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cold tolerance

Posted by irun5k St Pete, FL (My Page) on
Mon, May 9, 11 at 11:13

Hello all, I have made several observations over the last couple of winters and I also have a couple of related questions.

The specific neighborhood I live in typically does not experience freezing temperatures, this is evidenced by large Jacaranda, Royal Poinciana, etc. However the winter before last, which was brutal, did bring a couple of significant frosts.

As a result, nearly every front yard plumeria planted near the street with little protection died. (One had a trunk that was several inches in diameter giving you an idea of the relative uniqueness of that winter.) OTOH most back yard plumeria were fine. My neighbor has one that is around 40' tall. Most plumeria near a wall, in a courtyard, etc. also did fine. I've not witnessed anyone actually covering their plumeria, regardless of the size.

This tells me that my area is right at a very specific climate line...where a degree or two of radiant heat can make most of the difference. However, I also suspect the genetics of the cultivar being studied has something to do with it.

I would actually like to put a couple of plants in ground in our front yard where they will have little protection. I know, haven't I learned ANYTHING? ...but it seems like I am close to having this as a practical option if I can find the right plant??? I have read that Texas Sunrise hasa much higher cold tolerance than other cultivars. Does anyone have experience with this? Next down on the list seems to be Celadine, Aztec Gold, and Samoan Fluff.

I suppose another option is to just find a neighbor nearby that has a plumeria that had front-yard exposure to the cold and lived, and try to buy a cutting from them.

Just curious about your thoughts...

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: cold tolerance

My house faces north and I had the same situation, plants that froze to the ground in front, but fared just fine in back, and even two similar plants in different parts of the front or back yards faring completely differently through winter. You can't underestimate the power of micro-climate zones in any area.

Your idea about finding a neighbor's surviving plant and getting a cutting sounds like a good one. I've also heard Samoan Fluff and Celadine are very hardy, and easier to find than varieties like Sierra Madre. Someone else may know more but I'd read somewhere that Key West Red is very tough and fairly cold-hardy, though I would probably place it next to a structure to be safe. That one would be nice if you want a richer color and lower growth habit.

I ran across an interesting list--don't know how reliable it is--but you may want to check it out in the link.


Here is a link that might be useful: Arizona cold-tolerant plumeria list

RE: cold tolerance

Just a note: I have lost several Aztec Golds. Wildfires, and a large jeannie moragne to mild frosts so I question their names on the cold tolerant list. I find most reds are the least cold tolerant. Bill

RE: cold tolerance

I think it all depends on your micro climate and how well you protect them. Here in Phoenix, we had an especially rough winter, where temps got down to 28 degrees at my house, however I only lost one plant, which I believe was not due to the temps, but actually the heavy subsequent rains we received while it was still dormant. I used frost cloth, burlap, and topped it off with xmas lights and they all came out ok with only a few black tips, which already have 5"+ new branches on them!

RE: cold tolerance

  • Posted by irun5k St Pete, FL (My Page) on
    Wed, May 11, 11 at 13:21

Thanks all. Celadine seems to come up on every list as being hardy. Perhaps that is the safest choice for me at this point. Obviously a lot is known about that cultivar since it is so popular, so it feels like a solid choice to me. I might hold off until next spring though... gives me more time to gather statistics, evidence, etc.!

RE: cold tolerance

If I were planting a recently rooted plumeria, I would ovewrwinter it in a pot in the first year and then plant it in the ground the following year, if you are in fact on the esdge of a climate zone prone to freezing. The first year is the most critical in overwintering a plumeria plant.

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