The Plumeria Alba brings to mind warm tropical beaches, sweet summer cocktails, and lazy days spent in the sun. The Plumeria Alba blossom, with its simple elegance and charm, lends a quiet and dignified admiration to whoever catches a glimpse of the flower.
The intoxicating fragrance of the Plumeria flowers is one of the top reasons why this flowering tree is highly sought-after in any garden that seeks magic and majesty.
What Is a Plumeria Alba?
The Plumeria Alba is an elegantly beautiful tree from Puerto Rico with its thick, scraggly growth and profusion of fragrant blooms. Planted on the ground, the Frangipani can make a striking garden highlight and grow bigger than those in containers.
Plumeria Alba Care
Caring for the Plumeria Alba can be quite easy, as it is a low-maintenance tropical tree. Learn how to take care of them below:
The Plumeria Alba prefers deep watering, although the soil it is in should be allowed to slightly dry out in between waterings. While the tree loves water, the roots may get waterlogged and rot if the soil is constantly wet.
It is safer to water less than more since the established Plumeria Alba is quite drought-tolerant. The only indication that the tree is dehydrated is when the leaves go limp.
The ideal condition is to keep the soil evenly moist throughout the warm parts of the year and reduce the watering amount and frequency in cooler seasons.
The Plumeria Alba prefers to grow in areas where it receives full sunlight exposure for the major part of the day. While it may tolerate light shade, the Plumeria Alba requires very bright light levels for at least five hours a day.
The Frangipani’s light requirements are ideal for growers in warm, tropical regions where sunlight exposure is often high and lengthy. For gardeners in more temperate locations, the Frangipani prefers to be planted or placed in the East or the South, where it can receive the most sun.
The Plumeria Alba loves rich, well-draining loamy soils. Ideal mixtures of coarse sand, perlite, pumice, and potting soil will keep the roots from developing rot. This mixture also provides the ideal amount of soil moisture level and retention to keep the tree happy and flourishing.
The Plumeria Alba thrives in warm, tropical conditions where temperatures typically range from 65 to 80 F. The absence of winter keeps the tree evergreen, as it does not tolerate frost at all.
For gardeners in temperate regions like North America, the ideal locations are those in the USDA zones 10 to 12. For regions outside of the zones, they are recommended to be grown in containers where they can be brought indoors during the winter.
The Plumeria Alba does well in regions where the humidity level is high. In areas where the air moisture content can be low, gardeners may place a pot of gravel or pebbles with water under the container of the plant. Caution should be exercised that roots do not touch the pool of water in the tray. Misting the leaves also helps increase the overall humidity.
Plumeria Alba trees are heavy feeders, and they delight in regular fertilization schedules, especially during the warmer months when they are most active in growth. During this stage, fertilizers that are balanced are preferable.
Some growers prefer to use fertilizers high in nitrogen for foliage growth and fertilizers high in phosphorus to induce flowering. Some fertilizers are specifically made for Frangipani trees to keep the foliage and the flowers at their most optimal.
– Rest Period
The Plumeria Alba does not require a rest period in warm regions. In temperate regions where colder seasons exist, it is important to keep the plant potted and kept indoors to overwinter. Ideally, the tolerable temperature range is around 55 F, and watering should be significantly cut back.
The Plumeria Alba can be propagated in several ways, several of which are quite popular among gardening enthusiasts.
The Plumeria seed pods, which are two pointed cylindrical capsules that may contain around 20 to 100 seeds, tend to produce new hybrid cultivars. These pods open after several months and disperse the seeds naturally to the ground.
The Frangipani may also be reproduced through stem cuttings, which result in seedlings similar to the mother plant. This is the most common method as it is the fastest.
The Plumeria Alba can also be grafted onto other trees, with some gardeners placing different cultivars in one grafted trunk.
Features of the Plumeria Alba
“Plumeria” takes its name from Charles Plumier, a French monk in the Franciscan order who lived from the 16th to the 17th century. Charles was also an intrepid traveler and an avid botanist who explored many lands to study different flora and fauna. The small deciduous Plumeria tree was spotted on one of his travels in the New World tropics.
The common name of Plumeria Alba is White Frangipani, which is often attributed to Marquis Muzio Frangipani, who allegedly created a scent that closely matched the flower’s alluring scent.
“Alba” simply means white. The name is of Latin origin and can be used to describe unisex attributes. In Italian and Spanish, the term means “dawn” or “sunrise.”
The Plumeria Alba is a small deciduous tree that can grow up to 15 to 25 feet tall. The round crown of the tree can be irregular, slightly symmetrical, with a smooth outline. Once mature, the tree can develop leaf canopies similar to the shape of umbrellas. The Plumeria can grow slowly, although the unhurried growth does not affect the tree’s ability to produce flowers.
When grown in pots, the plant’s size can be limited by the size of the container. Roots that are growing out of the container are an indication that it is time to repot Plumeria Alba plants into bigger containers.
Care should be exercised that the tree is planted safely away from any housing structure to prevent accidents.
The leaves of the Plumeria Alba are oblong and clustered in a spiral at the end of the stems. The broad, alternate leaves may reach a length of 20 inches and grow from thick, rough, and grayish-green branches. The tree is deciduous and sheds large elliptical leaves at the onset of cooler temperatures.
The upright branches spread out and form the leaf canopy, although the base of the trunk can eventually become crowded as the plant ages. The thick branches are surprisingly soft and breakable, although mature branches require a stronger force before they break. When parts of the Frangipani are punctured or broken off, a milky sap exudes from the plant’s wounds.
The roots of the Plumeria Alba are thin, white, and fibrous. The shallow root system of the tree in comparison to its upper growth suggests that the Plumeria may have the propensity to topple over in strong winds.
The proportion of the small root ball of the Frangipani to its leaf canopy makes the plant one of the most ideal tropical container trees. The roots can grow quite happily in this crowded condition, and the plant only needs repotting or transplanting once the roots are growing out of the container.
The flowers of the Plumeria Alba are the main attraction of the tree. The creamy white flowers with yellow centers are extremely fragrant with a sweet floral note with hints of fruit. Due to varieties, sweet Frangipani flowers can be described as having hints of citrus, cinnamon, coconut, peach, pepper, rose, and even sandalwood.
The Frangipani’s white perfumed flowers are often three inches wide, and their fragrance and aromatic strength can depend on many conditions. Some factors that may affect the fragrance are the specific cultivar, the amount of sunlight, the soil, the regional climatic temperatures, and even the types of fertilizer used.
The fragrant blooms are produced from the tips of the stems, very much like the leaves. The inflorescences start off as minuscule growths and eventually form a multi-blooming terminal spike. As the terminal spikes mature and produce more flowers, the length increases until it eventually falls off after the flowering season.
The Plumeria Alba is native to the tropical islands of the Lesser Antilles as well as Puerto Rico. Explorations to other places have introduced the Plumeria Alba to other tropical and temperate regions all over the world.
The tree thrives exceptionally well in climates similar to its native habitats. In temperate climates, many growers prefer to pot these plants and bring them indoors to overwinter.
Plumeria Alba trees are one of the most rewarding plants as long as their basic needs are met. Here’s what we need to remember when growing this top tropical beauty:
- The Plumeria Alba prefers warm sunny climates, humid conditions, and deep watering with a slight drying out period in between watering.
- The Frangipani produces a fantastic display of striking foliage and fragrant flowers when grown in ideal conditions.
- The Plumeria Alba is propagated in different ways, with seedlings from stem cuttings being the most popular technique.
Despite its tropical appearance, the breathtaking beauty of the Plumeria Alba can be easily acquired by many gardeners who are determined to provide the plant with its needs.
The fragrant Frangipani shows its gratitude by rewarding its caretakers with remarkable leaves and intoxicatingly perfumed blooms that recreate incredible memories of summer!