A Chick Does Tropical Garden

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Perfect Plumeria

There is no more perfect plant to me than the plumeria.  I didn't realize it, but it is also called  "frangipani".  My mom used to buy these unbelievable smelling candles at Christmas time with the frangipani scent.  I had been unable to find this scent, but then somehow discovered that these two plants are one and the same.  Now, when I look for scented candles I try to find a "plumeria" scented one.

Plumerias are the plants that Hawaiian lei's are made out of.  In fact, all of the plumerias in my garden I got directly from Hawaii on my visits there.  They come in this little sack and it just looks like a foot-long stick.  You just cram it into the ground or a pot and watch it grow.  Well, sometimes it grows. 
This plumeria is called "Candy Stripe".  It's the only one of my plumerias that bloomed this year.  I think I have discovered that it might take a couple of years for a plumeria to bloom from the "stick" that you buy in Hawaii.  I got this one over a year ago.  However, I think that potted plants that you can buy at Houston Garden or any other nursery might bloom that year.  I don't know because I haven't tried.  However, once the plumeria blooms, it goes on, and on, and on.....  and the scent is remarkable!

This plumeria is a red one that I also got in Hawaii.  When I bought it, it was just labeled "Red Plumeria", but after a bit of research I discovered that the name of it is really "Kauka Wilder."  Unfortunately, Ms. Wilder passed away in the harsh frost we had last year.  It made me very, very, sad.  But, I know of a nursery who carries this, (who also provided me the correct name) and I'm going to buy another because it is GORGEOUS.  It, too, did not bloom the first year that I got it.
Plumeria (front)
I've found that my plumerias don't like the direct Houston sun.  They seem to do better if they are out of the sun a bit, but not completely shaded.  They do love the humidity, though.  I think that you could probably grow these in Seattle, as well -- just make sure they get plenty of the sun when it comes out.

I'm not sure that fertilizing them helps any more to help them to bloom...I've tried some Superbloom, and still only one bloomed this year.  I will try it again next spring and see if that might help.  I will also take more care to cover them or bring them inside in the winter when it is supposed to freeze...the red one was in the ground, so now all of my plumerias will be going in and staying in POTS.



Plumerias won't create "branches" from the "stick" until they bloom.  Once they bloom, you can get two or three branches off of each area of bloom.  The plumerias that I bought had already bloomed and so the "stick" was one that had a separate branch off of it.  Here is how the plumeria looks, branched out:

I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next year!  I'm sure this plant will grow in leaps and bounds, and I'll be sure to bring it inside during a freeze!







GROOVY COOLNESS GADGET


T.K. Goforth is a musician and author of the well-received book "Chord Piano is Fun!" She also writes a music blog called "Chord Piano Chick's Mostly Musical Musings.
Chord Piano Is Fun

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T.K. Goforth is a musician and author of the well-received book "Chord Piano is Fun!" She also writes a music blog called "Chord Piano Chick's Mostly Musical Musings.
Chord Piano Is Fun