Plumeria Flowers In Chicago

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Pros & Cons Of Starting Plumeria Plants From Seeds

Welcome All Plumeria and Tropical Plant Lovers Worldwide,
After several cloudy days the sun is finally shining in Chicago
again as the following picture of my happy Plumeria 'Samoan
Fluff' shows.

Plumeria 'Samoan Fluff'
Starting plumeria plants from seeds is a fun and rather
inexpensive way to increase your plumeria collection.
But what are the advantages and disadvantages of starting
plumeria plants from seeds?
New plumeria cultivars can only be created by starting them
from seeds. If you plant seeds of parents with superior
qualities, you may raise some superior new cultivars.
When you order seeds from a reputable nursery or retailer,
you usually will be given a list of named seeds under the name 
of the mother plant. If ordering a mixed package of plumeria 
seeds, it will usually not list the names of the mother plants.
(unidentified or "unnamed").
The price for the seeds varies based on the named or mixed
(unidentified or "unnamed") varieties of plumerias. I have seen
packages for sale for as low as 99 cents for 10 mixed seeds. 
Note that shipping and handling is always an additional charge,
which varies widely.
You can start a large number of seeds (10 - 15) in a small space
with good spacing between each planted seed  In my plumeria
pages 87 and 88, I explain in detail how to plant the seeds.
This is a way to start your plumeria garden at a relatively
low cost depending on the parent plants of the seeds.
Depending on the origin of the seeds (known or unknown)
fresh plumeria seeds germinate in a short time (5-7 days)
or a longer period of time (10-14 days). Plumeria seeds, much
like plumeria plants, have their own unique characteristics and 
growth patterns. 
Once the first pair of true leaves has developed, it can now 
be called a "Seedling".  Plumeria seedlings show wide
variations in flower color, size, growth habit and fragrances.
It may take anywhere from two to four years or longer to
see any flowers. In rare occasions blooms can appear in
a much shorter period of time. I know of one gentlemen
in Great Britain whose plumeria seedling flowered in less
than one year and of one lady in Thailand whose seedling
flowered six months after the seeds were planted.
On the other end of the time line there are reports of
seedlings taking almost twenty years to flower. But this
is very rare. Personally, I had one seedling, pictured 
below, which flowered seven months after the seeds
were planted.
From seed to flower in seven months
Seedlings may produce flowers as big as small plates or
as small as finger nails.
Seedling's growth may be as thin as a pencil.
Seedlings may grow so tall before showing their first
flowers that you need a step ladder to see and smell the

Plumeria flowers are known for their exquisite fragrances.
But in very rare cases, a couple of seedlings have been 
reported to smell like spoiled meat.
ONLY a few seedlings may be worth keeping from a group
of 100 seeds planted.
Reasons for poor results can be traced back to improper
growing conditions. For proper growing conditions
refer to pages 87 - 91 in
In conclusion, I would like to share with you two of several 
plumerias that are blooming currently in Chicago, zone 5.
Like all my plumerias and other tropical plants they were 
planted using the Egg Method.
Plumeria 'Kimo'
Plumeria 'Mimi's Home Pride'
Happy Growing my Gardening Friends,
Bob Walsh
Bob Walsh

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Plumeria Cuttings - When Not To Cut Off The Inflorescence

Welcome All Plumeria and Tropical Plant Lovers,
There seems to be some confusion among plumeria
gardeners when it is appropriate to cut off developing
inflorescences on rooting plumeria cuttings and when
NOT to cut off the developing inflorescences.
When your rooting plumeria cutting is rotting, which is
mostly caused by over watering in the early stages of
the rooting process, you need to cut your cutting back
until you reach white tissue.
At this point I highly recommend to cut off the
developing inflorescence.  By sacrificing the
inflorescence, you save the plumeria cutting. 
Let this new saved good portion of the cutting
callous before replanting it. 
Sometimes plumeria gardeners, including myself,
grow impatient when 'waiting' for their plumeria
cutting(s) to complete the growth process into a
beautiful flowering plant.  When a cutting "doesn't
seem to be doing anything" and the growth process
"seems to stall" even after it produced one
inflorescence with full sized flowers, the gardener 
begins the "worrying stage" and begins to think
something is "WRONG".
The gardener thinks of all the possible causes
for "why the cutting isn't doing anything?"
The gardener then decides to take action
to correct the problem in order to get the cutting
to "start doing something again". The owner cuts
off the inflorescence.... because "the cutting isn't
doing anything".
Unless there is real evidence that there is a definite 
defined problem, I encourage you to exercise
"PATIENCE" in these circumstances.  For plumerias
are unique with their own characteristics and
each one is different from the next. "Doesn't seem
to be doing anything" is not a valid scientific reason
to take the inflorescence to surgery. 
Often times, worry and impatience take over and
the gardener takes the wrong and unnecessary action
that causes the gardener not only to lose the one
beautifully developed inflorescence and the potential
growth of other equally beautiful inflorescences,
but takes the cutting all the way back to square one
to start the whole process over.
I would like to explain to you with examples when NOT
to cut off the inflorescences on rooting plumeria cuttings
which are planted applying the Egg Method.
The dynamics of the egg start to work soon after the
cutting has been planted and many times
inflorescences start to develop right away.
The following picture is of Plumeria 'Celadine'.
I planted this cutting with three branches on
March 19, 2011 applying the Egg Method.

Shortly after being planted the cutting started to
develop one inflorescence on each of the three
Each inflorescence grew about one inch and
stopped at this point..."wasn't doing anything".
Carefully monitoring the cutting's process,
I continued to provide moisture it needed
(to prevent dehydration) over the next few weeks.
Watering is a skill that is learned by developing a
relationship with your plants. It doesn't happen
from one day to the next but over time.
(Most plants die from over-watering).
Many factors influence how often one waters
his/her plants, including.....
  • temperature
  • wind
  • sunny skies
  • overcast skies
  • humidity
  • intensity of plant lights
  • pot size
  • potting medium
  • root system
In hindsight, during this period of "when the
cutting wasn't doing anything" from the gardener's
visual and mental perception, nature was at work
It was as if the cutting itself was "directing from within". 
The cutting sent a message to the top (inflorescences)
to halt any further development at this time while work
on the root system needed to be completed. 
In truth, during this same period of time, this plumeria
cutting developed a strong root system.
About six weeks later all three inflorescences started
to grow again. At this time there were no leaves present,
just some claws around the base of the cutting.
This was the time I began to water the cutting thoroughly.
The buds started to show color, leaves started to grow,
and the first flowers opened on June 2, 2011.
When inflorescences on your cuttings start to branch,
take your digit finger and thumb around the base
of the cutting just above soil level and GENTLY
try moving the cutting. If you feel resistance,
the cutting rooted and it's time to give it a good soaking.
Not watering at this critical point may result in the demise
of your plumeria cutting.
The following picture is of one of the three branches of the
Celadine cutting pictured above.

The following picture is another example of the power of the
Egg Method.
The picture shows Plumeria 'Mimi's Home Pride' which, 
according to the owner who lives in Hawaii, is extremely 
difficult to root and may even in Hawaii take six to nine 
months to root. 
This cutting of Mimi's Home Pride was, like Celadine, planted
on March 19, 2011 using the Egg Method, and opened its first
flowers on June 12, 2011.
Like the Celadine cutting, Mimi's Home Pride started to
develop its inflorescence soon after the cutting was planted.
It took less than three months from planting this extremely
difficult to root plumeria cutting to open its first flowers.
For more information on plumerias and the Egg Method
Happy Growing,
Bob Walsh

Friday, June 3, 2011

Plumeria Flowers Have Many Faces

Welcome All Plumeria and Tropical Plant Lovers,

When growing Plumerias gardeners soon realize that 
their plumeria plants are unique plants in a way that
flowers on the same plant may look different under
various weather conditions.
That's what I love about plumeria flowers. You purchase
one plumeria cutting or rooted plant and actually have
two or three different plants in one once blooming starts.

Color saturation and intensity in plumeria flowers
depends on many factors, including....
  • cloud cover
  • temperature
  • humidity
  • sunlight
  • plant lights
I would like to demonstrate the different appearance
of plumeria flowers of the same plant with a couple
The first picture shows Plumeria 'Lurline' growing
indoors under plant lights.


The second picture shows Plumeria 'Lurline'
growing outdoors under overcast skies with
diffused sunlight and humid conditions.


You can clearly see the deeper color
saturation in the second picture caused by
diffused sunlight with overcast skies and humid

The next picture shows Plumeria 'Daisy Wilcox'
during, hot and sunny conditions with low 


The next picture shows the same plumeria
plant, Daisy Wilcox, blooming under overcast
skies with high humidity.


Again, the color saturation is deeper when 
grown under overcast skies and high humidity.
The above pictures show plumerias growing and
Color intensity and saturation is even more
pronounced in southern states where higher
heat and humidity play a very integral part.

Happy Growing,