Thursday, March 4, 2010

Can You Say Frangipani Ten Times Fast?


Aloha friends,
I have a special guest post from my friend Kimberly from Garden in Paradise. We are doing an exchange post this week and Kimberly will expand on the origins and unique uses for Frangipani, one of my favorite tropical flowers. Aren’t the blooming photos spectacular, these photos are also courtesy of Kimberly.


Frangipani…what a fun, unusual word! Pronounced “fran-juh-pan-ee”, the word rolls off the tongue! So, what is a frangipani? The dictionary defines it as, “a deciduous tree with strongly perfumed, white, yellow, or pink flowers. Native to: tropical America.  Genus Plumeria.” Hmmmmm….genus Plumeria. So where did Frangipani come from? Apparently, according to, the Plumeria was given the common name of “Frangipani” after Muzio Frangipani, a 16th century Italian creator of a perfume for gloves. I don’t know that he was successful, but I’m certain that Plumeria, or “Frangipani” makes an intoxicatingly sweet perfume! It also bears one of the most beautiful flowers I’ve come across!


The gorgeous blooms are typically about 2” wide with 5 petals. They range in color from white with yellow centers, to dusty apricot, coral pink and dark red. As I’m told, the darker the red stain, the more desirable the flower! The shrub/tree itself grows to an average of 15-18 feet tall, although it’s been known to grower taller. Related to Oleander, Periwinkle and Allamanda, the Frangipani contains a poisonous, milky sap.


As previously stated, the Plumeria shrub is deciduous, meaning that it loses its leaves in the winter, or cooler months. This was perplexing to me when I first settled in SE Florida several years ago, as I noticed stark, ugly branches readily accepted in beautiful, lush, tropical landscapes. Why in the world would anyone purposely grow a deciduous tree in a tropical climate where year-round foliage and brilliant blossoms are so easy to achieve?!?! Coming for a harsh, northern climate where winter temperatures dip down below zero degrees Fahrenheit on a regular basis, I couldn’t understand! I couldn’t understand until I saw the chipper little fresh foliage popping out in the spring, followed by the strikingly beautiful blooms and insanely wonderful, sweet perfume! I would love to wear a flower in my hair everyday!


Of course, I’m not the first to consider wearing the lovely blooms. The Frangipani is grown commercially in Hawaii for their famous lei production. According to Wikipedia, “lei” is a Hawaiian word for a garland or wreath. More loosely defined, “a lei is any series of objects strung together with the intent to be worn.” The concept of giving a lei as a form of affection became a tourist tradition between the Hawaiian Islands and the continental United States in the 19th and 20th centuries.


Of course, I had to have some Frangipani for my own garden. Luckily, I discovered the plant is easily propagated by taking a cutting of the leafless stem tips in spring. Allow the cutting to dry out at the base before inserting it into well drained soil. Wait a while and voila…you’ll have a wonderful blooming Plumeria!


Please remember that most varieties of Frangipani are deciduous, so it may not be wise to grow it in the center of your yard as a focal point, unless you like leafless, lifeless sticks protruding from the ground part of the year. I think Frangipanis mix well with flowering tropical’s such as Cana lilies, bromeliad, and palms that accentuate their design qualities. There’s also a new dwarf variety that looks a bit like a bonsai in a container.
Want more Plumeria? Hawaiian residents or visitors can check out the Dean Conklin Plumeria Grove, part of the Honolulu Botanical Gardens! If you’re not traveling to Hawaii any time soon, you can view the fantastic florals by clicking on this link: .
Please visit Kimberly’s blog at Garden in Paradise and you can check out my post about on a garden tour in Orlando. Mahalo, Kimberly for sharing your wonderful post on the Plumeria today!
Also for more Blooming Friday Posts, please visit Katarina at


Shannara said...

Lovely flowers!

Anonymous said...

Hi Noel~~ Is it possible to get the dwarf/bonsai cultivar on the mainland? These photos are just fabulous, justice for a well deserving flower. Kudos to your guest blogger Kimberly.

Kimberly said...

Noel, thank you so much for such a great idea...guest posting is fun! I've enjoyed getting to know you better, too! :)

Rothschild Orchid said...

Wow wow wow! What amazing shots! I love the Frangipani :o)

Ami said...

Noel, Kimberly: Great post! I almost can smell frangipani's sweet scent through the screen! One of my friends promised me a cutting of Frangipani from her garden. Can not wait for it growing in MY garden! Thanks for the advise about the planting location!

James David said...

Would really like to know how did you propagate the Frangipani.
Must it be a soft stem or a dry wood stem with shoots for the cutting?
How long must you wait to see whether its successful and really how fast does this plant grow?

Noel Morata said...

aloha grace, let me think about which online places have that available and advise soon.

james, i usually take cuttings on the woody stems since they can callous faster than the softer stems, also the softer ones tend to be younger and bleed out their sap completely...i sometimes also burn the ends to stop the milky sap from bleeding out completely.

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

Oh dear, on my first trip to Hawai'i I discovered I was highly allergic to plumeria at a luau!

Since then I think the only Frangipani I get close to is actually Frangipane, " a filling made from or flavored like almonds, used in tarts, pies and pastries"!

Beautiful photographs though, I love Plumeria (Frangipani), it just doesn't like me very much :(

Noelle Johnson said...

They are just so beautiful. I love your photos so much. Believe it or not, Plumeria can be grown here in the Arizona desert as well, although it does not bloom as profusely.

Lillebeth said...

Thank you for sharing that truly wonderful flower. Have a nice weekend!

andré said...

I just love Plumerias! Unfortunately, they tend to be no friends of the Swedish climate...

lotusleaf said...

Thanks for an interesting post.The frangipanis are blooming everywhere here too, filling all the grdens with their delightful perfume.

Mia said...

Beautiful flowers, almost like a fairytale to me. So perfect in shape and colours. the parfume must be something special.

Liza said...

You two are so cute! Now I'm going to go check out Noel's post on Kimberly's page! Great photos, too, Kimberly!

Matti said...

Wow, these look delicate. Thanks for including the Pronounced “fran-juh-pan-ee”...I find I have a challenge getting Latin sounding correct. Matti

Glädjekällans Trädgårdsblogg said...

Loveley flowers but I can't say the name quickley :-))

LC said...

Wow... just checked out your blog... wonderful! Thank you... LC

deb said...

Just gorgeous!

Carol said...

Wonderful post Noel and Kimberly! Beautiful photos of the Frangipani and no I cannot say it ten times fast! A sweet exchange... your post over at Kimberly's was very enjoyable too!

sweetbay said...

Plumeria is a wonderful flower. Many people here grow it for its beauty and fragrance and then bring it in for the winter. I've been meaning to get one, they are so lovely.

Unknown said...

It is beautiful and you're right it just rolls off the tongue. A great and very informative post - thank you so much for sharing it with us.
I also snooped around many of your other posts and enjoyed them along with the beautiful pictures and many flowers I've never seen before.
Thank you so much for stopping by today. I'm running late on my visiting as I had to wait until 'after' the 5 year old Grandson was gone to get anything done. ;-)

Meems said...

Great job, Kimberly. You have some beautiful flowers and your garden must be heavenly when they are all blooming.

Self Sagacity said...

I wish I could grow these flowers, as I like leafless! Beautiful!

Katarina said...

The Frangipani floers are really something! And your potography makes the most of tehm. Simply gorgeous!
Happy Blooming weekend!

Debbie said...

These are so beautiful they almost don't look real! You must have a really green thumb, I am envious.

easygardener said...

They do look a lot like like Oleanders. I don't think I have ever seen one - I will have to keep a watch out next time I visit a tropical glasshouse.

Tootsie said...

your photos are outstanding and the flowers....just breathtaking!!! thanks for linking in and sharing this week!

Meredith said...

Gorgeous, Noel. I wish I could smell their exotic perfume through the screen. :)

Digital Flower Pictures said...

One of my favorite tropical flowers. I second a trip to the Plumeria Grove on Oahu. We were really happy to have made the drive and even though it wasn't the season there were still some outstanding cultivars blooming. The setup reminded me in a way of an Apple Orchard. Definitely worth seeing, it was fun just being inside the crater.

ruma said...

Thank you for showing wonderful scenery.

It is a beautiful sign of the spring.

From the Far East.
Best regards.

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

I'm hoping that mine made it through their first winter. Okay, I'm not very hopefully. I think I killed 'em.

(Hello by way of Blotanical.)

盛豐 said...


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