How To Care For The Plumeria Tree (Frangipani Tree)

The Plumeria tree is a fast-growing tropical plant producing masses of fragrant blossoms between March and October. The Plumeria plants reach a height of 30′ feet tall at maturity.

As a tropical plant, it is hardy to USDA hardiness zones 9 to 11. Although it can’t tolerate freezing winter, the small tree can be planted in a container with potting soil and brought indoors for winter storage.

Frangipani Plumeria blooms – Yellow center on white flowers

Hawaiian Plumerias grows profusely and a popular bloom choice for leis. The Plumeria flower is also referred to as the Hawaiian Lei Flower.

Tropical Plumeria plants or botanically Frangipani delivers beautiful star-shaped flowers in a variety of shades including white, pink, red and yellow.

The highly fragrant flowers stand out nicely amid the large-leaved foliage, which is evergreen or deciduous depending on the variety.

This species is native to Central America, particularly in Mexico, Venezuela and Colombia. Plumeria rubra has the following common names:

  • Frangipani
  • Red paucipan
  • Red-jasmine
  • Red frangipani
  • Common frangipani
  • Temple tree

Plumeria Care

Soil Requirements

The Frangipani is a wonderful landscape addition to the home garden but is well suited for pot culture.

Although it is a hardy plant and does well in general-purpose soil, the Plumeria does best in well-drained soil, whether in the ground or pots. A soil with very good drainage and a great deal of other beneficial organics.

A cactus mix or succulent soil produces excellent results. A peat moss, coarse sand, and perlite-based soil mix are also good for potted Plumeria. Add some pumice to improve the drainage.

Grow as a potted plant if moving is required as weather necessitates. If you want the appearance of the Plumeria growing in the ground, bury the plant in the nursery pot. Then, dig it up when seasonal temperatures go down.

Sunlight Requirement

As with most flowering plants, Frangipani trees need exposure to plenty of direct sunlight for proper flowering. If you grow Plumeria in pots, it does best with afternoon shade; otherwise, full sun or at least 6 hours of sunlight is preferred.

Watering The Frangipani Tree

When watering Plumeria trees, remember they do not like wet feet. Water frequently when the plant holds lots of foliage and flowers, typically from March to late November.

Only water when the soil becomes dry. Plumeria does not like its roots in soggy conditions. When summer rains arrive, and during the active growing season, you do not need to think about watering.

When the leaves start to fall, stop watering. Do not water the plant again until you see new leaves. Watering plants while in dormancy often leads to killing the plant.

Plumeria Fertilizer – What Do They Like?

Like most flowering plants a Plumeria fertilizer provides the high levels of phosphorous, especially when developing flowers. Look for a fertilizer with a high middle number like 10-30-10, often called “Bloom Booster” fertilizers.

If applying a liquid high phosphorous fertilizer, apply once after every 4-5 weeks. Do not over feed with nitrogen or you will end up with longer, weaker stems and less blooming as nitrogen encourages foliage growth.

Best Growing Temperatures

The Plumeria does well in average temperature climates ranging from 65°-85° degrees Farhenheit. The plant will tolerate high temperature although you’ll need to water the plants more frequently.

Bring the plant indoors when the temperatures fall below 55° degrees Farhenheit. Grow Plumeria plants in pots in cold climates. DO NOT

How Much Humidity Does Frangipani Need?

Frangipani flowers prefer moderate humidity. Place the pot on a tray of wet pebbles. This raises the humidity around the plant. Misting is a good idea especially in summers with high temperatures. Take care when misting as to only mist the foliage, not the flowers.

Pruning Frangipani To Control Size

Prune tropical Frangipani trees only to control its size, shape or when removing broken and diseased branches. Use a bypass pruners like Felco our favorite or loppers and trim the branch flush to its joining point on the main branch.

Avoid ripping or damaging the bark when removing long and heavy branches. This video on Trimming Your Plumeria Tree – Plumeria tree care, should help.

The plant can tolerate pruning all the year round although pruning in the winter will reduce the springtime Plumeria flowers.


Repotting Young Plants

In early spring when the plant roots fill the plant container, move it into larger pots. Ensure the larger pots come with drainage holes to help prevent root rot.

Give Frangipani Trees A Winter Rest

Most varieties of Frangipani go dormant in winter months, requiring a refreshing rest. Keep them in a cool room, a garage or a basement. Make sure the temperature does not fall below 55° degrees Fahrenheit.

Growing Plumeria Trees – Propagating

Start plants from cuttings or from seed pods.

How To Start A Plumeria Cutting

  • Select a healthy mother plant for Plumeria cuttings
  • Allow the milky sap from the cutting to dry
  • For best results use 12″ inch cuttings at a minimum
  • Prepare a fast-draining soil of 2/3 perlite and 1/3 peat
  • Fill small pots with the potting mix leaving 1″-2″ inch from the pot rim
  • Dip the bare root cutting into a rooting hormone powder (some recommend allowing the cutting to dry for a week before planting)
  • Stick the cutting into the pot
  • Firmly press the soil around the cutting. Add more soil if needed
  • Water until water runs out of the drain holes
  • Place the pot in a warm, sunny location
  • Roots should develop in 3-5 weeks

PRO TIP: Do not over pot the new cuttings. Allow the small pot to fill with roots before moving the plant to the next larger pot.

How To Grow From Seed Pods

  • Acquire a seed pod or seeds from your local garden store or online
  • Fill small plastic trays or pots will rich and well-drained potting mix
  • Place the seeds in the soil leaving the wings sticking up
  • Firm soil around seeds to ensure good contact
  • Keep the soil moist and place in a sunny location.
  • Germination takes about 21 days

Plumeria Plant Pests And Diseases

Few problematic diseases and pests attack Frangipani. Plumeria rust, an Orange powder or blisters may cover the foliage or on the undersides of leaves. The rust can cause defoliation but loss of leaves is rarely life-threatening to the plant. Treat the problem with a fungicide.

Pests such as spider mites, black & yellow aphids, mealy bug insect, white flies, and plumeria plant scale bugs may attack. Control the insect problem (kill black aphids) with spray applications of insecticidal soaps.

Plumeria stem borers can damage the stems from the inside out causing the plant to wilt or die. Remove the infected branches and leaves.

NOTE: If you’ve grown nerium oleander, I’ve found the care and growing of Plumerias very similar and part of the Dogbane family

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