Indoor Plumeria Care – How To Grow Plumeria Plants Indoors
You’ve just gotten back from an unforgettable vacation to Hawaii and want to recapture the feeling of being in that tropical paradise. One vivid memory you have is of the intoxicating smell and beauty of the lei that was lowered onto your neck upon arrival. Now what were the flowers in that lei – that’s right – it was plumeria (also known as Frangipani)! These flowers enchanted you at every turn on the Hawaiian landscape. You want to grow plumeria at home but feel geographically disadvantaged because you don’t live in the right planting zone (zone 9-11). But can you grow plumeria inside? What is required for indoor plumeria care? Read on to learn more.
Can You Grow Plumeria Inside?
Yes, you can, and this article will explain the basics of how to grow plumeria plants indoors year round. You can obtain potted plumeria plants at your local nursery or propagate your own from cuttings.
Make sure your plants or cuttings are potted with a coarse well-draining potting mix. A cactus mix, in particular, should fit the bill. However, you may prefer to concoct your own mix. Everyone seems to have their own creative plumeria blend, but a simple mix of equal parts peat and perlite should be more than sufficient.
Your goal in growing plumeria indoors should be to emulate their natural habitat as close as you can in order to help them grow and flower throughout the year. The following tips on how to grow plumeria indoors will assist you with this goal.
How to Grow Plumeria Plants Indoors
Place your plumeria in a sunny window that receives bright light (direct sunlight) 4-6 hours per day. South-facing windows should be strongly considered because they provide the brightest light for the longest duration. Some people even go to the lengths of moving their plants throughout the day to meet the lighting requirement. Don’t have a great window spot for your plumeria? Don’t despair – you can always try growing plumeria indoors under a fluorescent light for 14-15 hours daily.
Given that plumeria is a tropical plant, temperature is another consideration. Maintaining an indoor temperature of 65-80 degrees F. (18-27 C.) would be ideal.
When watering potted plumeria plants, water them deeply. However, be sure to let plumeria dry out between waterings because the plants do not like wet feet. Root rot is not a good thing, folks! Your plumeria will also appreciate a little humidity, courtesy of a morning and bedtime mist on its leaves.
Plumeria are considered heavy feeders. To help encourage plumeria blooms, use a fertilizer low in nitrogen and high in phosphorus at least once every two weeks from spring through fall. Please note that it can be tricky to get a frangipani to bloom despite your best efforts. Additionally, a plumeria has to be at least 2-3 years old before it is mature enough to bloom.
Plumerias require very little in the way of pruning. Pruning is only needed to remove dead or dying branches and to shape the plant, if desired.
Indoor plumeria care should also include routinely checking and treating for possible insect infestations – spider mites, in particular, are a common affliction of indoor plumerias. Neem oil is always good to have on hand for treating insect issues as they arise.
Be aware that a plumeria grown indoors year round is not completely impervious to entering dormancy. It could still be triggered by some environmental factor, for example, a change in the lighting or temperature. When dormancy is triggered, a plumeria will lose it leaves. While the focus of this article was on growing plumeria indoors year round, you can, as many people do, set your plant outdoors during the warmer months. Just be sure to bring it back indoors when the temperatures begin to drop to 55 degrees F. (13 C.) or below.
Guide to Growing Plumeria Trees
The most common flower used in Hawaiian leis comes from the Plumeria tree, often called frangipani. In tropical regions, the tree reaches 35 feet tall and blooms year-round. For U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones outside Hawaii, it should be potted so that you can move it inside during the winter. Most varieties emit a wonderful scent from broad blossoms of yellow, white, orange, red, pink or salmon, frequently in combinations of colors.
Growing Plumeria in Containers
SummerWinds recommends planting plumeria in containers, such as pots, barrels, tubs and urns. Plumeria does best in part-sun with its canes protected from the extreme heat of the sun in Arizona. In order to help control the microclimate of your plumeria, you can move your container around, based on the season and the weather. We do not recommend keeping/growing your plumeria indoors a shaded patio is ideal!
For more on how to successfully grow plumeria in containers, we love these growing tips from Easy to Grow Bulbs:
- Place your plumeria where it will receive part sun. These are tropical plants that like hot conditions. (For success in Maricopa County, SummerWinds recommends planting your plumeria so that it receives morning sun—until 11:00 a.m. or noon. Alternatively, you can plant them where they will receive bright filtered shade.)
- Fill your containers with good quality, light and porous soil that allows for excellent drainage. SummerWinds Nursery recommends E.B. Stone Naturals Cactus Mix. Make sure your container has adequate drainage holes plumeria must never (never!) sit in waterlogged soil or they will die.
- Gently pull the plant and root ball out of the pot and place in a hole the same depth as the clump of soil. Firmly press the surrounding soil around the plant, checking to make sure the plumeria is settled, level with the surrounding soil not deeper or shallower.
- After planting, add enough water to settle the soil around the root ball the slim, leathery leaves will form within a couple weeks. If it doesn't rain, make sure to water enough for a good drink, but allow the soil to dry out between watering. Infrequent deep watering is better than regular light drinks.
- Apply fertilizer (as indicated in the section above). Plumerias will flower mid-summer to fall, and when it's time for them to bloom, you can enjoy their cut blooms throughout your home.
- When blooming has finished for the season and the weather begins to cool down, plumeria slip into a dormancy period. It is normal for leaves to drop at this time while the plant rests. Water infrequently during the fall and stop watering during the winter do not let your plant freeze.
- Plumeria will rest for a few months while waiting for the spring growing cycle. During this time, you can enjoy the attractively branched, vase-shaped form which is completely visible when there are no leaves. When the weather warms up to spring weather and longer days, resume watering and fertizling according to the sections above, and watch as new leaves emerge.
Learn more helpful container gardening tips in this post.
Planting Plumeria in the Ground in Maricopa County
When planting plumeria in the ground, the most important thing to consider is location. SummerWinds Nursery recommends planting plumeria in the Southeast corner of your home, as this provides the plant with afternoon shade in the summer and full sun in the winter. If you choose to plant your plumeria in the ground (instead of in a container,) we recommend that you amend your soil to increase drainage, such as E.B. Stone Organics Citrus & Palm Planting Mix. For more information, speak with one of our Trusted Garden Advisors.
Taking Care of Your Own Plumeria
Who wouldn’t want one of these visually appealing and aromatic plants in a fun and unique container. Makes a perfect addition to your patio!
Visit your local SummerWinds Nursery to get your own plumeria and get some additional planting tips while you’re there. If you like, share your beautiful blooms on Instagram!
About SummerWinds Nursery
A leading high-end retailer of garden and nursery products. Headquartered in Boise, Idaho, SummerWinds Garden Centers, Inc. operates retail nurseries in the greater Phoenix, Arizona area, and in Silicon Valley, California, making it one of the largest independent retail nursery companies in the nation. SummerWinds appeals to both the serious and casual gardeners, with a broad selection of premium gardening products and a friendly and knowledgeable staff.
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, in-ground plumeria plants may be damaged by frost or freezing. Symptoms include branch dieback, with branches becoming mushy partway down the stalks. Affected tip branches may also turn black and drip out a brown or black liquid.
If this happens, wait until there is no further chance of cold weather. Then cut down plumeria branches at a 45-degree angle until you reach a clean, healthy white interior wood with no brown discoloration, sterilizing the knife blade after each cut. Seal the open wounds with a preventive antifungal chemical. You should see new growth at the leaf scars close to the cut edge.