Plumeria are not indigenous to Hawaii. A German botanist brought them here in 1860. They quickly became popular and now account for more than 95% of all flowers sold in nurseries throughout the state.
The genus Plumeria is made up of about 75 species of evergreen trees and shrubs native to tropical regions of the world, especially South America. Although the plants have leathery leaves and small white or pink flowers, they are not related to roses or peonies.
They were introduced to Hawaii because their large beautiful flowers were much admired by Europeans who visited the islands. At first the plants were grown for their beauty but soon they were used as hedges around houses and along roads due to their resistance to heat, rain, and snow.
Today many different varieties of plumeria are grown in Hawaii. The most popular colors include red, pink, coral, orange, and yellow. Even green plums are available for those who want to add style to their garden.
Plumeria are easy to grow from seed. Just like other plants in the rose family, plumeria need full sun and well-drained soil.
You might be shocked to learn that the plumeria is not a native Hawaiian flower. In reality, a German botanist brought it there in the mid-1800s. However, plumeria flowers grow in tropical soil and bloom throughout the summer, and there are several types to choose from. These include: pom-poms, doubles, and globes.
Pom-poms have large clusters of pink or white flowers with a green center. They make great additions for bouquets because of their unique shape. Doubles have two plumes on each stem instead of one. Globes have many small petals around a central disk. These are some of the most popular varieties of plumeria because of their beauty and ease of growing.
Plumeria can be grown in any type of soil as long as it has some moisture during dry periods. It needs full sun and plenty of water during drought conditions. The plant will also benefit from some fish fertilizer applied twice a year. Flowering plants need phosphorus (above ground) and nitrogen (below ground).
When you get your plumeria planted, give it a gentle hand when digging its hole. Be careful not to damage the roots while moving it into its new home. After planting, apply a thick layer of mulch to help retain moisture and prevent weeds.
Plumerias are native to Singapore and were imported to Hawaii in the 1860s. Plumeria rubra 'Kauka Wilder' and 'Smith's Candystripe' have sweetly fragrant variations. Plumeria grows nicely in pots and makes a wonderful pool or spaside plant. 9-11 zones depending on variety.
The fragrance of plumeria is very popular with bees, which use the odor to guide them to nectar-rich flowers. The plants also make an excellent background scent for garden designs.
Some species of plumeria have been used in ceremonial practices by some Native American tribes. The flower spikes were often worn as headdress decorations or placed in hair plaits. They are still used in this manner by members of certain tribes in Arizona and New Mexico.
There are more than 100 species of plumeria, most of which are tropical or subtropical. Some species are cultivated for their decorative flowers. Others are used in cooking or medicine.
In Japan, the flower spikes of plumeria are used to make candles. The wood from which they are carved is usually from a single tree; therefore, each candle maker tries to use wood from the same plant so that they will all have a similar smell.
In Indonesia, plumeria is one of the first flowers to bloom after the rainy season has ended.
William Hillebrand, M.D. Dr. William Hillebrand, a German scientist, introduced the plant to the islands in 1860, and it thrived in Hawaii's warm temperature and volcanic soil. Plumeria grows well in hot, dry climates and may be found in Hawaii from sea level to 2,000 feet in height.
The flower has become one of the symbols of Hawaii because it is found in the colors of the Hawaiian flag (i.e., red, white, and black). Also, "plumeria" is the Hawaiian word for "beautiful."
In addition, the plumeria tree has been used for ritual purposes by various cultures throughout history. The Hawaiians would use the flowers when praying for good weather or when wishing someone success in love. They also made them into necklaces and placed them in their hair when going on a picnic or to a party.
Finally, the plumeria tree has been associated with death since its introduction to the islands. When someone has died, their friends and family will bring flowers from around the world to lay on the body. If no one brings plumeria, it is believed that the person has died.
Even though the plumeria tree isn't native to North America, it is still grown here as a decorative plant. It can be found in parks, along roadsides, and at home landscaping projects.
Plumeria The Hawaiian floral lei is noted for its fragrant plumeria! Also known as jasmine or rose-scented cotton, the plumeria has a sweet scent that's similar to that of roses. It's used in making leis for sale in Hawaii.
Kauai Island: On Kaua'i and the other islands of the "Leeward Chain," the floral lei is called kukui or oil tree. It has a large white flower with a green center that drops petals when blown against. This plant gets its name from the fact that it produces oil when tapped.
Maui Island: On Maui, the floral lei is called hala. It can be red, pink, or white, and like the plumeria, it has a strong scent that some say resembles that of pineapple. Hales also make a woody vine called hala trees very popular today. These were originally planted by the island's early settlers as shade trees.
Lanai Island: On Lanai, the floral lei is called Akaawahie. It has reddish flowers with yellow centers that look like sunflowers grown together.
In warm areas like Hawaii, they can grow to be big trees with fragrant blossoms (which are used to make leis). I took my first plumeria cuttings home from Hawaii some years ago and have subsequently reproduced my plumerias multiple times. It's enjoyable and simple! You need only one tree for your cutting garden.
You can propagate plumeria by taking softwood or semi-hardwood cuttings in the spring before new growth appears. The best time to do this is about a month after the last frost. Plunge the cuttings into a mixture of half sand: half soil in a container and keep them well watered until they establish themselves. Then transfer them to a larger pot or place in the ground when the risk of winter injury has passed. In general, plumeria needs full sun and plenty of water to do well. If it doesn't get enough water, its leaves will start to turn yellow and fall off. This is normal as plants need oxygen circulating through their tissues to function properly. But if they get drought-stressed for several days in a row, then their energy levels will drop and they won't be able to produce viable seeds or new shoots.
Plumeria can be damaged by frost, so check the date on your last frost warning sign before you put your cuttings out. Also protect them during cold periods by covering them with an insulating sheet or wrapping them in newspaper.