Plumeria Journal

20140630-222608-80768481.jpgThis is a journal about my plumeria plants. I have always loved Hawaii, and to me plumeria are synonyms with Hawaii. However that according to history Plumeria or Frangipani came from the Caribbean Islands. The flowers were transported via sailors and ships to the South Pacific Islands centuries ago.

Twenty years ago or more, upon returning home from the Hawaiian Islands, I purchased a cane of plumeria from a vendor in the Honolulu airport. When i got home I promptly planted the cane in a pot. Not really know what I was doing. I expected this plant to grow and flower into something spectacular, it didn’t.

I was very disappointed that my plant wasn’t doing anything. I didn’t have leaves or flowers. It’s didn’t show any growth at all. I figured it was dead, and that I wasted my money. I discarded the dead brown stick and moved on.

Many years later, my brother had either purchased or received a cutting of a Celadine plumeria, and planted it in his front yard. Still not knowing very much about how these grew, or should be maintained. I was amazed how well his plumeria grew in his front yard. I figured it was because he planted it in the ground, and that was the only way plumeria would grow where we live.

My brothers plumeria had grown to be one of the largest Celadine trees in San Clement. His tree trunk had forked into two main trunks. His tree was low to the ground, but very wide. The branches were so wide and spread out that the two main trunks needed to be supported by 2×4’s because of the weight.

A few years ago, a large winter storm has damaged his Celadine tree. The wind that came with the storm, had snapped off the left trunk. My brother decided that it was time to start over with his plumeria. He meticulously deconstructed his tree and made hundreds of cuttings. Some were forked canes others were single canes.

For a fund raiser at his kids school he sold many of his cuttings. However, he kept some of what he considered the best cuttings. He passed out the remaining cutting out to family and friends. I picked out six forked canes for myself. This time I was armed with a little more knowledge on plumeria planting, care and maintenance.

Summer 2010:

I was now armed with new “FREE” cuttings and I was bound and determined to make these Celadine Plumeria grow.

After letting my plumeria canes sit for several weeks and “scab” over, I went to my local LOWES and purchased 10″ Terracotta pots and cactus mix. I planted all six Celadine Plumeria canes and was set… at least I thought I was set.

I know I needed to water then sparingly, because plumeria are like cacti and like to be hot and dry. Over watering plumeria can cause root-rot and or rot out the wood in the trunk and branches and make the plant very squishy or mushy.

What I didn’t know was that you really don’t need to water plumeria that often especially where I live in San Clemente next to the beach. There is enough water in the air that keeps them hydrated for a long time. I also didn’t know how or what to feed my plumeria. I just thought you need fertilizer and that would be that, Wrong!

After six month and in the spring of 2011, I was ready to have my plumeria bloom. I started to see small leaves sprouting at the tips. I also noticed I had a little growth on all the branches except for one whole plumeria. On this plumeria I had leaf sprouts, but no branch growth.

In May and June of 2011 as summer approached , we got a tremendous amount of rain. More then we usually get at that time of year. During this time of year we usually get May grey and June gloom. These are coastal marine eddies (fog) that are usually very wet. With the more water then expected, I feared that my plumeria would get root-rot or wood-rot. Five of the six potted plumeria survived. However, the sixth got root-rot and wood-rot. I tried to nurse it back to health. I got some leaf growth, but nothing more.


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