How to take care of your Plumeria / Frangipani
Plumeria, also known as Frangipani or Hawaiian lei flower, is an exotic tropical plant that is easy to grow. It can be easily maintained as a small tree grown in a container on the patio or in the garden. Plumeria require at least 6 to 8 hours of sun to produce blooms. Mature plants bloom from May through November, depending on where you live and the length of your growing season.
Plumerias love sun, the more the better. Six to Eight hours of full blazing sun is necessary for best blooming. Plumerias will not produce bloom stems (inflorescences) without adequate sun exposure. Full sun (sunup to sundown) is BEST.
Plumeria need water, but can withstand extended periods of being dry. Small pots may need to be watered daily, while Large pots or those in the ground may not need it as often, whatever works best for you. They get used to the conditions they find themselves in. If in doubt, drier is better than wetter. Never use a saucer under your plants. Purchase a moisture meter and check your plants often until you get to know their water needs in your yard. Plumeria love water but they need to dry out between watering.
Time released fertilizers are now available that deliver fertilizer over 6-9 months, which may be applied one or twice a year depending on your growing season. You may feed your plumerias with a balanced fertilizer with micronutrients, such as Excalibur 11-11-13 or similar. A consistent feeding program with a even number fertilizer will produce vigorous plants with large showy clusters of flowers. Foliar feeding helps with bloom production and may be used every 2-3 weeks from Spring through September. Stop fertilizing your plants about 45 days before your dormancy period starts. Avoid fertilizers high in Nitrogen (the first number) to maintain compact growth. High Nitrogen fertilizers will cause tall lanky growth and less flowers.
INSECTS & DISEASE
Plumerias have very few problems. Spider Mites, White Flies, Mealy Bugs and Scale will attack plants left too dry and/or in too much shade. Spray with liquid dishwashing soap (Dawn, Sunlight, etc.) at 1-2 tablespoons/gallon or chemicals suggested for these insects. Plumerias occasionally get a "rust" fungus on the leaves in the fall, but it is rarely very harmful because the plants start to lose their leaves about the same time. "Rust" is always the result of not enough air circulation combined with too much moisture on the leaves.
Basically, DON'T LET THEM FREEZE OR BE EXPOSED TO FROST. Plumeria go dormant in winter, and may be stored in a garage, closet, green-house, etc. They need no water or sunlight during this period — typically when night temps are consistently below 50 degrees. This will vary in different parts of the country. They may be stored in their pots (best) or bare-rooted for plants which are dug out of the ground.