Some friends stopped by the other day and they had been to the Farmer’s Market at the Volusia County Fairgrounds. They opened the trunk of the car to show us the wonderful plants they had purchased. They had boxes of little succulents, a bushy croton, tiny African violets, and bags of organic dirt. In the back I noticed three tall stalks in pots with one or two flowers at the top. When I asked what the plant was, our friend pulled one out and handed it to me. “It’s a Plumeria” she said, “Here take it, it’s for you”.
I tried to give it back, and said I was only curious, but she insisted I keep it. She said they were only $3.00 and she had more. The guy who sold them to her told her they were Plumerias.
Now, I have never seen a plumeria plant. I am familiar with the beautiful flowers of the Hawaiian plumeria (frangipani), and know that they are often used to make Hawaiian leis in the islands. I use plumeria (or frangipani) images to create wedding and event stationery for my Sandpiper Wedding store. But I have never had a plant like this. And honestly the flower reminded me more of an Oleander, but the plant itself was like nothing I had seen.
I figured I’d call it a plumeria until I discovered differently. I had already looked up How to grow plumerias, but I’ve had my doubts as to what this plant really is. I’ve never seen plumerias growing in Florida, and I used to have all the favorite local plants planted in my yard when I lived here in the 80’s and 90’s. It doesn’t mean they don’t grow here, but they need a more tropical climate than what we have here in central Florida.
Plumerias need tropical conditions to grow well, and where I live it does get cold.
**** Then, I went shopping at the local Home Depot, and came across plants that look just like my “plumeria” but they were called “Desert Rose“. Aha, I did not have a plumeria. But I had no idea what to do with a desert rose.
I looked up how to care for it.
The Desert Rose is a flowering succulent, which means it won’t need a lot of water. The stem can be very thick, and holds water to be used in times of drought. It does not like cold temperatures, which means I should keep it indoors over the Florida winter. I’ll have to dig it up. It is slow growing, compared to plumerias, which grow fast and turn into small trees.
Right now our temperatures are very warm with daytime readings in the 80’s and overnight in the 60’s and some 50’s. I regret planting it outdoors and will have to spend some money on a decent pot and bring it inside eventually. I’m not sure it will like all the summer rain we’ll be getting soon. It’s meant to be an ornamental indoor plant, from what I gather.
Here are more pictures of the Desert Rose, found at the free images site, Pixabay.