Prized for their clusters of five-petal fragrant exotic flowers, plumerias are deciduous or evergreen trees or shrubs depending on their locations and varieties. Plumerias are native to the tropical and subtropical climates of North, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Hawaii. The flowers of plumeria shrubs and trees are used in wedding bouquets and, most notably, in Hawaiian leis.
Also known as nosegaytree and white frangipani, Plumeria alba is native to the Caribbean including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, as well as Central America according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Plumeria alba produces fragrant white flowers that have bold yellow centers at the base of their petals, according to University of Florida Extension. This plumeria's leaves have a deep green color and are long and narrow in shape.
Also known as Singapore graveyard flower and, according to the Campus Arboretum of the University of Arizona, Singapore plumeria, Plumeria obtusa is considered native to Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands by the USDA. Plumeria obtusa's flower petals are yellow with white borders, fuchsia with white highlights or white with a touch of yellow at each petal's base. Its leaves are dark green and have a wide shape with a rounded tip. This tree grows up to 26 feet in height.
Also known as templetree, padogatree, suche and frangipani, Plumeria rubra is native to Central and South America, including Mexico, according to USDA. Plumeria rubra is a deciduous species that produces fuchsia-colored flowers that have a tinge of bright yellow at the base of each petal. This tree grows up to 25 feet tall.
Also known as gilded spoon, bridal bouquet, fiddle leaf plumeria or golden arrow, Plumeria pudica produced white flowers with wide petals that have a yellow center at its base. The leaves of this species are elongated, widening and become rounded near the tip, resembling a spoon. Also, University of Florida Extension notes that Plumeria pudica's flowers do not have a fragrance. The variety grows to 11 feet in height.
Plumeria bahamensis produces white flowers with narrow petals and a yellow center. It grows as a deciduous shrub or tree, reaching up to 8 feet in height.
More on Plumerias
There are many Plumeria cultivars available in many shades of white, yellow, orange, lavender, pink and red. Some are multi-colored, while others are two-toned. Plumerias add drama and floral interest to any landscape design. They grow well in warmer climates and are easy to start from cuttings, according to University of Florida Extension.