Frangipani, a true marvel!

Frangipani flower tree

Frangipani is a shrub used indoors for its appealing blooming and its great ornamental qualities. Outdoors, it only grows well in warm climates.

 Frangipani facts, a summary

Name – Plumeria
Family – Apocynceae or dogbane
Type – perennial

Height – 5 feet (1.5 meters) indoors, 32 feet (10 meters) in its natural environment
Exposure – full sun or well-lit
Soil – rather rich and well drained

Foliage – semi evergreen
Flowering – summer

Caring for it requires care for watering, location and to avoid diseases.

Planting and repotting of frangipani

Indoors, growing frangipani requires rather rich soil: best use a good soil mix.

If you plan to grow frangipani outdoors, wait for spring and choose a sunny spot.

  • But take note that this plant is native to Central America, and probably won’t adapt to any cold climate. Temperatures must never drop below 50°F (5°C).
  • Prefer well drained soil to avoid any risk of stagnating water.
  • Blend the soil mix with river sand (80/20 ratio or 1/5th sand) and layer clay pebbles at the bottom to increase drainage.

Pruning frangipani trees

It isn’t really a requirement to prune.

Remove wilted flowers regularly in order to boost flower-bearing and keep the plant from dispensing energy to try preparing fruits.

Watering frangipani

Frangipani only requires very little water in winter, but needs more regular watering in spring and summer, especially if it’s hot.

That is the most essential need for it to bear flowers. If you can’t water, the tree will survive even long droughts, but it might not bloom as much.

  • In winter, it is even a good thing to let the soil dry up entirely.
  • Start watering again slowly in spring as soon as the leaves start unfurling.
  • In summer you can water often, preferably with rain water that is naturally soft (or mineral water).

Caring for frangipani

Pink plumeria frangipaniFrangipani is easygoing and requires very little care.

Indoors, in an apartment, choose a very sunny location, in direct sunlight for the most part of the day.

You can bring it outdoors in summer, from May to September or October, but take care not to transfer it immediately to a scorching location because this could dry the plant up and brutal changes can stress it considerably.

To flower well, frangipani requires a certain change in seasons, marking the dry winter period and the moist summer season.

Common disease that infects frangipani

If you discover cottony white clumps, there is no doubt about it: scale insects.
This parasite appears when the air in the room is too dry and the temperature is high.

It may also happen that the frangipani is faced with rotting when the soil is too moist.

Only water when the soil is dry, and also check that your pot lets excess water drain out away from the roots, it must be well drained and have holes at the bottom.

Leaves turning yellow on Plumeria

This is usually the result of overwatering. Roots start rotting and can’t sustain the tree anymore.

  • Check that the pot drains well. Sometimes roots will clog the drainage hole on older plants.
  • Place the pot on a bed of gravel so that it doesn’t wallow in excess water.
  • In the ground, make sure your tree is planted where water doesn’t accumulate. If the soil is heavy best lighten it up to increase drainage or set up a raised garden.

Learn more about Plumeria, the frangipani tree

Frangipani flowers forming an alleyThis flower is connected in many cultures to immortality. Indeed, a cut branch can still bear flowers and take root even weeks after having been detached from the tree! It is present in many temples and cemeteries across SouthEast Asia.

The scent is sweet and fragrant, strong without being overpowering. A true winner!

Since it also represents eternity, some even select it as a flower to decorate weddings, to reflect on the engagement “till death do us part”. But this is a challenging endeavor because the individual flower only lasts a single day when picked. It requires flawless logistics!

Smart tip about frangipani

Flowers are edible, and can be used to decorate meals, desserts and mixed salads. They will only last a day, so pick them at the last moment!

Meaning and symbols of frangipani

Image credits (edits Gaspard Lorthiois):
CC BY-SA 2.0: John