Commonly known as frangipani this beautiful plant belongs to the genus of Plumerias, its origin is in Mexico and Central America. Because of the beautiful shape and colors of its flowers, it is very popular in gardens around the world. It was named that way, for being a tribute to the Frenchman Charles Plumier, who was in charge of his popularity. It is more specifically a shrub or deciduous tree that produces yellow or pink flowers, that depends on the way they are grown. In this article we will study how and when to prune a frangipani or plumeria. We will also take the time to give some tips on how to care for this beautiful floral plant.

If you read to the end you will learn the best techniques for proper pruning, the right time to trim and the tools to do it. The article has no waste, I assure you. 😉

Note: Please note that the advice given here is general, this blog is consulted from many countries in the world, with totally different characteristics, what not all tips will be adapted in the same way in all cases. Once you finish reading the article it will be necessary to analyze all the information and apply what you have learned in the best way. If you have any questions, remember that you can contact us to make your inquiries.

1. How to care frangipani or plumeria

Although the pruning of frangipani is the central axis of this article, it does not stop being one of several of the caution that this bush needs to be healthy, strong and beautiful. In this section we will see the key care of plumeria.

  • Soil: the most suitable is the one that carries a mixture of garden soil, sand with heather and peat soil, all in equal parts, a mixture of this type will allow good drainage, a key requirement for this plant.
  • Lighting: These plants need at least 6 hours of sunlight to have a good flowered. In case you live in a cold place, you can plant your frangipani plumeria in a pot and place it in full sun in the garden during the summer.
Frangipani flower
  • Irrigation: when the plant has a lot of foliage in flowers it waters frequently, in times of little foliage it waits to water only when the soil is dry.
  • Multiplication: the best way is to do it through cuttings that are obtained at the end of winter. It is advisable to dry the segments once cut for several hours to eliminate the latex it produces. Then, remove the latex and put them to root in wet sand.
  • Temperature: the plumeria or frangipani is not good withstanding the cold and much less sudden changes in temperature. It adapts perfectly to areas with mild winters, otherwise it must be planted in a pot and take it indoors during winter.
  • Fertilizer: it is advisable to apply a mineral fertilizer every 15 days during spring and summer, at which time the plant is active and needs more nutrients.
  • Pruning: how could it be otherwise, pruning should be in this list. Then we will develop in depth everything about this point.

2. Tools needs for pruning your plumeria or frangipani

In the following sections we will see that pruning frangipani or plumeria is not a complicated task at all. And as usual, easy pruning needs a small amount of tools.

You will realize that you can fix it with tools that you surely have at home. It will be enough to do it with any tool that is well sharpened, this may be; a knife, gardening scissors, small saw, etc.

Remember that during pruning wounds are generated, which are the ideal place for the transmission of any disease disease. This is why you must disinfect the blades before pruning and every time you change the plant. This will prevent transmission of diseases to your plant by a blade infected by previous pruning.

On the other hand, when we carry out gardening tasks like this, some basic safety implements never go wrong. These can be a pair of gloves and glasses, thus protecting your hands and eyes from any sharp element.

2.1 Needed care of pruning tools

Try to perform the following care in your pruning tools to extend useful life.

  • Use the right tool for a job and avoid twisting or straining it.
  • Clean and oil tools regularly by wiping an oily cloth on blades and other surfaces.
  • Keep cutting edges sharp by regularly using an oilstone.
  • Wooden handles should be varnished or regularly treated with linseed oil to keep them from cracking or splintering.

Keep in mind that if you extend the life of your tools you will not be doing anything other than saving money. 😉

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3. Pruning of frangipani or plumeria – When to do it?

The best time of the year to carry out the pruning of your plumerias is during winter or early spring. This may vary depending on the area where you live, for example:

  • If where you live the winters are well marked, with considerable cold, it will be preferable that you can in early spring, or when there are no longer frost risks. Pruning can always mobilize the plant to generate buds, which may die with some frost in early pruning.
  • In case the winters in the place where you live are very light, without practically frosts, you can consider pruning your frangipani during the winter.

Regardless that you carry out the pruning during the winter or early spring at that time the plant has fallen its leaves. The fall of the leaves will simplify the task of pruning since you will see in a better way the shape of the frangipani.

In the next section, where we will see how to carry out the pruning you will see that different types of pruning come out, including cleaning pruning. As with most trees there is no specific time to cut dry branches (cleaning pruning), rather it can be said that it is always a good time to remove these elements from your plant. The same happens with the cutting of diseased branches, since the sooner you eliminate it, the more easily the disease will not spread.

4. How to prune frangipani plant?

As we said in previous sections, pruning this plant is not complicated at all. Like this and everything, and to simplify the article, we will analyze these 3 types of pruning:

  • Pruning in early spring.
  • Cleaning pruning.
  • Pruning shaping.

Pick up your pruning tool and get ready to trim branches. 😉

4.1 Pruning in early spring

As you well know, spring is the time when most of the plants begin to develop after their lethargy in winter, frangipani are not the exception. This makes it the ideal time for pruning, since we will further encourage new sprouts.

Plumeria is very tolerant of cuts. This means that you can make large cuts in its branches, up to about 30 cm (12 inches) without being afraid to damage the plant. You can trim as many branches as you want in search of the generation of new healthy and strong shoots, just keep in mind the following rabbits when making the cuts:

  • It is advisable to cut a branch at an approximate distance of 2.5 cm (1 inch) from the base of the branch. It is preferable not to cut a branch in its center, since this will not encourage new growth.
  • Carry out the cuts at a 45 degree angle to the branch. Taking this precaution will help to avoid stagnant water on the cut, which could promote the growth of fungi, something very harmful to any plant.

If you live in areas with quite rainy springs (regardless of making cuts at 45 ° degrees) it will be better to cure the cuts with fungicides, this will give you more assurance that your plant will not acquire fungi.

4.2 Cleaning pruning

This pruning of the camellia is the classic pruning that almost every plant needs. The objective of the plant is to keep the plant healthy, eliminate unhelpful elements for development and improve flowering to a certain degree.

As I always say, before starting to cut back, take some time to analyze the plant carefully, then you should eliminate the following:

  • Begin to trim the branches completely dry, will help the aesthetics of the plant.
  • If you find branches attacked by a plague or disease, it is time to cut it.
  • If you see branches with a bad orientation or crossed that do not go hand in hand with the shape of your shrub cut them.

4.3 Plumeria pruning shaping

Many gardeners like to give their plumerias or frangipani plants some form. Although they are not the classic shrubs with which you can densify the foliage a lot and give any shape, they support very well pruning, so you can eliminate any branch you like in search of the deceased shape.

Pruning  frangipani plant
Frangipani plant

The time to carry out this pruning is early spring, and then you must perform light pruning to maintain the shape given in the first pruning.

Keep in mind the advice we saw in previous sections on how to perform the cuts on the branches, sharpen and disinfect your tools well, and you can start shaping your plumeria.

5. Pruning frangipani in pots

If you have a potted frangipani it may be due to several reasons, such as; you live in cold areas where you must enter your plant in cold seasons, you are waiting for it to grow to perform the transplant in your garden, you have a frangipani bonsai.

For the first case (you live in cold areas) the pruning that you must carry out does not differ in anything with respect to what is recommended here. Only add as a recommendation that you take your plant outside when pruning for easy cleaning. As for the second case (you have not yet transplanted), you will not need to prune, let your plant grow freely until it is the size you consider appropriate for the transplant.

For the latter case, in which we talk about a bonsai, pruning is not as simple as what we saw here. We would need a special article to talk about the pruning of a plumeria bonsai, so as not to extend this article too much I will leave you a good video on the subject (Nigel Saunders, The Bonsai Zone channel) .

Remember that whenever we talk about a potted plant the size of the plant goes hand in hand with the size of the plant. The time of pruning is appropriate to consider a change of pot, or at least one pruning of roots to avoid strangulation.

6. Pruning plumeria Youtube video

As is the custom of this blog we like to close the articles with a video material (in this case Enlightenment Garden channel), where you can review more graphically and practice many of the concepts seen so far. 😉

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So here we are, I hope that everything was clear about how and when to prune plumeria or frangipani, and do not have any doubt at the moment that you should take your scissors and trim.