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Plumeria rubra
Plumeria rubra

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Zones 12, 13, 19, 21-25, 27, H1, H2
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Full, Partial
Regular Water

Plumeria rubra

Plumeria, Temple Tree, Nosegay Frangipani
Deciduous, Shrubs, Trees


Handsome additions to the landscape in the warmest climates, these natives of tropical America have a rounded to spreading form. Leathery leaves are clustered near the tips of thick, succulent branches (branches exude caustic sap when injured). Large clusters of showy, waxy, typically fragrant, five-petaled flowers are produced at branch tips much of the year. Widely used in leis.

In Hawaii, plumerias are easy to grow from cuttings. On the mainland, the safest method is to begin with container plants (usually sold in leaf and flower in summer). If you want to try cuttings, start with long (15–24-in.) tip sections of stem taken in early spring and allow them to callus over for a week before planting; short cuttings often succumb to rot.

All do best in hot, dry locations in full sun but will grow in light shade. Not fussy about soil type but cannot take cold, wet soils. Some tolerance of salt and wind. Can be pruned at any time of year to maintain desired size and shape; withstands severe pruning (best done in warm season on mainland). Tender to frost. Beyond hardiness range, may be grown in a container and moved indoors in winter to a bright window (for continued bloom) or to a frost-free garage or shed.

Plumeria rubra

Native from Mexico to Panama. Grows at a moderate rate to 25–35 ft. tall and 15–20 ft. wide. Medium green leaves are 8–16 in. long, with narrow, pointed tips. Bloom begins in spring, often before foliage emerges, and continues for more than 6 months. Well over 100 varieties have been developed; flowers are typically 2–4 1/2 in. wide, in colors from white through yellow, gold, and orange to shades of pink and red; fragrance varies. Dwarf and semidouble-flowered forms (rare on the mainland) are available.

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