Frangipani Plumeria Care for
Maximum Bloom

Follow my Plumeria care tips to get your plants bushy and strong. Then, let me show you how to give your well-branched frangipani plants "flower power".

Frangipani Bush Growing on Maui

A Brief Plumeria History

The first Plumeria was introduced to Hawaii by Dr. William Hillebrand in 1860. Its yellow-white flowers quickly drew the world's attention.

Botanists began scouring the tropics for other kinds and colors.

An evergreen Plumeria was found in Singapore in 1931. A red flowered variety was discovered in Mexico at about the same time. Hybridizers have been cross pollinating frangipani from that day to this one in the quest to produce different flower colors and forms.

White Plumeria flowers.

Plumeria grow into large, gorgeous trees when planted in the ground in Hawaii or Singapore. But, let's face it, container grown Plumeria are pretty plain when out of bloom.

For temperate zone collectors, it's all about the flowers. We want our frangipani to begin blooming early, flower prolifically, and bloom for months on end. What follows is the kind of Plumeria care that will help you achieve this:

  1. Do not over water. Over watering can cause bud drop, especially in young plants. Old, established trees tolerate over watering better.
  2. Prune only immediately after flowering. This way you don't risk removing buds that were just about to emerge.
  3. Feed your plumeria a high phosphorous fertilizer.

    Extra phosphorous will cause the plant to produce more and larger flowers.

    You could use a 10-30-10 formula or mix super phosphate into the potting soil. Spraying occasionally with an Epsom salt solution (1 teaspoon in a quart of water) will provide a boost.

    Begin feeding when the leaves first emerge in the spring. Stop once the plant begins to defoliate in the fall.

The most important aspect of Plumeria care for maximum bloom is choosing the right cultivar.

P. rubra cultivars will begin blooming in January in Hawaii and March in California, Texas, and Florida. Some cultivars will bloom for 6 months. Some of the Singapore obtusa varieties will bloom year round, resting briefly between flushes.

Where you are on the planet affects how much bloom you can get. Plumerias growing near the equator can bloom for more than 7 months at a stretch. While high altitudes, higher than average rainfall and reduced sunlight all result in fewer flowers.

How Branching Affects Bloom

Plumeria flower buds form at the branch tips, so more branch tips equals more blooms.

Something I have noticed with plants I have grown from cuttings is that they do not begin to flower until after they have formed at least 1 Y. They are like Angel Trumpet trees in this respect.

One of my cutting grown Plumeria plants.

You can see that first Y near the base of the plant where I have it tied to the stake.

The subsequent branching happened on its own.

I did not prune the plant to make it do this as I still wanted it to grow taller.

Once it is as tall as I want it to be, I will cut each branch back to make it bushier.

When you order cuttings, you will sometimes get branched cuttings. These will flower sooner than unbranched cuttings.

There isn't really anything you can do to make an unbranched cutting branch more quickly. Just stick it in a pot of barely moist soil, keep it shaded until leaves sprout and wait.

My trees (grown from unbranched cuttings) took about a year to branch.

Once the cutting leafs out, move it (gradually) into all day sun and follow the Plumeria care tips above.

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Your plant guides,

Selina and Tiny