Anita Morton - Growing Gardens

Fragrant favourites

Deciduous frangipanis are the hardiest in our climate. Once established, they will cope with a little frost, provided the soil is well-drained. The white-flowered evergreen frangipani (F. obtusa) is native to the Bahamas, so it isnt very happy south of Brisbane. If your garden is frost-free, you could try it against a north-facing fence or wall. F. rubra and F. acuminata are the deciduous species, and we have a large range of hybrids of the two to choose from.

These hybrids come in shades from white through to red, with the lighter flower shades generally being the hardiest to cold. The common cream and gold flower of F. acuminata cant be beaten for glorious fragrance in summer, so plant it near an outdoor entertainment area or deck.

I think this is the best time of year to take deciduous frangipani cuttings. You can use very large pieces of the soft wood, up to a couple of metres long, though smaller pieces will also do well in a pot. Put the cuttings in a dry spot out of way for a few weeks to let the cut ends callous over, then plant them quite deeply in a well-drained spot and tie them to a stake for support. Water them in, but dont water again until the leaves appear in spring. Site your trees carefully so that they have space to form their neat, rounded crown.

For smaller cuttings use the same procedure as for large cuttings, remembering to bury one-third of the stem in a free-draining potting mix, and to keep the pot just barely moist until leaves appear. Frangipanis dont really need pruning, except to take out any dead wood. Their copious white sap is an irritant, so be careful when you cut into live wood, and dont get sap on your skin.


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