How To Grow And Care For Frangipani

This tropical beauty adds fragrance and flowers to the Southern landscape.


Southern Living

Frangipani, also known as plumeria, is a tree best known for its fragrant, five-petal flowers that are used to make Hawaiian leis. Native to tropical climates, frangipani is a wonderful tree in the Southern garden.

Frangipani is an easy-to-grow tree that flowers from April through November. Frangipani are easily maintained and will produce an abundance of flowers when planted in a full sun environment. This fast-growing small tree does well with most soil types but best in well-drained soils. The frangipani can tolerate long stretches of drought, too. The large leaves are up to 18 inches long, and flower color varies with species, from rose to white to yellow. Pick a sunny-to-slightly shaded location that will allow the tree to grow up to 25 feet tall and wide. Most types drop their leaves during the cooler winter weather, so consider this when you decide on placement in the landscape. Avoid heavy fertilization, as too much nitrogen decreases cold hardiness. Plant in September.

Frangipani range in size from compact shrubs rarely exceeding 4 feet in height to small, rounded trees. Showy clusters of flowers up to 6 inches across appear atop large leathery, oblong leaves for months on end. The waxy, five-petaled blooms may be star-shaped, saucer-shaped, or pinwheel shaped. They exhibit a dizzying range of colors and patterns. Most are highly fragrant.

Here is everything you need to know about growing and caring for frangipani.

Plant Attributes

 Common Name  Frangipani, Plumeria
 Botanical Name  Plumeria alba
 Family  Apocynaceae
 Plant Type  Tree, shrub
 Mature Size  20-25 ft. tall, 20-25 ft. wide
 Sun Exposure  Full sun, partial shade
 Soil Type  Loamy, Sandy, Well-drained
 Soil pH  Acidic, Neutral
 Bloom Time  Spring, Summer, Fall
 Flower Color  Yellow, White, Pink, Orange, Red, Purple
 Hardiness Zones  10-11 (USDA)
 Native Area  Caribbean

Southern Living

Frangipani Care

Plant frangipani in the ground in TS Zones 10-11 (USDA) in acid or alkaline soil that contains organic matter. Otherwise, plant it in a pot to control the growing environment and to  protect it from frost. Once established, this tree doesn’t need any special watering routine. 

The tree blooms in clusters of flowers up to 6 in. across for months on end. Propagation is easy by seeds or tip cuttings. Frangipani thrives in soil that contains lots of organic matter. Good drainage is a must. 


Frangipani loves full sun but can also grow in partial shade. The blooms will be best when grown in full sun.


The frangipani grows well in most soil types as long as it drains well. Add organic matter to the soil when planting to improve the nutrients and density. Aim to plant this tree in neutral to acidic soil for best results.


Frangipani needs moderate to regular watering to thrive. Whether in a pot or in the ground, soil needs to be drained well to prevent root rot.

Temperature and Humidity|

A native tropical tree, the frangipani grows well in hot weather and humid conditions found in the tropical south. Plant the frangipani in TS Zones 10-11 (USDA). It will not tolerate cold temperatures so do not plant it in areas where temperatures could dip below freezing.


Frangipani has a big appetite while growing, so feed regularly during this time with a bloom-booster fertilizer that's relatively high in phosphorus and low in nitrogen, with added iron and magnesium.


Southern Living

Types of Frangipani

Aztec Gold: Buttercup-yellow shading to white at petal edges.

Candy Stripe: Vibrant blooms suffused with white and pink; petals are marked with bright yellow on upper surfaces, striped red and white beneath. ‘Smiths Candystripe' is similar but more fragrant.

Carmen: Pink and white with yellow center and red band on the reverse.

Celadine (Hawaiian Yellow): Yellow with white petal margins. This is a sturdy plant.

Cerise: Bright magenta, star-shaped blossoms.

Daisy Wilcox: Extra-large blossoms with yellow centers and pale pink petals aging to white.

Dean Conklin: Salmon with orange center.

Dwarf Singapore Pink: Palest pink, darker at the edges with yellow center. Dwarf plant.

Guillot Sunset: Pink-and-white bicolor with orange center.

Intense Rainbow: Yellow blending to pink.

Kauka Wilder: Combination of reds and yellows gives blossoms an overall rich orange color. Very sweet fragrance.

Kimo: First orange plumeria. Starts orange-yellow changing to apricot-orange with red bands on front and back.

Mary Moragne: Rose-pink and white with orange veins.

Pink Parfait:  Large reddish pink blooms.

Scott Pratt: Dark, velvety red with fine purple-black veins and darker bands on the reverse.


Southern Living


Pruning will allow you to shape frangipani. It’s not necessary to do so, but it can allow you to trim it into a tree or shrub. Remember when pruning that cut branches will need an extra growing season to re-bloom, so prune wisely. If you choose to prune frangipani, do so in winter.

Potting and Repotting Frangipani

Frangipani grows well in pots, but they can quickly become rootbound. When you see roots protruding from the drainage hole, remove the plant, prune off roots that tightly encircle the root ball, and replant in a larger pot.

Almost all plumerias go through an annual dormant period lasting one to several months in which they drop their leaves. Though this is a resting phase not related to temperature, gardeners outside of the Tropical South can easily make it coincide with winter. When nights start to cool in fall, stop watering. Leaves will turn yellow and drop. Move plumerias into a cool room or garage. No water or light is needed until you take them out in spring.


Southern Living


When grown in TS Zones 10-11 (USDA), withhold water and allow the frangipani to go dormant. If growing frangipani outside its garden zone, it will be in a pot, so bring that inside where it can naturally go dormant. Water it every 2 to 3 weeks.

Common Pests & Plant Diseases 

Few insects and diseases affect frangipani. The most common, a fungus called plumeria rust, causes orange pustules on the undersides of leaves. Leaves then develop black blotches and drop prematurely. Control rust by promptly removing and throwing away any diseased leaves. Then spray healthy foliage with Neem oil.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles