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I am trying to identify this plant - I recently moved in with my partner and this is one she had, she doesn't know what it is other than "some kind of palm" (she's not the most green fingered, they've suddenly started growing a lot more since I moved in!)

Leaves are up to about 12 cm long, but I guess they could grow bigger as the plant grows. It also produces a white sap. Also notice the hairy kind of structures along the stem - sorry it's not a very good picture of that part.

Can anyone identify the plant? And any care tips? We are in a dark winter here in Sweden and I want to make sure they survive the lack of light as best as possible. Recently a few of the lower smaller (and older) leaves went very yellow and dropped, I thought maybe I'm over watering.

(A comment suggests it is Plumeria of some kind, I see that can flower - if there's a tip to getting it to flower some day that would be great! And how big can it get?)

Click images for full size

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    definitely not a palm species – kevinsky Nov 20 '14 at 10:53
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    By the look of the veining and overall shape of the single leaf I can see clearly, it looks like one of the Plumerias, maybe P. rubra - be good to see more entire leaves, maybe a pic from further back, showing the whole plant? – Bamboo Nov 20 '14 at 11:32
  • @Bamboo is that better? apologies its a little blurry, I took it this morning and saw it was fuzzy once I loaded the question, will retake tonight once home – rg255 Nov 20 '14 at 11:35
  • Yes and no - if you look at the back of the leaf you show above, you can see a joining of the veins near the edge of the leaf running up the whole leaf - that's usually clearly visible on the upperside of the leaf in a Plumeria, looks like a complete line running from top to bottom of the leaf, but I'm not seeing that here. It might be the plant just isn't fully healthy though. – Bamboo Nov 20 '14 at 11:40
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I have to say I think it's a Plumeria, and possibly P. obtusa, though it could be P. rubra, or something else entirely - it's hard to tell at that stage. You'll be able to tell for sure if/when it blooms. These are common houseplants, at least in my area, and they grow kind of slowly indoors. Here's a picture of the leaves of P. obtusa, for comparison:

enter image description here

On getting it to flower, your plant is a bit small for that yet. Good conditions for this plant to bring it up to a bigger flowering size are:

  • Give it as much full sun as possible, preferably over 8 hours of direct sun.
  • Make sure the mix is well drained, water should run right through it.
  • When the plant becomes pot-bound (runs out of root space and the roots begin densely circling the bottom of the pot), repot it into a pot one size larger.
  • Every other week during the summer, fertilize with a low nitrogen, high potassium fertilizer, to promote less leggy growth, and eventual flowering.
  • Water only when the top 1/2" of the mix is completely dry, and be thorough, watering until it runs from the bottom of the pot.
  • They are susceptible to spider mites, whiteflies, scale, and mealybugs when grown indoors. Treat as necessary to maintain a healthy plant.

On how big they get, they are small trees in nature, so they can become rather large houseplants given time. I often see them around 2 - 3 1/2' tall and wide, but it varies.

  • It's grown really well since your advice, at least twice the size - it nows fires seeds across the apartment! We've grown 3 more from the seeds we've managed to find – rg255 Jul 11 '15 at 9:19

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