The fabulous and fragrant frangipani tree
FRANGIPANIS are one of the most popular summer flowering trees in Australia.
They are ideally suited to our conditions, put on a wonderful display of flowers and who doesn't love their beautiful perfume?
With a couple of frangipanis planted around the house and a bit of imagination, we can be at a resort on a tropical island every day of the week.
The flower of the frangipani is used in the making of leis on quite a few Pacific Islands and in Polynesian culture the wearing of a frangipani flower can indicate a women' s relationship status - over the right ear if available and over the left if not (don't get them confused).
Frangipanis will withstand very hot, dry conditions but will not tolerate wet soils so make sure you plant them in a well-drained position.
They will also do quite well in a large pot. Root systems don't tend to be invasive so they are safe to plant close to the home.
Near a window is a good idea if you want to take advantage of the frangipanis perfume, which is at its strongest at night.
Being a deciduous tree, they can be used to shade the home in summer but will allow the sun in during winter.
Branches are very brittle so the frangipani doesn't make a good climbing tree for the kids.
They will also exude white sap wherever the surface is broken.
This sap is mildly poisonous if ingested but is more of a nuisance because it sticks to everything.
When pruning your frangipani, wear a long-sleeved shirt, cap and protective glasses or you will end up a sticky mess.
Frangipanis come in a variety of flower colours apart from the traditional white with yellow centre.
There are hundreds of different shades of white, pinks, yellows, reds and everything in between available, but just the sheer range of colours makes it impossible for any but a specialist frangipani nursery to stock all the colours grown.
The only major pest that seems to bother frangipanis in our area is frangipani rust.
This will usually appear in late summer/early autumn and starts on the underside of the leaves.
It is a fungus that has a yellow, rusty colour and quickly multiplies to cover the whole tree.
Spraying regularly with mancozeb or copper oxychloride from January on will help control this fungus but not eradicate it.
Also remove all fallen leaves and dispose of them in your green bin.
During winter, when the tree is bare, it is a good idea to spray the whole tree and the ground underneath it with copper oxychloride to kill off any spore that has been left behind.