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From O'ahu with Care : Plum ( Plumeria )

I have decided that I am going to name my favourite plants and although I have only had this one since February I have already fallen in love. Let me introduce you to Plum my white Plumeria.

I had planned on buying orchids in Hawaii but when I did more research while I was there I discovered I needed a Phytosanitary Certificate in order to import plants from Hawaii.

I was hoping I would find an orchid vendor that provided the certificates. Unfortunately reality came swiftly when I went to my first Orchid farm Kawamoto Orchid Nursery in Pālolo Valley. They had the most beautiful and unique orchids that I had seen before. I walked around drooping at all the flowering orchids. Then I asked if they were able to provide a Phytosanitary Certificate and then the devastating moment hit. " We don't do Canada" the owner replied. Although I was able to have them shipped to Washington and then I would be able to drive them over the border but that had to be done online so I could do that anytime but they only had certain orchids available for shipping.

Two days later we went on the Hidden Gems guided tour of O'ahu which brought us to a number of tourist traps around the island with one of our first stops at Tropical Farms on Kualoa Ranch, The Macadamia Nut Farm Outlet where I laid eyes on Plum. There she was hanging up in a bag with all the other plumeria cuttings and I saw on the back of the package that it was able to be exported. I was excited and although it didn't exactly say it was a phytosanitary certificate I felt it was close enough that I would be able to convince the Canadian border Service Agent that it was. So I bought her and some seeds. We continued our day where we went to Waimea Valley which was basically a huge garden of native and introduced species. There were many orchids there but not many of them were in bloom. We finished off the tour at the Dole Pineapple plantation where they had many gorgeous rainbow eucalyptus trees, I was in love.

We had gone to O'ahu for my partners 30th birthday and overall I would say it was the best vacation together that we have every had. The weather was amazing, we stayed at an amazing hotel and I got to see many plants and trees that I had never seen before but now we arrived at the customs line and I got flagged at the processing machine because I was honest and told them I brought the plumeria cutting and seeds. The first officer said that I had to go to the Agriculture Department because he didn't think I was able to bring in the plumeria into Canada. When I got to the Agricultural dest the officer also said that he didn't think I was able to bring in the plumeria but I explained to him that I had researched it and that I was able to bring in the plumeria if I had a phytosanitary Certificate and that on the back of the package it says that it is able to be exported to the mainland USA and that I presumed that was the phytosanitary certificate. The officer kept searching for answers on his computer and said that there were some plants that still couldn't come in but he was not sure if this was one of them. After explaining to him that these plants are available here and that they can not survive in Canada he reluctantly let me take the cutting and the seeds with me. Success!

I am not sure if I just missed them but the only colour I saw on O'ahu was the white plumeria so that is the cutting I picked to always remind me of our magical time here.

When I got home I did some research as to the best way to root my cutting and the video that I decided to follow on YouTube suggested to moisten some sphagnum moss, squeeze out the moisture so it is just damp and then wrap that around the base and then wrap that in plastic wrap and hang it some place warm (above 21*c I believe they said) so I put it in the water heater room which always seems to be warm and humid. I tried that and in a couple weeks it seemed to start to be rotting and there was no root development. I though I was going to lose Plum for sure but I unwrapped the base and scrapped away the slightly rotted part ( I should have waited for it to dry up but I believe I used some cinnamon on it to prevent further rot). Then I put the cutting in a loose mix of bark, coconut core and perlite, supporting it with chopsticks and then I set it on the water heater which I though might be too warm because I had hung a thermometer in there and it said it was 37*c but the plumeria cutting and the seeds which I planted in a similar mix loved it there.

I wish I had taken more pictures when it stared to grow the inflorescence ( flower spike basically) as I have learned it isn't always easy to get the plumeria to flower. I have attached the only other picture that I can find of Plum's development but I will adding more to the blog as I am still waiting for leaves but I am assuming that they will be coming along soon.

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