Plumerias are also called frangipanis and are one of the most beautiful and fragrant trees in the plant world. They are all natives of the New World tropics and the word plumeria connotes perfume. There are 7 species and over 200 named varieties. From their native habitat in the American tropics they have been introduced to all tropical areas of the world with great success. Plumeria flowers are what leis are made of in Hawaii. Their growth habits, shape and leaf along with floral beauty are unrivaled among trees. With proper care and attention plumeria can be successfully grown throughout the U.S and make wonderful pot plants. Plumerias have very few insect or disease problems. Just feed and water and protect them from freezing temperatures and they do great.
The fragrances of plumeria flowers are legendary, ranging from coconut to jasmine and including citrus, rose, honeysuckle, raspberry, spice, apricot and peach. Flower color varies from pure white to deep red with yellows, golds, oranges, roses, pinks and all combinations in between. The plumeria is unique among trees because it can be lifted from the soil in the colder months and stored in a basement, garage, greenhouse or other enclosure for the winter, then replanted after the last frost, and brought into bloom. The plumeria plant goes dormant in the winter losing its leaves and requires no care. They grow and bloom well in the ground or in containers. In containers they are wonderful for creating tropical floral highlights in gardens, or on patios or decks, and along walkways. But make sure to give plumerias protection when temperatures drop below 38°F.
- In Australia, this flower is known as frangipani.
- The plumeria is related to the oleander.
- The milky sap of the plumeria is poisonous and may irritate the eyes and skin.
- The flowers are most fragrant at night; they use their scent to attract moths for pollination.
- The flowers don’t have nectar.
- The Plumeria was named in honor of Charles Plumier, a French botanist.
- In folk literature, plumeria is thought to believe to provide shelter for ghosts and demons.
- In the Philippines and Indonesia, plumeria is often planted in cemeteries.
- In Hawaii, when a woman wears a plumeria flower in the hair over the right ear, it means that she is single and looking; worn on the left side, she is taken.
- The plumeria tree is also be known as the Temple Tree because they are often planted in temples all over Asia for their fragrant flowers.
- Plumeria is the national flower of Nicaragua and Laos.
- The trees can grow up to 30 feet in height with a wide, broad canopy.
- The fragrant flowers appear in clusters, and also at the ends of the branches.