With flowers ranging from deep crimson to pale pink, white and yellow to orange and every shade in between there are plenty of varieties to choose from.
Nothing evokes that tropical feeling quite like the frangipani. Their sweet scent and sheer beauty make them universally loved and the blooms look sensational on the tree and as a cut flower. Pick up some freshly fallen blooms and float them in a bath or bowl of water and it's easy to feel you're relaxing in a fabulous tropical day spa!
Most familiar in their white and yellow form, they also come in loads of tropical and sunset colours, becoming more colourful the closer to the equator you go. Frangipanis are also tough plants that can survive neglect, heat and drought and still fill the garden with a wonderful perfume.
The Plumeria, or frangipani as it's commonly known, is a small genus in the dogbane family and it contains about eight species from tropical America. They're mainly deciduous or semi evergreen shrubs and small trees and they've got simple, smooth edged leaves on fleshy branches.
The Plumeria rubra, or frangipani, is native to Central America, Mexico and Venezuela. It's known for its beautiful and fragrant flowers, the colours of which can vary enormously from white with a yellow centre, through shades of apricot and right through to pink and even dark red. Plumeria rubra is frost tender, so in Australia it only grows in warm coastal climates.
There are lots of frangipani trees in Sydney and they grow in Queensland and around the northern coast to Perth. The frangipani reaches about 8 metres high and can spread as wide as 4.5 metres. But wait until frangipanis are in flower before buying one, because then you can choose the colour you want. Otherwise visit a specialist nursery.
Over the last few years rust has become a major problem with frangipanis, and it causes yellow orange pustules to appear on the underside of the leaf. The other side of the leaf becomes almost transparent. Spray with a copper based spray before it appears, and gather up all the leaves that fall on the ground to help minimise it. But recently some frangipani trees have built up a resistance to rust, so hopefully we won't have to spray much longer.
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