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Growing Frangipani in pots: Australian Gardening Guide

Frangipanis are iconic trees in the warmer coastal areas of Australia. Its tropical appearance and stunning, fragrant flowers make it an Aussie favourite. These beautiful trees are a common sight, especially in Sydney gardens. But have you ever wondered whether it is possible to grow frangipani in container pots? 

The good news is that frangipani can do well as potted plants. They look great and grow well in containers. They are hassle-free, need little work, and respond well to pruning so you can maintain their shape and size. 

If you are interested in learning how to grow and care for frangipani in pots, here is everything you need to know.


What is a frangipani plant? 

Frangipani in pots Australian Gardening Guide

Source: Coast Store

Also sometimes known as ‘plumeria’, frangipanis are famous for their beautiful flower blossoms and unmistakable fragrance. The frangipani is a small, deciduous tree that produces waxy flowers.

These flowers appear in clusters at the end of the branches and are typically white, with a yellow centre. Flowers can also be pink through to a deep crimson colour. 

They are frost-susceptible trees, suitable for warm-temperate and tropical climates. There are also some Australian native frangipani varieties.

Can I grow frangipani in a pot? 

Do frangipanis grow well in pots? Absolutely! Frangipani can thrive in container pots that are positioned well, are the right size and offer good drainage. If you care for and water the frangipani correctly, you’ll have a stunning, flowering, potted tree that will give you years of pleasure. 

Not only do frangipani in pots grow well but they can also look fantastic on a balcony, in a courtyard or next to the pool. They make beautiful ornamental plants given their reliable and lengthy flowering period. 

If you live in cooler areas of Australia, growing frangipani in a pot gives you the flexibility to move the plant to a more protected area of your home if you’re expecting colder conditions or frost.

Growing frangipani in pots

Frangipanis can thrive in pots for years and make stunning container plants. You will need to plant the tree in a wide, solid container. This will help provide a stable platform for the frangipani as they tend to get very top-heavy as their crown develops.

Ensure you have a container over 50cm wide and deep. Terracotta pots are ideal as they are heavy and porous, which helps with stability and drainage. 

Frangipani trees like well-drained soil, so don’t put a saucer under the pot and consider positioning the container on pot feet or some bricks, so water can drain freely. As they grow, frangipani will require repotting into larger containers.

The other alternative is to give the plant a good pruning, as they can be cut back by up to a third during winter. They grow relatively slowly, only about 20 cm per year, so don’t be worried about the need to re-pot regularly. 

Growing Frangipani in pots

Should I use a dwarf frangipani variety for pots?

As the name suggests these are smaller varieties of frangipani. Dwarf frangipanis normally won’t get higher than 2m at maturity. There are a growing number of dwarf varieties available in Australia. 

Although often recommended for those worried about space or looking to plant in pots, buying dwarf frangipani isn’t necessary. They are typically more expensive. ‘Normal’ frangipani plants grow slowly and are easy to keep to size by pruning.

The plants respond well to being cut back and you’ll get more colour choices if you don’t opt for a dwarf variety. 

Where to position potted frangipani?

Frangipanis are tropical plants, and they prefer full sun, well-drained soil and a frost-free climate. Frangipanis love the sun! They will tolerate partial shade but do best in full sun. Positioning your container in a sunny spot is a key ingredient of success when growing frangipani.

You’ll also need to protect your potted frangipani from the wind. A great place to put the container pot or planter is against a sunny wall which can not only provide shelter from strong winds, but some reflected heat and sun in winter. 

For those living in cooler parts of Australia, you will want to ensure your potted frangipani is positioned in a north-facing area of your garden or balcony. 

Best potting mix for frangipani

Frangipanis like well-draining, sandy soil. Avoid using clay soils. Well-draining soil is essential so you will need a good-quality potting mix or soil with lots of compost and gypsum to improve water and air flow. 

You should avoid getting a potting mix with wetting agents or water crystals as the trees like dry soil. Just look for a quick draining medium without a long list of additives. 

How to care for frangipani

Frangipanis are fairly low maintenance plants, especially when established. It can be helpful to feed the plant with a small amount of organic fertiliser during spring and summer, while the plant is growing.  Slow, controlled release pelletised fertiliser can work well.

Mulching the pot can also help but avoid putting any too close to the trunk to avoid rot. Use organic mulches like bark chips, sugarcane or pea straw.

How often do you water frangipani in a pot? 

Frangipani likes well-draining, dry soil. One of the biggest mistakes that you can make with potted frangipani is to overwater them. During dry, hot summers you will want to water your potted frangipani regularly until it is established.

Just see if the soil feels dry to touch and make sure to let them dry out between watering. Never saturated the soil. When established, generally after a season, rainfall is probably sufficient, and your potted frangipani will require little or no extra watering.

You should avoid watering potted frangipani during the winter when the plant is dormant. 

Can you grow potted frangipani indoors?

The short answer is that it’s difficult to grow frangipani indoors and you’ll need to try and emulate their natural habitat outside in the garden. The most important thing is to ensure your potted frangipani gets enough direct light. 

Ideally, you will need to place the frangipani next to a sunny window or sliding door where it will get at least 4-6 hours of direct sunlight a day. You might even have to move the plant around the house. The other thing to do is keep the house and your plant warm and appropriately watered.

Frankly, especially if you live in a warmer coastal area of Australia, it’s just easier to grow them outside.  

When does frangipani in a pot flower?

Bloomming Frangipani in a Pot

The good news is, that, unlike some other flowering trees which only bloom for a short period, frangipani flowers for months at a time. Frangipanis generally flower in the warmer months.

In Australia, you’ll see potted frangipani flowers from November through to around April. The timing will vary by region.

Potted frangipani diseases

The most common disease impacting frangipanis is rust. It isn’t a major issue and isn’t fatal for the plant. It starts as yellow spots on the leaf undersides and eventually spores into dust on the foliage below.

Frangipani rust normally occurs in late summer and autumn. Spraying can help but won’t eliminate the problem. The best way to address rust is simply to remove and dispose of the infected leaves. Don’t put these leaves in the compost. 

Frangipani can also be prone to fungal decay or trunk, root, branch and tip rot. This can be the result of wet, cool weather but you can reduce the risk by not watering in winter. Thinning out the frangipani will also let more light and air in reducing the chance of rot. 

Now you know how to grow frangipani in pots

Yes, you can successfully grow frangipani in a pot. They are rewarding plants to grow in containers, especially in summer when flowering. They thrive with little maintenance and make the ideal potted tree for gardeners in warmer climates. 

You should be able to grow frangipani in a pot with little problems, provided they get lots of sun and the right amount of watering. If you have any questions about how to grow frangipani in pots, get in touch

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