A near requirement for living in South Florida, especially as a year round resident, is a Plumeria or a Frangipani in the yard. This is not a good ‘Snowbird’ plant as most Plumeria is naked in the winter and reasonably unattractive. Summer is a different story, the Plumeria have just burst forth with flowers here on the Treasure Coast and the fragrance and color make it worth having a deciduous tree in the garden.
This is the tree that provides flowers for leis in Hawaii. I was always under the impression the Plumerias were native to the South Pacific. Research tells me the variety Plumeria alba, which is the more common, fragrant, and deciduous Plumeria come from Central and South America. Sources seem to agree that Plumeria pudica is from Central America. To add to the confusion there is a type of Plumeria called ‘Singapore’ that is native to Columbia. I will leave it to someone else to explain the Hawaiian lei concept.
Enter the Bridal Bouquet Plumeria, I discovered this plant in Stuart, Florida never having seen one before and was told it was evergreen. This particular variety of Plumeria has a columnar habit and I was looking for a plant to place between two windows in an unirrigated planter in front of my house. It is a perfect selection thus far it is about six feet tall and maybe 2 feet wide. There is some disagreement amongst the experts as to the evergreeness of this plant; apparently if it gets cold enough it will drop its foliage. I can believe it even if Wikipedia doesn’t.
So far the Bridal Bouquet has performed admirably remaining evergreen and blooming profusely. The extension service states it blooms six months out of the year, mine is not quite there. The only complaint I have is the plant is a bit crunchy and high winds tend to blow parts off. It must be noted that the trade off for evergreen foliage is no fragrance. My husband is not a plant guy and he was in the front planter sniffing the plant to no avail. I decided the solution to the crunchies is to root the bits and plant them in front of my neighbors ugly decaying wood fence. Perfect recycle.
There are many, many varieties of Plumeria, and even a society devoted to the plant, inauspiciously called the PSA. I am hopeful this acronym was coined prior to the medical test.