You can tell a lot about people from what kinds of plants they have. I currently have 21 plumerias; I usually also grow peppers, tomatoes, and onions for salad & salsa, too. I'll have to admit, 21 plumerias is a little excessive, but allow me to plead my case.
Once there was a little greenhouse nursery that only did tropical plants, here just outside of Austin. So we showed up on a boring Saturday afternoon and saw these amazing trees that flowered. "What on Earth are those," we asked. "Plumeria, our specialty. That's the Hawaiian lei flower, just like you see on TV." We asked about some of the cheaper models (they can run to $300 a plant) and hooked up with some $12 big ole stragglers that couldn't sell as good.
Frangipani is also a term used to decribe the plant, although it more correctly refers to the sweet scent of the flowers as used in perfume.
Unfortunately, there's not a big market in Austin for plumerias and the place went out of business, shipping their plants and their high-dollar botanist back to Houston. So on the close-out sale, we kinda bought whatever was less than $12, maybe another $90-some bucks or so.
Then we discovered we could mate the things - what's it called, propagation or something? Wierd bats and moths did the job for a few plants but my son figured out how to use a toothpick to cross-fertilize the plants. Basically, most hummingbirds and moths and bats can't get way down to the, err, uvulum or something, so a little help is good.
So what happens when they are mated successfully is that the female whatever thingy grows a big ole seed pod with like a hundred seeds in each one. It looks more like a long bean or something similar, maybe 5-7 inches long, two beans on each side of the stem. When they dry out and crack open, the seeds explode all over and are carried with the wind - which is why we used some of Lori's old nylon stockings to make sure we got a few. Yep, a few folks were asking why I was decorating my plants with hosery! Everyone thought I was a little kinky, too.
Well, those little puppies could certainly grow. I planted 25 seeds and every single one of them sprouted. Through neglect on my part (bummer) about half died, which I guess is par for the course with the botany thing. It tunred out that Eric's hybrid was a common Mexian purple crossed with a true Hawaiian gold, which makes a pretty flower but little of the scent we saw of the parant plants. Not that we are complaining.
We might unload a few plumerias but most are coming down to South Padre Island so we can put them in the ground and not have to dig them up or move them in the garage every year. They really can't handle temperatures below 38 degrees very well, and four hours below 28 degrees will freeze the tips bad, causing them to tuen black. Hey, I know some SPI locals just like that!
Just kidding, too. When we get down there you may have to take a rooting from one of these plants. An amazing plant; it also grows from cuttings if you put them in some water. I'll experiment with some grafting, too, where you can have a plant with three kinds of flowers. Stop by, have some coffee, and check these little boogers out.