Flowering Trees


  • Frangipani-    (Plumeria) …the dogbane family, Apocynaceae.  These are the wonderful plants/trees that produce the fragrant flowers from which Hawaiian Leis are made.  So, the next time you’re in Hawaii and they put one of those real flower necklaces around your neck, you know what the flowers are.  Now for the serious stuff about these lovelies.  Propagation:  simply take a cutting from a plant you like.  You can take cuttings large or small.  Ideally you will lay the cutting out on a table or ground in a shady area for a week or two.  It will dry out somewhat, but the foliage and flowers will continue to live nicely.  Then pot it in a loose well drained soil and refuse it water the first week, then watering only once a week.  You can plant the cutting at almost any depth.  You may want to stake it.  Roots will sprout from the entire length of the cutting below the soil line.  You can also plant the cutting in the ground and avoid the potting.  These are forgiving plants.  They require little care.  Fertilize with Osmocote which is a slow release balanced product perfectly safe for these plants.  Read and follow label directions.  Problems and treatments:  Rust- usually strikes during rainy season with high temps.  Does not really hurt the plant.  Leaves will fall off.  Remove them, bag them and dispose of them to prevent spread.  Best treatment is liquid copper spray or Mancozeb.  Apply either one every two weeks until the problem stops.  It may be an ongoing problem.  Best to use these products late afternoon/evenings.   Black Tip-  attacks the growth tip in winter.  Rot attacks the main stems and branches, usually stopping just below the growth tip.  Plants can be saved by removing the affected areas quickly back to clean wood.  Seal with a wound paint.  Powdery Mildew & Scale- Scale is the small brown/black dots on the stems and undersides of leaves.  Powdery Mildew is the white spores on the stems and leaves.  Treat with wettable sulphur or a fungicide.  Mealy Bug- These attack the leaves and new flowers.  The leaves distort and you see small white masses on the inflo and up the center of the underside of the leaf.  It’s sticky to the touch.  Mealy Bugs feed on the sap.  High pressure water can work and neem oil and insecticidal soaps work well.  The old formula of a couple of tablespoons of Ivory Liquid in a quart of water is also a good spray formula.  Anthracnose-  Indicated  by black/dark red spots on the leaves.  Spray with copper fungicide as for Rust.  White Fly-  Not common in Frangipani but occasionally on seedlings in grow houses.  A horticultural oil or Neem will take care of them.  Ants-  These can cause root problems.  A good ant dust can control them.  Turn mulch if you use it around the plants.  A little ant dust on the mulch from time to time will help.  Mineral Deficiency-  Too much or too little rain can cause deformed leaves.  Also pruning can cause leaf deformation.  Mineral deficiency can be corrected with palm special fertilizer with sufficient micro nutrients and trace elements such as boron, manganese, iron, etc.  A little Epsom salts from the drug store can do some good, applied a handful per plant just like salt on a hamburger.  Lichen-  Growing on the trunks and branches, it isn’t harmful.  Usually white or gray-green, it can be scrubbed off with a stiff brush and water.  Remember that pulling leaves off your plant or tree will leave an open wound.  It is better to let them fall off naturally.  If you must remove leaves, cut them off at the stem, don’t pull them off.  Enjoy your Frangipani and remember, “A Lei is a good thing.”

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