What is Frangipani?
Frangipani (Plumeria spp.) is a deciduous or semi evergreen small tree to large shrub. It is part of the Apocynaceae or dogbane family and is native to Central and South America as well as Mexico and the Caribbean. There are seven or eight different species of Frangipani shrubs and small trees that shed their leaves annually. The most commonly grown species are deciduous. There are evergreen species, but they are generally only suitable for tropical and sub-tropical regions. The most common variety is Plumeria rubra. Frangipani has an open branching habit where the branches are plump and fleshy, containing a poisonous, milky sap. The foliage is narrow and oval shaped and pointed at the tip. They are dark green in colour set out in a spiral arrangement, clustered at the ends of the stems. During late Spring through to Autumn the Frangipani will produce spiral shaped flowers ranging from deep crimson to pale pink, white and yellow to orange and every shade in between depending on what variety and where you live. The tropical climates have all the variety of colours where the further away you get the colour numbers reduce. Frangipani flowers are known for their scent. It requires a full sun positron in the garden that is protected from strong winds. Frangipani are tropical trees and need humidity to grow. In cold climates particularly in the Southern states they will not grow very well because of our cold nights and lack of humidity. A way around this is growing them in a hot house. Another option could be growing them against a warm masonry wall, in a north facing position and protect them from frost.
Benefits of Growing Frangipani
Frangipani is commonly used as a specimen tree. They are great for a tropical style garden or used in large pots in courtyards or on balconies too. Place near an open door or window to allow the sweet scent to come inside the house.
How to Grow Frangipani
Ideal for sub-tropics to tropical. Planted in a sheltered location in warm temperate.
Height: 8m, Width: 5cm with dwarf varieties also available.
When To Plant Frangipani
Plant in late Winter to Spring.
They will grow in most soil types but prefer a well draining soil. They don’t like wet feet. If planting in a pot ensure you use a good quality, free-draining potting mix.
How To Plant Frangipani
Plant in full sun, with the plant crown at soil level.
In cooler climates protect by planting close to a brick wall to radiate extra warmth and shelter from strong or cold Winter winds.
Frangipani Plant Care
Water Frangipani only during Spring and Summer, and hold off completely during the cooler months. Let them dry out after watering as they don’t like wet feet.
Apply fertiliser twice a year, Spring and again in Summer that is rich in phosphorus and potash. These fertilisers promote a strong root system and pretty blooms.
Usually pruning is not required however you many need to prune to restrict or reduce the size, remove a broken or diseased branch. On older trees, look for any branches that have started rubbing or crossing over each other as these should also be removed.
In containers use a good quality free draining potting mix and repot every 3 – 4 years.
Pest and Diseases
The main diseases is root rot, which is usually due to over watering.
Frangipani can also be affected by plant rust. Yellow to orange pustules appear on the underside of their leaves making the other side of the leaves near transparent and causing plant death. This can be treated by spraying with copper based spray and completely removing the diseased parts.
They can also be susceptible to fungal diseases, such as downy and powdery mildew.