Plumeria rubra (Plumeria)

  • TropPlant Accession Number (TPAN): 0008
  • Botanical Name: Plumeria rubra
  • Common Name: Plumeria, Fragipani
  • Cultivar: N/A
  • Family: Apocynaceae 
  • Native To: Tropical Americas
Plumeria rubra 
Photo by Matthew Gaston

Landscaping Information

  • Plant Type: Shrub to Tree
  • Texture: Open
  • Form: Spreading
  • Height (on average, in landscape use): 4'-16.5'
  • Height to Spread Ratio: 3:1
  • Growth Rate: Medium
  • Landscape Values: Street Tree (not an ideal street tree), Color, Patio, Shade (not an ideal shade plant), Sculptural Form, Specimen
  • Outstanding Quality: Flower Color, Fragrance, Form/Silhouette, Knobby Trunk

Botanical Descriptions

  • Flowers: fragrant, often described as a spicy lemon smell. 1.25"-2.75" long, highly variable species with several colors including white, pink, magenta, yellow, salmon, and orange. Waxy texture.
Plumeria rubra flower
Photo by Matthew Gaston

  • Fruits:  2, very large, linear, basally united. dehiscent, dry follicles with winged seeds.
  • Foliage Color: Young/immature: Yellow Green. Mature: Bright medium green to dark green 
  • Foliage Tip: Acute
  • Foliage Base: Acute
  • Petiole: long petiole
  • Stipules:N/A
  • Margins: Smooth 
  • Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
  • Leaf Shape:  narrowly elliptic to narrowly obovate
  • Leaf Type: Simple
  • Leaf Texture: Leathery to Glabrous adaxial side, very pronounced leaf veins on the abaxial side.
  • Leaf Special Notes: Leaves are somewhat and often fall from this semi-deciduous tree. Leaves contain a latex irritant
Plumeria rubra young leaves 
Photo by Matthew Gaston

  • Bark and Trunk: Knobby and pronounced. "Elephant skin"  Good Structural form.

Horticultural Information

  • Light Preference: Full Sun.
  • Light Tolerances: Needs full sun. 
  • Soil Preferences: Not Particular, but Neutral, Sand, Well-Drained.
  • Tolerances: Humidity, Drought
  • Water Requirements: Dry to medium moisture soil required
  • Notes on Maintenance: Native to hot, dry regions of Mexico and Central America, so if kept too wet, root rot can occur. Scale and nematodes may also affect this plant.
  • Propagation: Cutting and seed. 
  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 10-12
  • Weed Risk Assessment Score (WRA): -5. Low Risk

Plumeria rubra by Descourtilz, M.E., in "Flore m├ędicale des Antilles", vol. 4: t. 297 (1827) [J.T. Descourtilz]



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