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]

Most Popular Plants

Graptophyllum pictum (Caricature Plant)

Bucida buceras 'Variegated' (Dwarf Variegated Geometry Tree)

Pseuderanthemum carruthersii var. carruthersii (Variegated False Eranthemum)

Ficus microcarpa var. crassifolia (Wax Fig)

Jatropha integerrima (Peregrina)

Breynia disticha (Snow Bush)