Found throughout the tropics, the plumeria tree is known for its brightly colored, fragrant blossoms and glossy foliage. Each flower cluster on the tree is made up of 50 to 200 blossoms, creating quite a colorful sensation. These characteristics make it an attractive ornamental choice for any backyard in USDA hardiness zones 10B through 11. Several management strategies can help maximize your success when trying to plant a plumeria tree.
Gardeners typically propagate plumerias from cuttings. This is one of the fastest and easiest ways to start a plumeria tree. Cut 6 to 10 inches off of the growing tip of an established plumeria tree. Remove any leaves on the cutting and bury the cut end 3 to 4 inches into potting soil. Water every couple of days until the cutting takes root, which usually takes up to 75 days. Texas A&M University encourages "minimal watering."
Increase Rooting Success Rates
Though it's not required, dipping the cut end of a plumeria stem in a standard rooting powder can help the cutting take root faster. Such powders can be purchased from most garden stores and nurseries. The University of Hawaii recommends any product that contains 0.3 percent indolebutyric acid.
For best results, make the cutting during the winter months of November through January. During this time, the established plumeria tree is dormant, and making cuts to it causes less stress to the plant.
Growth and Spacing
Once the plumeria cutting is established, signified by the appearance of new leaves, transplant it outdoors into the ground. Choose an area that gives it adequate space. Depending on the cultivar, it can reach a height of up to 30 feet and a width of 20 feet. Given the right growing conditions, the tree can grow 2 feet per year.
Help your cutting grow into a mature plumeria tree by fertilizing it regularly with a 10-30-10 tree fertilizer. The trees are voracious feeders. Apply fertilizer every 90 to 120 days at a rate of 1 lb. for every inch of tree trunk diameter.