Calling all lovers of melia! It's Plumeria Week on The Conversation
Frangipani, melia, or plumeria. Whatever you call this fragrant bloom, it's coming to the end of its growing season. The trees will enter a dormant period. Leaves will drop and so will their watering needs until it gets close to spring.
Although they are not native to Hawaiʻi, the hardy plumeria continues to fascinate with its many hues and fragrances. For Plumeria Week on The Conversation, we spoke to plumeria experts and farmers from across the islands. Take a listen to those stories below.
The Conversation went out to the UH Research Station in Waimānalo where University of Hawaiʻi Professor Emeritus Richard Criley did much of his work and recently took us on a walking tour.
Dick Wheeler, the owner of Molokai Plumerias, says at one time the farm was the largest supplier of fresh blooms for lei sellers in the state. But drought and destructive insects have weakened his orchard of three and a half decades.
Doug Brunner is the owner of Maui Plumeria Gardens in Ha’ikū and Waikapū on Maui. As part of The Conversation's Plumeria Week, we highlight the export business of plumeria cuttings.
Talia Portner, the horticulturist for the Koko Crater Botanical Garden, says the young crater, a result of an eruption 7,000 years ago, offers mineral-rich soil that is fertile ground for the drought-tolerant plumeria.