Questions about cold tolerance

Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)December 23, 2013

How far south does one have to go until Plumeria is safe in the ground? I'm pretty sure I'm too far north, but trying to understand if this plant must be stored warm & growing or if there's any kind of possible dormancy.

Can they not grow back from the roots after frost, like a Brugmansia or Persian shield? Or are they really as sensitive to cold as a Coleus? Maybe they aren't big enough to bloom for a while if frosted? It's confusing at the edge of hardiness sometimes...

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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

I would say 9 or higher without needing protection. And even in some zone 9's you have to be ready to move them or protect them from short cold snaps. The biggest issue is the tips freezes and that is were the inflo's form. You can wrap the trunk and branches with insulation, pipe foam, etc but if you lose a tip then you lose a chance for flowers.
You can store them cool and they will stay dormant until spring. Infact I have about 30 storing in the barn and it stays in the 40-50 degree range and they just sit there waiting to come out.

Oh and no they cannot grow back from the roots unless there was a few inches of trunk left and it had a variable area to regrow branches.


    Bookmark   December 23, 2013 at 5:04PM
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I think you will get a plumeria to survive in zone 8b most years but you will end up with routine to occasional frost damage which will hamper (if not prevent) blooming and create, in my opinion, an ugly tree as each frosted tip grows out contorted and unnatural.

It will rarely bloom as the tips which are working on the flower show for the following summer are destroyed during the preceding winter. Try with a generic yellow that is 4-5 years old (woody trunk), frost blankets, and incandescent lights. Also look for any potential microclimates you may have in your yard such as southern exposure, a heated pool nearby, etc. Usually a combination of these things will work for most short duration cold snaps.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2013 at 6:25PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

TY for the responses. That's about what I expected to hear... since I don't see them around anywhere. TY for the tips on trying.

I don't know what's a bigger fantasy - a successful P in the ground here, or a heated pool nearby... I'd take either!

    Bookmark   December 27, 2013 at 11:20AM
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too funny. Sometimes people don't realize how much of a difference a microclimate can make in extending your growing season if you are in a typically warm zone.

You can always in ground plant or plunge the container in ground during the growing season and then dig it up before first frost for storage in a protected location. 8b should give you a season from about Easter to Thanksgiving without much difficulty.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 12:23PM
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I'm in zone 8b/9a, near the ocean - mine won't survive outdoors, so I doubt yours will either.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 9:45AM
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We went down Christmas Day, I had 3 plumeria planted in pots in the ground, I totally forgot about them, they were in great shape. I think it got down to 36 degrees, I would have thought there would be frost damage, but nothing. No leaves but the plants were in great shape, I moved them into the protected carport. Can't wait until spring.. Barbra

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 5:17PM
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31 last night on the island Barb. So far so good, some of the plumies even have new leaves, a little singed on the tips is the only sign of damage yet.
Tally Ho!

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 6:09PM
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Barbra and Tally, it's good to hear your plants did very well with the temps in the 30's! I think it really depends on the age and the variety.

I have a young (maybe 1-year-old) JL Tornado in a pot that was in the garage for that last cold spell when it got down to 30's in there, probably just above freezing. When I checked yesterday that Tornado had all three tips collapsed at the ends. There are a couple others with collapsed or shrivelled tips, too, mostly seedlings (including JL Tornado seedlings!) that put on a lot of green growth in summer. All the others that grew slowly, or are probably just hardier, are fine in the garage.

Normally I would never leave one like Tornado in the cold garage but it must have been overlooked when the fussier ones got moved indoors. You can just tell by the color that it would be a cold-tender one!

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 10:06AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

TY for the added inputs!

I think I understand this, somebody please correct me if this is wrong.

I'm growing this plant for the pretty flowers, which bloom on old wood, so even if the roots survive, the new growth each year wouldn't be able to produce flowers, so a pointless thing to do (PIG here.)

If I keep the plants warm enough, the old wood should survive and be able to produce flowers while plants are outside in the warm weather, assuming they are healthy enough to do so, then again needs to be brought back in before getting a chill.

Others are living a little more dangerously, but by doing the above, I should have reasonable expectations of success (seeing Plumeria flowers.)

Any fumbles?

This post was edited by purpleinopp on Fri, Jan 10, 14 at 10:37

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 10:36AM
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eureka ;-)


    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 1:11PM
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Andrew Scott

Hi Purple. Yeah you basically got it right. Yes, the bloom on old wood. Dwarf Singapore Pink would be an excellent plumeria to start with. In zones 9 and above it would remain evergreen and probably bloom most of the year. I have one now that I got from Stokes Tropicals probably 4 years ago now. That tree is huge now! It easily has grown 20+tips so yes, it has the potential to bloom on all those tips. To me, the fragrance is really nice. I think DSP is over looked by many because it doesn't produce the huge flashy flowers. The flowers are just a soft pink but they still are pretty.

I live in zone 6 and even my DSP is basically evergreen. It dropped all its leaves, and in the same month it grew all new leaves. Within another month or so, it will be blooming again. It has been the first tree to flower for me out of the 150+ trees I have.

Another excellent variety for people just starting out would be Celadine. It's a very fragrant variety with yellow and white flowers. It's also a very reliable bloomer.

You seem to have a pretty good idea on the concept of there temp requirements. I encourage you to read up on the older posts regarding there cultural requirements.

I wish you the best of luck starting out with these tropical gems! Just one word of caution. THESE TROPICAL FLOWERING TREES ARE VERY ADDICTING!! I should know. When I was first getting started, I bought 3 unrooted cuttings. I was so proud of myself for getting them to root, I ended up with around 50 more before the end of that year!


    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 12:40AM
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