A Quick Guide To Frangipanis

Grow these tropical trees in pots or garden beds and enjoy their exquisite fragrant flowers

A Quick Guide to Growing Frangipanis

These easy to grow trees are also undemanding to care for 

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. 

frangipanis floating in mini pond, handyman magazine,
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. 

yellow frangipani, handyman magazine,
Frangipanis are easy to grow in a sunny spot in free-draining soil

how to grow frangipanis, handyman magazine,

Click here to learn more about growing and propagating frangipanis 

Vote It Up: 
Guide To Frangipanis

See also

A Quick Guide To Sweet Peas

For a spectacular sweet pea show next spring, sow the seeds now

The sweet pea (Lathyrus odoratus) first arrived in England from Sicily in 1699 and has been bred continuously since then.  In...
A Quick Guide to Growing Frangipanis

These easy to grow trees are also undemanding to care for 

Plant a frangipani and bring a wonderful heady perfume to the garden, especially in the evening. And the long flowering period...
 Grow A Summer Garden

A stepped flower garden in full bloom looks striking

The best gardeners have a knack for achieving colour in the garden throughout the year, combining both flowers and foliage....
6 Australian Christmas Plants

Decorate with native plants this festive season 

Although pines are the traditional Christmas tree, they can cause an allergic reaction for many people. Instead, grow your...
Evening Flowers

Enjoy moonlit evenings in the garden, filled with the sweet fragrance of flowers

Summer is a sensual season in the garden, with flowers in full bloom, and the longer days and warm evenings enabling us to...
All About Poinsettias

Make it a traditional Christmas with red poinsettias .Image: iStock 

A Christmas classic, poinsettias make great living centrepieces, and the traditional red and green variety is a popular choice...