Shrub of the Apocynaceae family, Frangipani is a tropical plant of which the coloured inflorescences give fragrance to gardens during its summer flowering. Valued for its exotic charm and delightful scents, this shrub is ideal for sunny regions where winters are mild. Nevertheless, with proper care, it is possible to successfully grow frangipani in less favourable climates.

Native to the Caribbean, frangipani or “Plumeria alba” is a shrub that gets its scientific name from the famous French botanist Charles Plumier. Nevertheless, the term frangipani was subsequently added in memory of the Italian Frangipani who, in the 12th century, had successfully developed a fragrance very similar to that of the shrub’s flowers. Frangipanis are beautiful exotic plants that are mainly found in tropical and Asian countries, where they are planted near religious buildings to give fragrance to the area. Elsewhere in the world, frangipani extract is used to produce essential oils destined for use in the creation of fragrances and cosmetics. Thus, it is not uncommon to find candles, body lotions or body oils delicately flavoured with frangipani.

The frangipani tree, an exotic shrub that is delicate to grow

There are about seven different species of frangipani that are each distinguished by their size and their inflorescences. Indeed, some species can sometimes produce deep red flowers while others produce lilac, orange, yellow or white flowers. Although very hardy and undemanding at tropical latitudes, frangipani trees are much more fragile when grown in harsher climates. Nevertheless, by providing them with regular attention and proper care, it is possible to enjoy these shrubs’ magnificent summer-flowering. If you live in an area where the climate is mild in winter, it will be possible to grow your frangipani tree outside. However, if you live in an area where temperatures are relatively low throughout the year, opt for growing your shrubs indoors in order to preserve them and induce flowering.

How to plant frangipani trees?

For frangipani trees to fully thrive and flourish from the beginning of summer, it is essential that they be placed in a sunny location where they receive constant heat from sunlight. Indeed, know that without light or heat, the frangipani tree’s flowering is almost impossible. With regard to land type, choose rich and well-drained soils as these trees’ roots do not tolerate excessive moisture. Similarly, should you choose to grow your plants indoors, select containers with perforated bottoms that will help guarantee proper drainage. If you want to plant a seedling, dig a deep enough hole to contain the roots and plant your shrub in a mixture of earth and potting soil. However, if you grow from a cutting, let the roots develop in a substrate of sand and potting soil that you will store in a warm place and regularly spray with water. After germination, wait for the new shoots to be well-developed before transplanting them into a container. Finally, note that the same operating procedure should be followed to propagate your frangipani tree. To obtain a cutting, you will only need to cut off a small healthy branch that you will carefully rid of its flowers and let dry a few days before planting.

How to maintain frangipani trees?

Frangipani trees are very delicate shrubs that require constant and adequate maintenance. Ergo, the first precaution to take is to give them the right amount of water by performing regular and generous waterings without drowning the roots. On the same subject, one should also wait for the land to be completely dry before proceeding to a new watering. Although frangipani trees adapt perfectly to long droughts prevailing in their countries of origin, waiting too long between waterings would only hinder their leaves and flowers’ development in colder regions. In addition, as temperatures start dropping, it will be essential to overwinter your plant to protect it from the detrimental effects of the cold and frost. So make sure your shrubs are kept sheltered in a warm place and regularly ventilated throughout the winter. Frangipani is a deciduous shrub; its leaves disappear in winter to reappear the following spring. During the dormancy period, avoid frequent waterings so that the roots do not decay as a result of excessive moisture. Regarding diseases, frangipani trees are generally hardy shrubs that do not fear such nuisances. Be that as it may, if your plant happens to be under attack by arachnid parasites such as mites, thoroughly clean the trunk, stems and leaves with a little soap and water.

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Published in Exotic trees by Alexander on 06 Jul 2011