Plumeria Natural Light Requirements & Grow Lights

Plumeria are tropical plants so do not grow well in cold climates, and for some of us that simply means growing potted plumeria trees in a sunny window, but for others, getting the light requirements for flowering plumeria right is a little bit more challenging.

In this article we’re going to try to demystify what plumeria light requirements actually mean, and how to grow healthy plumeria with fragrant flowers whether you’ve got full sun or a dark room to grow them in.

Does Plumeria Like Full Sun?

Firstly, I want to bust a bit of a myth about plumeria light levels. They do not like full sun. They like high light levels, but growing them in full sun indoors in most climates will bake their leaves, overheat their roots, and encourage pests that thrive in dry conditions.

Plumeria much prefers a bright sunny spot, a few meters away from a south-facing window. When you’re growing potted plumeria plants in the US, your instinct is to give it as much light as it can possibly get, but remember, the further away from the equator you are, the more humidity you get in high temperatures. Aeration, and warm temperatures, are enough to keep a plumeria safe from stem rot, prevent root rot and discourage spider mites. Placing plumeria trees in direct sunlight for any more than 6 hours a day will encourage some of these problems. Ideally, they actually prefer light that is filtered through other plants, like trailing tropicals which soak up the hottest sun and let enough light through for your frangipani.

The Right Light for Growing and Flowering Plumeria

Plumeria plants prefer bright light and direct sun with some dappled light, especially in their active growing season. The ornamental shrub, also known as the Hawaiian lei plant, should be grown according to its natural habit,

It doesn’t really matter which variety of plumeria you’re growing either, as plumeria obtusa, plumeria alba, and plumeria rubra grow in the same conditions, in partial sun, or dappled full sun.

A good way to find out their light levels in your home is actually by using an acidity regulator, or acidity meter. Read our article on soil for plumeria here, including useful links and reviews to acidity regulators with light meters included.

 

Understanding Light Levels for Plumeria

Full sun, partial shade, shade, partial sun, and dappled light all mean different things. Plumeria obscura and plumeria rubra require partial sun.

Full sun light

Full sun means direct, unobscured sunlight for 6-8 hours per day. For indoor plants, this means placing them within 1m of a south-facing window.

Partial sun light

Partial sun means that your plant requires direct sunlight for around 6 hours per day. For indoor plants, partial sun means placing them 1m from a south-facing window, or within 1m of an east-facing window.

Shade

Shady plants require 4-6 hours of dappled light per day and will grow under the canopy of trees, or in dark rooms in the house. Hawaiian Lei trees are not one of these.

Partial shade

Plants that require partial shade still need a few hours of sun per day, and it depends on the specific p[lant. While plumeria will grow in partial shade, it’s unlikely to flower happily, and certainly won’t produce fragrant blooms.

Dappled light

Gardeners often refer to dappled light but we often misunderstand it to mean partial shade. Dappled light can be beneficial to plants that require full sun and partial sun as it prevents overheating and leaf scorch. While plumeria isn’t likely to suffer from leaf scorch, overheating can attract spider mites if the plant becomes too dry. Dappled light is strongly advised for frangipani plants grown indoors, and it mimics the sun outdoors, which in their natural habitat is more likely to be overshadowed slightly by larger trees and shrubs.

Grow Lights for Plumeria

If your garden or conservatory is north-facing, it’s not the end of the world. There are hundreds of products on the market that support growth in these conditions, and for plumeria, many growers opt for artificial light so they can control the growth rates of their plumeria exactly.

Many grow lights are aimed at commercial farms, and may not be the most attractive addition to the home, but there are some grow lights for plumeria that are subtle, and some you would barely notice indoors in your home.

For the serious growers though, there is only one real consideration, and that’s the powerful 600W grow lights, that provide 6-8 hours of sun, without overheating plants in the process.

One of the biggest benefits of grow lights for plumeria is that while they enjoy the sun, the heat can cause problems. Using grow lights to simulate sunlight can help reduce overheating, as most modern grow lights are temperature controlled – providing the light requirements of plumeria, without the risk of dry soil.

In perfect conditions, they even support foliage growth in winter when light levels and temperatures drop – though personally, I prefer listening to the seasons and allowing plumeria to have a rest in winter, especially when growing smaller trees indoors.

Recommended Plumeria Grow Lights

1. Atshark 1000W LED Grow Light for Indoor Plants

Quick Facts: 1000W

Atshark’s full spectrum grow light provides a similar level of light to real sun, with traditional grow light color ranges, so your potted plumeria plant gets all the rays it needs. The high spectrum light includes Blue, Red, UV, IR, and White Light which will support young plumeria cuttings, as well as mature trees.

It’s easy to install too, with a simple hanging system that can attach to a beam or to the ceiling, allowing the height to be adjusted. Adjusting the light levels physically means you can create conditions for serious full sun, or partial sun simply by lifting the light away. the further away the bulbs are from the plant, the higher the distribution of light.

While the Atshark LED Grow Light provides 1000W of light to your growing plumeria plants, it’s actually only using 105W making it incredibly energy efficient.

Pros:

  • Great value
  • Useful for other plants
  • Targeted light
  • Full-spectrum
  • Safe LED lighting

Cons:

  • High consumption
  • Higher light levels than required
  • Some installation required

 

2. Dommia 20W Grow Lights for Indoor Plants

Quick Facts: 20W

While the Dommia Grow Lights are not as efficient, or powerful as the Ashark model, they have a gentle enough light to reliably support germination or propagation from cuttings.

Plumeria seeds, in their natural environment, will fall from the tree and germinate in the mature tree’s shade. So lower light levels are ideally the way to go for young plants. While they can handle the higher lights, they grow stronger if they have to seek it out.

for mature plumeria though, these may not be the best option, but for their cost, they might be worth investing in to support houseplants and tropicals throughout the year anyway, as they are incredibly easy to install, and as they are lightwegiht can be strapped to the underside of any shelf in the house for a subtle addition to your growing space.

Pros:

  • Easy to install
  • Great value
  • Good light levels for cuttings
  • Safe LED lighting
  • Targeted light
  • Full-spectrum

Cons:

  • Weak light levels, not enough for mature plants

 

3. MFxMF 4 Pack 9W LED Grow Light Bulb

Quick Facts: 100W

Each of these 9W bulbs by MFxMF produces the equivalent of 100W of light from much more substantial grow lights.

Because they are E26 bulbs they will easily replace existing bulbs in the house to add a boost of natural light to any room.

100W is enough to support the healthy growth of a mature plumeria, and adding these to your growing space will boost flowering, as 100W of UV, Red, white and blue light is a great way to help the plant put energy into flowering, rather than growth.

For any serious tropical grower, these are a super energy-efficient way to gently enhance plumeria growing conditions, without having to do any DIY, or attach heavy lamps to your ceiling.

Pros:

  • Easy to install
  • Great value
  • Energy efficient
  • Full-spectrum
  • Useful for other plants
  • Good light levels for mature and young plumeria trees

Cons:

  • Not targeted light

 

4. Aogled 50W LED Grow Light for Indoor Plants

Quick Facts: 50W

Aogled’s 50W LED Grow Lights might not pack much of a punch, but they are the most adaptable grow light in this selection, with three main settings, and 10 different dimmable levels.

They provide full-spectrum light to your indoor plants and can be used as a table lamp too, so are incredibly easy to install.

Their three main settings are red + blue light, red + blue + white light, and white light.

The red + blue + white light is ideal for year-round plant support,t promoting healthy roots, and foliage. White light is ideal for sprouting and cuttings, proving more intense light, but with a focus on photosynthesis.

Red + Blue light, the most important setting for plumeria, enhances flower and bud production, – or for other plants, enhances fruit production and ripening.

The ability to choose between light levels is really convenient, and to boost a plumeria in an east-facing room, it’s a pretty perfect addition.

Pros:

  • Easy to install
  • Multiple settings, for growth, flowering, and cuttings
  • Full-spectrum
  • Energy efficient
  • Useful for other plants

Cons:

  • Light too weak to support mature plants by itself
  • More expensive than more powerful lamps

 

Plumeria Light Requirements & Grow Lights FAQs

How many hours of sunlight does a plumeria need?

Plumeria flower best in 6-8 hours of sun per day. While they can cope with full sun, over-heating and underwatering can lead to yellowing leaves and problems with common plumeria pests, so 6-8 hours of partial sun per day would be sufficient.

What kind of light do plumerias like?

Plumeria can cope with full sun, but placing them in dappled light helps their health when growing indoors, or in containers outdoors. By choosing a position for frangipani, it is important to provide the right amount of light in spring and summer, but make sure to consider the risk of over-heating.

Do plumerias like sun or shade?

Plumerias like the sun. they will not only not thrive in shade, but they will likely die. Plumeria is a tropical plant and is used to high temperatures and high light levels. If growing plumeria indoors, consider adding grow lights to help boost the light levels.

Can you have plumeria indoors?

Yes, you can grow plumeria indoors. In most of the /northern hemisphere, it is much easier to grow plumeria trees indoors, due to unstable weather conditions, higher winds, and heavier rainfall than they are used to in their natural habitat.

Conclusion

There are plenty of tropical plants that we can grow in containers, or indoors in North America, Europe, and Eastern Asia, where the climates are cooler and less friendly to equatorial plants. Plumeria, to some extent, is well adapted to our climates through many years of cultivation, but they have certain requirements that lead to better plumeria flowers, stronger branches, and healthier buds.

By aiming to give them the light they desire, without baking them, or over-watering them, they will provide an abundance of beautiful fragrant flowers like nothing else in the plant world.

It’s not that hard to get the right light levels to grow plumeria, but sometimes it can help to add some artificial support to your potted plants and grow lights might just be the added extra you need for your tropical collection.

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