Frangipani or plumeria are ornamental trees prized for their leathery foliage and fragrant lavender, white, pink, red and yellow flowers that appear from summer until fall. While some varieties are pruned into hedges, taller varieties of plumeria mature at heights of 30 feet and feature round canopies that usually spread as wide as the height of the trees. Native to tropical America, frangipanis thrive in warm, dry areas. Grow frangipani near a window to enjoy their heady aroma indoors.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Garden hose
- High-phosphorus fertiliser
- Pruning shears
- Insecticidal soap or neem oil
- Dust sheet
Clear a well-draining spot exposed to full sunlight or partial shade, preferably in spring. Dig a hole as deep as the root ball of the plant but two times deeper to allow the roots to spread in all directions.
Remove the plant from its container and centre it in the hole before lowering it. Add soil halfway into the hole and water so it sets in place. Once the water drains, add the remaining soil into the hole and water again. Tamp the soil with your hands to remove air pockets.
Water the plant with 1 inch of water every week. Forego watering during rainfall and increase during periods of severe drought. Avoid over watering the base of the plant, as this increases its susceptibility to fungal diseases. Water the soil until evenly moist.
Feed growing plants a high-phosphorus (10-30-10) fertiliser twice a month during the growing season. Depending on personal preference, pour liquid fertiliser around the base of the plant or spread granules and irrigate as normal to assist them in releasing essential nutrients deep in the soil. Spread 0.454kg. of fertiliser for trunk diameter equally around the plant, up to 24 inches beyond the foliage line.
Prune the frangipani to your desired shape in winter after the leaf drop or during spring. Snip off old, damaged or diseased branches and discard. Also cut wayward branches that extend the tree's canopy to maintain its appearance.
Inspect the plant frequently for damaging insects such as pulmeria stem borer, white flies, spider mites and mealybugs. Spray infected areas with insecticidal soap or neem oil. Maintain cultural practices to prevent the tree from becoming stressed which increases instances of damaging pests.
Protect the frangipani tree from frost damage by spreading a sheet or dust sheet over it when temperatures fall lower than 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Tips and warnings
- Amend poor quality soil with just a few shovelfuls of compost prior to planting the frangipani.
- Frangipani does well in large containers with adequate drainage holes in the base. Fill the container with quality potting soil and compost before planting the seedling. Bring the container indoors when temperatures fall below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Frangipani are only hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture planting zones 10 and 11, and with winter protection in zone 9b.
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- University of Hawaii; Plumeria; Richard A. Criley; Feb. 1998
- National Gardening Association: Plumeria
- University of Florida IFAS Extension; Frangipani for a Tropical Look; Dan Culbert; July 25, 2004
- The Plumeria Society of America: Plumeria Seeds and Seedlings
- Hendry County (FL) Extension; Frangipani - Well-known Exotic Tropical; Gene McAvoy