Favorite trouble-free plumerias for Southern California?

ladyver(9)March 27, 2014

I'm in the process of selling off my larger trees to make room for my next batch of small rooted plants, but I would love to hear from you to find out which varieties thrive in So Cal. I'm done dealing with temperamental varieties.....a few years back I was hell bent to get Makaha Sunn until I found out it can be difficult and washed out in our climate. I have a Golden Ray that's only bloomed once in 7 years, shovel pruned all of my Nebel's Rainbows because of blacktip issues, and just sold off Lurline for being a stingy bloomer. I'm trying to avoid those kinds of issues. Any suggestions for trouble free prolific bloomers with large inflos and nice growth habits? Highly scented unusual varieties would be a bonus. How does JL Metallica perform here? I don't mind getting a higher priced variety, it just needs to earn its keep! Varieties I have been impressed with in my personal collection have been Thorntons Lemon Drop, Elsie, Gulfstream, Pink Pansy, Mardi Gras, Blush Pink (year round blooms!), Katie Moragne, J105 and Grove Farm to name a few.....please add to my list to help fuel the addiction!

This post was edited by ladyver on Thu, Mar 27, 14 at 12:03

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I think we have all wanted the fancy ones at some points in time and some of them are just fickle based upon climate, heat, etc., I too am going with the old standards that do the job. I'm over the reds (not enough heat here in Ventura, CA) and orange plumeria have been fickle for me. Off the top of my head, here is a couple of my favorites......

Celadine - my first plumeria, a great smell, dense growth habit, annual prolific producer.

Aztec Gold - peach smell, long lasting big flowers (a little leggy on the growth)

Moragne (Jeannie, Katie, Kimi) - must haves in any collection. Also can be a little leggy but the flowers make up for it. My favorites for sure.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 11:53AM
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tdogdad(Zone 9)

I am in Costa Mesa. What city are you in? The microclimates in So. Calif. are vast. I have about 150+ varieties that most do well/ Makaha Sunn is a very sensitive plant and one of the hardest to keep going. I agree with uglyhair except my large Aztec gold died last year. I think that Gardena (psycho white) is excellent in this area. Blooms 10 months. If you are near here, let me know- I have some extra cuttings. Also Guillot's sunset is reliable and blooms well. My best surviving red is the Cerise. Love the Moragnes esp. Jeannie,Kimi and Katie. Bill

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 12:48PM
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Thanks for the suggestions, uglyhair! Bill, I'm in Yorba Linda, so we're sitting in about the same climate, we're probably *slightly* hotter up here. I lurk on this forum a lot and your Psycho sounds an awful lot like my Blush Pink....it's STILL blooming and has been the only plumerias my in-laws haven't managed to kill! I'd be interested just to smell the blooms on your Gardena to see if the scent is identical. I agree on the Moragnes and Guillot's Sunset! I grafted a Cancun pink cutting to a med/large Celadine in the ground and both bloom exceptionally well. My Hilo Beauty is the biggest tree I have...I have to climb it to decorate it for Christmas and I hang my wetsuit off of it to dry. Gotta love a multi-purpose plumeria. Have you found any of the more exotic varieties that do well around here? JL Hula Girl produces inflos so big that I had to stake it to prevent it from bending the leggy cutting. I'm eying Metallica, Gina, Lava Flow, Toba's Fire (don't mind paying the price but would prefer not to take my business to Exotic Plumeria..). I'm not sure if any of these would be finicky in our area. Thanks for the offer on the cuttings, but I'm trying to curb my addiction by convincing myself it's OK to obtain more plumerias as long as I don't have something similar to it...... :-D Sonja

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 2:37PM
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Ladyver....Uglyhair has been to our luau, hopefully this year in July when Laura is out for a visit we will have the 3rd annual.......hope Bill comes too and others on this forum who think the drive would be worth it. I love Gina and Wildfire and Kaneohe Sunburst for this area....in Ventura as well. I have inflos that have been forming all this mild winter on Heidi Gold, Madame Poni, Hurricane, Canary Yellow, and others I can list later. What is your number goal? Pots or the ground? mahalos, roxanne

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 8:48PM
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If you have J Moragne and it does well in your area then JL Metallica will also as it is very similar in growth habit and flowering. Emmerson's Pink Nova does super in most areas of So Cal and is a profuse flowering plumeria with compact growth habit. Sundance from Marilynn's Garden does well and is a profuse bloomer and has a good growth habit. Bonnie Fox is another compact grower and profuse bloomer with a super strong scent. Jack's Purple also compact grower and profuse bloomer, the scent is not that strong. There are many others that should do well for you, just threw out a few.

Mahalo Nui Loa

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 1:37AM
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Always great to hear practical suggestions about which varieties do well in certain areas. Thank you!

Bill, of all the cuttings you gave me Psycho is by far doing the best so it's safe to say that she's a trooper. You're wonderful to share this terrific plant around the country!

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 10:53AM
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I'm in Yorba Linda too. I have some 3+ tip cuttings from my neighbor's large Gardena tree if you want one.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 11:50AM
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Don't forget the SoCal. Plumeria cutting sale on the 1st weekend of April....sooooo tempting, once again, but too much traffic! roxanne

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 12:07PM
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Great suggestions everyone, THANK YOU! Kimo, is the JL Metallica a better brancher than Jeannie Moragne Jr.? I've had JM since 2005 and it likes to bloom without branching, which is great for the particular area of the yard that I plunked it into, but it does require a special space for a tree that grows like that. I actually avoid the So Cal plumeria sales.....I'd get into too much trouble. I know my weaknesses....lol. Can't tell you how hard it is for me not to jump onto Bill's and disneyhorse's offers for cuttings (thank you both for the generous offer!). Roxanne, I tend to go through a cycle with my plants....All start off in pots. If the roots grow faster than I can repot and or starts getting too big, they go in ground. When I get bored with the plant or have one that I like better, I dig it up and sell it. Most don't make it to the in-ground stage, the ones that did are Hilo Beauty, Celadine (grafted with Cancun Pink), India, Elsie, Penang Peach, Kamiyama Rainbow, Gulf Stream, Blush Pink, Jeannie Moragne Jr., Thornton's Lemon Drop, Guillot's Sunset, Cancun (on the dig list), an unknown yellow/white grafted with a mystery MPG cutting, 2 Samoan Fluffs (at least 1 on the dig list), and Kona Hybrid #26 (on the dig list). As for plant limits, I just can't have more plants than things to tie them down to when the Santa Anas hit. Right now I have too many big plants that need to go.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 1:11PM
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Sounds like quite a collection, wished I lived closer....roxanne

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 3:17PM
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tdogdad(Zone 9)

Sonja- I have about thirty in the ground and I use 10' conduit from home depot painted green to stake and tie branches. I have had really good luck in heavy winds with this system. I also have plants in hedges that are 3' apart so the stakes keep the plants growing upwards instead of outwards. You are welcome to swing by sometime and check out these. Just email me. Afternoons only (mornings for surfing). Bill

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 4:18PM
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Email sent! My husband works for an aerospace company, and one of the byproducts of their hoses is an endless supply of nylon rope (the soft kind). We've pulled cars out of mud with it and it straps down my plumerias during the winds, but a permanent staking system sounds MUCH better than the routine I have to go through to batten down the hatches over here!

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 6:23PM
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It does branch slightly better, but still a little on the leggy side. Metallica resembles Moragnes so much so that I sometimes think it might be a seedling of.


    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 6:31PM
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No-Clue(So Cal Zone 9)

For me Divine, Elsie and CA Sunset are crazy easy! I want to let them go but they just bloom so much that I'm having a hard time getting rid of them. LOL.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 6:45PM
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Maybe an easier drive to hit Island Plumeria...talk to Matthew, great guy and fabulous trees and prices. He has some of the classics (i.e. mary helen eggenberger sp?) and I have bought each spring from him wonderful rooted plants in big containers and many with inflos.....roxanne

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 7:56PM
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Lynn, do you have pic of your Divine and CA Sunset? Maybe we can talk when you're ready to let go. ;-) I love Elsie! Spectacular up close and an eye catcher at a distance. Thanks for the tip Roxanne, I'll have to make the pilgrimage one day soon! Is it the same Matt that sells on Ebay?

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 8:07PM
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no, I don't think so...I found him 3 years ago from a recommendation on this site and I combine smuggling in some new ones when I hit the 2 Home Goods down that way...he came to our luau once 2 years ago, great guy! roxanne

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 8:34PM
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Matt on eBay is in Hawaii. My Waimea and Makaha Sunn came from him though and they are very nice plants.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 9:01PM
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musaboru(Inland Calif.)

Another vote for Divine. It blooms so much that I am glad when it takes a little break for winter. An established one (that is about a couple of years from a rooted cutting) can have inflos popping out of every corner.

The inflos on mines stayed on this year and when it warms up a bit more here it will start blooming like crazy again.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 12:41PM
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How about Plumeria obtusa in soucal? Evergreen,glossy foliage.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 9:56PM
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