Plumeria or Frangipani is popularly known as “Temple Tree” or “Champa” in India, and grow to be large flowering trees. They can be grown in containers since it’s very adaptive and you can control the size of your plant by the size of container you choose for it. Plumerias love full sun, water and fertilizer to thrive.
You can grow Plumeria from cuttings, usually a foot in length. Apply rooting hormone to the base of the cutting and plant it good three inches into a pot with well-draining soil. Wet thoroughly, do not water again until you have 2-3 well formed leaves. It will take about a month for the cutting to root. Until then, the soil needs to be kept slightly moist. The cuttings need a green-house environment to emerge faster. A pink plumeria cutting that we planted, showed signs of growth after four months, so each type of cutting will have its own growing characteristics and you have to patient with them. At this stage and beyond, watering should be such that the soil never gets soggy and the soil should be a well-draining one.
The secret to lot of blooms is a lot of branching. Each tip on the tree produces a flower stock that in turn causes it to create multiple branches on each tip. I recommend fertilizer high in phosphorous that will promote this flowering/branching process. A water soluble fertilizer feed every other week will work wonders. Plumeria begin to go dormant in autumn and all through winter. You may stop fertilizer feeding around September until spring. Prune the fine roots every spring, or re-pot if you think the plant needs space to expand. In case you don’t re-pot, I’d suggest you remove some top soil and add fresh soil mix to refresh the plant.
This spring, all our plumerias have been kind to us. We’ve seen a beautiful sweet-smelling bloom, the ones you see in pictures. By the way, did you know champa flowers have no nectar and simply fool their pollinators?