Plumeria - Apocynaceae - Plumeria plant cultivation and care

Plumeria - Apocynaceae - Plumeria plant cultivation and care



There Plumeria, native to the tropical areas of Central America and the Caribbean areas, known as plumiera or pomelia but better known as frangipaniit is without fear of being proven wrong, a jewel of nature.






: Angiosperms


: Eudicotyledons


: Asteris











: see the paragraph on "Main species"


The genre Plumeria

also known as opomelia plumiera but better known as frangipani belongs to

family of Apocynaceae

and it is a plant native to the tropical areas of Central America and the Caribbean areas that we could define, without fear of being proven wrong, a natural jewel. Certainly there Plumeria it can be considered the most exotic plant that there is and that recalls tropical countries and looking at it and feeling its scent fills our heart.

They are shrubby plants

which in optimal conditions (countries of origin) reach considerable dimensions, even 10 m, with a very developed root system and very branched stems, provided with wrinkled bark on which the scars left by the fall of the leaves remain impressed. Both the stem and the branches never become properly woody but remain fibrous and rich in a whitish latex.


they can fall during the winter or be persistent, depending on the species, petiolate, alternate, of a beautiful more or less intense green color, oval, whole, more or less pointed and not particularly leathery.

THE flowers with a waxy appearance, they are large from 5 to 10 cm in length, formed by 5-7 petals and are gathered at the top of the branches, more or less pedunculated, with colors ranging from pink, to red, to white, to pass to shades of yellow, Orange and pink Pollination is anemophilous (by the wind) or by insects fruit of Plumeriait is a pod (follicle) arranged in pairs with numerous seeds from 20 to 100 depending on the species, about 1-2cm long depending on the species and formed on one side by a wing (due to the dispersion by the wind) and on a "plump" side placed at the other end that contains embryo.

The seeds of Plumeria

they take several months (8-9 months) to mature. In Mediterranean climates there is no formation of many pods (especially if the plant is grown in pots) and the seeds do not always reach maturity as the cold and the long maturation times cause their process to stop.

They are very long-lived plants and in the countries of origin (Central America) there are centenary Frangipani plants.


There are several difrangipan species but even more are the many hybrids that in recent years have been created thanks to the great interest that these plants arise for their incredible beauty.


There Plumeria rubra it is the most common and widespread species. It has leaves that can reach 40-50 cm in length and the flowers vary in color from white to red to yellow. It is a plant that can reach considerable dimensions.

There are many varieties among which we remember the Plumeria rubravar. acutifolia which is the most resistant to cold with large white flowers with a yellow heart and is very fragrant.


There Plumeria obtusa it is evergreen and is characterized by smaller leaves than the other species, with a rounded tip and white flowers with a yellow heart.


There Plumeria pudica it has very particular shaped leaves and white flowers with a greenish-yellow heart.

Contrary to other species it is not a fragrant plant.


The Plumeria they are not difficult plants to grow

just remember that being native to tropical areas they need high temperatures, sun, water, good nourishment. Their biggest enemy is the cold. They are in fact plants that must be grown in full sun and can be grown both in pots and in the ground.

The important thing for ifrangipans is not the maximum cultivation temperatures but the minimum ones

. In fact, during the winter temperatures must not drop below 5 ° C. The cold can seriously damage the plant and even lead to its death Plumeria therefore if it is cultivated in places where during the winter the temperatures drop significantly it is better, if it is kept in the garden, to raise it in pots and then take it in the winter in sheltered places. It should be borne in mind that "vegetative stasis" for this plant is not said in a broad sense but in the sense that it enters its vegetative rest and completely stops all its functions. It can therefore be safely moved and "left to hibernate" in a poorly lit place, but that is hot (around 15 ° C or more is fine) and with good air circulation.

Almost all Plumeria during the winter they lose their leaves

. Eventually they can also be cut leaving a small piece of petiole (about 2 cm) which will subsequently dry up by itself and fall. During the winter, a certain wrinkling of the plants can be observed. Don't worry, it's normal. Once they are brought back outdoors or in any case as the summer season begins and you start watering them again, the plants will return to beautiful luxuriant life.

They are plants that love the air

therefore if grown indoors, ensure them a good airing, if grown outdoors do not plant them too close to each other. But beware of cold air currents that are not tolerated at any time of the year.


From spring and throughout the summer there Plumeriashould be watered generously

but without leaving water stagnation in the saucer and if grown outdoors, at the time of the arrangement, take care not to place it in correspondence with depressions of the ground where both irrigation water and rainwater could accumulate. hands in the ground for a few centimeters to understand if the soil is dry or still wet: if it is dry then proceed, otherwise wait.

Starting in autumn

, when the frangipane starts to turn the leaves yellow and open them, start to thin out the irrigations until they stop completely when the leaves have all fallen, until spring. The vegetative rest in this plant is practically absolute so even if you only see some bare branches, without leaves and you think you have to do something, hold back and let it rest in peace. With the arrival of spring yours Plumeria it will recover and be more beautiful than before. Water is essential for the flowering of the Plumeria. With scarce irrigation, the plant tends to enter a sort of vegetative stasis and cause the flower buds to dry out to reduce water losses and ensure the life of the plant. However, do not overdo the watering and make sure that the water does not stagnate at the level of the roots as this can cause rotting of the roots.During the summer, in consideration of the fact that the soil moisture is important, to your plumerie, to avoid too rapid evaporation of the water from the soil, you can use mulch (for example, finely chopped bark is good) which among other things will keep the roots cool in summer and warm in winter.


There Plumeria it is repotted in April

, practically every year. If the plant has grown too large and repotting is problematic and the plant is several years old, you can then remove the top layer of soil for about 2.5-3cm and replace it with fresh potting compost.

Good soil is essential for this plant to ensure healthy growth and good flowering. The first thing to keep in mind is that it must have as its primary characteristic the possibility of allowing rapid draining of excess water and at the same time maintaining humidity for a certain number of days.

A mixture could be made up as follows: 1 part of fertile soil, 1 part of coarse bark, 1 part of organic substance and 1 part of perlite (or coarse sand). For this plant a good soil for Cactaceae is also recommended with the addition of perlite or sand. coarse.

Another important aspect to keep in mind when repotting is the size of the pot. Frangipani are plants that need space for root development, so don't choose pots that are too small. One way that is indicated to know the size of the pot to adopt is to calculate a 4-liter pot for each 30 cm of height of the plant.

Personally, I always recommend using clay pots even if for this plant many opt for plastic pots (more drainage holes and less expensive). to ensure a good percolation of the water, well, I would say that it is perfect.


From spring and throughout the summer it is necessary to fertilize

every 2-3 weeks with a liquid fertilizer to be diluted in irrigation water.

Starting from autumn and for the whole winter, fertilization must be suspended completely because the Plumeria it goes in total vegetative rest so that fertilizers must not be given as they would accumulate in the soil, creating a harmful environment for the roots of the plant.

To ensure excellent growth and excellent flowering, when the vegetative restart is to be administered a fertilizer equally balanced in nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (for example 30: 30: 30 i.e. 30 parts of nitrogen, 30 parts of potassium and 30 parts of phosphorus). Around May switch to a fertilizer that has a very high infosphorus titer (e.g. 10:50:10) which will benefit flowering. In fact, nitrogen favors the development of green parts to the detriment of flowers as well as potassium.

In addition to nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (macroelements), however, make sure that the fertilizer you use for your frangipani always contains microelements such as iron (Fe), magnesium (Mg), manganese (Mn), zinc (Zn ), copper (Cu), molybdenum (Mo), boron (B), all important for correct plant growth.


If you insure the Plumeriathe right amount of sunlight, water and fertilizer, as indicated in the respective paragraphs,

the blooms you will have will be unforgettable


The plant usually starts flowering from the month of May and continues throughout the summer.


There Plumeria grown as a houseplant practically does not require pruning

; at the limit, at the time of repotting, the branches that have grown badly or dry are eliminated.

Large pruning interventions are also not necessary for outdoor ifrangipans as they by their nature have a symmetrical development but if they are necessary, to remove sick or damaged parts from the cold or from pathologies or to give a different bearing to the plant, they must be carried out in early spring .

If the plant is too tall and you want to reduce it, cut off the upper branches, this will cause the plant to produce side branches.

Even in the case of pruning I will never tire of repeating it: sterilize, possibly over the flame (or with alcohol or bleach), the shears you use to cut especially when you pass from one plant to another.


There Plumeria it multiplies by cutting or by seed

. In choosing which technique to use, it is necessary to keep in mind that multiplication by seed presents the handicap that, taking over the genetic variability, does not give the certainty of having the same plants as the mother plants, in which case if you want to obtain a very precise unfrangipani or you are not sure that the seed you use is of good quality, it is preferable to opt for multiplication by cuttings.


The cutting of Plumeria it can be taken at any time of the year but its rooting takes place in spring or early summer. If you catch lethals in a period other than spring you can keep them in a warm and dry place in the air or better by immersing the cut part in dry sand also in this case there are percentages of non-rooting so, to be safe, take them in spring.

The apical cuttings should be about 35-45 cm long and even longer by cutting them immediately below the node. Shorter cuts have shown that the cutting has more difficulty in rooting and takes longer to flower. Also choose it from Plumerie that are healthy and robust.

It is recommended to cut obliquely as this allows for a greater surface for rooting and prevents water from accumulating on this surface.Use a razor blade or a very sharp knife to avoid fraying of the fabrics and that it is clean and disinfected (preferably over a flame or with bleach or alcohol) to avoid infecting the tissues and disinfect it at each cut.

After cutting, leave the cuttings to rest by placing them in a dry and warm place for about 7 days in order to heal the wound.

While waiting for the wound to heal, dust the cut part with a rhizogenic powder mixed with a good broad spectrum fungicide (available from a good nurseryman) to encourage rooting and prevent any fungal attacks. dark peat and coarse sand.

Make a hole with a pencil and arrange it as shown in the photo. Then take care to gently compact the soil.

The soil, immediately after planting, should be watered abundantly until the water comes out of the drainage holes. After that, place the vase in the sun. A further source of heat at the base of the pot helps rooting so you can place it, in the hottest hours, on a concrete slab exposed to the sun or in any case on a warm floor.

Water when you notice that the soil becomes dry.

Once the first shoots begin to appear (usually after 6-8 weeks) it means that the Plumeria has taken root.


If you plan to use the seeds that your difrangipani plant produces, keep in mind that they take a long time to mature so do not cut the pods from the mother plant even if they seem ripe to you as in reality the seeds take 8-9 months to reach maturity. Leave them all winter, if anything, wrapped in gauze or a nylon sock to prevent the seeds from dispersing when the pods open.

A single pod can contain 20 to 100 seeds. You notice that the seeds are about to ripen when the pod has turned black and begins to open at the juncture points. From that moment, after about a month, the pod will open completely and release the seeds.

The flowering times of a Plumeria from seed are extremely variable. Generally speaking, it can be said that starting from the third year they could begin to flourish even if giving precise indications is approximate enough. In any case, it will take a few years.

The seeds of Plumeria they must be sown in a compote consisting of three parts of fertile soil and one of coarse sand and must be buried as shown in the photo, so that the flap remains in the air and the "plump" part buried.

The pot should be placed in the sun and the soil is kept constantly humid until the moment of germination which takes place after about 7-15 days. At that point, continue to breed the plant as you have done up to that point until it releases the third-fourth leaf. At that point you can pick up the Plumeria with all the earthenware and transplant it into a larger pot with the soil indicated for adult plants and treat it as such. Generally after about 1 year they have a height of about 30 cm, in the second year about 60-100 cm, in the third year 100-150 cm and they could start flowering.

It is also possible in the Plumeria proceed with the grafts, in order to obtain plants with flowers of different colors.


The Plumeria they are not plants particularly prone to diseases. In any case, the pathologies that can be found are the following.

Dark spots on the underside of the leaves

The presence of these spots could mean that there is an infestation by part of the cochineal, brown or cottony. To be sure of the presence of this insect, just take a magnifying glass: the cottony cochineal appears as small cotton balls while the brown cochineal is generally characterized by a sort of dark and shiny discus. Both, if you try to remove them even with a fingernail, they come off very easily.

Remedies: you can use a cotton swab soaked in alcohol with which to rub the parts where you notice the presence of the insect. If the plant is large and potted, it can also be washed with a soapy sponge with mild soap (remember to wash the plant thoroughly afterwards). If, on the other hand, the infestation is particularly serious, use an anticoccidial that you can find at specialized centers.

Leaves with small yellow or brown spots

If after these you notice then that the leaves turn yellow, crumple and become almost dusty, almost certainly an infestation by part of the red spider is underway.These are very dangerous and harmful mites for the plant also characterized by the fact that they form thin cobwebs, especially on the lower page of the leaves.

Remedies: the first thing to do is to create a more humid environment around the plant as dry environments favor their proliferation.If the attack is particularly serious, however, it is necessary to intervene with specific acaricides that can be found in specialized centers for gardening or in the Consorziagrari.

Leaves with small rust-colored spots

On the leaves there are small necrotic brownish spots of angular shape in correspondence with which small rust-colored pustules are subsequently formed, mainly on the lower page. It is an attack of so-called rust caused by a fungus (the Coleosporium spp.) very harmful, with the spread of the infection the leaves drop prematurely.

Remedies: eliminate and immediately remove the affected leaves from the plants and the cultivation area to prevent them from spreading the infection as the pustules that form are nothing more than the propagation organs of the fungus that contain thousands of spores inside them. After that, a specific pesticide for rust must be used, available in specialized shops or at Consorziagrari.


The term frangipani as this plant is more commonly called, it derives from a famous perfume, very widespread in the 12th century, created by an Italian nobleman Muzio Frangipani, as the fragrance of the Plumeria he remembered this perfume.

Frangipani is grown practically everywhere, where the climatic conditions allow it. For example in India it is called plan of the temple why his flowers are brought as an offering to temples; in Hawaii it is normally used to make garlands to give to guests as a sign of friendship and peace and to adorn wedding parties.

There is another plant which in Australia is called Christmas Frangipanibut in reality it is not one Plumeria is theHymenosporum flavum (photo below) belonging to the family of Pittosporaceae.

Video: Plumeria obtusa Apocynaceae