Sale FAQs

Q. When is the sale?
A. Saturday, September 3rd & Sunday, September 4th (Labor Day weekend) in Room 101 of the Casa del Prado in Balboa Park.

Q. Will you be selling cuttings?
A. No, our Cutting Sale is generally the first weekend in April (April 2-3, 2016, if you want to pencil it in). It is late enough in the growing season now that cuttings may not be able to root before the dormant period begins. The September sale features potted plants; occasionally a vendor might bring seeds.

Q. How much do the plants go for?
A. Prices generally start at $10 for a 1-gallon common plumeria (a basic white or yellow) and can go as high as $300 or more for large trees or unusual varieties.

Q. Holy cow, $10 to $300 or more? Why the huge range?
A. Prices increase with the rarity of the variety, the height of the plant, the number and size of branches, and the plant's overall aesthetics. For instance, a 1-gallon Celadine (common yellow) is going to be cheaper than a 1-gallon Lava Flow. A 1-gallon plant is going to be much cheaper than a 15-gallon tree.

Q. Are plumerias drought-tolerant?
A. Yes! They actually have similar water needs as succulents. In most areas of San Diego County, you only have to water them once a week - a beautiful addition to your xeriscape!

Q. I want to come, but parking at Balboa Park can be difficult on holiday weekends and I don't want to walk back to my car with my plants. Will you take the plants to my car?
A. We have runners who will have carts. They will be happy to wait with your plants at the nearest car-accessible corner while you go and get your vehicle and bring it back. They will even wait while you take the free trolley back to the Old Naval Hospital parking lot to get your car; the trolley stop is close to the sale. Parking & tram info.

Q. I want to shop early, but still enjoy the day in Balboa Park without carrying around plants or cooking them to death in my car. Can you watch my plants?
A. We do have a will-call for purchased plants. After you've paid, go to our will-call table. They'll store your plants and give you a claim ticket, just like a coat check. Come back before 3 p.m. to pick up your plants.

Q. It's Saturday morning and there's a line for Room 101. Can I get into the courtyard?
A. That line feeds both spaces. When you reach the head of the line, you get to choose what area you're interested in. Once you are in a sale area, you have a fast access ticket into the other sale area, so you do not have to wait in the big long Saturday morning line again to get into the other sale area. Just remember to check your purchases at will-call since plants can't travel between sale spaces. 

Q. Your list said that you would have a particular plant that I really, really wanted. I camped all night on Friday, was first in line, and when I got in, the vendor didn't have it. What gives?
A. There are absolutely no guarantees. Especially for rare varieties, there may only be a few in the room. The vendor may have forgotten it or dropped it off the truck into a pile of cuttings that morning. It may have been pulled by the Society as not up to our standards. Volunteers and vendors do get to shop before the door opens because they have no time to shop during our busy festival otherwise and they work very, very hard to create a great event. Those in the know will ask a vendor who is sold out of a variety if he or she has a business card so they can call about getting that variety in the future; our vendors are extremely helpful and like to help people find the plants they want. We strive for accuracy and we hope every customer will find exactly the plants he or she is looking for, but there are no guarantees.

Q. What list?
A. On our plant sale page as we get close to the sale date, we publish a list of all the varieties our vendors are bringing. At the sale, we have copies of the list cross-referenced by vendor, so if you are looking for a particular variety, you can ask a volunteer if someone's selling it. The volunteer can tell you if that variety is still available and point you to the vendor who is selling it. But again, the list is not a guarantee.

Q. When is your busiest time?
A. Saturday morning right after the doors open at 10AM, usually for an hour or two. There may be a line to get into the sale since we're restricted on how many people can enter the sale areas due to fire codes. If you're not seeking the first pick of plants or looking for a particular variety, wait until the afternoon or Sunday to shop.

Q. What's up with this line?
A. Welcome to Saturday morning! Our sale offers a rare opportunity to see a lot of varieties usually available only via mail order in one place. This means plumeria collectors and aficionados line up on Saturday morning to try and get some of the rarest plumerias available. Due to fire codes, we can only let a certain number of people into the room at one time and people must leave before we can let more into the sale room.

If you are not a collector and you hate lines, we recommend waiting until Saturday afternoon or Sunday to visit our sale. There will still be hundreds of plants available.

Q. Is that the check-out line?
A. Check with our volunteers, but yes, if you waited in line outside to get into the sale, you will probably wait to check out from the sale, since all the people ahead of you were going to the same place for the same reason. Our volunteers will make sure you're waiting in the right line and that you are checking out as quickly as your form of payment allows (cash and checks generally go quicker than credit/debit card payments). 

Q. I'm not a member but I'd like to be. Can I join?
A. Of course; we'd love to have you join! Membership is $25; that bargain price includes nine issues of our membership journal Plumeria World, a 10% discount on all sales table items (excluding plants), and admission to our members-only October luncheon with food, wine, and entertainment.

Q. Do you take credit or debit cards?
A. Yes! We accept all major credit and debit cards. The trade-off is that we will only have one reader in Room 101 and one in the courtyard outside, so you will have to be patient and wait. (There will be perks to having cash or checks still.)

Q. Do I get a discount on plants if I'm an SCPS member?
A. No. The 10% SCPS member discount is good for everything but plants: T-shirts, fertilizer, seaweed extract, plumeria jewelry, hats, books, and much more.

Q. What kind of guarantee do you offer on potted plants?
A. A common-sense one. All the plants sold should be rooted well enough that a newbie could take care of it without any particular special care. They are all labeled with the vendor's name and phone number, so if you have a problem with a plant, call the vendor first. If the vendor is unresponsive, then contact the Society for help with a resolution. Like many reputable nurseries, we will want to see your receipt and the plant (or photos of the plant) and understand what happened. If you fail to water your new plumeria, leave it in the car for three days, then show us your dried-up husk of a plumeria and ask for a refund, we can only offer you condolences.

Q. Where can I buy the plants that have been donated to the Society?
A. Not at our official sales events, only at meetings. The SCPS has a strict no-compete policy with our sale vendors, so while we sell donated cuttings and plants at our meetings, we do not sell them at our official sale events. Sometimes we will add donated plants to the raffle table, which specifically funds SCPS scholarships and research grants, not the general operation fund.

Q. Do you have a [insert name here] plumeria for sale?
A. Check the list of varieties on our Plant Sale page. We keep it updated as information from our vendors comes in.

Q. Do you have a [color, size, geographical origin] plumeria for sale?
A. Check the list of varieties on our Plant Sale page. Due to the number of inquiries, we cannot answer queries about particular cultivars.

Q. What does a [insert name here] plumeria look like?
A. Check our Photos page for an album with photos of the varieties for sale.

Q. Can you tell me which vendors will be selling a particular kind of plumeria?
A. Not before the sale. Information on what vendors are selling particular varieties will be available at the sale.

Q. Can I sell plants at your sale?
A. Sorry, this sale is at maximum capacity for vendors. But keep in mind for future sales that only actively-contributing members of the SCPS can sell at our sales.

Q. What are these Golden Plumeria Tickets and how do I get one?
A. Golden Plumeria Tickets will get you into the sale at 9AM on Saturday, ahead of the line. 3 of the tickets were given away at the last SCPS meeting of the year to members. One was distributed in a Facebook giveaway open to anyone; one will be given away to a SCPS member via a members' only email.

- Only five (5) Golden Plumeria Tickets will be distributed for the 16th Annual Hawaiian Plumeria Festival.
- Ticket must be presented along with ID for entry into the sale areas of the SCPS Hawaiian Plumeria Festival at 9AM on Saturday, Sept. 5th.
- Tickets are non-transferable and have no cash value.
- Ticket holders must be checked out (completely done with shopping, paid in full, and out of the sale areas) by 10AM. Purchases may be held in plant will-call until 3PM.
- Tickets admit one person only.
- Availability of varieties is not guaranteed, even for Golden Plumeria Ticket holders.
- This ticket will not be useful to our Saturday AM volunteers and vendors, so they should not enter.
- Ticket winner will be expected to respond within 24 hours of drawing announcement with their mailing address to If the winner does not supply the mailing address within 24 hours of the drawing, another winner will be drawn.
- Instructions for the Facebook giveaway will be given on Friday, August 21st.
- Instructions for the SCPS Members' giveaway will be given via email message by Friday, August 28th. Only members in good standing by Friday, August 28th will be eligible.

Q. I bought a Jeanette Matson plumeria and it looks nothing like the award winner. What gives?
A. The name of the award is the Jeanette Matson Best in Show Award. There is also a Jeanette Matson plumeria, which is a lovely lemon drop lookalike, yellow with reflexed petals and a citrus scent. If you see the show award winner and want it, please check the variety name, because the Jeanette Matson plumeria has never won the Jeanette Matson Best in Show award and we're sure you want something else if you want the award winner.