A: Trust your sister: Freezing winter temperatures will doom the plumeria outdoors. It might tolerate one or two exposures to 32 degrees, but nothing lower. If you can find the space to overwinter it one more time, you can lower the height drastically in early April. Find a joint where two limbs meet at 12 inches to 16 inches above the soil and make a 45-degree cut there. Put the plumeria outdoors in a semi-shaded spot when night temperatures are consistently above 50 degrees. It will make new sprouts from that point.
Q: I planted a bare root dormant sassafras tree in early May. When it arrived, I immediately put it in water and the next day planted it in excellent garden soil. I have watered appropriately. Some of the branches have died and some never leafed out. I have been told that these trees may remain dormant all summer and leaf out the next spring. John Thorogood, email