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How to Grow Frangipani from Cuttings

Last Updated Sep 14, 2018 · Written by Samantha Thorne · 8 min read

The frangipani really is one of those plants that truly epitomises Australian culture. Growing up on the NSW south coast, I remember a time when just about every girl would pick a frangipani flower off a tree on their way to school to pin into her hair.

Their popularity in Australian gardens was and still is, massive. Walk down any suburban street, particularly along the coast, and you’ll find it hard to avoid them – and for good reason. Why? Because they look good, are easy to grow and when they flower, they smell divine.

So if you’re looking to propagate your existing frangipani tree or take a cutting from a neighbour, you’ll be pleased to know that the process is easy-peasy. We’ll take you through all the necessary steps so you have a beautiful frangipani in no time.

Read: Growing frangipani trees

Is it easy to grow a frangipani from a cutting?

Yes! It’s so easy. The process is made even simpler because frangipani is hardy garden plants who survive in some of the most brutal climates and episodes of neglect. Just a word of warning though, since the process is so straightforward, you could get addicted. Watch yourself, because before you know it you’ll have more frangipani trees than you’ll know what to do with.

Check out the process below.

How to take a frangipani cutting

A frangipani is probably one of the easiest plants to take a cutting of. With the following steps, you’ll be able to ensure your cutting has the very best chance of success.

Step 1: Find a healthy tree

The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure you can identify a tree that is in good health. The last thing you’ll want to do is take a cutting from a tree that is diseased.

Avoiding a diseased tree is easy. You’ll want to steer clear of any trees that have:

  • Mould, fungus or powdery mildew on their leaves.
  • Hemispherical scale, which presents as dark to light brown bumps that are smooth, shiny and hemispherical. A black sooty coating on the leaves of the tree is also a dead giveaway.
  • Frangipani rust, which presents as a rusty powder on the underside of the leaves. If you bring this into your garden, spores will travel and infect other plants nearby.
  • Stem rot, which presents as soft and withered stems and branches.

Step 2: Take a cutting

Once you’ve chosen a firm and healthy stem, use some sharp secateurs and make a cutting of about 30 to 50 centimetres long. Make sure that the stem is not too young, you’ll want to aim for the base of your cutting to be mature wood – the colour of this is grey. You should also remove the leaves on the cutting.

Step 3: Leave the cutting to rest

Place your cutting somewhere well-ventilated, dry and in full sun. Don’t leave your cutting inside your house or in your shed. For best results, you’ll want to place it somewhere outside where it isn’t going to get wet. In a few weeks (or less depending on how warm it is) all the wounds will heal.

Step 4: Watch for swelling

As your cutting dries out, it will go through a process where the wounds (at the base of the cutting and where you’ve removed leaves) will begin to swell. This means it’s ready to plant.

Read: Top 10 gardens from around the world

Planting your frangipani cutting

Once the frangipani cutting has dried out and swollen slightly, it is ready to be planted. If you are planning on planting it in a pot you’ll need to use a free draining potting mix, preferably one that includes sand and gravel. Frangipani really doesn’t like “wet feet” at all, so you’ll want to avoid it as much as possible.

If you’d prefer to plant directly into the soil, you can do this, but make sure you don’t plant it in a place that gets too much full sun for most of the day. The cutting will get dehydrated and die.

Rather look for somewhere that is warm as opposed to hot. The cutting should be firm in your soil mix so that it can settle and start to root.

Read: How to landscape your garden on a tight budget

Don’t overwater your frangipani

Be aware that frangipani does not like or need a lot of water. It can be tempting to give the cutting regular watering in order to help it establish but this can actually do more harm than good. You should only need to water the cutting once a fortnight or so. So hands off, this is a plant doesn’t need a daily drink.

How to know when your cutting becomes established

It can be hard to know when your frangipani has actually taken root – after all, we can’t see beneath the soil. However, if all goes to plan, over several weeks roots will start to develop on the plant and the frangipani tree will become more established.

Don’t pull on the cutting to see if there’s resistance, you could rip or tear delicate root systems that are just starting to grow. Instead, wait for your cutting to grow some leaves – this is a solid indication of root growth. At this point, if you can’t pull your cutting out of the soil with a very gentle pull, then it’s likely to have established roots. You’ll now be able to re-pot into a larger pot or replant into the garden soil.

Something to keep in mind: your cutting will take several weeks for roots to grow and become established

Transplanting frangipani

When you have roots on your frangipani cuttings, you can transplant it into a larger pot or into the garden (if you have not planted it directly into the garden that is). Be very careful when you are doing this as frangipani roots are very delicate and can snap easily.

When you have roots on your frangipani cuttings, you can transplant it into a larger pot or into the garden

Frangipani garden ideas

As you can see, frangipani is easy to grow and propagate, so if you’re a huge fan, you can use them in many ways to create a show-stopping garden. Here are some of our favourite frangipani garden ideas below.

Frangipani friends

Frangipani can grow into really stunning trees, and to soften your garden and the area around the frangipani trunk, plant varieties with soft green foliage or flowers in a complementary colour for beautiful visual impact.

If your frangipani is in a space with limited room for shrub beneath it, you could also consider ground cover to make the area more pleasing to the eye.

Pick a frangipani colour to suit your palette

Depending on the colour of your home’s exterior or fencing, it can be wise to choose a frangipani variety that will suit its backdrop. There are plenty of varieties in a range of colours from white through to soft yellows, pinks and fuschias, and each one can look entirely different in relation to your backyard.

For a home with a white exterior a bright and vibrant frangipani variety, like the Ruby Belle in a deep pink will look stunning.

Frangipani in pots

For those who live in apartments and only have a balcony for gardening, there’s no need to despair. A frangipani will live quite happily in a pot.

Many inner city balconies, unfortunately, don’t get used as much as their owners would like, and at times this can be put down to a lack of privacy or feeling too exposed. If you love frangipani you can use them to create a privacy screen or wall when planted in multiple pots and placed side by side.

If at any point you get stuck or simply want to speak to an expert, contact a local gardener or landscaper to give you a helping hand.

You might also like: 10 Plants That Will Flourish on Balconies, Top Spring Gardening Tips

Colour your world

Frangipani blooms appear in summer and continue flowering well into autumn. They are available in countless single and bi-colour combinations, from the classic yellow and white to pastel pinks and oranges, and even striking reds and lilacs. Although the blooms look delicate, the trees are robust, with long lives, and can grow up to 8m tall. And if you’re short on space there are also compact choices.

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Cutting edge

Frangipanis are quite easily propagated from cuttings – the trick is to allow the cutting base to dry out and callous over before planting. Late spring to early summer is a good time to take cuttings, but almost any time will do. Simply cut lengths of stems or lop off a branch, then remove most of the lower leaves and any flower buds. Next, stand cuttings upright in a shady place for one to four weeks. Once dried, insert into a pot filled with coarse sand and water sparingly until roots form.

Risky business

Although frangipanis are generally very hardy, there are diseases, such as rust, which can affect their health. Rust is most noticeable in late summer and autumn. Keep a lookout for yellow pustules appearing on the undersides of leaves while the upper surface is discoloured and motley. If you see this, spray all surfaces with a fungicide such as Eco-fungicide or Yates Rose Shield – don’t forget to collect, bag and dispose of any fallen leaves. A clean-up spray with copper fungicide or lime sulphur in winter may slow the disease’s progression. However, if the tree looks too far gone, consider taking cuttings from branches that look the healthiest and replanting.

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How to grow them

Climate Frangipanis thrive in tropical, subtropical and warm-temperate climates. They are sensitive to frost but, once established, can tolerate light frosts, so they’re even worth a try in cool climates.

Aspect Plant in full sun. Protect

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Water During dry summers, water newly planted trees at least once or twice a week, when the soil feels dry to touch. Once established, they’re fairly drought tolerant and rely mostly on watering from rainfall, although a drink once in a while will help them along.

Soil Frangipanis are not fussy and suit a wide range of soils, but well-draining soils are essential. In areas with heavier soils, plant in raised beds with freedraining mix or in pots filled with good-quality potting mix

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Fertiliser Established trees rarely need additional fertiliser, but younger trees and especially those grown in containers benefit from controlled-release fertiliser (a fertiliser for roses is great) applied in spring and again in summer. A thin layer of cow manure works as an effective mulch and gives a gentle feed.

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Going potty Frangipanis will happily survive in pots for many years, but require re-potting into larger containers as they grow. Compact dwarf or semi-dwarf varieties also make lovely container plants. Select a wide container over 50cm wide and 40cm deep, and fill with two-thirds quality potting mix and one-third coarse sand. Frangipanis become top-heavy as their crown develops, so wide pots prevent toppling over in windy conditions. Allow the soil to dry to the touch before watering, and ensure there is adequate drainage by sitting the pot on ‘pot feet’ so any water can drain freely.

Propagating plumerias is a great way to expand your collection, or share your favorite plant with friends. In this post, I’ll talk about different plumeria propagation methods, show you when and how to take plumeria cuttings, and then show you how to grow plumeria from a cutting, step-by-step.

Plumerias (aka frangipani plant or Hawaiian lei tree) are beautiful tropical plants. They grow to be large trees in warm climates like Hawaii, and are popular for their fragrant flowers (which are used to make leis). I brought home my first plumeria cuttings from Hawaii several years ago, and have propagated my plumerias several times over since then. It’s fun and easy!

Plumeria Propagation Methods

There are two main plumeria propagation methods you can use for growing new plants – propagation by seed or by plant cuttings. In this post, I will show you how to grow plumeria from cuttings. I’ll save the seed starting for a future post.

I know it sounds scary, but growing plumeria from cuttings is actually pretty easy. First, let’s talk about when is the best time to try it.

When To Take Plumeria Cuttings

The best time to take cuttings for plumeria propagation is during their active growing season, which is in the spring and summer. Summer is the easiest time of the year to root them too, especially when it’s warm and humid outside.

If you take cuttings too late in the summer, or in the fall as the plant is starting to go dormant for the winter, then they probably won’t take root.

Rooting Plumeria Cuttings In Winter

Plumerias go dormant during the winter, so if cuttings were taken too late they will likely stay dormant and won’t grow roots. However, if you store them correctly, you can overwinter them, and root them in the spring.

Just leave the cutting in the pot, and keep the soil completely dry all winter long. You can mist it with water every once and a while if you want, but don’t overdo it. Then in early spring, give it a good drink of water, and follow the plumeria cuttings care instructions below for growing them.

How To Cut Plumerias For Propagating

There are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind when cutting plumeria stems for rooting (and for pruning plumeria plants too). It doesn’t make a difference where you cut the stem, so it’s just a matter of how long you want to make your cuttings.

But you do want to be sure to use a sharp pair of pruners, and always sterilize them so you get a nice clean cut. Also, plumerias are very prone to tip rot, so it’s important to always make your cuts at a downward angle so that water can’t settle into the wound.

Taking plumeria cuttings for propagation

How To Grow Plumeria From Cuttings

Before you get too excited and stick your plumeria cutting directly into the dirt, there are a few steps you’ll need to take to prepare it for the best chance of success. First, remove the leaves from the cutting. This will allow it to put all of it’s energy into growing new roots, rather than supporting the leaves.

Second, be sure to allow the wound to cure (dry out) before you attempt to root it. This step is super important, so don’t skip it, otherwise your plumeria cutting will likely rot instead of growing new roots. Let it sit in a dry place until the wound is completely cured. This can take several days to over a week, so be patient, and don’t rush it.

Plumeria cutting cured and ready to propagate

Rooting Plumeria Cuttings In Water

A common question I get asked is “can I root my plumeria in water?”. The short answer is yes. However, rooting plumeria in water isn’t always a huge success. Many times, the stems will only rot when placed in water.

If you have plenty of cuttings to work with, then by all means experiment with this method! My preferred plumeria propagation method however is rooting them in soil. So, I’ll stick to that for now.

How To Root Plumeria Cuttings In Soil

When planting a plumeria cutting, it’s very important that you always use a clean pot to avoid any type of contamination.

Also, make sure you don’t use a huge pot for planting plumeria cuttings, otherwise you risk overwatering which will only cause it to rot. I use 4″ pots for rooting most of mine, and once and a while I might go up to a 6″ pot if I’m rooting a larger stems.

Supplies Needed:

  • Cured plumeria cuttings
  • Propagation soil (I mix my own using perlite, potting soil, and coarse sand – but you can use a succulent soil mix instead)
  • Plant rooting hormone
  • A clean pot (I use 4″ pots for mine)

Here are the steps for how to start a plumeria cutting in soil…

Step 1: Dust the cut end with rooting hormone – Rooting hormone will help plumeria cuttings grow roots, and also speed up root formation. You can try rooting your cuttings without it, but I find that I have more success with plumeria propagation when I use it.

Dip plumeria cutting into rooting hormone

Step 2: Make a hole in the dirt – Use your finger or a pencil to make a hole in the soil where the cutting will go. If you didn’t dust the end with rooting hormone in step 1, then you don’t have to worry about this step. But making a hole in the soil first will keep the rooting hormone from rubbing off when you stick the cutting into the soil.

Step 3: Put cutting into the soil – Put the cut end into the hole you made, and then pack the soil down around the base of the stem. You want to make sure the soil comes into contact with the cutting, and that it will stay in place. The roots will grow out of the bottom of the stem, so you don’t have to plant it very deep. Just deep enough so it will stand up on it’s own.

Rooting plumeria cuttings in soil

Step 4: Wet the soil – Give the soil a good drink, until water starts coming out of the drainage holes. Allow the water to drain completely from the pot, and never allow it to sit in a tray of water. Then place your cutting in a protected, humid location, and wait for the roots to grow.

How To Care For Plumeria Cuttings

To encourage roots to grow, be sure to keep the air around your plumeria cutting humid, but the soil on the dry side. If you live in a humid climate like I do, you don’t need to do anything. Simply leave it outside in the heat and humidity, and soon it will start to grow. Just be sure to keep it out of the sun until then.

But, if you live somewhere dry, or you’re trying to root the plumeria plant cutting indoors, then it’s a good idea to mist it every couple of days with a plant sprayer to keep the humidity level high.

Just don’t water the soil, you want that to stay on the dry side. Damp soil will only cause your plumeria cutting to rot, and you don’t want that. You’ll know roots have started to grow once you see new leaves growing from the top.

Leaf growth means plumeria root system has formed

How Long Does It Take Plumeria Cuttings To Root

How long it takes for the cuttings to root depends on the environment. If it’s really dry, then it will take much longer for plumeria cuttings to root. But, if you keep them in a humid location, and give them bright light (not direct sun), then they will root much faster. In the right conditions, plumeria roots should start growing in a week or two.

Successfully rooted plumeria cutting

Transplanting Plumeria Cuttings

Once your cutting starts growing and has a few mature leaves on it, then you know it’s safe to pot it up. You certainly don’t need to worry about repotting plumeria cuttings right away, you can leave them in the small pot until they become pot-bound if you’d rather.

The best potting soil for plumeria plants is a porous mix, and they should always be planted in a pot that has drainage holes. They do not like to be overwatered, so it’s super important to make sure to use a fast draining plumeria potting mix. You can use succulent potting soil, or make your own plumeria potting soil by mixing coarse sand and perlite or pumice with general potting soil.

Once your new baby plumeria has become established in it’s pot, you can start fertilizing it to encourage flowers! Plumeria plants can flower starting their first year! You can use tropical plant fertilizer specifically made for plumerias and other tropical plants. Otherwise, some of the best fertilizer for plumeria plants are compost tea (you can get in liquid form, or buy compost tea bags to brew your own), fish emulsion or liquid kelp (don’t use these two indoors though because they are a bit stinky).

Learn how to grow a plumeria plant in my detailed plumeria plant care guide!

New plant after propagating plumeria from cuttings

Where To Buy Plumeria Cuttings

If you’re ever in Hawaii, you can find plumeria cuttings for sale all over the place. But if not, don’t worry, it’s also pretty easy to find plumeria cuttings for sale online (I bought this red plumeria cutting last year, and it’s growing great!). If you want to purchase them online, just be sure to order plumeria cuttings in the spring or summer for best results.

Plumeria propagation by cuttings sounds like it would be really hard, but it’s actually pretty easy when you follow these steps. They grow really fast too, so once you get the hang of it, you’ll have plenty of new plants to share with friends!

If you want to learn how to multiply any type of plant you can get your hands on, then my Plant Propagation Made Easy eBook is for you! It has everything you need to know in order to start propagating your favorite plants right away.

Products I Recommend

More Plant Propagation Posts

  • Plant Propagation Supplies
  • What Is Plant Propagation (and how to get started)
  • How To Propagate Aloe Vera By Division
  • How To Propagate Banana Plants
  • How To Propagate Jade Plants From Cuttings

Share your plumeria propagation tips in the comments section below.

How to Care for Your Plumeria

Plumeria, also known as Frangipani and are also known for it’s Hawaiian lei flower. The exotic plumeria is a tropical plant that is easy to grow. It can be easily maintained as a small tree grown in a container on the patio or in the garden. It can be grown in the grown in tropical or subtropical regions.

Sun Requirements

Plumeria love sun, they thrive in full sun. Plumeria require at least 4 to 6 hours of sun to properly produce blooms. Plumeria will not produce blooms without adequate sun exposure. Full sun (sunup to sundown) is best. Mature plumeria plants will bloom the entire growing season. In some regions from March through November, depending on where you live and the length of your growing season.

Plumeria can be grown in containers, in the ground, or containers sunk in the ground. During the months of active growth, sun, food, and water are essential. Healthy plumeria will grow vigorously and bloom regularly and profusely when they receive at least 6 hours of full sun per day and an ample amount of balance fertilizers.

Water Requirements

Plumeria love lots of water, but can’t tolerate wet feet, so they must be planted in fast draining soil or in beds with adequate drainage. Clay, gumbo, and silt are examples of poor draining soils; avoid these at all costs. Plumeria love water but they need to dry out between watering. Plumeria can withstand extended periods of being dry. Small pots may need to be watered daily, while Large pots or those in the ground may not need it as often. One way to determine how often you should water is to use a moisture meter. Plumeria will adjust to almost any conditions they find themselves in. Remember, drier is better than wetter. Never use a saucer under your plants.

Insects & Disease

Plumeria have very few problems. Spider Mites, White Flies, Mealy Bugs, Leaf hoppers and Scale will attack plants left too dry and/or in too much shade. Spray with a good mineral oil or chemicals suggested for these specific insects. Spray every 7-10 day until no signs of insects remain. Plumeria occasionally get a “rust” fungus on the leaves in the fall, but it is rarely very harmful because the plants start to lose their leaves about the same time. “Rust” is always the result of not enough air circulation combined with high humidity or too much moisture on the leaves.

Growing and Storage

The way you care for your plumeria depends on the season of the year. Bring your plants out of storage in the spring, watch them grow and bloom in the summer, prepare for dormancy and storage in the fall, and store them for the winter. Plants may be left outside if there is no damage of frost of freeze. If your nighttime temps are below 40°F you should be prepared to protect you plumeria from frost.

Spring

When the nighttime temperatures begin to remain above 55°F and there’s no more danger of cold weather, plumeria can be brought out of winter storage and encouraged to break dormancy. Due to conditions of storage, some root loss and desiccation of branches is expected, this is no cause for alarm. This is the time to feed, water, top dress, and/or repot. Since the plant is dormant, it will be minimally disturbed by repotting and root pruning as necessary.

Repotting and root pruning are optional and are performed as with any other container grown plant. Top dress by scraping off the loose soil and dead roots from the first couple centimeters of soil. Replace the removed soil with a mixture of compost and/or well composed cow manure.

This is a great time to give you plumeria a jump start by soaking the root ball or drenching in a mixture of Vitazyme and Carl Pool’s Root Activator.

Feed and water thoroughly using a fertilizer such as a granular slow release fertilizer with micro nutrients such as Excalibur Plumeria Fertilizer11-11-13 or drench with a water soluble fertilizer such as Bioblast.

Place the plant in a warm and sunny location. Some people like to sink the container into the ground, but be sure it is in a raised and well drained area such as a rose bed. This promotes more vigorous growth, provides support, and prevents it from blowing over. Plumeria tips are fragile and easily snapped off when the plant blows over.

Spring is the best time for propagating plumeria. Cutting are easiest to root and will provide plenty of time for the roots to be established before dormancy in the Fall.

Summer

For plumeria, summer has arrived once a lush growth of leaves has developed. Many will bloom before developing leaves, others will not. Once the leaf growth has developed, the summer regimen of care can be followed.

As mentioned before plumeria are heavy feeders. However, in order to discourage excessive stem elongation and to promote flowering, balanced fertilizers such as Excalibur Plumeria Fertilizer 11-11-13 with micro-nutrients are, once again, recommended. (Caution, over use of a high phosphorus bloom buster fertilizers can cause damage to you plumeria and the environment) The recommended slow release fertilizer Excalibur can be mixed directly in the top inch of the soil and then watered in. Excalibur Plumeria Fertilizer 11-11-13 IV will last 6 months and Excalibur Plumeria Fertilizer 11-11-14 IX will last 9 months.

During exceptionally hot periods, plants in above ground containers may need thorough watering as often as every other day. Drooping leaves can indicate a thirsty plant. As with all plants, check the soil before watering, if its dry for the first several inches, water thoroughly. Certain varieties of plumeria find some areas heat excessive for nominal blossom production. If this appears to be a problem, move the plant into a “shifting shade” location for better flower production and keeping quality.

As the days begin to grow shorter during August and September, some lower leaf yellowing and drop is normal. Some varieties will attempt a fall bloom cycle, if you are lucky and the weather cooperates, plumeria can still be blooming into November and December! But watch out, an early frost can damage or kill the plant.

Fall

For plumeria, fall begins once the night time temperature frequently begins to drop below 55°F. Studies have concluded that plumeria stop growing or slow dramatically when the average ambient temperature drops below 65°F. And the length of daylight shortens. Stop feeding about a month before Fall and reduce water to encourage the plant to go into its natural dormant period.

Some growers think that feeding after mid August may contribute to the black tip fungus problem, however this has not been proved. It is difficult to predict the weather and therefore it’s difficult to give a date by which your plumeria should be safely stored for the winter. By all means, if temperatures are expected to fall into the lower 30° F, the plants should be protected.

Most varieties can be damaged or killed by temperatures in the low 32° F for even a few hours.

Additional information is available on ExcaliburPlumeriaFertilizer.com, PlumeriaSeeds.com, PlumeriaCuttings.com, GrowingPlumeria.com and Plumeria.care websites.

Florida Colors Nursery Plumeria Care Regimen

I would like to share our vision of the best Plumeria care regimen for all plumeria growers. I hope the following helps you with your goals and plans for the year.

The goal is to know what, when and why, so you can improve every year by giving your plumeria the best growing conditions. Making a plan and documenting all adjustments will allow you to look back and hopefully determine where you can make improvements.

At the beginning of each season, we examine what we did last year and try to determine how we can improve our methods and products. The following is an outline for our Plumeria Care Regimen at Florida Colors Nursery. Please keep in mind your growing environment and how it differs from our Zone 10B in South Florida. The start of your plan should correspond to when you are past the threat of a frost or freeze. You should also make a plan to protect you plumeria from cold weather, just in case you get caught.

Before your spring growing season

When: At the beginning of your growing season or before you modify your soil or add nutrients.

What: I highly suggest getting a Soil Test to determine what nutrients your soil has or doesn’t have. The more you know about your soil and environment the better decisions you can make about caring for your plumeria.

How: Your local agriculture office or local nursery can perform soil tests. There are also commercial companies and self-test kits available.

Why: The soil test will indicate what nutrients are present and if they are locked up. A too high or too low pH will make it difficult or impossible for your Plumeria to absorb nutrients efficiently.

Removing damaged branches and roots

When: Before putting them out for spring.

What: Start by checking your plumeria for signs of insects, branch or root rot, soft branches, bent branches or broken branches.

How: Cut all damaged branches until you see all white when possible. Trim roots until you see white or green.

Why: Remove dead, damaged and diseased branches and roots to help prevent insect & decay organisms from entering the plumeria. Eliminate crossing branches to prevent damage caused by their rubbing against each other.

Checking and Spraying tips for insects

When: Before putting them out for spring from storage or as leaves and blooms start to grow

Greenhouses & pots, you should have been controlling pest all winter. But it is still a good idea to treat before taking out. I suggest you spray two weeks before taking them out and again right after taking out for Spring.
In the ground, I suggest you start spraying as soon as you see the leaves emerging. (Do not spray in direct sunlight or on dehydrated plants)

What: Suggest – Summit Year-Round Spray Oil

How: Spray or mist to cover the entire plant.

Why: By treating with Year-Round Spray Oil or similar you kill the insects and eggs. Giving your plants a good healthy start. Horticultural oil controls insects without synthetic chemicals. Mites including Rust Mite / Spider Mite (also eggs), Scales including Black Scale, California Red Scale, Whitefly and Blackfly (also eggs), Sooty Mold.

Plumeria waking up from Dormancy

When: As soon as you see the sign of your plumeria waking up and if the weather allows.

What: Soak your plumeria roots with a mixture of water, root activator (Carl Pools Root Activator) and a bio stimulate (Vitazyme) to help give them a kick-start.

What we suggest: A mixture of Vitazyme and Carl Pool’s Root Activator.

How: Soak your bare rooted plants for about 1 hour. Soak your potted plants from bottom up or drench. Drench you’re in ground plants with 1 to 2 gals.

Why: A bio stimulate (Vitazyme) helps the overall health of the plants and the root activator (Carl Pool Root Activator) give the roots a kick-start with what they need to wake up and start growing.

Watering – Water heavy for the first two days and water heavy every other day for the first week. After that water as needed.

Re-potting or adding soil

When: In the Spring or when they outgrow their pots or when they need additional soil.

What: An excellent well-balanced and well-draining soil. I prefer to use soils without fertilizers and a good decomposed natural mulch without additives.

What we suggest: A good soil mixture is 1/3 Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss, 1/3 coir and 1/3 Perlite (horticultural grade). Or potting soil with a little extra perlite added or a similar soil mix.

How: The goal is to provide new soil to add back washed away nutrients to the roots. Gently shake off as much of the old soil as possible and fill in with fresh soil. Water in well and add more soil as needed. For repotting we add decomposed natural mulch, 1”-2” in the bottom and 1”-2” on top of pots depending on the pot size. This adds some organic matter as it decomposes and helps keep the weeds out and moisture in.

Why: Fresh soil provides aeration, retains moisture and adds back nutrients that were washed out or used up by the plants. Over time, the organic materials that the soil mix is made will break down and decompose to the point where you will lose the drainage and aeration properties that are inherent in container media. When that happens, discard the old soil to the compost pile or to the garden and refill the container with fresh soil mix.

Mulching – Use decomposed mulch to add nutrients and organic matter. The mulch on the top also helps keep weeds down and helps retain moisture. In the ground, cover the ground with natural mulch partially decomposed up to 12” deep each year. If you use fresh mulch, the decomposition will rob your plants of nitrogen.

Watering – Always water well for the next two or three days.

First fertilizing – Granular

When: At the beginning of the growing season

What: Use a balanced granular controlled release fertilizer with micronutrients.

What we suggest: Excalibur VI (6 months) and IX (9 months) with an NPK of 11-11-13 and micronutrients designed specifically for Plumeria or a similar fertilizer

How: Cover the fertilizer with 1″-2″ of soil and water well.

Why: Granular fertilizer is designed to feed your plumeria from the roots, from the bottom up. Healthy roots are the key to producing healthy plants. We have found that a balanced NPK fertilizer with micronutrients produce healthy growth, promotes blooming, bloom size and seed production. It is essential to use a balanced fertilizer not high in nitrogen, phosphorus or potassium. A balanced fertilizer with micronutrients will also help correct nutrient deficiencies.

Foliage Fertilizing – Throughout the growing season

When: From every two weeks to every month.

What: A Balanced fertilizer with micronutrients.

What we suggest: Bioblast with micronutrients and an NPK of 7-7-7. We also spray with Vitazyme every time we spray.

How: Foliar feeding in the early morning or late evening, avoid applying in hot sunshine.

Why: Foliar feeding is used to get the nutrients to the leaves and branches faster, but doesn’t last as long as granular fertilizers. Used to improve the overall health from the top down and give the leaves and blooms a quick shot of nutrients during stressful times.

Blooming plumeria as a small landscape tree in Malaga, Spain.

Plumeria is a genus of eleven species of shrubs and small trees in the dogbane family (Apocynaceae) native to tropical America from Brazil to Mexico and the Caribbean. With common names of plumeria and frangipani, a few species and hybrids are grown as ornamentals in tropical and sub-tropical areas worldwide for the attractive and fragrant flowers. The name frangipani comes from the name of a 16th century Italian nobleman who created a perfume with a similar scent. Now commonly naturalized in Asia and Pacific Islands, they are often planted in cemeteries or around both Hindu and Buddhist temples. There are hundreds of named varieties. The different species have distinct forms and growth habits. P. rubra is the national flower of Nicaragua, while P. alba is the national flower of Laos (despite being an introduced plant there).

Plumeria have widely spaced, thick succulent but brittle branches with thin grey bark and a milky sap that can irritate the eyes and cause dermatitis in susceptible individuals. Elongate leathery or fleshy leaves are borne in clusters near the branch tips.

When nearly leafless (L) the spacing of the branches and the grey-barked stems (LC) are more apparent. Each stem terminates with a cluster of leaves (RC and R).

The alternate leaves may be round or pointed on the tips, smooth or corrugated, and glossy or dull green. Depending on the species or cultivar, plumeria plants may be upright and compact, or open and sprawling. There are dwarf types with evergreen foliage, but the flower quality tends to not be as good. The P. rubra types are deciduous, while P. obtusa and other white-flowered species are evergreen. These plants only branch after flowering or injury.

The leaf of P. rubra (L) has a pointed tip (LC); P. obtusa (RC) has rounded leaf tips (RC); P. pudica has spoon-shaped leaves (R).

Waxy, 2- to 4-inch tubular flowers are borne in terminal clusters on the ends of the stems from early summer until fall. The five rounded overlapping petals may be broadly to narrowly oval.

Terminal buds (L) open over time (LC) from a furled bud (C) to the tubular flower (RC) with five petals (R).

Flower colors include pink, red, white, and yellow, or pastel bicolors. The flowers are very fragrant, with a scent including hints of jasmine, citrus, and gardenia. Since they are pollinated by night-flying sphinx moths, the flowers really begin to release their fragrance in the evening, but they can still have a lovely floral scent at other times. The flowers are used for making leis on many Pacific Islands. The number of flowers per cluster varies greatly, with some cultivars producing as many as 200 flowers and others as few as 50 over a period of months. The percentage of branch tips that will set flowers also varies considerably from 10-60%, with compact plants generally blooming more heavily than more leggy plants. And peak bloom time and number of subsequent flushes of flowers also varies by cultivar.

Plumeria flowers come in a diversity of shapes and colors.

If pollinated, a flower of the species can produce a two-horned seed pod. The hard, leathery, cylindrical follicles grow up to 8 inches long with pointed ends. When mature, they split along the length of the pod to release the 20-60 winged seeds, usually in early spring. Cultivars rarely produce seed pods.

A large P. rubra tree with seed pods (L, LC); the two-horned pods (C), dry pod opened with rows of seeds (RC) and the winged seeds (R).

A red-flowered cultivar as a street tree.

In warm climates plumeria are used as landscape plants where some types can grow more than 30 feet tall. In cold areas, plumeria are best grown in containers to be moved outdoors during warm weather – to be placed on porches or patios where their delightful fragrance can be enjoyed in the summer – and brought indoors when the weather cools in autumn and night temperatures drop to the 40Fs.

Plumeria is easy to grow in containers.

Plumeria need bright sun, warm temperatures, and appropriate moisture to thrive. They need well-drained soil that doesn’t dry out and doesn’t remain soggy. The more light the plant receives, the more water it needs. But over-watering may result in root rot and plant death, so allow the planting medium to dry out between waterings (and reduce the frequency of watering when temperatures are cooler). In containers use a coarse, well-draining potting medium, such as cactus mix or regular potting medium amended with pumice, poultry grit or perlite.

Place plumeria where the fragrance of the flowers can be enjoyed.

Fertilize frequently during the growing season with a high phosphorus (blossom-booster) fertilizer to encourage flowering, and do not fertilize at other times of the year. These plants don’t usually require pruning, but if it is necessary that should be done in spring before deciduous types leaf out. Plumeria have few problems, but can be infested with common greenhouse pests such as white flies and mealybugs, and are very susceptible to spider mites. Insecticidal soap can be used to control these pests. Repot as needed in late winter, either root-pruning for planting back into the same container, or replant the intact root ball in a larger container.

Plumeria is propagated from seed or stem cuttings (the only way to maintain named selections or cultivars). Take 12-18 inch cuttings of leafless stem tips in spring and allow the cut end to dry before planting in well-drained soil. It will take one to three years for cuttings to bloom and three or more years for plants grown from seed. Seed is not readily available (other than collected from a tree), and flower color and quality may not be the same as the parent tree, although white, red and yellow-flowered types generally produce seedlings of the same color as the parent (pinks and multicolored are more likely to produce seedlings in a range of colors).

Plumeria cuttings for sale (L), a branch tip cut for rooting (LC), and new leaf growth (RC and R).

The most commonly grown species of Plumeria – and hybrids of these – include:

  • P. alba, white plumeria, generally has white flowers with a yellow center without any tinge of red on the buds or flower stalks. In its native Puerto Rico this plant can grow up to 40 feet tall.
  • P. obtusa, commonly called Singapore plumeria but native to the islands of Cuba and Hispaniola, has white or pink flowers with very rounded petals that often are recurved at the tips, evergreen foliage, and leaves that are shiny with rounded ends. The plants tend to be smaller than other types.
  • P. pudica has white or pink flowers with rounded petals and evergreen, spoon-shaped leaves that are long and thin, widening out at the end. The plant forms a profusely-branched, medium-sized tree.
  • P. rubra (= P. acutifolia, P. tricolor) has red-tinged flowers, buds, or flower stalks. The numerous selections and cultivars may have white, yellow, pink, orange, red, bicolor or multicolored flowers with oval petals that may be recurved or slightly furled. The deciduous, elliptical leaves have pointed ends. They grow into rangy trees up to 25 feet tall.
  • P. stenophylla has thin white flower petals with gaps between each petal and long, thin leaves on shrubby plants up to 8 feet tall.
  • P. x stenopetala is a hybrid between a P. stenophylla and an unknown plumeria forming a small compact plant, with deciduous long narrow leaves and white flowers with narrow petals.

– Susan Mahr, University of Wisconsin – Madison


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Frangipani Tree

Plumeria

The unusual frangipani tree, with large leaves and bright summer blooms, can turn a ho-hum landscape into an exotic, tropical showplace.

Often called plumeria tree (its scientific name), the frangipani is the proverbial Ugly Duckling in winter – losing its foliage and leaving you with an oddly-shaped bunch of sticks in the ground.

Luckily winters are short here in South Florida, though many a newcomer to South Florida has been known to pull out a frangipani tree in winter, thinking it’s dead.

In spring, the frangipani is transformed into the Beautiful Swan…new leaves appear, followed by late spring/early summer blossoms in gorgeous colors. The plant flowers its little heart out until fall when weather begins to cool down.

Flowers of the frangipani tree come in shades of pink, yellow, white, red and multi-colors, and they’re fragrant (even more so at night) as well.

The essential oil from the blossoms is used in things like perfumes, lotions, and candles. In Hawaii, frangipani flowers are used to make leis.

An unusual variety of frangipani is called “Bridal Wreath.”

The flowers are white and the plant grows more compact and upright, making it a good accent by the entry or in that skinny spot next to the garage door.

Bridal Wreath is considered evergreen, though it may defoliate in a harsh winter.

Why are some flowers more fragrant at night?
Plants use scent to attract certain kinds of moths to pollinate their blooms.

Plant specs

Frangipanis grow at a moderate rate to heights of up to 20 feet, though most seen in home landscapes are kept pruned about 6 to 8 feet tall.

They need plenty of sun and work very well in hot, dry areas. The frangipani tree does best in Zone 10, though some may survive in warmer areas of Zone 9B with frost protection (or in pots brought in during cold snaps).

These are succulent plants, with stems full of liquid (a milky sap), so they don’t do well in cold weather.

This is a deciduous plant, so a central, focal point placement in landscape design can look strange in winter.

The frangipani is salt-tolerant and drought-tolerant, though you’ll need to keep it watered during dry spells.

It actually prefers a regular drink but with time to dry out between waterings.

Plant care

Frangipanis are wonderful for thriving on neglect…little care is needed other than a sunny, well-drained area, water and fertilizer.

No soil amendments are necessary but adding composted cow manure to the hole when you plant is a plus.

Fertilize in spring, summer and fall with a top-quality granular fertilizer high in phosphorus (or supplement with bone meal) to promote heavy blooming.

You don’t have to trim this tree, though you can prune it for shape during warm months. Occasionally a frangipani tree will become top heavy and need to be staked.

The leathery leaves can develop a condition called “rust” (and it looks just like rust) – though you can spray with a fungicide, the leaves are going to fall off in winter anyway, so it does no harm to the plant to let it slide.

Plant spacing

This plant will easily adapt to being fairly close to the house, so you can plant it 4 feet or more away, far enough to clear any overhang as it matures.

If you plant too close to a structure, the plant will tend to lean out at a precarious angle because all growth is on one side.

A frangipani will do very well in a container while it’s still small and manageable.

Propagating is easy and stem cuttings are perfect for containers. The trick is to let the sap of the cutting skin over before planting it – just toss the cutting into the garage or a shady, dry spot overnight, then plant it the next day.

Landscape uses for the frangipani tree

  • specimen for the yard
  • backdrop plant for smaller shrubs and flowers
  • accent for the corner of the house
  • to add interest and height to a blank wall

A.K.A. (also known as): Plumeria Tree

GOOD SNOWBIRD PLANT? NO

COMPANION PLANT SUGGESTIONS: Use with other drought-tolerant plants with a tropical look, such as crown of thorns, fountain grass, coontie, dwarf clusia, dwarf bougainvillea, and railroad vine.

Other small flowering trees you might like: Geiger Tree, Oleander Tree

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Growing Plumeria – How To Care For Plumeria

Plumeria plants (Plumeria sp), which are also known as Lei flowers and Frangipani, are actually small trees that are native to tropical regions. The flowers of these beautiful plants are used in making traditional Hawaiian leis. They are highly fragrant and bloom freely from spring throughout fall in multiple colors like white, yellow, pink, and red. These flowers stand out nicely amid the large-leaved foliage, which may be evergreen or deciduous, depending on the type.

How to Grow Plumeria Plants

Although you don’t have to live in the tropics to grow plumeria in the home garden, you should be aware of its growing requirements beforehand. Often grown in the garden as an ornamental shrub or small tree, plumeria plants need to be grown in well-draining soil that is slightly acidic. They also need at least six hours of full sun.

While the plants are fairly tolerant of both salt and windy conditions, they’re not tolerant of cold and must be protected. Therefore, they should be container grown in colder regions. In areas that may be warm most of the time but still fairly prone to cold winters, the plant can be dug up and overwintered indoors. Alternatively, you can sink container grown plumerias in the ground, bringing them indoors once the temperatures begin to drop in fall. Once warmer temps return in spring, you can return the plants back outdoors.

When growing plumeria plants in pots, use a coarse, well-draining potting mix—cactus mix or perlite and sand should be fine.

Care for Plumeria

Plumeria care, for the most part, is minimal. While plumerias don’t like wet feet, they should be watered deeply when irrigated and then allowed to dry out some before watering again. They also need to be fertilized about every two to three weeks throughout their active growing season. Reduce watering in mid fall and stop completely once the plants enter dormancy in winter. Resume regular watering as new growth appears in spring. A high phosphate (phosphorus) fertilizer, like 10-30-10, will help encourage blooms. Giving them too much nitrogen will only result in more foliage growth and less flowering.

Plumerias may be pruned as needed (up to 12 inches from ground) in late winter or early spring (prior to new growth); however, any drastic or hard pruning done may reduce flowering.

These plants can also be propagated by seeds or cuttings in spring, with cuttings being the easiest and most preferred method. Insert cuttings about 2 inches in potting mix and water thoroughly.

Plumeria Does Not Bloom: Why Is My Frangipani Not Flowering

Frangipani, or Plumeria, are tropical beauties that most of us can only grow as houseplants. Their lovely flowers and fragrance evoke a sunny island with those fun umbrella drinks. Many of us northern gardeners wonder why is my Frangipani not flowering. Generally, Frangipani will not flower if they receive less than 6 hours of bright sunlight, which can be hard to achieve in some climates or where there are lots of trees. There are a few cultural and situational steps you can take, however, if your Plumeria does not bloom.

Why is My Frangipani Not Flowering?

Frangipani flowers come in a colorful array of tones. The bright hues of these 5-petaled beauties are standouts as container plants in cooler climes or as garden specimens in warm climates. The foliage is glossy and nice to look at, but since most gardeners grow the plants for their profuse blooms, a non-blooming Frangipani is something of a disappointment.

There are 3 main reasons for a Frangipani not blooming. In addition to the 6 hours of bright light the plants require, they also need fertilizer at the right time and pruning occasionally. Pest can also attribute to non-blooming in plants.

If the fertilizer is not the right type and is not applied at the right time, it can affect blooming. Fertilize Plumeria plants during the spring and summer.

Another reason a Frangipani will not flower is that the stems are not old enough. Young plants, or those that have been pruned, need at least 2 years before the wood is ready to produce buds and flower.

Insects such as thrips, aphids and mealybugs will threaten overall vigor but can also cause withering and dropping of new buds, another possible cause when a Plumeria does not bloom.

How to Reduce Chances of Non-Blooming Frangipani

Frangipani are not cold tolerant and grow best in warm regions of the world. Cool season gardeners can put container plants outdoors in summer but they need to go indoors when cold weather threatens. Plumeria plants are hardy to 33 degrees Fahrenheit (.5 C.).

Plant in-ground trees in a site with full to partial sun, but at least 6 hours of light per day. Extreme sites, such as the southern side of the house, should be avoided.

Potted plants should be in good potting soil with excellent drainage. In-ground plants need soil amended with compost and good drainage. Water the equivalent of one inch per week.

If you are rooting a cutting, you should wait to fertilize until the cutting has new leaves. Mature Frangipani should not be watered or fertilized in winter. In spring, use a water soluble fertilizer with phosphorus content of 50 or higher twice per week. A granular fertilizer should have a phosphorus rate of 20 or higher. Time release formulations work well for consistent fertilizing through summer. A balanced time release fertilizer works well for overall plant health, but one higher in phosphorus can help promote flowering.

Prune these plants in winter, but again, this is one of the reasons for Frangipani not flowering, at least for a couple of years.

Frangipanis will grow well in any soil type but prefer a well drained soil. They will grow in all climates except the severe frost prone temperate climates, however, they prefer and grow best in a hot dry climate. They are very drought and fire hardy.

Growing Position

Being a tropical plant, the frangipani prefers to grow in full sun and well-drained soil. They will tolerate part shade, but those grown in a warm to hot position where they get at least 6 hours of sun a day will grow faster and flower far better than those grown in part shade. They can cope with sea breezes but prefer protection from high winds. Frangipanis will tolerate light frosts, but in cooler climates give them the warmest, sunniest spots in the garden or move them to a warm protected area in late autumn. A hot house is ideal, but placing your frangipani on a concrete path against a brick wall where it will get radiated heat (and be protected from frost and wind) will also work.

Frangipanis are also perfectly adaptable to growing in containers. Because they respond well to pruning, they’re easy to keep under control. Choose a large container with a diameter of at least 40cm and plenty of volume. If over time the tree becomes pot-bound, lift it out and prune back the roots before re-potting into fresh potting mix.

Feed them occasionally with a soluble fertiliser and remember that potted plants need more frequent watering than those in the ground. Water moderately in summer, especially when the trees are young and becoming 
established. Old established trees can 
survive quite happily on natural rainfall. During winter, when the trees are bare, leave the watering to nature. Frangipani will not tolerate its root system being over wet and cold at the same time, and rot may develop!

Fertilising

Frangipani respond best to organic fertilizers which are high in nitrogen, potassium (or potash) and phosphorous.

Nitrogen is good for green growth, phosphorous for large flowers and healthy roots, and potassium or potash for good plant cell structure and strength, as well as improving disease resistance. During the growing season, an application of liquid fish fertiliser and seaweed solution is beneficial.

Do not fertilise during dormancy.

Mulching the soil around the tree will keep the roots cool in summer and warm in winter. It also helps to retain moisture and reduce weeds however mulch should be kept away from the trunk to avoid rot.

Pruning

Frangipanis respond very well to pruning. Different pruning approaches can be used to create a compact, densely branched tree or a standard with long trunk and no lower branches. However, be aware that frangipani flowers appear only at the end of branches, and these must be two years old before they bloom. So, if you plan to prune your frangipani heavily, consider doing half one year, and then half the next year to ensure a continous display of flowers.

To create a densely branched specimen prune branches to one half or one third of their natural length. These pruned branches will sprout multiple branches near the pruned ends.

To prune to produce a standard, simply prune branches right back to the main trunk so that no further branching can occur.

Pruning is best done during late winter or early spring.

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How to grow tropical frangipani in New Zealand

SANDRA SIMPSON / NZ GARDENER Cream-yellow frangipani are the most common.

Carolyn Leuschke was on honeymoon in Bali when she began a new love affair. Fortunately, husband Mark was entirely supportive.

And he has continued to be supportive as her passion for plumeria trees has showed no signs of waning in the decades since.

The couple, both Kiwis, lived in Sydney for a number of years and made regular trips to Bali. “We went back for a wedding anniversary and most nights sat on the beach for dinner under the frangipani trees. It was heaven,” Carolyn recalls.

So when she moved to Tauranga’s coast more than 20 years ago, it was natural that Carolyn would plant a few frangipani trees; just as it was natural that when looking for another tree last year, this former business manager opted for a major career change.

* Xanthe White interviews exotic frangipani
* 8 top plants to add tropical texture to a NZ garden
* How to grow Malaysian tropical May-flowering medinilla in NZ

SANDRA SIMPSON / NZ GARDENER There are thousands of different types of frangipani.

A phone call to Peter Enticott of The Frangipani Hut in Northland meant that instead of buying one tree, Carolyn ended up buying almost 1000 – the whole nursery in fact! Then, in a massive shift last May, she moved the nursery to the outskirts of Tauranga! “Since then we’ve been getting to know the trees and helping them adjust to their new surroundings.”

The original plants came from Tonga, Samoa, Fiji and the Cook Islands with the nursery dealing only in cutting-grown trees as, although frangipani seeds are readily available in New Zealand, trees grown from seed generally don’t flower true to colour.

Plumeria, which have many common names including everlasting tree and temple flower, bloom from about mid-November to about mid-March with the cream-yellow flower being the most common and the most fragrant.

SANDRA SIMPSON / NZ GARDENER Seed-grown trees don’t grow true to type.

“Most people probably think they don’t look like much when they’re dormant but I love seeing the sculptural shape of the tree revealed,” says Carolyn. “I love them at every stage and in every season.”

HOW TO GROW TROPICAL FRANGIPANI
1. Plant a tree or put a pot against a north-facing brick wall in free-draining medium – the heat from the bricks will help keep it warm through winter.
2. Container plants respond well to pruning in late winter, but remember flowering doesn’t occur on new wood.
3. Sunlight – at least six hours a day – triggers flowering.
4. Frangipani hate wet feet. If planting in heavy soil, add gravel or stones to the hole to help drainage.
5. Trees go into dormancy by shedding their leaves and must be protected from frost. Move potted trees into shelter in autumn.
6. Water well over summer but rarely during winter. Start again as new leaves appear.
7. Don’t fertilise during dormancy. During growth, diluted liquid fish fertiliser or seaweed solution is good.
8. Mulch around the trunk (but not right up to the trunk) to keep roots cool in summer and warm in winter, and help retain moisture.
9. The trees like a breeze but not strong winds. They may need staking.
10. Some trees produce aerial roots – when these are established, prune the branch below the roots and pot up the cutting.

Although we associate frangipani flowers with the Pacific, the trees are native to Mexico and Central America. The tree’s Latin name comes from 17th century botanist and French monk Charles Plumier, while its common name recognises 16th century Italian nobleman Marquis Frangipani, who was known for a perfume he created to scent gloves.

To buy plants, go to frangipani-flowers-plants.co.nz or phone 027 391 6321.

NZ Gardener

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A Quick Guide To Frangipanis

Grow these tropical trees in pots or garden beds and enjoy their exquisite fragrant flowers Words: Cheryl Maddocks

Plant a frangipani and bring a wonderful heady perfume to the garden, especially in the evening. And the long flowering period ensures you can enjoy the scent for many months.

The beautiful flowers, set against exotic, large green leaves will also add a touch of tropical splendour.

Native to South and Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean, frangipanis (Plumeria) are at home in any warm climate garden and are very common in coastal suburbs.

Depending on the species, they grow into small trees from 3-6m tall with a wide umbrella-like habit that’s ideal for providing shade.

There are both deciduous and evergreen species, with dwarf and semi-dwarf cultivars being suited to containers and small gardens.

To decorate the bare winter branches, use them as a support for bromeliads and orchids.

TIP Grown out of the tropics, most evergreens drop some leaves in winter.

Pick frangipani flowers at their base and float them in a water bowl, adding candles for a captivating garden feature

Choose a colour

In Australia, frangipanis are sold by colour and variety, and the further north you go, the wider the choice.

Breeding has resulted in more than 350 varieties in different colour forms, including shades of pink, red, yellow, orange and purple, as well as bicolours.

The hardiest frangipani in climates like Sydney is the deciduous Plumeria rubravar. acutifolia. It bears creamy white flowers with yellow centres from late spring, and there are breeds with different-coloured centres.

The evergreen white-flowering Plumeria obtusa, commonly known as ‘Singapore White’, grows best in semi-tropical and tropical areas.

Recent breeding of ‘Singapore White’ with other species has produced a range of colours

What’s in a name

The scientific name for frangipani is Plumeria. Plumeria is the genus name of frangipani and pays tribute to 17th century French botanist Charles Plumier, who documented many South American plants and animals.

The common name, frangipani, was the name of an Italian perfume that was created by the Marquis Frangipani and used to scent gloves in the 16th century.

When the frangipani flower was discovered, its fragrance reminded people of the scented gloves, which is how the flower got its name.

Raising in pots

Frangipanis are slow growing, so they’re perfect for pots on sunny balconies and courtyards.

To make sure they don’t blow over, plant them in wide-based pots with good drainage and use a premium potting mix.

Water pots every 2-3 days in summer, but let the potting mix nearly dry out in winter in between waterings.

TIP Apply a controlled-release fertiliser in spring and summer.

Frangipanis are easy to grow in a sunny spot in free-draining soil Advertisement Vote It Up: Points: 0

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