What to Plant with Plumeria (Companion Planting)

Plumeria plants, more commonly known as frangipani, are one of the most beloved houseplants in America. They can be grown in pots or in backyards and gardens. They can survive in most climates and give your property a pleasant, aesthetic look.

Contrary to popular belief, Plumeria does not need to be grown in isolation. There are many plants that can be grown with your Plumeria, you just need to find the right companion.

Frangipani plants and trees love company. You just need to find the right match for your plant. This can vary depending on a number of factors. Read on to know what to plant with your Plumeria.

This plumeria is growing well in the pot even with the additional plants.

Companion Planting

If you have no idea what companion planting is, don’t worry! Most amateur gardeners do not have an idea of what companion planting entails. In a nutshell, it is just the art of choosing the right plants to plant in your garden.

Companion planting is a way to organize your garden for maximum growth. You grow certain plants together, letting them benefit mutually. This improves their health and yield too.

For example, if a plant repels certain pests, it would make a great companion to a plant that attracts them. Contrarily, companion planting also tells us when two plants would not grow well together.

If two plants that require the same nutrients are planted together, they will always be at war with each other for resources. This will result in malnutrition and stunted growth for both of them.

Companion planting is a method that has been around for a very long time. In fact, there is an Iroquois legend that calls corn, beans and squash the ‘Golden Sisters’. They were always planted together and benefitted the garden mutually.

Benefits of Companion Planting

Companion planting is a technique that has been developed by farmers over hundreds of years. Along with scientific studies, a wealth of anecdotal evidence has helped shape the principles of companion planting.

If done correctly, companion planting can provide a host of benefits to your garden.

  • Reduces Risk: If you only plant one kind of plant and it dies due to harsh weather, pests or disease, you end up with a barren garden. However, if you grow a few mutually beneficial plants together, you do not risk losing your entire yield.

You have a reduced risk of the spread of disease or pests and one contrary factor does not ruin your entire garden. Metaphorically speaking, do not put all your eggs in one basket!

  • Provides Protection: There are certain plants that are more delicate and have a difficult time surviving on their own. If you plant them next to sturdier plants that can withstand harsh conditions, the other plants have a better chance of survival.
  • Manages Pests: With the right companion plant, you won’t need to use a pesticide or insecticide in your garden at all.

    There are many plants that pests hate going near. You just need to find the correct match for your Plumeria and voila, no more pests!
  • Brings Friends: A lot of flowering plants produce pollen which can attract bugs. A lot of fruits and vegetables benefit from these bugs.

    Thus, growing them next to each other will increase the population of your plants in an easy, cost-effective way.

Finding the Right Companion for Your Plumeria

Plumeria is a tropical plant, but it can survive in a range of climates. It can be tough to find a companion that withstands this range. First, you need to get familiar with the factors that go into determining the ideal companion plant.

The ideal companion for a Plumeria plant can differ depending on the area you live in, the lowest temperature in winters, humidity and the frequency of frost.

A good understanding of the climate in your area will help you make the right decision. Don’t worry, we are here to hold your hand through the entire process. Let’s get started!

Subtropical Climate

When we talk of climates, subtropical refers to areas that experience warm summers and mild winters with no incidences of frost. In these areas, the foliage of plants is lush with heavy undergrowth and spiked tops.

Plumeria is in its dormant phase during the winters. It is barren and loses all its flowers and most of its foliage. If you are bothered by the sight of frangipani’s dry winter stems, you can disguise it with a winter-active plant.

Poinsettias and bromeliads are winter flowering and will effectively disguise the dormancy of the Plumeria. Epiphytic orchids or night flowering climbing cactuses can also be great companions to frangipani.

Epiphytic plants can also be used to create hanging gardens around frangipani trees. You will need to tie them to the branches with string or let them hang off the crooks of branches. They will grow aerial roots in a few weeks.

If you are looking for perennial lushness, cordylines are your best bet. They present with vivid, colorful leaves due to hybridization. They are also very easy to grow and do well under frangipani as they prefer semi-shaded areas.

A lot of landscape designers like using foliage plants with Plumeria in subtropical climates. Plumeria is paired with succulents, elephant ears and cycads for dramatic effects.

They are also known as ‘architectural plants’ in the designing world. They have vibrant colors, unique shapes and eye-catching leaf shapes. They provide a great volume to the visual landscape.

Monstera, philodendron, coleus and Fijian firebush add volume and are very easy to take care of. Giant strelitzia and NZ cabbage palm are great if you desire taller foliage.

If you want flower companions for your Plumeria, consider the angel’s trumpet. Though, it might not be a great option if you have children or pets, as they are also poisonous if ingested.

It is similar to the Plumeria in behavior—it thrives in summer and autumn, but will need to be brought indoors if the winters are very cold.

If you have a lot of vertical surfaces like fences, sheds or walls, it might be aesthetically pleasing to grow climbers. They have bright colors and will climb up and through the Plumeria.

Madagascar or Brazilian jasmine, Rangoon creeper and orange trumpet vines are all great climber companions to your frangipani plant.

Temperate Climate

A temperate climate means cold winters. You need to find hardy plants that are capable of surviving the winters.

Again, foliage plants are a suitable companion to the frangipani in a temperate climate. Striped foliage plants will provide a fun, tropical look even in the winters.

Phormium ‘Yellow Wave’ and Canna lily are both good companions to Plumeria. Phormium plants have golden yellow stripes that brighten up the visage of the garden whereas Canna lily has distinctly shaped leaves and vivid orange flowers.

In cooler climates, Canna lilies mimic the behavior of the frangipani. They will need to be moved indoors with your frangipani and will also need protection from frost.

When it comes to flowering companions, Hibiscus is always a great choice. It is fragrant and colorful and helps liven up your garden too. All of these plants need ample water to grow thick foliage.

If you want climber companions, Dwarf Bougainvillea and Chinese star jasmine are good for temperate climates. They are cold hardy and will complement the winter dormant Plumeria nicely.

Succulents like Agave or Echeveria are often used with Plumeria to cover more ground.  They provide interesting silhouettes and create a dramatic landscape. Succulents are quite easy to care for too. Jade is also a trustworthy companion to Plumeria.

Coastal Climate

Plumeria loves the coast. It might prove difficult to find plants that can survive coastal climates. In this case, native plants will be your best bet. Go down to your local nursery or ask fellow gardeners about the best plants to grow in this climate.

Lower companions can include African daisies, blue chalksticks and felt plants. For taller foliage, rock rose or lavender might be ideal options. They are fragrant and are generally suited to the coastal climate.

The ideal Plumeria companion in coastal climates is one that can withstand strong winds, salty air and coastal soil.

Parting Thoughts

We’re sure you have a better idea of what to plant with Plumeria. Companion planting is not an exact science, but you can surely use its principles to find a great match for your frangipani plant.

Plumeria plants do very well with company and complement a wide variety of other plants too. Plumeria can survive in a wide variety of climates—but the same is not true for its companions.

The trick lies in finding the right companion in each climate. Environmental factors play a vital role in determining the right companion for your Plumeria.

If you are still not sure of the right companion for your climate, do not worry. Talk to your fellow gardeners—you can never underestimate the value of anecdotal evidence. If nothing works, you always have the trial and error method.

Remember, gardening is supposed to be fun and relaxing. So don’t stress and have fun figuring out the perfect companion for your Plumeria.

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