Plumeria Flowers In Chicago

Thursday, May 24, 2012

History Of 'How To Grow Plumeria - Frangipani Anytime Anywhere!'

Welcome All Gardeners Worldwide,

It's now more than 11 years that I started growing plumerias in Chicago, plant hardiness zone 5.

Chicago - Blooming Plumeria 'Lurline'

It was clear through everything I read about plumerias, the general consensus was that it was impossible to grow and flower plumeria plants in growing zone 5. It was very frustrating at the beginning and I bought the few books on plumeria plants that were available at this time.

This books were written by gardeners growing plumerias in Hawaii, India and southern Texas. I followed the guidelines in these books religiously only to lose one plumeria cutting and plant after another.
Flowering in Chicago - Plumeria 'Kimo'

The books I followed are very informative books for gardeners living in tropical climates, but definitely did not apply to plumeria gardeners in temperate climates.

After I lost numerous plumeria cuttings and plants I knew that I had to find my own growing techniques. It still was an adventure with many ups and downs.

The next years I experimented with mixing my own potting mediums, fertilizers and techniques, soil additives, grow lights, fungicides, insecticides and more. I took notes of successes as well failures as they occurred.

Flowering in Chicago - Plumeria 'Samoan Fluff'
Samoan Fluff

Friends and family were amazed at my devotion and success of finally being able to grow and flower plumeria plants outside their natural habitat of tropical and subtropical regions
right here in plant hardiness zone 5.

They convinced me to start writing my plumeria book and share my gained knowledge with other plumeria loving gardeners. This book would provide new hope for temperate zone plumeria lovers that they, too, could create a garden of these beautiful sensuous flowers
despite the common consensus that told them it couldn't be done.

Flowering in cloudy, hot and humid conditions in Chicago - Plumeria 'Daisy Wilcox'
Daisy Wilcox

It was my goal to write the book in an easy to understand format in English and supplement it with illustrations so gardeners worldwide, including those practicing English as a second language, are able to successfully follow the step-by-step instructions that are provided in the book.

After I finished writing the book, I ask several friends and family members to read it. Some of them didn't have any or much knowledge about plants, and especially not plumerias at all. They were my best critics and told me what they didn't understand at the time.

I took their criticisms to heart and went back and made the needed changes in the book until everybody agreed that they're able to follow the book, including all the instructions.

Flowering in Chicago - Seedling of Plumeria 'Celadine'

After editing the book I thanked everyone for their input. I felt very confident if all these
folks were able to understand the easy to follow step-by-step guidelines on how to grow plumerias, then gardeners worldwide would understand them as well.

It's hard to explain in words what I felt after publishing the book. There was and is the feeling of utmost gratitude for having been able to put my experience with plumeria plants into words and be able to share all this information with plumeria plant lovers all around the world. 

There also was and is the feeling of joy knowing that gardeners worldwide can be successful now in growing these wonderful tropical plants and that they would not have to take "NO" for an answer. 

Finally, I published the plumeria book. Since its publication at the end of 2010 gardeners from Australia to Alaska and Canada, India to Italy, Malaysia to Malta, New Zealand to the Netherlands, Portugal to Poland, and here in the United States from California to Connecticut and Washington to Florida are following its step-by-step guidelines. 

Flowering in Chicago - Plumeria 'Pauahi Alii'
Pauahi Alii

I also made it my goal to answer each email pertaining to growing plumeria plants. 

It is an utmost joy for me to receive emails like the following.....

I just looked through my recently purchased copy of your plumeria book. It appears to be the best book I have ever seen on plumerias, covering far more information and providing in-depth details and explanations throughout the entire book.

I have been growing plumerias in Central Connecticut (zone 6) for 20 years. I have rooted scores of cuttings. Recently, though, I lost 2 of the 4 Scott Pratt, and the remaining two hadn't done anything for two months. I then tried the egg method >>> big fat white roots in what seemed like no time! Thanks for spreading the knowledge of the egg method around.
James........................Connecticut (zone 6)'

How To Grow Plumeria - Frangipani Anytime Anywhere! takes the reader by the hand and guides him or her from the arrival of their plumeria cuttings, plants or seeds to the excitement and joy of their first flowers. 

 Flowering in Chicago - Plumeria 'Mimi's Home Pride'
Mimi's Home Pride

It doesn't stop here but the book guides gardeners thru the aftercare of their beloved plumeria plants including, insect and disease control, guidelines for growing and flowering plumeria plants indoors and much more.

With Memorial Day Weekend coming up I have decided to offer FREE Shipping and Handling for anyone who orders my  'How To Grow Plumeria - Frangipani Anytime Anywhere!' paperback book. 

Memorial Day not only marks the beginning of summer for many people, but it is
the official beginning of the gardening season. This paperback version of 
'How To Grow Plumeria - Frangipani Anytime Anywhere!' is a great resource book
for gardeners to have in their gardening library.  It makes a great gift for yourself
or any gardener, but especially if your passion is plumerias.

Please visit Plumeria Plant Care for more information. 

Happy Growing,

Bob Walsh

Step-by-step plumeria book

Friday, May 18, 2012

Dwarf Plumeria Plants Versus Compact Plumeria Plants

Plumeria growers worldwide, especially in temperate climates, are looking for dwarf and compact varieties to grow in pots. This allows for easy handling of the plants when cooler weather arrives and the plants need to be brought indoors.

What exactly would be considered a dwarf plumeria plant? This question might be answered by plumeria growers in different ways.

Some consider plumeria plants to be dwarfs as long as they don't exceed a height of eight feet which might be considered tall but definitely not dwarf by others.

In recent years many dwarf plumeria plants have been introduced to the public with Plumeria rubra 'Devine' and Plumeria rubra 'Mini White' being labeled true miniatures. These two miniatures are very floriferous with flowering occuring at sometimes one inch or less from the last flowering point on the plant. Generally, there are more than forty growing tips, branches, on one average two foot tall 'Divine' plant.

Plumeria obtusa 'Dwarf Singapore Pink' is considered a true dwarf plant which, even under ideal conditions, rarely grows more than six to eight inches per year. 'Dwarf Singapore Pink' develops several branches after each inflorescence starts to develop. The leaves of “Dwarf Singapore Pink' are oblong and have a shiny green color. The white flowers with a yellow center have a sweet fragrance. With proper growing conditions, 'Dwarf Singapore Pink' grows and flowers throughout the year.

Flowering Plumeria obtusa 'Dwarf Singapore Pink'
Plumeria obtusa 'Dwarf Singapore Pink'

Plumeria obtusa 'Dwarf Singapore' has white, cup-shaped flowers with a lemony fragrance. It grows and flowers, like 'Dwarf Singapore Pink', throughout the year if provided with the right growing conditions.

Plumeria obtusa 'Dwarf Deciduous', an easy to grow plumeria, produces white flowers with a golden center. The fragrance of the flowers is strong and reminds one of citrus. Plumeria obtusa 'Dwarf Deciduous' is a very floriferous plant with many flowers opening at the same time resulting in full inflorescences, flower stalks.

Plumeria 'Dwarf Richard Criley', an evergreen variety, produces flowers which are similar in shape to 'Dwarf Singapore Pink', but larger in diameter. 'Dwarf Richard Criley' produces rainbow colored flowers with an orange center that bleeds into the petals. The flowers have a light spicy fragrance.

Plumeria 'Dwarf Siam Yellow' has uniquely crinckled glossy leaves. The flowers are yellow with a sweet fragrance. 'Dwarf Siam Yellow' is a slow grower.

These are some plumeria plants which are considered “dwarfs”. Select hand pollination results in new releases of dwarf varieties each year.

Compact plants are not necessarily classified as dwarf plants.

But what entitles plumeria plants to be classified as compact plants?

Plumeria can be considered compact when they bloom and branch at short distances resulting in a many branched tree.

Plumeria 'Pink Pansy' has white pansy shaped flowers with a golden yellow center and marked pink edging. The fragrance of these flowers is very sweet. 'Pink Pansy' is a very compact grower and great candidate for container gardening as it can be kept on the small side, four to six feet, with proper pruning.

Plumeria 'Penang Peach', named after the Malaysian island of Penang, is another compact growing variety. The flowers of 'Penang Peach' are yellow to orange, have a very sweet fragrance and excellent keeping quality. One distinct characteristic of 'Penang Peach' is that the leaves show a hook at the tip.

Plumeria 'Yellow Jack Compact' produces three to four inch yellow flowers with small white edging. The petals reflex, bend backwards, creating a lovely effect. The fragrance is very sweet. 'Yellow Jack Compact' is a very compact growing tree.

As time goes on more and more dwarf and compact plumeria varieties with outstanding characteristics, like big colorful flowers with good keeping quality, will be developed to bring joy to both indoor and outdoor gardeners.

Copyright © Bob Walsh

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Plumeria 'India' Flowering In Chicago, Plant Hardiness Zone 5

The flowers of Plumeria 'India' are yellow to orange enhanced by strong red veining.

The flowers are of heavy texture with good keeping quality.

Scent of the flowers is strong and sweet.

Plumeria 'India' is a fast growing plant with strong and thick branches.

The following picture shows Plumeria 'India' flowering on May 15, 2012 in Chicago, plant hardiness zone 5.

This plumeria plant, with no inflorescence showing, was received and planted on April 4, 2012 as an unrooted cutting. 

Soon after planting the inflorescence, flower stalk, emerged and continued to develop.

As of May 15, 2012 Plumeria 'India' is anchored in the pot indicating root development.

Cutting of Plumeria 'India' developed roots and inflorescence simultaneously.
Plumeria 'India', May 15, 2012

Happy Growing,

Bob Walsh


Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Importance of Staking Plumeria Cuttings and Plumeria Plants at Planting Time

It is very disheartening to check on newly planted plumeria cuttings and plumeria plants just to discover that they have been knocked out of their pots either by nature.... strong winds, animals.... pets, or even by accident.... the gardener himself or herself knocking it over .

The initial roots of plumeria cuttings tend to be very brittle and the slightest movement or shift of the cutting from its planted position may break the newly developed roots. The roots get stronger as they mature over time. 

Developing roots of plumeria cutting
Plumeria Cutting with Developing Roots

Newly planted plumeria cuttings have no means of staying steady and balanced when planted either in the ground or in pots. 

It is therefore very important to stake plumeria cuttings at planting time. This is usually done by inserting a plant stake right next to the cutting itself and tying the cutting to the stake with tie-ups which are readily available for purchase at hardware stores and garden centers. 

It's best to tie the plumeria cutting at strategic places along the cutting.... (1) just above soil level .... (2) just below the tip, and...(3) in the middle of the cutting to the stake making sure the cutting is firmly anchored in the pot or in the ground.

Some plumeria cutting may dehydrate during the rooting process depending on the rooting method that is used. If dehydration occurs, causing the cutting to shrink in size and the tie-ups to loosen, then  one needs to re-adjust the tie-ups or apply new ones to re-establish
secure and proper placement.

But what can be done if the cutting is tall and has multiple branches?

In this case, it is best to start staking the plumeria cutting at the main stem and tie it to the plant stake as described above.

Depending on the number of branches and their individual height above the soil level.... staking each branch with a proper length plant stake and tying them just below the tip of each branch to the stake secures the cutting in the pot or in the ground.

The following two pictures show one cutting of Plumeria 'Teresa Wilder' I recently planted. The main stem is tied to a stake and each of the two top branches is secured tightly to an individual plant stake as well. This cutting is unable to move even if I tilt the pot at an angle of 45 degrees.

Plumeria 'Teresa Wilder' Cutting Staked
Cutting of Plumeria 'Teresa Wilder'

Cutting of Plumeria 'Teresa Wilder'
Cutting of Plumeria 'Teresa Wilder'

The same principle of staking applies when planting rooted plumeria plants. 

I recommend inserting the plant stake(s) before covering the roots with the planting medium. By gently inserting the stake(s) between the roots one avoids injuring the roots which might occur when the plant stake(s) is inserted after the roots have been covered with the potting medium.

By following staking practices for plumeria cuttings and plants gardeners avoid unnecessary delays in enjoying their beautiful scented plumeria flowers.

Happy Growing,

Bob Walsh