Plumeria Flower- what is it? Even the name sounds exotic – and it is. Think of tropical flowers, think of Hawaii. Think of the Hawaiian “leis”, the welcome garland. They are native to Brazil, Mexico, and the Caribbean. But no matter your climate zone, there are ways you can have stunning plumeria flowers in your home.
The Symbolism Of The Plumeria Flower
In Hawaiian culture, the Plumeria Flower is very important. They are used prolifically as a welcome gift and they are a part of many celebrations. In Buddhism, they symbolize immortality because the plumeria bush blooms even when it has been uprooted. For this reason, plumeria trees are found in front of temples throughout Laos.
The Right Growing Conditions
Plumeria needs tropical conditions. The flowers look a bit like orchids. Orchids are, of course also tropical plants. The good news is that much like orchids plumeria flowers can also be grown indoors. Since plumeria needs acid soil, fertilize it organically with used coffee grounds once in a while. Then augment with a Phosphate-rich fertilizer from time to time. Too much nitrogen will make the plant “leggy”.
Since plumeria flowers enjoy tropical conditions, it’s a good idea to mist the plant, especially during summer temps. It requires full sun for at least six hours/day through the blooming season.
While misting the plant once in a while, especially in dry indoor conditions to replicate a bit of tropical moisture, Plumeria only needs to be watered once/month. In other words, water should be super sparingly.
So basically give this plant its specific growing conditions and forget about them. Basically little to no maintenance required.
Dormancy of Plumeria Flowers
Plumeria flowers define winter as temperatures below 50 degrees. In other words, it’s not what NewEnglanders define as winter temperatures. At 50 degrees or below plumerias go dormant. The plant or bush is deciduous, which means plumeria drops its leaves. This is normal. So don’t be concerned. Dropping its leaves is a natural process much like oak and other trees drop their leaves in the fall.
Pet Lovers Beware
The plumeria flower is a dermatitis danger. Be sure to keep dogs, cats, and toddlers away from the plumeria flowers and leaves, since they are mildly poisonous. While it’s not as strong as poisonous as oleander flowers and leaves, intestinal issues like vomiting and diarrhea when ingesting any part of the plant are well-known.
They come in many colors and varieties from white to pink to yellow and combinations and variations thereof. Find the right color for your home and try growing a plumeria flower in your home. It is a stunning plant.
Photo by Joshua J. Cotton