Frangipani trees do not require regular pruning. If a branch is inconveniently placed, it can be removed during winter while the tree is dormant. Frangipani trees will bleed sap if pruned during a growth period. Do not shorten branches of frangipani trees, or dieback will occur. On all trees and shrubs, a thickening of the stem forms where the new branch begins to grow. This is called the ‘collar’, or ‘wrinkle’. On frangipani trees, remove the entire branch, cutting through the branch at the outer edge of the collar. If you remove the branch flush with the trunk, scar tissue that forms will damage the phloem layer that transports carbohydrates in plants.
If you want to take cuttings from your frangipani, the best time to do this is at the end of winter. Remove a lateral branch for each cutting, as described above. Keep these in a dry spot, out of direct sunlight, for a couple of weeks to allow the cut end to form scar tissue. If you take the cuttings during Last Quarter phase, they should be ready for potting during the following Full Moon phase.
For each cutting, half fill a 20 cm pot (with plenty of holes in the base) with well-washed coarse sand that has a little moistened coco peat or compost mixed through it to help keep the mixture damp. Avoid using a normal potting mix for frangipani cuttings because they will rot if the mixture stays too moist. Anchor the cutting in the sandy mix, and gradually fill the pot with the same mix, you may need a short stake to keep it upright. If the cutting is very large (1.5 m), you will need a larger pot with plenty of drainage holes and 3 stakes to support the cutting. Gardening Australia has an excellent video of this method:

I find strips cut across old T-shirts or men’s singlets make could flexible plant ties. Gently water the mix to settle it around the cutting. A drink of seaweed extract tea can help stimulate root growth. Place potted cuttings in a warm, well-lit area, out of direct sunlight, and keep the cutting mix just damp. During spring, when white roots appear at the holes near the base of the pot, your cutting is ready for transplanting.
Frangipani roots are very brittle, and may snap if you tip the plant out of the pot. Gently remove the mix from the top half of the pot, and then use a hose to gently wash the rest of the sand away. Transplant into well-drained soil in a sunny position. Mature frangipanis are quite drought-tolerant but young plants will require a weekly watering in dry weather until they are making good growth. Organic mulch is beneficial if it is kept well clear of the trunk. These trees only require a light application of complete organic fertiliser in spring (but not at planting time).

124 thoughts on “Frangipani

  1. Hi Lyn, I live in San Francisco and have a potted Plumeria that I started from an 8 inch cutting from Hawaii a few years ago. the plant ” Y’s ” out to about 3 feet tall from a about a trunk about 5 inches above the soil .Is there any way to promote branching of the “y ” ? Tony
    Tony, frangipanis can appear to be painfully slow in forming new branches when they are young, especially if this tropical plant is being grown in a cooler climate than the parent. Your biggest future problem may be the branches starting so close to the ground (depending on the angle of the ‘Y’), as when the tree does form more branches, the weight of them could split the tree. I always try to take cuttings with a good distance between the base and signs of new growth so that the tree has an upright trunk. Keep the potted tree in a warm, wind-free position and be patient a bit longer.

  2. Hello, I am preparing hole to transplant 2 meters high Frang. Can you advise on how deep and what prep the soil needs? I am sand plain in Central Coast NSW.
    Thanks so much!

    The first rule in planting any tree, Mel, is to make the hole wider than deep (to allow the feeder roots to spread). Then fill the hole with water and go and make a cup of tea. If there is water still in the hole after you have had your tea, the tree needs to be planted in a mound. Frangipanis, especially, will rot if soil is not free-draining. Watering the hole first also prevents water being drawn away from the root area into dry soil when you water the tree after planting. As you live on a sand plain, you would probably only need a light application of compost mixed into your garden soil before filling the planting hole, and gently watering to remove any air pockets in the soil. Support with stakes if necessary, and don’t bury the trunk any deeper than it was previously. – Lyn

  3. Hi Lyn, lots of great info here, Just wondering if you can help me decide the best option… I live in Sydney northern beaches and have a well established 2.5m white Frangipani, however 1 branch starting 20cm up from the ground is about 1.5m and about 1/3 of the entire tree but it’s growing too horizontally and taking up precious space in our small courtyard. I’d like to take this branch off and plant it in a large pot but I’m unsure how well it will survive due to the amount of sub branches it has. So I have 2 questions:
    1) is there any risk in damage to the original tree if removing this large branch? How close to the trunk should I take this cutting?
    2) would I be better off reducing the size and taking 2 separate cuttings instead? (although the single cutting would look amazing if it survives)

    Hi Lee, in regard to question 1, the article describes where to remove branches from frangipani trees, and how to treat large cuttings. It is impossible to answer your second question without seeing a photo of the tree and the number and placement of sub-branches.

  4. Hi. I live in the urban area of Melbourne, Victoria. This morning I’ve noticed that the bark on my young frangipani plant had been eaten off near the bottom of the trunk. Since we have a lot of possums in the area, I presume it was done either by them (or possibly by mice).
    Is there anything I can do in order to save the plant from the elements and exposure to the diseases? Will the plant be able to recover and survive or there is nothing that can be done and it will gradually die? Thanks in advance, Violeta.

    From the photos you sent, the damage is too high up to be the usual cause Frangipani stem rot, which is often caused by applying a thick layer of mulch too close to the stem. It certainly looks as though something has been munching on the stem. It was probably possums, as mice would be more likely to attack it closer to the base.
    I would spray the damaged areas with seaweed extract, diluted to weak tea strength. This contains nutrients that strengthen cells. Then I would cover the tree with some white bird netting, fixing it tightly around the pot so that possums can’t get under it. Keep the potting mix just damp over winter. There may be signs that damaged parts have healed as weather warms in spring, but where the stem has been chewed all the way around, it is unlikely to recover, as the part which carries sap to all parts of the plant is just below the bark.– Lyn

  5. Hi, I live in Melbourne and have a young potted frangipani which is dormant.
    Prior to winter a flower stem started to grow, but unfortunately never bloomed as winter took hold.
    All the leaves are gone however the flower stem remains. Its only a small plant. Should I cut the stem off? It shows no sign of falling off. Thanks

    No, James, don’t cut it off. You are likely to damage the growing tip of the branch. Flower stems usually drop off by themselves when they are ready. Young trees don’t usually form flowers for several years after planting, so just be patient.

  6. Hello! Thank you for all your answers. I tried to read back a few years, but haven’t found quite the same problem. I have two Frangipani trees with white flowers. The trees a quite mature aprx 2m high. I inherited them from the previous house owners and not sure how old the trees are now. Both trees were sick with rust last year, but I managed to treat it with sulphur. This winter I noticed that one of the trees has cracks in stem and it looks like the tree is getting too big and heavy on top. I would like to prune them, but I’m afraid to do that. I’m not sure if I can decrease the weight by removing the smaller branches on top or if I should cut the heavy mature branches too. Is it possible the stem gave a crack because the tree is too heavy? There’s no chance I can move them out of the pot and let it grow. I don’t water Frangipani at all. They never look like they need any more water. I live on the Gold Coast and the winter has been rainy this year, I’m afraid it damaged the stem. Should I get on top of it by pruning the weight of now? Thank you!
    P.s How can I send you a photo?

    Kat, cracks in the stem do occur on frangipani, but often it is due to erratic watering, or in your case, possibly poor drainage. You say you can’t remove it from the pot but you should make sure the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot are clear. If the pot has a hole/or holes on the bottom of the pot, you need to put some tiles or something similar under the edges of the pot to ensure good drainage. Or possibly you need to move it to a larger pot. Regarding the pruning: the smaller branches on top are the ones that produce new growth. You could reduce the plant size by pruning the lower branches – removing the whole branch as instructed in the article.
    Do you have a smart phone? If so, you can take a photo on that and email it to me, or get a friend to do it.

  7. Hi, I live in Sydney’s northern beaches. A friend is about to landscape her garden and has offered me her frangipani which is about 1.7m tall and has not looked well for the 18 months she’s been there (I think it’s in the wrong position and in poor soil). I’ve read your articles about transplanting from pot to ground and from ground to ground, but I wish to transplant from ground to very large pot if possible as I’m going to landscape in 1-2 years time and will plant it then. My friend has asked me to remove the tree this weekend but will that be too soon? When is the earliest I can safely remove it, given it hasn’t flowered and has had very few leaves all summer? I understand it may be a lost cause but I’d like to give it a chance at new life!
    A tree 1.7 metres high is difficult to transfer from ground to a pot as this procedure should be done in 2 stages over a period of time for best results. See: Moving trees and shrubs.
    Frangipanis are best moved at the end of dormancy, i.e. at the end of winter so that they will soon be producing new growth. Autumn is not the best time to move this tree, especially when you say it is not in the best of health to start with. You would probably have more success with taking a couple of branches from this tree as cuttings, although autumn is not the best time to take cuttings, either.

  8. Hi Lyn ,l live in Perth wa,like to know if l can take cuttings of my frangies in April as l am going up to my sons place in the north west( wickham) and would like to plant them (it will be warm up there).thank u Ray
    Ray, frangipani cuttings tend to bleed when taken while the tree is not dormant, and they need to form a callus on the cut end before planting to avoid the cutting rotting. If you can’t take the cuttings at the end of winter, you can try taking them during the Last Quarter phase (next one 28/3 – 4/4) when sap flow tends to be lower.

  9. Hi Lyn Some good info above. My problem is;
    I live in Perth. My frangipani is about 5 years old, in the ground and has not grown very much or flowered very well in that 5 years. I had quite a lot of liriope planted around it about 2 to 3 feet out all around which were growing very well. I figured that may be the liriope were taking all the available moisture during the growing months because the ground all around was very dry so I decided to pull them all out, condition the soil with some bentonite then fertilize with dynamic lifter and some other general purpose fertilizer then watered in well. Today I noticed all the leaves are developing black spots and progressing through to yellow with green veins all in the space of 24 hours. No evidence of any problems before yesterday apart from slow growth and limited flowering. Maybe I have damaged the root system all round and maybe I have over fertilised. Whatever I have done I seem to have really put the tree into shock. Can you advise on what may be wrong and suggest some corrective action. Thanks

    Sounds serious Geoff. Can you send me a photo of the discoloured leaves? Patterns of discolouration indicate causes of problems. It’s difficult to help without a bit more information.

  10. Hi Lyn, I wonder if you can clarify something for me? I have 2 well-established potted Frangipani trees, approx. 1.2 metres tall (originally donated to me as cuttings from friends on the Central Coast) that I would like to transplant into Mother Earth. I have a pretty small yard, consequently I am only able to transplant them close to a side fence.
    My major concern is that the roots will invade pipes, as they can only be situated a maximum distance of 1.6 meters from the sewerage line. Other sites have recommended 2.5 – 3.5 metres as being the preferred distance. What do you say? Kind regards Peter

    Peter, in garden soil, the feeder roots of trees and shrubs lie under the outer edge of the foliage canopy on what is called the Dripline.
    This is where water, bird droppings, dust etc., run off the foliage canopy.With most trees and shrubs, shortening branches will also allow new feeder roots to form under the new drip line. However, shortening frangipani branches leads to stem rot.
    Depending on the depth of the sewer pipes, the only suggestion I can make is that you get a sheet of iron 30–40 cm wide and bury it vertically between the sewer pipes and the tree. Or, you can grow the frangipanis in very large tubs. – Lyn

  11. What causes splitting of the trunk of a Frangipani. I live in Perth, WA. I tried attaching a photo but had no luck.
    Possibly too much water. You have had a lot of rain over there, haven’t you? A surge of growth faster than the trunk has had time to expand could cause that. A photo would be good, if you can get someone to help you do it. – Lyn

  12. I have had my frangapani from a cutting for nearly nine years. It flowered and then split into two branches; it now looks like a ‘Y’. It became waterlogged and came out of the pot. I was surprised that there appear to be no roots!! I re-potted and it still appears to be very healthy – will it survive.
    I live in England and the plant comes in at the end of every summer.

    Congratulations on growing this lovely tropical plant in England. The roots may have rotted in the water logging or you may have snapped them removing it from the pot, as their roots are very brittle and it is easy to do. It should be going into dormancy now in your part of the world. You won’t know if it has survived until it shows new growth in spring, but if it appears healthy, there is no reason why it won. If it has no roots, maybe you should support it with a stake until you know it’s formed new roots. – Lyn

  13. I have two evergreen frangipani’s – Everlasting Love – in pots. They’ve grown quite tall and I’d like to prune them to reduce their height and encourage some outward growth. I’m in South East Qld. Is it too late to prune them now in early spring? Thanks

    It’s tricky pruning evergreen frangipanis as they tend to bleed sap. If you have to do it, I’d do it as soon as possible, cutting cleanly where indicated in the article. If they start to bleed, you can try blotting the cut ends with paper towels and dusting the ends with powdered cinnamon. Cinnamon is a natural fungicide that is commonly used by orchid growers to prevent disease in pruned plants. – Lyn

  14. I have three rather large Frangipanis in Pots which I would like to prune as this winter has been very cold here in WA and they have lost most of their leaves which has never happened before. Is this the right time to now prune them? Do I rub the wound with a mud mixture to close the wound off?
    Up to next Monday, this year (2018), would be an excellent time to prune them, Sheila.
    Don’t rub mud to close the wound. Allow them to callous naturally in a shaded spot protected from rain, as it says in the post. Adding mud to the wet end of the cutting can introduce fungi or bacteria, which can cause them to rot. – Lyn

  15. Hi Lyn, thank you for your frank advice. What if I removed all the leaves would this help its chance of survival or do I need to dramatically reduce its length and branches? If so, what would be the maximum size of the cutting I would need to reduce it down to for a higher chance of success? Also, once the callous has formed would it be ok to plant the cutting straight into the ground in a few weeks time- say early May?
    The leaves aren’t really the problem, Anusia. It’s the ability of the root system to provide moisture through all parts of the tree, and your tree does not have any roots. I can’t believe anyone would charge you $150 for this so called “cutting”. That is outrageous. You really would be better to remove some complete branches and use them as cuttings. However, if you are determined to plant it, make sure you use tall, very strong stakes until it is established as frangipanis have very brittle roots and any movement by wind or lack of support can snap the roots. I’m enclosing your photo so other readers can see the size of this “cutting”.

  16. Hi Lyn, please help as I’ve just gone and bought a large cutting (approx 2.8m high with 250mm diameter trunk at base) which is currently flowering… and I would like to plant in the ground in the next few weeks after it has dried out and a callous has formed but I’m very worried that it could all be a waste of my time and money as I’ve been told that there is next to no chance of success to propagate such a large cutting at this time of year… I’m in the Eastern suburbs of Sydney. Help me please!

    1. Anusia, a plant that size can’t be described as a cutting. It is a tree, and I am shocked that someone actually took your money for this plant material. It is almost Mission Impossible to get a plant that size to form enough roots to support such a large canopy. You will have to reduce a lot of branches for any chance of survival. These branches can be used as cuttings after they have calloused in a shaded position protected from rain. If you are determined to plant it after you have reduced the canopy and the base has calloused, you will need 3 strong stakes Placed in a triangle around the tree to support it until it has a chance to form roots. – Lyn

  17. Hi,
    I just purchased a large cutting of 2.8m in length with a width of about 2m of a very healthy Frangipani and I was needing advice regarding planting it. I’m in the eastern suburbs of Sydney where the soil is quite sandy and I’ll be planting it in a northwest facing position. How long do I leave it to form a callous and what are the chances of it surviving?

  18. Hi, I have a frangipani tree that is rather big planted in my front yard. I have been at this house for just over 2 years and all of a sudden I have noticed a type of rot on the branches of the tree. I googled it and found a picture of something similar and it said it’s canker? From pruning in the wrong season or poor sanitation while pruning. I haven’t pruned the tree what else could cause this?
    Photo of my tree in the link Thank you!
    Sorry Amy, but I have not been able to find any treatment for your problem and you haven’t said where you live so I don’t know the sort of climate conditions for your tree. It is not the usual type of rot that affects frangipanis, and canker usually affects very old or very stressed trees. It is clear from the position of the injury that it was not caused by pruning.
    Could it have been attacked by borers? They attack close to the surface of shaded branches and produce a fungus to feed their larvae. If you scrape a little of the damage away and see what looks a bit like cotton wool underneath, it is probably borer and you could spray the area with Anti Rot to kill the fungus or get a pest control expert to advise you. See: Pinhole borers/Ambrosia beetle Otherwise, you may have to remove the damaged branches.Take some cuttings from a healthy part of the tree, in case it does not produce new branches.

  19. Hi, I live in Como, WA and have several frangipani’s in the ground that I guess are between 30-60yo. (One is a pink, so may be a bit younger). The pink and a white are on the west side of the house(others east and south). They are between 3-4 m. The branches on each of them appears to be wilting/dieback. Someone told me it was a virus. The leaves look ok so I guess it isn’t the mosaic virus. The stems look a lot like stem rot. I don’t water them. They flower beautifully. We have been here about 9 months. I brought a small potted one with me which is about a metre tall that was a cutting about 9months old when we moved here that was growing nicely but it has developed the same thing after being here about 4-6months. It has only shallow potting mix and a split down the bottom of pot so drainage fine. I watered 2-3 times/wk in hot weather. What is this?
    Can I take cuttings without having this problem on the new ones?(was it coincidence the potted one getting it???It is located on a raised patio on west side)Can the trees be saved or will they eventually get this over all branches.

    Stem rot usually occurs in cool weather. Your area had, I believe, a lot of rain in one week recently, and there is a possibility that you have over-watered your trees. I never water my mature frangipanis, even in drought conditions. We have some trees that are a similar age and they do develop soft under branches that are no longer getting enough light, especially one that the previous owners planted on the south east of our house. Have others trees in the area grown up enough to reduce the amount of light your frangipanis are receiving? Lack of light can cause stem rot in these plants.
    Garden clinic advises gardeners with this problem to spray with Yates Anti Rot. It works by boosting the plants’ immune system. You could try that.
    “During wet cool weather frangipanis can be at risk of root, branch and tip rot, which is caused by a fungus. To check on your plant’s health squeeze the stems: a firm stem indicates a healthy tree. To reduce the risks avoid watering in winter. If the stem becomes wrinkled the tree is not well. Cease watering and spray leaves with AntiRot. If you notice spongy stems, remove the stem completely 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 up the branches, allows light in and reduces stem rot.” (*About a centimetre from the trunk.)
    Have you also looked at this website?
    Frangipani Health

  20. Hi, I am about to transplant a mature 30ish year old frangipani from a demolition site. It has a couple of main trunks coming out of the ground. Is it possible to split the root ball so I can plant two separate trees? Or would it be better not to touch the root and just take a large cutting to propagate into a tree?
    Also it is the end of summer so not an ideal time to be moving it, any tips to help before we put it in the ground in our yard? Thanks, Bec

    I doubt if you could move the root ball for such a mature tree, Bec. If you reduce the root ball, you will have to greatly reduce the top growth so that the tree could survive on reduced roots. The safest thing to do, would be to take several good-sized cuttings and proceed with the instructions in the article. As now is not the best time to take cuttings, if you can do it after 10th March this year in the LQ phase when sap flow tends to be lower, you could be lucky. However, you haven’t said where you live so I don’t know if you are likely to get new root growth before they become dormant.

  21. Hello, I have a few frangipani trees in pots. They have one long stem – about 1 metre high and lots of leaves on the top. I’m going to plant them into the garden this weekend.
    How will these grow? Will more branches grow from the stem? Where do the new branches sprout from? I’m not really sure what to expect of them in the future.

    The new branches will appear at the top of the stem, Shelby. Be patient, they are slow growing at first. It is good that they have a clean trunk for at least 1 metre. Frangipanis that branch close to the ground can be a nuisance for weeding and mowing as they mature. – Lyn

  22. Hello and Merry Christmas, My rainbow Frangipani seems to show splitting at the base of the trunk what is happening and should I be concerned? It’s in quite a large terracotta pot, in generally all day sun. It is currently about a metre tall with flowers just this year, it was potted from a cutting in Autumn 2017.
    I generally water every second or third day in summer. Thank you for your time.

    Are you sure the pot has good drainage, Sally? Terracotta pots often only have one drainage hole and, if the pot is sitting on the ground, it can easily become clogged and watering it so often could be causing the problem. Or the plant roots could be blocking the hole. It helps to put a good layer of coarse gravel in the bottom of large pots to help prevent drainage problems.
    The base of the pot needs to be resting on some tile pieces so that excess water can drain away, and a good rule is only water when the top centimetre of potting mix is dry. – Lyn

  23. Hi There, Ive just spent the morning trying to remove my Frangipani from a pot to transplant into the garden. I managed to remove the mound of roots directly below the surface of the stem but as I was tugging I snapped the main root system which was much further embedded in the pot. Will my tree die or can it survive this move with only the many finer roots to help sustain it? Thankyou

    ‘Tugging’ was where you went wrong, Lara. Frangipanis have very brittle roots and the easiest way to transplant them from a pot into soil is to cut the pot away so you don’t put any stress on the root ball. I don’t know if your tree has retained enough roots to keep growing. Protect it from wind, apply the double stake method as shown in this Gardening Australia episode Tree Staking,
    and keep the soil around it damp until you see new foliage growth. You can also give it a drink of seaweed extract tea at weak black tea strength.

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