Plumerias are tropical shrubs that feature large, fragrant flowers. They can range in size from small potted plants to 25-foot-tall trees, depending on the species. The shrub is also sometimes called "frangipani bush." Plumerias are best known as the beautifully-scented flowers that make up the bulk of the Hawaiian leis.
The plumeria shrub features oblong, glossy green leaves. The leaves can grow up to 20 inches long, depending on the variety. The flowers, which bloom from June to November, have a waxy appearance and can be cream, pink, yellow, red or a combination of those colors. The blooms are large--growing up to 4 inches across--and fragrant. Each color has a slightly different fragrance. The flowers are also unique in that they tend to pile up on top of one another.
The canopy of the plumeria shrub is shaped like an umbrella. The plant can be trained to grow on one trunk or as a bush. Plumerias can also be grown as indoor plants.
Plumerias are tropical plants and should be protected from frost. Exposure to just one freeze will kill these flowers. They are drought and heat tolerant, and can be grown either in full sun or partial shade, although plumerias will tend to flower better in full sun. In the fall, the leaves of the plumeria will turn red and drop off. Plumerias are dormant in the winter and require no special care until they begin to grow in the spring, at which point they need water.
Plumerias have weak wood and can be easily damaged or broken. They are also susceptible to root rot and some insect pests such as scale and the fragipani caterpillar.