1) Plant History & General Information:
a) Scientific Name: Frangipanis
b) Region of Origin: Native to Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America as far south as Brazil but can be grown in tropical and sub-tropical regions.
c) General History: It is generally thought that frangipanis (plumerias) are native to South & Central America although some reports claim they are native to the Caribbean and were taken to the Americas by Spanish priests. According to Steven Prowse, of Sacred Garden Plumeria’s, frangipanis arrived in Australia from South America via the Polynesian peoples who interbred with the Melanesian peoples & established villages in the Melanesian region in what is now New Guinea. From there, frangipanis came to Australia via 2 routes.
2) Plant Uses:
a) As Food: /
b) As Medicine: In Caribbean cultures, the leaves are used as poultices (a healing wrap) for bruises and ulcers and the latex is used as a liniment for rheumatism. In Vietnam the frangipani is used for its healing qualities: the bark, mashed in alcohol, prevents skin inflammation, it is also used to treat indigestion and high blood pressure, while the roots have purgative effects on animals and the milk-like sap serves as a balm for skin diseases. The white flowers are used in traditional medicine to cure high blood pressure, haemophilia, cough, dysentery, and fever.
WARNING: The milky, sticky sap which comes out of the tree is generally considered as poisonous to both humans and animals.
c) Other Uses: In modern Polynesian culture, the frangipani can be worn by women to indicate their relationship status – over the right ear if seeking a relationship, and over the left, if taken.
3) Growing Instructions
a) Growing: Water moderately in summer, especially when the trees are young and becoming established. Old established trees can survive quite happily on natural rainfall. During winter, when the trees are bare, leave the watering to nature. Frangipani will not tolerate its root system being over wet and cold at the same time, and rot may develop! Frangipanis are also perfectly adaptable to growing in containers.
b) Best time to Harvest: /
c) Sunlight Requirements: Being a tropical plant, the frangipani prefers to grow in full sun and well-drained soil. They will tolerate part shade, but those grown in a warm to hot position where they get at least 6 hours of sun a day will grow faster and flower far better than those grown in part shade.
d) Soil Requirements: /
When propagating by seed, the results can be a little unpredictable. You will get a plant bearing some resemblance to its parent, but it is unlikely to be an exact duplicate. It usually takes three years or so before your new plant blooms, whereas with plant propagation from cuttings you should see your new Frangipani flowers in the first year.
- Seeds should be sown when the seed pod splits in early spring. Minimum temperature should be at least 18 degrees Celcius.
- Simply place your seed into the pot, ensuring the soil stays slightly moist until your seedling appears, which may take up to a fortnight.
Cuttings: Choose the healthiest branches with no breaks or disease. The limb tips must be a minimum of 12 to 18 inches long. Tips that have multiple growing points on them will result in bushier, more compact plants,
- Cut the shoots at an angle, using clean sharp pruning shears so not to crush the plant.
- Clean the blades of your shears with rubbing alcohol in between cuts, to reduce the chances of transmitting pathogens to the tree or the shoots.
- Remove all leaves except those at the very top of the cuttings
- Place the shoots in a warm, dry location for 2-5 days until the cuts dry out and scab over.
- Choose a well-draining area and place shoot in the ground, cover and tamp lightly.
- Support may be needed by using a piece of bamboo and gently tying it onto the shoot until it’s able to stand on its own
- Water lightly, and check often to make sure it’s draining well or the roots will rot.
f) Controlling Spread: Frangipanis respond very well to pruning. Different pruning approaches can be used to create a compact, densely branched tree or a standard with long trunk and no lower branches. However, be aware that Frangipani flowers appear only at the end of branches, and these must be two years old before they bloom. So, if you plan to prune your Frangipani heavily, consider doing half one year, and then half the next year to ensure a continuous display of flowers.
g) Difficulties with this plant: /
h) History of this Plant at Hedonisia: /
i) Location on Property: Garden P
Flora de mayo (frangipani) face cream
Here’s a modern adaptation of an ancient Mayan recipe for a frangipani face cream. I haven’t tried it, but there are people who swear by its rejuvenating properties, and, of course, it’s bound to smell wonderful! (From Better Basics for the Home: Simple Solutions for Less Toxic Living — by Annie Berthold-Bond; Three Rivers Press, 1999.)
Preparation Time: a few minutes
Shelf Life: 6 months, refrigerated
Storage: glass jar with a screw-on top
Makes 5/8 cup
1/2 cup aloe vera gel
1/8 cup glycerin
1/2 to 1 teaspoon royal jelly
1 teaspoon Plumeria / Frangipani flower essence/essential oil
Combine the ingredients in a bowl and stir vigorously to blend. Dab some on fingers; massage into face.
Relaxation Blend – frangipani massage oil
Here’s a recipe for a massage oil containing Frangipani. (From Natural Beauty From The Garden: More Than 200 Do-It-Yourself Beauty Recipes & Garden Ideas, by Janice Cox; Owl Books, 1999)
Yield: 3 ounces
1/4 cup light sesame oil
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1-2 drops essential oil of rosemary
2-3 drops essential oil of lavender
2 drops essential oil of frangipani (Plumeria)
Mix together all ingredients and pour into a clean, dry container. To use: Massage a small amount into the skin during massage or after bathing.