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Propagating Plants: Book Review

How to Grow Plumeria – Frangipani Anytime Anywhere.

an electronic book by Bob Walsh

How to Grow Plumeria – Frangipani Anytime Anywhere by Bob Walsh is a part of the new trend of self publishing books in electronic form. While many such 'books' are more pamphlets, containing little information How To Grow Plumeria is not only of book length but contains quite a bit of useful information.

In the introduction we learn that the author fascinated with plumerias decided to learn how to grow them in zone 5, which is quite temperate containing cities such as Chicago and not considered as a Plumeria growing region. In most cases Plumeria are found only in the tropic and subtropic zones yet he manages to grow them. The information and lessons of his experience will help those wanting to grow, or just know more about these beautiful trees whatever their growth zone.

Book Cover

A history section gives a number of interesting facts on Plumeria and its various introductions to the USA and development mostly in Hawai'i. There is also information on common names, ethnic uses and studies on the plants. Walsh's description of the plant should satisfy both beginner and advanced growers and includes some technical data as to species and the Apocynaceae and Asclepiadaceae families in general. (Current Taxonomy has Apocynaceae combined with Asclepiadaceae, time will tell if this stands).

He lists a number of cultivars, arranged by color but many lack an image and explanation of what makes them a worthy cultivar this is a failing but these are facts any reader can easily find through the Internet and other collectors. There are quite a few of good photographs throughout the book.

His chapters on buying and planting cuttings is very informative with good directions on the subjects. Plumerias are difficult for some due to the characteristics of their tissues and a good reading of the information provided should save quite a few cuttings from failure. There is also information and a recount of the authors experience with 'Egg Rooting' which is an interesting topic in itself. His results using this method appear quite positive.

There is also good advice for aftercare for newly rooted plants and care for areas which are cold or lack sufficient light in winter. Very good explanations are given for the various types of lighting available to supplement the plants. The book also looks at the other ingredients necessary to grow plants with success: humidity/water and air flow. Special attention is given to pot choices as well.

Once you have successfully rooted cuttings it is necessary to pot them into growing containers and there are detailed instructions that a grower of any level should find easy to follow. While the instructions and details may vary a bit for those used to simply sticking a cutting into the ground and watching it grow (Florida, Hawai'i) they are detailed and will greatly assist those growing in containers in less than optimum locations. Attention is also given to care of established plants, both indoors and out as well as fertilizer and pruning (both foliage and root).

There are special chapters for growing from seeds, layers and grafted plants.

                  buds and mockingbird

All plants can suffer from pests and diseases, plants grown out of their normal climate are ever more susceptible. The author gives good advice for pests and diseases when growing plumerias. His suggestions are mostly organic which suits plants grown indoors much of the year.

The book ends with information on companion planting, uses of the flowers and even recipes. There is a good glossary for those that discover an unfamiliar term and a list of suppliers and references to follow up with. I found both the flower index and general index useful and well planned. The book ends with several bonus forms that, if used will help keep information about your own plants in good order.

This is a good book if you want to grow, or even learn more about Plumerias, it may also be useful to those growing some Plumeria relatives. It does seem somewhat over priced for an electronic format book listing on Amazon at over $40 and on the author's site at $37 which keeps us from highly recommending it.

Amazon is also offering a print on demand paper bound copy which we have not seen but which sounds good.

Overall Recommendation 4/5  Rated 4.5 out of 5

How To Grow Plumeria Frangipani Anytime Anywhere Copyright Bob Walsh 2010 an electronic publication in PDF, 157 pages, color photographs throughout. $ 37.00 from:

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