Drought Tolerant Gardening With Plumeria

This tropical beauty is a great for drought tolerant gardening. Get tips for growing plumeria, also known as frangipani.

If you’ve ever visited Hawaii, you’ve no doubt seen and fallen in love with plumeria. The waxy blooms of this plant are the quintessential flower for making traditional Hawaiian leis, and the sweet scent is synonymous with the tropics. But plumeria (often called frangipani) is actually fairly easy to grow just about anywhere, as long you follow a few guidelines.


Plumeria is best grown from cuttings from a healthy plant, and you can find many places to buy them online. When you buy them, you will usually just receive what looks like a thick stick, without much to show for itself. They are extremely easy to root, though (it basically just involves sticking them in the soil and giving them water and sun), and new leaves will begin to grow within a few weeks. Visit Plumeria 101 for step-by-step rooting instructions. Plumeria produces clusters of long-lasting, sweet-smelling flowers from spring through fall, going dormant in the winter.


As with most tropical plants, plumeria is not cold-tolerant. In fact, it can be damaged when the temperatures fall into the 40s. So if you grow plumeria in any area below zone 10, you will have to take precautions in the winter. The easiest way to do this is to grow plumeria in a pot, and bring it inside when cool weather arrives. If you’d like to plant it outdoors, you can dig it up in the fall and keep it indoors over the winter, which is when the plant is generally dormant anyway. The Plumeria Society of America has good tips for dealing with plumeria during the winter in colder climates.


In warmer climates, plumeria can be grown outdoors year-round if protected from frost. In the right conditions, it will become a shrub or even a small tree (as shown above in Tampa, Florida). The wonderful thing about this gorgeous flowering plant is that it requires very little water, making it perfect for drought tolerant gardening. Plant it in well-drained soil (sand or sandy soil is ideal),whether you grow it outdoors or in a pot. Plumeria likes its soil to dry out between waterings, so expect to give it water once a week or so unless it receives rain. Find more tips on growing plumeria here.

Do you grow plumeria? What tips would you give new growers to help them be successful? Tell us in the comments!

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Jill Staake
Jill lives in Tampa, Florida, and writes about gardening, butterflies, outdoor projects and birding. When she's not gardening, you'll find her reading, traveling and happily digging her toes into the sand on the beach.