Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Plumeria Farm Update

Back on July 21, 2009, I did the first post about my little plumeria "farm" and I thought I'd give you a little update today. Nine and a half months have passed since I first planted about 50 seeds and out of the six that sprouted, five are still around and thriving.

Over the summer last year, I posted many photos of my prized 18-year-old tree that I had grown from a cutting purchased from the Plant City Strawberry Festival in Florida when my granddaughter was just a baby.

Sadly the tree did not survive the freezing cold winter we had in Florida over the winter. This next photo was taken shortly after the first round of 39 degree temps and while many of you were confident if would come back in the Spring, it shriveled up like a raisin. 

I cried for my old friend, but there is some good news. I'll tell you about that in a minute, first I want to tell you about the seedlings.

For those who weren't around last summer here are a few photos of the process.

Planted July 21, 2009
Week Two — Sprouts!

Week Three — Baby Trees

November 2009 — Seedlings at 4 months

In this photo you can see the seedlings are starting to go dormant for the winter. I wrote this in my gardening journal at the time, "They are about 6-inches tall now and just beginning to go into their dormant phase for the winter. Yes, I know it's hard to believe that it can get cold enough here to cause a plant to go dormant, many other plants bloom year round here, but plumerias are very tropical and do not cool temps. Since my trees are still so young and tender, I've decided to keep them inside to protect them from any freezes that will eventually come through. One bit of advise I read was to try to not let them go dormant their first year and if I had a grow light I would attempt this, but alas, this is not the case. I eagerly await Spring, just to see them continue on their journey to adult trees. Since the seeds from pink plumerias yield different colors, I can't wait for them to first bloom and see the varieties I end up with. Of course, this won't be for several more years, but I can wait.

My big tree produced more seed pods, so I'm going to try harvesting them earlier to see if I get better results when I attempt to sprout them."

Unfortunately, the seed pods didn't survive, but look at my trees now!

These are two that I potted the other day and they are healthy and beautiful. You can't see it too well in this photo, but the one in front and another waiting to be planted, each sent up another little tree from their roots. I bought these pots at Ace Hardware the other day; they are eco-friendly and I think they are very pretty. Nice and light, so when I need to bring them in for the winter, I won't break my back!

Now back to the original tree and the exciting news. Before the freeze came through, I got about a dozen 2-foot cuttings, stuck them in a big plastic storage container and kept them in the dining room. I brought them with me to Georgia (my granddaughter's best friend wanted to know why I was moving sticks) and I'm starting to plant them. Here is a pot with two of them.

Because they have no roots, they have to be supported. I'm happy to report they are all just starting to sprout leaves, but look at this next photo:

Yep, that's a little flower bud shooting up out of the middle! I am thrilled, normally when you plant a cutting, you don't get flowers for several years. I guess because I took cuttings with multiple branches, this is not the case. This pot is also extremely lightweight. Plumerias, as we've learned, will not survive freezing temps, so I have to keep them in pots. That's okay, I've brought more tropics to South Georgia and I look forward to enjoying my plumerias until the next freeze and for many more years to come!

I have one more photo to share with you. In my first plumeria post, I told you I had bought that cutting and left it on my kitchen counter for months, almost forgetting about it. Then one day I looked down and it was sprouting leaves right there on the counter. Well, this is a cutting from a yellow plumeria tree I got from a neighbor in Florida before the freeze:

Yep, sprouting right there in the window under the watchful eye of The Painted Cat. Guess I better get over to Ace and buy more pots!

Have a wonderful Outdoor Wednesday and be sure to drop in over at Susan's @ A Southern Daydreamer to see what everyone else is sharing today.


16 Thoughtful Comments:

Blondie's Journal said...

You have such patience but it is entirely worth it. These little plants are giving you such joy! I would have cried if I had lost them to a freeze...

I'm looking forward to seeing your plants in full bloom!! :-)


Completely Coastal said...

That's great news about the tree..., and I learned something too. Surprising that out of 50 seeds you only get 5 Plumerias thriving. I assume that's the ratio if you plant with seeds.

Maya @ Daily Vitamin Sea

nancygrayce said...

They are beautiful! I will have to look into those! I like those pots and am wondering if we still have an Ace Hardware store in town!

Florida Native Mom said...

What an amazing green thumb you have!

Anonymous said...

Breath taking shots today! I love these pictures. Your green thumb is showing in all of them!

Sue said...

Oh how lucky you are...I don't have a green thumb, luckily my husband almost does so we do get a few things to grow. I rarely bring anything live into the always dies if I'm in charge.

Jen Beaudet Z said...

Wow! You really have a green thumb! I sure don't but I love flowers! Jennifer:)

CrazyCris said...

It's so great you were able to take some of them with you! Won't you be able to plant any outside? Does it get that cold in South Georgia in winter?!

Mary Bergfeld said...

It's always so nice when we get to see our work rewarded. Your photos and your work are inspiring. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

Cindy (Applestone Cottage) said...

Glad to see your back to blogging and what an a treat that your plants are thriving!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful colour! I grew up in Australia where we call them frangipani, and it is one of my favourite smells.

I actually managed to grow a cutting indoors in London, until there was a fire and the smoke killed it - I was probably flying in the face of nature anyhow! I wish they grew here in Northern California...

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Hey, St. Mary's!!! YEA! You are just up the road from St. Augustine. PLEASE let's get together. Okay??? When your life settles down.

Glad your plants made it, despite the ones that froze.

I can't believe you are just up the road. Doing the happy dance.


Sheila :-)

Shellbelle said...

Thanks everyone for your sweet comments, I am so happy that my tree lives on!

@ Maya, the conditions needed for Plumerias to even produce seed pods has to perfect, so I was thrilled when mine started several years ago. The pods take about nine months to mature and I don't think the conditions during winter were perfect enough to make all the seeds viable. I was very happy to end up with the five seedlings I have, but would have loved more! From seedlings, plumerias take 3–5 years before they will produce flowers.

@ Cris, yes, winters do get that cold here. Think of how many times they've scrapped a shuttle mission because of ice. While it normally doesn't get that cold on Gulf Coast, it does here. Not all winter, but it doesn't take much to kill plumerias, as I learned this pas winter! There are some growers in Texas who do plant theirs and dig them up each winter. Too much work for this old broad, lol.

@ Tricia Rose, most folks in Florida call them frangipani, but I'm used to the Hawaiian name. No matter what you call them, they are beautiful.

Unknown said...

Ah ha! So there you are; I lost track of you for a while and am glad to finally find you again. Your experiences with growing frangipani are interesting. If I were better at gardening I'd give it a try myself! Believe it or not, one of my grade school classmates, a snowbird, collects frangipanis and somehow manages to keep them thriving back home in Northern Illinois! Don't know the details... another former classmate told me about it.

Chatty Crone said...

Hi - I saw your comment on Quintessential Maggie's blog. It said you moved to Georgia although on your blog page it says Florida.

I'm in Georgia and I live near Kennesaw and I wanted to welcome you here to Georgia.

Where are you? If you are near me - we get together once a month and would love to have you come.

Glad some of your plantings made it at least.


Jeanne said...

Beautiful color in the photo, at least you have the photo...

I love the beach and everything that goes with it! I love the waves lapping at my feet. I love the feel of the sand between my toes. I love the roar of the Pacific and the gentle waves of the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. Let's talk about beaches around the world, bonfires, building sandcastles, swaying palm trees, flamingos, clambakes, sunrises and sunsets. If it's tropical, it fits this blog!


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