1 gallon; 2-3 gallon; 5 gallon
15-20 x 15-20’
Plumeria is often assumed to be native to Hawaii because it is so common there, but the species is native to the tropical Americas. Plumeria rubra is actually native to the hot dry regions of Sonora south to Panama and the Caribbean Islands. It is usually a shrub in Sonora but occasionally grows to more than 20 feet tall. They bloom in their native habitat at the end of the spring dry season. In landscapes, they start blooming in early spring and bloom continuously until the first real “desert cold” sets in. They then will lose their leaves until spring. Eastern exposure is optimal for the longest bloom. These are not tropical plants that requires lots of irrigation - they will rot if not allowed to dry out.
If you notice the flower is most fragrant at night, this is in order to lure pollinators. Plumeria flowers have no nectar and simply trick pollinators like sphinx moths to inadvertently pollinate them in their fruitless search for nectar.
Growing Plants in the Desert — Important Information
The information presented here is, to the best of my knowledge, accurate and based on my research from reliable sources, observations I have made of plants growing in my, and other gardens I have visited, and observations of the plants in their native habitats. I would appreciate your feedback and experience to help me educate others!
Cacti: In my experience, cacti are much happier in the filtered shade here in the low desert of the Coachella Valley. Colors are more vibrant and they bloom more profusely, especially the non-native varieties. If you pay attention to how our native barrel and beavertail opuntia grow in the wild, it is frequently tucked in the rocks under creosote or another shrub.
Light Requirements: I have found that in our desert (Sonoran/Colorado) “full sun” plants can take and appreciate the late afternoon filtered sun, especially in the hot summer months.