The heavenly fragrance of frangipanis makes them a wonderful tree to have in your garden. Their classic creamy-yellow flowers are one of the most popular forms, but you’ll also find varieties featuring blooms flushed with pink, apricot and red. Even though Frangipanis (Plumeria sp.) are deciduous, their flowers can be enjoyed for several months of the year, appearing from December and lasting well into April.
You can grow your own frangipani tree using a cutting of any size, or even a fallen branch. The ideal time to take cuttings is just as the trees are coming out of dormancy – in late winter or early spring.
Pick a healthy branch and saw off a piece up to 300mm long. Remove any leaves and flower buds, then leave the cutting in a shady spot to dry out and form a callus. Pot into a sandy, free-draining potting mix, such as Debco Cacti & Succulent Superior Potting Mix, or make your own by combining three-parts perlite to one-part peat moss. Firm the mix around the cutting and position the pot in a warm, wind-sheltered spot. Water after potting and don’t water again until new leaves appear.
For cuttings up to 2m long, remove any branchlets from the main stem, then scrape vertically around one end
of the stem with a blade. This exposes the cambium (the green layer) and may help kickstart callus formation. Leave the cutting for two weeks to develop a callus, then plant the wounded end of the stem into at least 60cm of well-drained soil. Stake the cutting to prevent rocking, then remove the stake when established.
Although generally hardy, frangipanis can be affected by diseases such as stem rot or rust. It’s possible to fight the disease, but if your tree looks too far gone, consider taking cuttings from healthy branches and planting them before disposing of the old tree.
- Stem rot is a fungus that slowly rots the inside of branches, causing them to go soft and black. To treat, cut out the blackened tips
to get to clean wood, then apply a fungicide.
- Rust spores are small, yellow pustules that form on the underside of the leaves. To control, spray the foliage with a copper-based fungicide, like Yates Rose Shield.