Thursday, July 31, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

The sweet smell of plumeria

By
From page D4 | June 29, 2014 |

Like many visitors to Hawaii, I fell in love with the plumeria trees.

I appreciated the beauty of the five petal flowers in colors of white, yellow and pink, but I fell even harder for the intoxicating fragrance. I imagined they were native to the South Pacific as they seemed so at home there. It turns out they are originally from Central America, Mexico and certain islands in the Caribbean.

They have several interesting common names. The name, frangipani tree, according to Dr. John Grimshaw in The Gardener’s Atlas, comes from a famous perfume-maker in Italy in the 12th century who created a wonderful scent from a mixture of many different plants. When explorers smelled the scent of the plumeria flowers they thought it identical to the famous perfume.

Other common names for plumeria are resurrection tree and temple tree. These names come from the plant’s ability to grow from apparently lifeless cuttings of leafless branches. These cuttings were easily transported throughout the tropics and were frequently planted outside temples and at grave sites.

The scientific genus name plumeria comes from the French plant explorer Charles Plumier. There are two main species: plumeria obtuse, a white flowering tree, and plumeria rubra, which can have white, yellow, red or pink blossoms. Plumeria rubra is what we most often see growing here on the mainland.

To grow plumeria here in our area it will need to be protected from our frosts. Luckily, plumeria grow well in containers so they can be moved to protected areas like garages or even inside the house. I’ve grown several from the cuttings that seem to be for sale wherever you go in Hawaii. I lost one to frost.

I also learned that the trunk and branches could be scalded by our hot afternoon sun. The leaves tend to form on the ends of the branches. Leaf size ranges from 10 to 12 inches long and 2 to 4 inches wide. The trees themselves top out at about 30 feet when planted in the ground in the tropics. Grown here in containers they stay much smaller. They can also be pruned to be smaller; however, heavy pruning will delay flower growth.

I was surprised to read that plumeria can tolerate drought by dropping their leaves and becoming semi-dormant. Water requirement is only moderate in contrast to many tropical plants. Plumeria rubra also routinely drops its leaves in winter and watering should be sharply reduced at that point. Plumeria obtuse does not drop its leaves and stays evergreen.

Plumeria can tolerate some wind and salt, but they do require good drainage. They can be grown from seed although most are grown from cuttings. Cuttings should be allowed to dry or form a callus for at least a week before being planted.

The reason people grow plumeria, of course, is because of its flowers. This year my patience is finally being rewarded. After many years of waiting, I finally have a bloom spike. The books say plants grown from cuttings frequently bloom within the first few years, but I have not been that fortunate. I suspect a combination of frost damage, pruning, and inadequate fertilization led to delayed flower production.

I doubt I will have enough flowers to make a lei or perfume, which are common uses of plumeria flowers. However, I intend to enjoy the fragrance and beauty of the flowers, nonetheless. Having to wait so long will make them smell all the sweeter.

Karen Metz is a Master Gardener with the University of California Cooperative Extension office in Fairfield. If you have gardening questions, call the Master Gardener’s office at 784-1322.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Cities dealing with state drought rules

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Muralist helps locals ready for some painted wall history

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

It’s ‘camping for 30′ at the Solano fair

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Rejection makes us each stronger

By Angela Borchert | From Page: A2

 
Highway 12 crash sends 2 to hospital

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Police release name of Vallejo homicide victim

By Glen Faison | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Mall to host Ultimate Army Throw Down

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

Price will seek re-election as Fairfield mayor

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4

 
Fairfield police log: July 29, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: July 29, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

Peace Corps evacuates over Ebola as 2 isolated

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Pipe break that flooded UCLA dumps 20M gallons

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Obama takes tougher line against Gaza casualties

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
AP Analysis: Amid war, endgames in Gaza emerge

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

2 women survive ordeal along Indiana rail bridge

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Ex-IRS official called conservatives ‘crazies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Dissent quieted with most Israelis behind Gaza war

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Deadly Israeli strikes hit UN school, market area

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Crews work to keep Yosemite fire from sequoias

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
Sanctions will damage Russia if not lifted quickly

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

Clashes prevent experts from reaching bodies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
Suing Obama: GOP-led House gives the go-ahead

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

Congress cooperates – and fights – as recess nears

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
Powell maybe not told early about CIA techniques

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

.

Opinion

Editorial Cartoons: July 31, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
What happened to the US?

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 9 Comments

Am I blaming victims?

By Kelvin Wade | From Page: A11

 
Why ‘compassionate conservatism’ is still dead

By Ramesh Ponnuru | From Page: A11

 
Cruz gets border crisis wrong

By Ruben Navarrette | From Page: A11

.

Living

Today in History for July 31, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: July 31, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes for July 31, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
I want to change my daughters last name to my maiden name

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Commentary: ‘Orphan Black,’ Emmy snubs and questions of identity

By Los Angeles Times | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Allison Williams headed skyward as NBC’s Peter Pan

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Contract dispute delays ‘Big Bang’ production

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

.

Sports

Lloyd’s film watching impresses 49ers teammates

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
SF benefits from Pirates’ blunder, ends skid at 6

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Complete game shutout lifts Expos to State Tournament win

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Hammel fails again for Athletics in loss to Astros

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Ray Guy’s long wait for Hall of Fame comes to end

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Raiders owner confirms talks with San Antonio

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Stanford star Ty Montgomery rehabbing shoulder

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Greg Ives to crew chief Earnhardt in 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Riley speaks out, insists Heat will be competitive

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Nadal out of 2 tournaments because of right wrist

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Pipe break that flooded UCLA dumps 20M gallons

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Steelers to retire Hall of Famer Greene’s No. 75

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Fairfield-Suisun 6U Bobby Sox win titles

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B4

 
Usain Bolt in controversy at Commonwealth Games

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Indians trade pitcher Masterson to Cardinals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
.

Business

US judge slaps $1.3B fine on Bank of America

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5, 1 Comment

 
A more vigorous US economy appears to be emerging

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Overhaul approved for troubled California refinery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Judge says Crystal CEO should testify in lawsuit

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7, 1 Comment

.

Obituaries

Louise Scholten

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Ronald Witt Escue Sr.

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Scott Allen Shaver

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Clifford C. Hemler

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

.

Comics

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9