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MONTHLY MEETING: Mike Atkinson's Passion for Plumerias

On August 13, plumeria expert Mike Atkinson will share his extensive knowledge of growing and propagating the many varieties of plumerias that thrive in our Mediterranean climate.

Plumerias love San Diego. Often thought to be native to Hawaii, plumerias are actually native to southern Mexico, Central America, and South America. Their low-maintenance, low-water requirements, and their amazing blooms and fragrances, make them the ideal complement to our Southern California gardens. Mike will introduce us to the various types of plumerias, explain their fertilization needs, describe which plants make good companions in the garden, and provide advice on general care and selection.

Mike and his wife, Stacy, have been growing plumerias on Mt. Helix for over twenty years. During the eight-month growing season, Atkinson spends as many as twenty-five hours a week nurturing over 250 varieties of plumeria. He has hundreds of plants in the ground and even more growing in pots.

Stacy was actually the first in the family to become a fan of plumerias. Her father had a plumeria growing from a cutting at his home across the street, and Stacy fell in love with the flowers. Later, after visiting a plumeria farm in Florida, Mike became interested in these remarkable plants as well. He volunteered to be a webmaster for the Southern California Plumeria Society in San Diego, and now he and Stacy are both actively involved in this organization and other groups of plumeria enthusiasts.

Mike does not just grow plumerias; he creates new varieties. He has developed several distinctive plumerias, including Jacob’s Star, Stacy Dean (named after his wife Stacy), and Corona Surprise. Not surprisingly, he is a sought-after speaker, and has recently spoken at the International Plumeria Conference, the South Coast Plumeria Society, and the San Diego Wabi Study Group of the Ohara School of Ikebana. To see some of Mike’s beautiful plumerias, take a look at Nan Sterman’s interview with Mike at his home in La Mesa on KPBS TV's A Growing Passion.

Be sure to join us to hear Mike speak about plumerias on Monday, August 13. The evening starts at 6:00 PM at the Congregation Beth Israel, 9001 Towne Centre Drive, San Diego. Parking is free and everyone is welcome. Admission is free for SDHS members and $15 for non-members. For more information, call (619) 296-9215 or visit

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