Plumeria Culture

Plumeria Culture, A companion article to The Moragne Plumerias


       While the Moragne hybrids are limited in availability outside of Hawaii, seeds, and cuttings of many other plumerias can be obtained through various mail-order catalogs and botanical gardens.  Visitors to Hawaii often carry home cuttings of plumeria to remind them of their tropical vacations.  The University of Hawaii receives many inquires about caring for these plants when they are taken to more northern climates.

It is important to remember that wild plumeria was found in hot, dry areas, often in poor soil, and on rocky limestone cliffs.  While they respond readily to water and fertilizer, an overabundance of either tends to cause leggy growth with few flower clusters.  Another problem with overwatering is the loss of roots due to the lack of air in the growing medium.  For container culture, a well-drained medium is very important, and water should be applied only when the soil seems dry.

Plumeria growers in Hawaii often feed them year-round with a 10-30-10 fertilizer, believing that the extra phosphorous helps promote flower productivity.  Recent research by horticulturists at the university has suggested that there is some validity to this practice, as trees fed with higher analysis phosphorus fertilizer had more growing points and slightly more flower clusters than trees given 10-10-10 or 10-20-10 fertilizer.  Their rates of feeding were from one to four pounds of fertilizer per tree per year, based on tree size, and four applications (roughly a quarter pound of fertilizer per inch of trunk diameter up to four inches, spread under the drip line).
In northern areas with short growing seasons, the most important feedings will be the early and late ones.  The spring feeding will help to develop the flower clusters and vegetative growth, while the late summer feeding, which should be low in nitrogen, will aid in setting the flower buds for the next year.  Both organic and inorganic fertilizers are satisfactory.

In their native habitat, plumerias probably shed their leaves during a long dry spell, releafing when there is sufficient water.  Regular and frequent deep irrigations promote long shoots.  Thus, container culture is a balancing act between the grower’s goal of a perfect leafy, floriferous plant and the plumeria’s tendency to keep growing or to shed leaves and go dormant.

For good flowering, light and temperature are probably most important than water.  The trees flourish in full sunlight and set few buds when shaded by taller trees or buildings.  Very little growth or flowering occurs once the temperatures drop into the sixties and lower.  Leaf retention, on the other hand, is more a matter of day length than temperature; growth decreases, too, as the days become shorter.

Plumeria fanciers in cold climates simply allow their plants to defoliate and go dormant in the fall.  Then they bring them indoors, either bare-rooted or still in pots, and store them in a protected place-a garage, basement, or attic-where they won’t freeze.  In March or April, they repot them if needed and once the danger of frost is past, they set the plants out to enjoy an early bloom.  Growth and flowering are rapid with the return of temperatures to the seventies and eighties in spring and summer.  They will grow and flower happily throughout the warm summer and fall months.

Those who want to attempt William Moragne’s method of cross-fertilizing plumeria will know within a month if they have a “take”; swellings should appear in two lobes at the base of the flower.  The seed pods require six to nine months to mature, and eleven months to split open naturally.

Good seed is plump when squeezed lightly.  Each has a little papery wing that enables seed dispersal by wind.  If dried slightly and stored in good condition, they may remain viable for up to a year, but it is best to sow them immediately for a high germination percentage.
Seeds should be sown shallowly or stuck into the medium with the wind protruding.  They should germinate in two to three weeks.  Seedlings can be transplanted as soon as their stems have thickened and true leaves appear.  Plumeria fanciers have observed flowering within a year, but more often it takes two to five years.  For the last of his hybrid seedlings to bloom, William Moragne waited eighteen years.

Mary Moragne

Plumeria cv ‘Mary Moragne’

P. ‘Mary Moragne’ is one of the famous Moragne hybrids produced by the late Mr. William Moragne, Sr. of Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii during the 1950s. After nearly twenty years of experiments, Mr. Moragne performed the first documented cross pollenation of Plumeria rubra varieties. The results are some of the most spectacular plumeria cultivars known. He named this cultivar for his daughter Mary.

Petal Shading

  • Top: Center (base of petal) is Yellow 7A that fades to white about one third of the way to the tip. Grainy Red-Purple 60C, faint on the left becomes a solid stripe on the right. Orange appearing veins are seen where streaks of grainy red-purple overlay yellow tones.
  • Bottom: A Red-Purple 60C stripe on the left, then another grainy and pale on white, and then very grainy and pale Red-Purple 60C on white continues to the right side. A small Yellow 7A spot is in the lower right.

Characteristics

Flower

  • Flower Width: 10 cm
  • Texture: Delicate
  • Tendency to Fade: Moderate
  • Petal Type: Elliptical, round tip
  • Fragrance: Spicy
  • Intenstiy of Fragrance: Mild

Leaf

  • Color: Green
  • Texture: Rigid
  • Leaf Border Color: Red
  • Petiole Color: Green, red tint
  • Shape: Somewhat oblanceolate, somewhat acuminate tip
  • Length: 29 cm
  • Width: 8.5 cm

Plant

  • Pollen Parent: P. ‘Scott Pratt’
  • Seed Parent: P. ‘Daisy Wilcox’
  • Deciduous
  • Seed production: Average
  • Branching: Good
  • Growth habit: Upright, compact
  • Measured Trunk Circumference: n/a

Julie Moragne

Plumeria cv ‘Julie Moragne’

P. ‘Julie Moragne’ is one of the famous Moragne hybrids produced by the late Mr. William Moragne, Sr. of Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii during the 1950s. After nearly twenty years of experiments, Mr. Moragne performed the first documented cross pollenation of Plumeria rubra varieties. The results are some of the most spectacular plumeria cultivars known. He named this cultivar for his granddaughter Julie.

There has been some confusion among plumeria enthusiasts with respect to the ‘Julie Moragne’ cultivar. Due to an unfortunate misunderstanding, when a certain cv ‘Tillie Hughes’ was harvested, it was thought to be ‘Julie Moragne’. The mistake was not discovered until the errant cuttings began to bloom…

Petal Shading

  • Top:A central (bottom) Yellow 7A yields to pure white about one third of the way to the tip.
  • Bottom:A Red-Purple 60B stripe on the left, then pure white with a small patch of Yellow 7B in the bottom right.

Characteristics

Flower

  • Flower Width: 9.5 cm
  • Texture: Delicate
  • Tendency to Fade: None
  • Petal Type: Wide elliptic, round tip
  • Fragrance: Fruity
  • Intenstiy of Fragrance: Mild

Leaf

  • Color: Light Green
  • Texture: Flexible, smooth
  • Leaf Border Color: Green
  • Petiole Color: Green
  • Shape: Oblanceolate, acuminate tip
  • Length: 31 cm
  • Width: 11 cm

Plant

  • Pollen Parent: ‘Scott Pratt’
  • Seed Parent: ‘Daisy Wilcox’
  • Deciduous
  • Seed production: Rare
  • Branching: Good
  • Growth habit: Upright, compact
  • Measured Trunk Circumference: 51 cm

Moragne # 27

Plumeria cv ‘Moragne # 27’

P. ‘Moragne # 27’ is one of the famous Moragne hybrids produced by the late Mr. William Moragne, Sr. of Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii during the 1950s. After nearly twenty years of experiments, Mr. Moragne performed the first documented cross pollination of Plumeria rubra varieties. The results are some of the most spectacular plumeria cultivars known. This cultivar is not yet named and is referred to by its original designation.

Petal Shading

  • Top: Yellow 12A that becomes pale to white near the sides and tip.
  • Bottom: A very pale stripe of Red-Purple 62B on the left Bright Yellow 7B in the lower right becomes grainy and pale as it fades to near white toward the middle and tip of petal. White veins show through the yellow.

Characteristics

Flower

  • Flower Width: 10 cm
  • Texture: Delicate
  • Tendency to Fade: Slight
  • Petal Type: Eliptical, round tip
  • Fragrance: Flowal sweet
  • Intenstiy of Fragrance: Mild

Leaf

  • Color: Green
  • Texture: Rigid
  • Leaf Border Color: Red
  • Petiole Color: Green
  • Shape: Somewhat oblanceolate, somewhat acuminate tip
  • Length: 32 cm
  • Width: 9 cm

Plant

  • Pollen Parent: P. ‘Scott Pratt’
  • Seed Parent: P. ‘Daisy Wilcox’
  • Deciduous
  • Seed production: Average
  • Branching: Fair
  • Growth habit: Rangy, dense
  • Measured Trunk Circumference: 46 cm

Reddish Moragne

Plumeria cv ‘Reddish Moragne’

P. ‘Reddish Moragne’ is one of the famous Moragne hybrids produced by the late Mr. William Moragne, Sr. of Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii during the 1950s. After nearly twenty years of experiments, Mr. Moragne performed the first documented cross pollenation of Plumeria rubra varieties. The results are some of the most spectacular plumeria cultivars known. This cultivar is not yet named and is refered to by a designation.

The specimen evaluated was not being watered as frequently as necessary for healthy growth, our measurements are therefore suspect.

Petal Shading

  • Top: n/a
  • Bottom: n/a

Characteristics

Flower

  • Flower Width: 10 cm
  • Texture: Delicate
  • Tendency to Fade: Moderate
  • Petal Type: Elliptical, somewhat pointed tip
  • Fragrance: Floral sweet
  • Intenstiy of Fragrance: Mild

Leaf

  • Color: Light green
  • Texture: Flexible
  • Leaf Border Color: Pink
  • Petiole Color: Green and gold
  • Shape: Somewhat oblanceolate, somewhat acuminate tip
  • Length: 27 cm
  • Width: 10.5 cm

Plant

  • Pollen Parent: P. ‘Scott Pratt’
  • Seed Parent: P. ‘Daisy Wilcox’
  • Deciduous
  • Seed production: n/a
  • Branching: Fair
  • Growth habit: Very rangy
  • Measured Trunk Circumference: 34 cm

Moragne # 106

Plumeria cv ‘Moragne # 106’

P. ‘Moragne # 106’ is one of the famous Moragne hybrids produced by the late Mr. William Moragne, Sr. of Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii during the 1950s. After nearly twenty years of experiments, Mr. Moragne performed the first documented cross pollination of Plumeria rubra varieties. The results are some of the most spectacular plumeria cultivars known. This cultivar is not yet named and is referred to by its original designation.

Petal Shading

  • Top: Central (base of petal) Yellow 12B fades to near white two thirds of the way to the tip. The entire petal is overlaid with grainy Red-Purple 60C becoming a dense band on the right side. Denser veins of grainy Red-Purple 60C emanate from the center yielding an orangish appearance.
  • Bottom: A stripe of Red-Purple 60D on the left is followed by a grainy band of Red-Purple 60D on white, then white overlaid with faint and grainy red-purple showing white veins to the right side. A small splash of Yellow 12B is noted in the lower right.

Characteristics

Flower

  • Flower Width: 9.5 cm
  • Texture: Good
  • Tendency to Fade: Moderate to dramatic
  • Petal Type: Elliptical, round tip
  • Fragrance: Fresh floral
  • Intenstiy of Fragrance: Mild

Leaf

  • Color: Light green
  • Texture: Rigid
  • Leaf Border Color: Red
  • Petiole Color: Reddish green
  • Shape: Oblanceolate, acuminate tip
  • Length: 25 cm
  • Width: 10 cm

Plant

  • Pollen Parent: P. ‘Scott Pratt’
  • Seed Parent: P. ‘Daisy Wilcox’
  • Deciduous
  • Seed production: Average
  • Branching: Poor to Fair
  • Growth habit: Very rangy
  • Measured Trunk Circumference: 22 cm

Bill Moragne, Sr.

Plumeria cv ‘Bill Moragne, Sr.’

P. ‘Bill Moragne, Sr.’ is one of the famous Moragne hybrids produced by the late Mr. William Moragne, Sr. of Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii during the 1950s. After nearly twenty years of experiments, Mr. Moragne performed the first documented cross pollination of Plumeria rubra varieties. The results are some of the most spectacular plumeria cultivars known. This cultivar was selected by The Plumeria Society of America, Inc. from the unnamed Moragne hybrids and named for Mr. Moragne in recognition of his accomplishment. Mr. Moragne was known as Bill by his family and friends thus the cultivar bares his family name.

‘Bill Moragne, Sr’ is noted for its unbeliveably huge clusters of colorful flowers. Some clusters are as large as a basketball and can contain over fifty flowers at once. This cultivar is very rare because it is especially difficult to propagate, if you’re lucky you may get a cutting to grow roots, but it can take over six months.

Petal Shading

  • Top:Pale and grainy Red-Purple 63A on the left becomes an intense stripe on the right. A central (bottom) Yellow 12B takes on an orange appearance away from the center when overlaid by the grainy Red-Purple 63A.
  • Bottom:A stripe of Red-Purple 60D on the left is followed by another pale and grainy on white. The balance of the petal is white, but overlaid with very grainy Red-Purple 60D showing white veins. At the bottom right there is a splash of Yellow 9B.

Characteristics

Flower

  • Flower Width: 9 cm
  • Texture: Good
  • Tendency to Fade: Moderate
  • Petal Type: Elliptical, round tip
  • Fragrance: Grape Kool Aid
  • Intenstiy of Fragrance: Mild

Leaf

  • Color: Light Green
  • Texture: Flexible, smooth
  • Leaf Border Color: Red
  • Petiole Color: Green, red tint
  • Shape: Oblanceolate, acuminate tip
  • Length: 32 cm
  • Width: 10.5 cm

Plant

  • Pollen Parent: ‘Scott Pratt’
  • Seed Parent: ‘Daisy Wilcox’
  • Deciduous
  • Seed production: Average
  • Branching: Fair
  • Growth habit: Rangy
  • Measured Trunk Circumference: 38 cm

Cyndi Moragne

Plumeria cv ‘Cyndi Moragne’

P. ‘Cyndi Moragne’ is one of the famous Moragne hybrids produced by the late Mr. William Moragne, Sr. of Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii during the 1950s. After nearly twenty years of experiments, Mr. Moragne performed the first documented cross pollination of Plumeria rubra varieties. The results are some of the most spectacular plumeria cultivars known. He named this cultivar for his granddaughter Cyndi (aka Cindy).

Petal Shading

  • Top:A Yellow 12A center (bottom) becomes pale to off-white after about half way to the tip. When flowering during high ambient temperatures, the petal may be streaked with grainy Red-Purple 63D.
  • Bottom:Mostly off-white, but sometimes showing a pale stripe of Red-Purple 63D on the left and a splash of Yellow 7D in the lower right.

Characteristics

Flower

  • Flower Width: 12 cm
  • Texture: Good
  • Tendency to Fade: None
  • Petal Type: Wide, rounded tip
  • Fragrance: Floral sweet and spicy
  • Intenstiy of Fragrance: Mild

Leaf

  • Color: Light green
  • Texture: Rigid, smooth
  • Leaf Border Color: Green
  • Petiole Color: Green
  • Shape: Oblanceolate, acuminate tip
  • Length: 38 cm
  • Width: 12 cm

Plant

  • Pollen Parent: ‘Scott Pratt’
  • Seed Parent: ‘Daisy Wilcox’
  • Deciduous
  • Seed production: Profuse
  • Branching: Fair
  • Growth habit: Upright, lanky, somewhat rangy
  • Measured Trunk Circumference: 82 cm

Jean Moragne Sr

Plumeria cv ‘Jean Moragne Sr’

P. ‘Jean Moragne’ is one of the famous Moragne hybrids produced by the late Mr. William Moragne, Sr. of Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii during the 1950s. After nearly twenty years of experiments, Mr. Moragne performed first documented cross pollination of Plumeria rubra varieties. The results are some of the most spectacular plumeria cultivars known. He named this cultivar for his wife Jean.

 

‘Jean Moragne’ is characterized by flowers that tend to remain partially open for several days somewhat resembling a tulip during this period. Plumeria flowers with this tendency are frequently referred to as semi-shells. This cultivar is an excellent bloomer. While it may lack in the number of flowers open at one time, it more than compensates for this by continuing to bloom for many months.

 

There has been much confusion among plumeria enthusiasts with respect to the Jean Moragne cultivar name. It is sometimes used to market another Moragne hybrid: ‘Jeannie Moragne’. Mr. Moragne named his favorite flower for his wife Jean. His son, William Moragne, Jr, coincidentally married another Jean, known by the family as Jeannie. The original cv ‘Jean Moragne’ became ‘Jean Moragne, Sr.’ and the flower named for Jeannie became ‘Jean Moragne, Jr.’. Since ‘Jean Moragne’ was already a registered cultivar name for the plant described here and because the abbreviations ‘Sr.’ and ‘Jr.’ were not part of a real persons name, they could not be used in a registered cultivar name. The Moragne family has solved this problem by retaining ‘Jean Moragne’ instead of ‘Jean Moragne, Sr.’ and by selecting ‘Jeannie Moragne’ instead of ‘Jean Moragne, Jr.’. Now its up to the growers to get their price lists correct!

 

Petal Shading

  • Top:Red-Purple 61B grainy and pale on the left becomes an intense stripe on the right. An Orange-Red 33A center cover the bottom quarter of the petal and merges with the Red-Purple shade.
  • Bottom:Red-Purple 59C stripe on the left, followed by another lighter and grainy, then becoming pale and grainy laced with white veins toward the right.

Characteristics

Flower

  • Flower Width: 12.5 cm (fully open)
  • Flower Type: Semi-Shell
  • Texture: Delicate
  • Tendency to Fade: Moderate
  • Petal Type: Wide, elliptical, rounded tip sometimes appears pointed
  • Fragrance: Floral sweet, sometimes spicy
  • Intensity of Fragrance: Mild

Leaf

  • Color: Green, glossy
  • Texture: Rigid, smooth
  • Leaf Border Color: Red
  • Petiole Color: Green
  • Shape: Elliptic, acuminate tip
  • Length: 39 cm
  • Width: 11.5 cm

Plant

  • Pollen Parent: ‘Scott Pratt’
  • Seed Parent: ‘Daisy Wilcox’
  • Deciduous
  • Seed production: None observed
  • Branching: poor to good
  • Growth habit: Rangy, dense
  • Measured Trunk Circumference: 26 cm

Sally Moragne

Plumeria cv ‘Sally Moragne’

P. ‘Sally Moragne’ is one of the famous Moragne hybrids produced by the late Mr. William Moragne, Sr. of Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii during the 1950s. After nearly twenty years of experiments, Mr. Moragne performed the first documented cross pollenation of Plumeria rubra varieties. The results are some of the most spectacular plumeria cultivars known. He named this cultivar for his daughter Sally.

‘Sally Moragne’ is characterized by its pronounced tendency to rapidly fade from a colorful rainbow of reds, oranges, and pinks while opening to nearly white after just a day or so. All observed specimens of this cultivar have exhibited unusualy distorted and discolored leaves during at least part of the growing season. The cause of this anomoly is open to speculation.

We have seen several pretenders to the throne, so to speak, for this cultivar name. The specimen documented here is from the University of Hawaii collection and can be traced back to its donation to the university by Mr. Moragne.

Petal Shading

  • Top: The center one forth (bottom), is yellow 9B. The outer three forths is red-purple 63B that begins pale and grainy on the left and becomes an intense stripe on the right.
  • Bottom: A red-purple 60D stripe on the left, then pale and grainy red-purple 60D on white showing white veins. A splash of yellow 9A appears in the extreme lower right.

Characteristics

Flower

  • Flower Width: 11 cm
  • Texture: Delicate
  • Tendency to Fade: Dramatic
  • Petal Type: Wide elliptical, rounded tip
  • Fragrance: Floral sweet
  • Intenstiy of Fragrance: Mild

Leaf

  • Color: Yellowish green
  • Texture: Rigid, smooth
  • Leaf Border Color: Reddish
  • Petiole Color: Green, red tint
  • Shape: Wide elliptic, acuminate tip
  • Length: 27 cm
  • Width: 12 cm

Plant

  • Pollen Parent: ‘Scott Pratt’
  • Seed Parent: ‘Daisy Wilcox’
  • Deciduous
  • Seed production: average
  • Branching: poor to fair
  • Growth habit: Upright, lanky
  • Measured Trunk Circumference: 35 cm