Mature frangipanis can grow to around 6m tall and 5m wide, but they grow slowly, only around 20cm a year. This slow growth combined with her small root ball makes her ideal around ponds, in plant beds, containers and next to walls as there is no fear of the roots damaging any structure. If they become top-heavy, they can be pruned without fear of failure. Trees around pools can be trained from a young age to lean, giving the impression that the tree is bending over and hugging the pool.
For gardeners who are limited to containers on patios, roof gardens, balconies, decks and patios, low-maintenance frangipanis are the perfect choice! They grow well in pots and reliably bloom every summer. Choose good quality potting soil and a wide, shallow pot. Water only in spring and summer and allow to dry out in the cooler months.
What you need
Frangipanis thrive in well-drained soil, lots of sun, and frost-free conditions. They love to grow on sandy soils by the beach and are one of the best trees to tolerate salty air along the coast. They will struggle in clay soil and in this case it is best to grow them in large containers. Frangipani rarely need feeding, although they will benefit from some fertilizer around the drip line (under the branches) in spring/summer.
It is still possible to grow a frangipani in cooler areas if the microclimate around the house is warm. Bright sun and warmth from brick paving, walls or mirrors help the frangipani withstand cooler winters. In frosty areas, it is still possible to grow frangipanis in containers as long as they are brought indoors during the winter months.
In cold, wet weather, frangipanis can be threatened by root, branch, and tip rot caused by a fungus. To check the health of your plant, pinch the stems: a solid stem indicates a healthy tree. To reduce the risks, avoid watering in winter. If the trunk becomes wrinkled, the tree is not doing well. Stop watering and spray the leaves with AntiRot. If you notice spongy stems, remove the stem completely up to the junction with a main branch. Thinning out 15-20% of the canopy of your mature frangipani is good to do every few years; it opens the branches, lets in light and reduces stem rot.
Botanical Notes: Our favorite frangipani
Frangipani enthusiast Steven Prowse of Sacred Garden Frangipanis on Mt Garnet in far north Queensland has a rainbow colored collection of frangipani varieties. Some of his discoveries date back to trees brought to the tropical north from Polynesia by Christian missionaries in the late 19th and early 20th centuries – now these trees grow wild. These have been combined with exciting strains from Thailand to create some stunning flowers.