Tree of the week: Plumeria rubra – Frangipani

Whether grown in containers or in the ground, Plumeria rubra is a fabulous addition to the garden. This tree is native to the Caribbean islands and the mainland of Central America but is now grown all over the world. It can reach a mature height and spread of 3m when growing conditions are conducive.

Plumeria rubra’s deciduous foliage clusters only at the tips of the sausage-like grey-green branches. These branches succulent, they bleed a milky substance when cut. Blooms of this tree come in a wide range of colours, from white and cream to yellow, apricot, pink and red. After flowering, elongated hard brown fruits are born. These are not showy and do not attract wildlife to the tree.

Frangipani is suitable for planting as a specimen, patio tree or as part of a shrubbery border. This tree requires pruning to develop strong structure. It is very susceptible to freezing temperatures and should be adequately protected or planted only in areas which do not freeze in the winter. P. rubra grows well in both full sun and semi-shade conditions.

Botanical Pronunciation: ploo-MEER-ee-uh ROO-bruh