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Plumeria (common name Frangipani) is a small genus of 7-8 species native to tropical and subtropical Americas. Frangipanis are relatively small trees growing only to about 5-6m in height. They have gnarled branches, long leaves and distinctive flowers. Frangipani flowers appear in clusters at the the end of the branches, and are distinctively scented. The petals are waxy with the centre of the flower a different colour to the rest.
You can grow them successfully in large containers filled with well drained, fertile soil. Mix two parts John Innes No 3 with one part horticultural grit. Choose a large container with a diameter of at least 40 cm and plenty of volume. If over time the tree becomes pot-bound, lift it out and prune back the roots before re-potting into fresh potting mix.
Frangipanis should be positioned in sheltered, sunny position with at least 6 hours of sun each day. These are tropical plants so place them in the warmest, sunniest spot in the garden. During the growing season feed your frangipani occasionally with a soluble fertiliser, high in nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous. Water moderately in summer and just enough to ensure that young trees become established.
The plants require a dormancy period during in the winter. In the autumn move them to a warm protected area such as a hot house or placing your frangipani on a concrete path against a brick wall where it will get radiated heat (and be protected from frost and wind). Do not water or feed the plants as Frangipani will not tolerate its root system being over wet and cold at the same time.
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