Frangipani

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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. If the cutting is very large, you may need a short stake to keep it upright. 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).

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110 Responses to Frangipani

  1. Lara says:

    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.

  2. Sally says:

    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

  3. Shelby mills says:

    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

  4. Bec says:

    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.

  5. Kelsey says:

    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

  6. Amy says:

    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 https://photos.app.goo.gl/Z6l5LKlBKBvxVq4l1 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.

  7. Anusia says:

    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?

  8. Anusia says:

    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!

  9. Lyn says:

    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

  10. Anusia says:

    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”.
    Large

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