Plumeria (Plumeria spp., USDA zones 10-12), also called frangipani, is a tropical plant native to Mexico, Central America and Asia. It grows as a small tree with gracefully angled branches that reach up to 25 feet tall. When your plumeria will bloom depends on the age of the tree, the season of the year and the amount of light, water and fertilizer its had.
A plumeria usually displays its blooms from early summer until fall. They usually don't start blooming until the tree is 3 years old, although some can bloom sooner.
About Plumeria Trees
The plumeria tree bears elongated oval leaves and attractive flowers that come in a variety of colors, from white to yellow to fuchsia pink. The flowers are usually between 2 and 4 inches with a tubular shape and a waxy appearance. Terminal clusters at the stem ends display flowers with five overlapping petals.
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Because plumeria is a plant that grows in tropical and sub-tropical regions, it needs similar conditions to grow well at your home. Ensure that you imitate the warm, humid conditions to allow your tree to grow and blossom.
Plumeria is hardy down to 33 degrees Fahrenheit. Protect the tree with mulch and landscape cloth if temperatures remain below this for several days. Plumeria can also be grown indoors under grow lights. The pot should be large enough to act as a ballast so the plant does not tip over as it grows taller.
Plumeria Tree Care
Plant your plumeria in an area that gets full sun for at least half the day. Plant on soil that drains well. If necessary, add organic material like peat moss or compost to amend the soil and assist drainage.
Water generously during dry periods. Withhold water during the plant's dormant period, from December through March. Plumeria requires fertilizer that is high in phosphorus (the P number in the middle of the three numbers on the fertilizer bag). Fertilize every two weeks during the growing season, according to soil-test results, and not at all in the dormant season.
Spray weekly with insecticidal soap if pests are present. Prune broken or misshapen branches from the tree at any time of the year, although winter is the best time.
When Does Plumeria Bloom?
Generally, small plumeria plants won't bloom until the tree is three years old, but they may bloom sooner if conditions are right. Plumeria will bloom throughout the summer months, starting in early summer and going until fall, in the northern hemisphere if given the basic conditions that they need for blossom production.
Pruned branches may see a delay in blooming. Mature, established trees withstand pruning without a reduction in blossom production. The number of flowers your plumeria produces can vary greatly, but you can expect to see more blooms on a compact plant than on a leggy one. Plumeria trees will drop leaves and rest in between bloom periods.
Plumeria Blooming Problems
If your plumeria doesn't bloom, it could be due to poor growing conditions. Move the tree to a location with more sunlight. Increase fertilizing with a high-phosphorus plant fertilizer. Water the tree as soon as the surface soil becomes dry. Plumeria also needs replenishment of micronutrients like copper, boron, magnesium, calcium and sulfur. Plant supplements with these additional nutrients are available at garden centers and plant nurseries, and soil-test results will indicate specific nutrient needs and quantities to supply.