Pruning Plumerias After a Frost

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Damage from a frost will not travel down the plant, but rot will. After a frost, plumeria stems that are damaged will turn black, all of the blackness must be cut off and some extra to prevent rot infections that will travel through the plant. Continue reading “Pruning Plumerias After a Frost”

Grow Plumeria in Southern California

Plumerias are kind…

And thoughtful, they drop their leaves in the coldest part of the year so you can have more sunshine and warmth. Your plumeria is not dead, it’s just on winter break.

In California, plumerias drop their leaves starting around Christmas time and then start leafing out after a couple of months. Some types of plumerias start before their leaves grow back, putting on a spectacular show.

A good way to kill plumeria is to plant it in a wet clay soil in the shade. Think of them as a kind of cactus with beautiful leaves and flowers. Keep them cool and damp and they will rot.

Sun

Plumerias are a tropical dry-adapted plant and they love full sun. Sometimes plumerias don’t bloom if they get too much shade, 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight is best.

Soil

Plumerias In Containers

Plumerias make good container plants. To prevent fungal growth, plumerias need light soil with excellent drainage drainage. Sand and cactus mix with pumice or perlite will improve the drainage; wood chips or other compost can be added.Clay pots are better then plastic because they breathe.

Plumerias in the Ground

Plumerias will grow in poor soils and still produce an acceptable plant. If your soil drainage is poor, plant them on a slope where there can be no standing water. Or plant plumeria in a raised planter bed with a good draining mix.

 

Tips on Growing Plumerias in Areas with Frost

Tips on Growing Plumerias in Areas with Frost

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Plumerias can survive a short freeze even a dip into the 20s, but longer than 30 minutes will begin to kill the bud ends. When the temperature drops below freezing, the latex sap freezes.

Frost Prediction

If there is going to be a freeze spray water on your plumerias, This is exactly what citrus growers do during frost. The dry surface and dust will attract frost crystals to the plant and cause it to freeze, also the water on the surface will freeze and absorb all of the cold as it freezes, saving the plant underneath. If you can set the sprinkler to water them at 4 AM and 5 AM, which are the coldest points of the night, that would be excellent.

Wrapping up plumeria with a blanket or tarp or overhead plastic can also save the plant. But plastic to cover your plants because it will retain the cold under and help freeze the plant. Some people put cotton socks over the tips.

Incandescent (Old-fashioned non-LED) Christmas lights can be wrapped around the plant for additional heat.

Plumeria in Containers

Exposed plumeria in containers will be killed if left out in the frost.

  • Before the Frost move the containers under a patio or protected roof area if not inside.
  • Water them and spray them down
  • Wrap them in a blanket
  • Move them to someplace where they can get warm air or against a warm wall or building

Pruning Plumerias After a Frost

 

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plumeria for sale near me

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Plumeria vs Frangipani vs Frangipane The confusing names of plumeria, the lei flower

Plumeria has a rich history surrounding its name, enticing fragrance, pastry and lore. It has several names that include a fragrance and a dessert.

Frangipani

This name for plumeria is associated with fragrance, perfumes, creams and soaps especially in Europe and the old world.

Actually, the history of the name is muddled.

The Frangipani family was a powerful Roman patrician clan in the Middle Ages. The name comes from frangi “breaking” + pani “bread,” a reference to the family’s distribution of bread in time of famine. In the sixteenth-century this noble family in Italy claimed to invent a plumeria-scented perfume (in reality they made a synthetic perfume that was said that resembled the odor of the recently discovered flowers).

This family’s name became attached to the plumeria when apparently either a Marquise, his wife or his nephew or someone related, sold this perfume for riding gloves. Due to the fact that riding gloves really stank in the 16th-century (because people rode horses all day), it was important to have a strong fragrance hiding the smell. Because the perfume was a big success, when the flower became well known in Europe, the flower was named for this fragrance.

frangipane tart slice Gros_plan_de_galette_des_rois
Frangipane pastry, this is the French “Galette_des_Rois” served on January 6th, Epiphany

Frangipane

Frangipane is the singular form of the family name Frangipani and an alternate spelling of the Italian name. But more famously frangipane is the name of a pastry ingredient. Similar to a marzipan, it’s a mixture of almond flour, egg, sugar and butter. Supposedly the smell of almonds, sugar and some spices reminded people of the the fragrance of the plumeria/frangipani flower. It may also be associated because “pane” means bread. It’s the filling in an almond croissant as well as the French Epiphany (Three Kings Day) cake contain frangipane almond cream. In Britain, the cake itself is called a frangipane.

Plumeria

Charles Plumier botanist engraved portrait print
Charles Plumier – French botanist for whom Plumeria is named

The plumeria family (genus) is named in honor of the seventeenth-century French botanist Charles Plumier. He traveled to the New World, particularly the Caribbean where our plumeria are mostly from. Plumier is considered one of the most important of the botanical explorers of his time, documenting many plant and animal species. He made three botanizing expeditions to the West Indies, which resulted in a massive work Nova Plantarum Americanarum Genera (1703–04) and was appointed botanist to king Louis XIV of France.

Lei Flower

Plumeria is also called lei flower, because it was used frequently in the past and given to visitors. Popular due to its large size, lasting fragrance, and because it’s sturdy structure makes it easy to string. Plumeria also grows vigorously and produces large numbers of flowers in a perfect tropical array of colors. Visitors to Hawaii have become knowledgeable and sophisticated therefore this name has fallen from use. Many flowers are used for lei making today.