Plumeria is a deciduous shrub with large, oblong leaves and waxy, exotic-looking flowers. The usually fragrant flowers can be star shaped, saucer shaped, or pinwheel shaped. This tropical shrub tolerates part shade and can be planted outdoors in Zones 10 and 11. In Alabama and most of the country plumeria is grown as a potted plant and brought indoors for winter, where it will drop its leaves and go through a dormant period. Plumeria is used for making leis in Hawaii and other Pacific islands, and in some cultures the flower is worn over the right ear in single women and over the left for women who are unavailable for dating. Plumeria is also commonly used in Indian incenses that have “champa” in their name, including the extremely popular Nag Champa, which is a blend of plumeria and sandalwood.
Jennifer McDonald, Mobile County Master Gardener