going to the wood chipper...

irun5kApril 22, 2012

We have a large plumeria in ground near our deck that I planted a couple of years ago. If it isn't a Miami Rose it may be a seedling of it. I had visions of walking out my door to dozens upon dozens of inflos and a wonderful scent.

It is not cooperating at all. It is taller than our first story of the house now and only has maybe 6 or 7 tips. Branches have bloomed and not branched several times in a row. As a landscape specimen it has been a very poor choice and I'm going to either send it thought a wood chipper, or if it is lucky, part it out and make cuttings while I still can. Our neighbor has a similar cultivar, if not the same, that is larger than some oak trees in the neighborhood.

I say all this to communicate that growth habit is an important quality to me. I want to replace it with something hardy, tried and true.... probably either a celadine or an aztec gold. Could anyone with experience with mature trees compare and contrast these re: growth habit? For example if one cutting of each was planted side by side how would they be different in 5, 10 years as an in-ground planting?



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freak4plumeria(So CA zone 10)

Miami Rose is known for being Leggy, plus it smells like Sun tan oil no typical plumeria. If you want a plumie that smells good and is a pretty pink shade then may I suggest Guillots Sunset. Great growth habit and nice scent.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 12:52AM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

Brian, I can't speak to hardiness, but 'Penang Peach' is much more compact and 'fires on all cylinders' (that is, it seems to bloom on all tips for me). Color really deepens with heat and humidity, which I know you have!

Aztec Gold is too lanky for my pot culture. It is not disimilar to Miami Rose in that regard, although 'grown hard' (less water, no fert) it may be better.

'Kimo' also seems more compact. But I'm only going by pot culture.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 1:11PM
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freak4, yes the scent is even more distinct on mine this year... it does smell like coconut/suntan oil. The inflos are fairly impressive and "muscular" as well. The disadvantage is, of course, that the branches grow several feet before blooming and then they usually branch 0 to 2 ways.

Dave, Penang or a seedling of it has been on my mind for a while. Since I can accommodate a tree in ground here, I've also been considering something that will grow into a nice small to medium compact tree, but not a bush. Do you think a Celadine fits this description more than Aztec Gold?

I have found it difficult to find photos of mature, named trees planted in ground. Rightfully so, most photos are of the wonderful blooms and additionally I know a great many folks are limited to having to grow in containers.


    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 10:24PM
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Something like this Bill Morgane has a growth habit that is desirable for my purposes:

I worry a little about anything more exotic... but I'm not even sure what "exotic" means to be honest since little info seems to exist on overall hardiness. To spite a warm microclimate, I still feel better making a more durable choice when putting something in the ground permanently.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 10:42PM
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Aztec gold grows leggy for me. I would go for a Celadine between the two of them.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 10:46PM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Hey Brian,

What a choice to make!!!

I like all of the choices so far.. But i will say that i like the idea of Penang Peach or Celadine. Both classics and could give you want you want as far as shape and hardiness.

Wish i had that problem here!! : ) I did "choke" when i saw the "Wood chipper" mention... Yikes!!!

My Miami Rose is a monster and it is in a container!!! I love it tho!!! : )

Let us know what you decide...

Take Care,


    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 11:08PM
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tdogdad(Zone 9)

The average plumeria starts out growing between 12-18" each year but slows at about 8 years from my experience.At this time the plant grows less upwards but tents to thicken the stem and branches. What this means is that you are looking at a bush for the first decade and a half. The tree size takes from 20 to 60+ years. A seedling or leggy plant will reach heights faster but have problems supporting the branches. I use 10' conduit painted green and pounded next to the stem. I use one inch plant tape to tie the branches to the conduit to keep the branches growing upward and to support them until they thicken enough to support themselves. I agree with James in that Guillot's sunset is a massive bloomer and grows tall and thick quickly. Another one I really love is Kimi Moragne, which has a solid tree like growth but comes with masses of spicy smelling reddish=pink flowers. I have one nine foot Celadine but I have several that went bush on me. My most massive bloomer is Thornton Lemon Drop, but it is a large bush and would take years to become a small tree. I live in California. Depending on how warm your winter is where you live, you may see more growth and less time to grow large, but you are still looking at years.
here is an seven year old Golden Rainbow and a thirteen year old Psycho which has thickened up:

Uploaded with ImageShack.us

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 12:37AM
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Bill, your Psycho always looks so pretty. That is a hard one to beat for all around great plant. I just love it. It sure is "Psycho". Peg

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 9:39AM
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Bill, thanks- your longitudinal growth observations are valuable. I have seen a couple other plumeria that are traditionally upright growers that 'went bush' (great term BTW) and I thought it was a bit strange- so much for generics, give the win to environmental circumstances, chance, ???

Your Psycho has a great form to it and the Golden Rainbow is shaping up good too. Brads Buds+Blooms has a Kimi that is 3+ feet tall for $50, local pickup only. They are not right next-door to me by any means buts they are within driving distance. They usually have trees that have gotten too big to ship, perhaps that is an angle I should play.

Here is my current situation that I would like to avoid next time... growth habit of, oh, I dunno... BAMBOO??? lol. this has been a waste of three years of growing effort. Also I was a total newbie back then and got ripped off, paid 70 bucks for this misfit. On the upshot I can get one end cutting about about 10 center cuttings per branch if I want to part the tree out!!!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 11:10PM
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tdogdad(Zone 9)

you have several choices to consider. You can stake this plant and let it go tree. It should start branching more at the level it is at now. You could cut the branches about a foot above the split and see if it branches more from the lower level. you could cut the main stem and graft another variety onto the rootstock. It does have a nice healthy looking set of branches which if supported could fatten up. I think you got a seedling looking at the length of growth. Good luck. Bill

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 1:26AM
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Holy cow, you weren't kidding about leggy! That is not what most of us dream of when we get those cute babies in pots. Hard to enjoy flowers when you can't get anywhere near them!

Brian, if I were you I'd head to Brad's and check out his big trees for a better idea of growth habits and then buy one of his "too big to ship" trees, with Kimi being at the top of my list, too. (Actually, if I were you I'd take a U-Haul with me, lol!)

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 9:02AM
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dpolson37(7a VA)

Thought I'd share some photos of two leggy plumerias. The first one is probably aztec gold and the second photo is a NOID red.
Both trees are 6-7 years old. I really like the more compact varieties since I'm growing in pots.
For those selling plumerias it's nice to address growth habitat when writing up listings. From Garden 2012

From Garden 2012

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 11:41AM
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Brian, Jen's got it right, holy cow !!! But the flowers are beautiful. Too bad you don't have a bigger second story window LOL. Peg

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 11:45AM
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Dave, that is the fanciest. clothesline. EVER.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 3:17PM
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LOL, well I am glad to know I am not alone guys. I like the cloths line idea... I'm thinking mine might also make a good place to put items that I am spray painting. If I don't dismantle this thing right away I will take Bill's advice and at least give it a hard prune to see if it has a change of heart.

Brad's "too big to ship" prices are really not bad. Especially compared to Exotic Plumeria. I do want to check them out.

We are having a large festival here this weekend called the Green Thumb Festival. Lots of different growers selling anything/everything you can imagine. Maybe I will find something here.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 7:30PM
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OK, so this Plumeria overheard that it was going to be chipped up into little bits, and as a result put out three nice inflos and split on one branch that wasn't even blooming. I still think it is a dud because the tips often bloom multiple times w/o branching. However the inflos are nice- the big kinds that keep going for months. So maybe I'll give it a stay of execution, for now anyway.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 6:26PM
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I think it's awesome! Great color!!! I say: KEEP :)


    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 7:34PM
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Nice one Brian !!! Maybe what you need to do is cut it way back so it will make lots of branches. Just a thought. Peg

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 8:20PM
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Those are some gorgeous flowers and coupled with the coconut/suntan lotion scent, I would have to cut it back and try to keep it!

If you cut it back I have an aztec gold and a mystery cutting for trade.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 5:25PM
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Miami Rose can definitely get large and is leggy... Here are some examples from Fort Lauderdale. I took these photos a few years ago.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 12:18PM
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In my newbie zeal to learn all things Plumie I came across a recommendation that making a 1/8" cut of an 18" stem near the top (at the shoulder) will cause branching. Is this at least partially true? Would it help your situation or make it worse?

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 2:19PM
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Wow, thanks for the photos plumeriafl, those definitely re-enforce the image of legginess that I had.

rcantor, cutting back a branch (as long as you leave enough remaining) will definitely cause 1 or more new branches to form. I may in fact try this- however I suspect you can't cheat genetics and I fully expect that one single branch will sprout to replace what I just cut off.

My neighbors have one similar to your picture and it has clearly survived many winters that have claimed less hardy varieties. So I have that in mind also.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 4:21PM
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Brian - with a plant of mine, I'm thinking along the same lines concerning not being able to cheat genetics. But, where your plant is concerned, hardiness means something, too, right? :)

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 10:19PM
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