Things to Keep in Mind
Some plumeria is prone to insect infestations, especially indoor varieties. To keep your plant free to possible pests like spider mites or mealy bugs, check its leaves and stems regularly. If you find bugs on your plumeria plant, keep them under control with insecticidal soap or neem oil, the latter of which is great for spot-treating problems as they arise.
While plumeria is mostly admired for their gorgeous flowers, getting a plant to grow indoors is not always an easy task, so try not to get too frustrated if your plant isn't yielding petals right away. Most plants need to mature to flower anyhow, so if your plant is less than two or three years old, just keep sticking to a regular routine and be patient.