Frangipani in Victoria

Now is the perfect time of year to take Frangipani cuttings

frangwht1 Bill has e-mailed me about growing Frangipani in north-west Victoria – and his question may be of interest to other readers.
Frangipani trees are tropical plants, and your area of Victoria is not an ideal climate for them, because minimum temperatures for most of the year are not high enough. Plants grown outside a suitable climate zone are more prone to diseases. There can be, within climate zones, microclimates in protected areas where temperature variations are not as extreme as those in the general area, and plants that need warmer conditions can be grown in these positions – if you prepared to give them extra care through autumn, winter and spring.

The only variety you could possibly grow is the hardier white Frangipani, and you would need to grow that in a position that is protected from wind, and against a north-facing brick wall where the thermal properties of the bricks keep the air around the plant slightly warmer at night. If you find someone in your area who is successfully growing a white frangipani, and is prepared to give you a cutting, now is the perfect time to take frangipani cuttings. See my post on how to prepare frangipani cuttings for planting.

Otherwise, I think it might be wiser to choose a different tree that is more suited to the local climate.

9 thoughts on “Frangipani in Victoria

  1. Thanks so much for your reply Lyn. Good to hear I don’t need the heat lamps, that’ll save some on the electricity bill! I don’t have any feed bags large enough to cover but I do have some wide hessian so think that would be okay to use? Hopefully they will flower next year. Marge

    A double thickness of hessian is good, Marge. I prefer it to those plastic woven bags. Happy gardening. – Lyn

  2. Hi Lyn, I live in Echuca Victoria, on the border of NSW where we have quite hot summers and some warm winter days. Frosts can be quite severe in winter. I have grown 8 Frangapani from seed and they are now 2 years old. Some have a thick stem and large leaves, about 40cm high and others are smaller. Last year something ate the tips off two of them but the good result was two new branches on each. They have been on a table getting morning sun but shaded later in the day. I have two of those Bunnings hothouses in an enclosed fernery on the northwest side of the house and wondering if I should put them in there over winter, maybe with a couple of heat lamps burning at night. Do you think that would be a good idea? Would zipping up the plastic door cause too much moisture in the little hothouses? There are some trees in flower here so I am hopeful mine might eventually go outside although I don’t have an external north facing brick wall and not sure they would survive in the open garden. If I transplant them into bigger pots next Spring what is the best potting medium. I’d appreciate any advice, thanks, Marge
    Hi Marge, thanks for all the detail in your comment, it helps me to provide a suitable answer. Yes, it would probably help in your climate to put them in the hothouses over winter. Zip them up at night and unzip during the day for air circulation.
    As long as the branches do not touch the sides or top of the hothouse you don’t need heat lamps at night, and the enclosed fernery also provides some protection from cold, although a feed bag over the top of the hothouses at night will help insulation. Don’t overwater them because they are dormant until spring.
    Repot them in spring with a good quality organic potting mix with some washed river sand mixed through it because good drainage is essential for frangipani. I’d also recommend putting a couple of centimetres of coarse gravel or small pebbles in the bottom of the pots before filling them. If you do transplant them into the garden choose the sunniest, protected spot out of the wind. These trees don’t like wind and can snap off in windy weather. – Lyn

  3. Just thought you would be interested to know my mother is successfully growing a frangipani in the South Island of NZ. She is north and coastal but gets wind and regular frosts and pretty chilly winters. She also advises there is a row of very healthy and large classic frangipani on the street near the local hospital. That area gets regular frost as well and minus temps in winter. I have been warned by Aussies it might be marginal here in Geelong where we get 2 light frosts max and some decent wind but it’s that much warmer here than her place, I’m going for it…

    The white frangipani is a lot hardier than the coloured ones, and is definitely worth a try if you love frangipani. – Lyn

  4. I live in Wagga Wagga and it gets very cold here, we get a lot of frost throughout winter. I have a potted baby Frangipani tree, it was an extremely healthy plant throughout summer and autumn but since hitting winter my leaves have turned yellow and the tips of the leaves are browning off on one or two leaves. I still have one or two green leaves on the plant. I bring the plant inside of a night and when it’s miserably freezing during the day keep it inside under the window so it’s getting whatever sunlight it can get. What can i do to help my frangipani tree be healthy. Am i doing the right thing? I have no idea.
    Hi Sarah, frangipani are deciduous and before becoming dormant they withdraw nutrients and sugars from the leaves for use in spring. This results in leaves turning yellow, then brown and dropping from the plant. If it is very cold (as Wagga Wagga can be), it is a good idea to provide your tree with some protection at night. However, near a window is not a good place as cold transference through clear glass is quite high. Keep it well back from the window at night, and on top of an upturned large pot on a verandah or under a tree (where warmer air is trapped) during very cold days. Always keep these warmth-loving plants where cold air can drain away as cold air flows downwards. – Lyn

  5. I’ve recently been given a new baby frangipani tree. It came to me with four leaves and unfortunately possums have attached it. They have taken the leaves and chewed half of the stem. I have repotted it and placed it in a sunny position inside. I live inner Melbourne. Will the tree survive and is there anything I can do to help it. Thanks.

    Oh dear, it doesn’t sound promising, but it is difficult to tell without a photo. You can give the tree a drink of seaweed extract ‘tea’ (weak black tea strength). The potassium in this helps to strengthen the cell walls to assist recovery from injury, but the only way to really help your tree is to protect it from those pesky possums. There is a product named “poss-off” which some have found successful but it is quite expensive. However, the best way to protect your tree when it is outside is to get some chicken or bird wire and make a cage for your tree until it recovers and is big enough to fend for itself. If you are going to keep it inside for a while, remember to move it away from window glass at night or draw blinds or curtains across the window, as heat loss overnight can have a severe effect on some semi-tropical plants. When placing these types of plants outside in areas with cold winters, positioning them on the north side of a brick or concrete wall allows heat absorbed by the wall during the day to be released slowly at night, keeping the plants warmer.

  6. Hi There, I live in Richmond NSW & we get quite sever frosts here & an especially bad on in June this year! (-4 degrees 2 nights in a row)
    My poor frangipani bore the brunt of it! I cut off all the leaves back when it happened but now all the stems are rotten. Is it too late to cut back the affected stems? I’ll loose a great deal of the tree (each stem is about 50 cm long & rotten back to the main branch.
    its very old and big and it probably wont have leaves this year now. i’m very upset as i love it and dont know what to do! Your advice would be greatly appreciated! I just came across your blog when i searched google for this topics & am very grateful for it. thanks Amy

    Amy, as I advised Rachel in my other post on frangipani, the problem with frangipani trees that develop die-back, is that if you prune part of the way along the branch, the rot or die-back often continues, because they tend to belong more to the succulent plant group than the woody tree group. The best way to handle die-back on frangipani is to remove the whole affected branch – but not flush with the trunk.
    The branch needs to be cut cleanly through at the branch side of the “collar,” which is the thick band of tissue between the trunk and the beginning of each branch. If you look carefully, you can see where it starts and ends. Cutting here allows more mature ‘wood’ on the tree to develop scar tissue and seal the cut. If you remove a branch too close to the trunk (and this applies to virtually all trees), part of the scar tissue forms internally – blocking the sap and water flow to the rest of the tree, and causing further die-back.
    Don’t lose heart. One of my favourite frangipani trees (we have about a dozen) snapped off in strong winds – leaving only a stump less than a metre high, and it’s come back better than ever.
    As temperatures may become more extreme during climate change, I’d put up a canopy to protect your tree and trap warmer air around it through cold winters – but the canopy must be high enough so that it does not to touch the tree or cold can be transferred through the canopy onto the tree. – Lyn

  7. i live in Mildura and heaps of people seem to do fine with growing white and pink/yellow frangipanis. they love the sun, lose their leaves in winter and get a bit of frost damage in winter but most people seem to not worry about protecting them and they come back in summer with extra branches and flowers. sorry, you know way more than me and don’t want to contradict but thought you might like the local observations 🙂

    I appreciate your input eco-possum. That’s what blogs are for – to share information. I didn’t know that the pink frangipanis could take a bit of frost. That should make a lot of readers happy, as frangipanis are very popular trees. – Lyn

  8. Wow… What a beautiful flower. Well…I think organic gardening emerging such wonderful farming utilities.

  9. I have heard there are a few organic gardeners Ballarat and surrounding areas successful with banana, pineapples and other such delights. We will be giving pineapples a try this year (I know – 4-5 years in the making – so much can go wrong for one ripe fruit!) as we have a great west facing brick wall, shelter-able from frost and thought ‘why not’. Looking for tops at the moment to pot…

    Frangipani would be nice and we are heading north in the next few weeks – might have a read up on preparing cuttings while we are there – – brain starts to develop thoughts and plans…

    Enjoying reading through your info Lyn – thank you again!

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