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Plumeria

Plumeria spp.

Frangipani, Yasmin, Champa

About This Plant

A shrub the size of a small tree, with waxy flowers and a terrific perfume familiar to anyone who’s ever been presented a Hawaiian lei. The big tropical leaves toss in the softest breezes, lending a tropical flavor to any landscape. Despite its Polynesian vibe, though, plumeria is actually native to Mexico and Central America, with all the accompanying watersaver credentials. Many gardeners count it among their drought-hardiest potted specimens; it makes a great textural companion to many of the little-leaf xeric plants. Cultivation requires some attention to plumeria’s specific needs, because it can easily develop root rot if not placed in well-drained soil and allowed to dry out between waterings. Although it can be grown in the ground, in south-central Texas it’s probably easiest to grow in containers.

Origins: Mexico, Central America, Caribbean

Maintenance

Plumerias can’t tolerate waterlogged soil; to keep them from developing fungal disease, allow them to dry out between waterings. Bring plants indoors in winter, especially if temperatures drop below 20 degrees. Plumerias can actually be pulled out of the pot and stored bare-rooted, uncovered (!) in the garage or shed to keep them dry in winter.

Don't be fooled by its big tropical leaves and fragrance; plumeria is an accomplished watersaver.

Min. Height: 3'

Max Height: 10 feet'

Min. Width: 3'

Max Width: 5 feet'

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