The Soil Needs of Fangipani – Plumeria

TheGardenLady received this question from Paddy.

I have been given a Frangipani and the only fertilizer I have to hand (before planting in ground) is one for acid loving plants – can I use this?

How lucky to be given a Frangipani- Plumeria. When my children went to Hawaii they were so impressed with this small, flowering, fragrant tree. They asked me if I wanted one. Sadly, this GardenLady is at a stage in my life that I no longer am able to nurse plants that have such specialized needs since I have no greenhouse to pamper my plants. And my house is filled with less temperamental plants.

Sweet Summer Perfume by NatashaP

Frangipani grows well in zone 10. It likes slightly acid soil and sunny, hot weather when it is planted in the ground. It cannot tolerate any frost or it will die. Indoors it has to be kept in at least 60 degree temperatures and shouldn’t be taken outdoors until it is a minimum of 65 degrees. Then when the temperature drops back to 65degrees, it should be brought back indoors. Plumeria can be grown in a pot- which should be large enough – but it will be weaker and won’t grow as tall. It might need a little shade when in a pot.

Not knowing what type of acid fertilizer you have, I would be careful. If you know the company where your friend bought the plant, you should ask for the telephone number and call them to ask their advice. I phoned a really fine nursery that specializes in tropical plants called Logee’s Tropical Plants,  888-3308038 for advice on the fertilizer they use. They use and sell a product called Dyna-gro. They said you can use any fertilizer that is below 15-15-15.

There are three numbers on any container of fertilizer. The first number is for nitrogen, the second number is for phosphorus and the third number is for potassium. Dyna-gro has the numbers 7-9-5 meaning that it has more phosphorus to get more blooms. Logee’s only feeds the Plumeria when it is in active growth, when it is hot. They discontinue feeding the plumeria in the winter. When they feed the Plumeria they only use 1/2 tsp. of the fertilizer per gallon of water and use it only 1 time a week.

There is a Plumeria Society that has a website with answers to commonly asked questions.

According to the Cooperative Extension Service from the U of Hawaii, you should “Fertilize plumeria with 10-30-10 every three to four months at about 1 lb per inch of trunk diameter, distributing the fertilizer around the plant to 2 feet beyond the foliage line.”

Another good website on Plumeria care is this.

Good luck and send TheGardenLady a photo of your Frangiapani when it is in bloom.