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How to Prune Frangipani

By D.C. Winston
A cluster of frangipani flowers in full bloom.

Frangipani, also known as plumeria and templetree, is a species of tropical trees and shrubs that produces colorful and richly fragrant clusters of flowers in the summer and fall. The long, surfboard-shaped and crenelated leaves emerge from thick, fleshy limbs and branches reminiscent in texture of giant asparagus--but with a silvery-grey hue. As a semievergreen grown primarily for its flower display, frangipani requires little pruning other than the removal of damage or to control its size. It produces blooms on new growth and should be pruned, when necessary, in the winter or early spring while in dormancy.

Trim away dead or discolored leaves, as these will not return to a healthy green hue. Trim the individual leaves where the stem meets the branch, but do not cut into the tissue of the parent branch.

Prune away dead, abrading, errant or overgrown branches that do not suit the desired form of the tree. Place cuts on the branch 1/4 inch above a leaf node, on a 45-degree downward angle so the latex runs down and water cannot pool on the cut side. Alternatively, remove an entire branch or branch spur down to its joint with the parent branch.

Cut back portions of branches or limbs infested with the plumeria stem borer, the most noxious of frangipani pests. Infected tissues typically will be shriveled and curving or bent in form with discolored interior flesh. Sever these at the nearest healthy branch juncture or down to the parent limb, if necessary, to remove all infected tissues. Never compost these diseased tissues. Put them in the bin or incinerator to prevent the spread of the infestation.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Loppers
  • Secateurs
  • Fine-toothed pruning saw
  • Waterproof garden gloves

Tip

  • Frangipani emits a sticky latex from all parts of the plant that can be very irritating to the skin. Don garden gloves before working on or around frangipani plants.