How do I improve the shape of my frangipani?

Firstly, Be Patient!

Most people imagine the ideal tree shape to be like a mushroom or umbrella but don’t be in too much of a hurry for your single stem frangipani to produce branches. The future stability of a frangipani depends on it developing a strong straight trunk.

The Natural Shape of Frangipanis

When frangipanis grow from seed in nature, frangipanis start by developing a long straight stem. If they have sufficient nutrients, they can easily grow more than a metre tall before producing its first fork.

From there, it will produce more and more branches and turn into an umbrella or mushroom shaped tree. After the tree has increased in size and has many branches, the lower branches will not be near the ground and not need pruning thanks to developing a good trunk to start with.

Prune As Less Often As Possible

Sometimes you can improve the shape of a small frangipani tree by cutting off a single branch or improve the shape of a large frangipani tree by “cropping” it. However, after cutting off a frangipani branch, there is a scar which will be visible for quite a long time, usually several years, so pruning willy-nilly is likely to make your frangipani more unattractive than attractive.

Shrub And Bonsai Shaped Frangipanis

If you want a short frangipani with numerous branches, is best to start with the desired shape rather than change a its shape. Dwarf varieties naturally grow sideways more than upwards and many other frangipanis are grown from multi-stemmed cuttings.

Putting a shrub like frangipani into your garden can fill a gap, can match the surrounding plants and have a balanced appearance immediately. If the shrub like frangipani grows year after year and produces too many congested branches or side branches which are too low, branches can be pruned off and thinned out in the future.


Bent Frangipani Branches

If you have a newish and smallish frangipani tree which has branches bending towards one side or a single branch bending in a wrong direction, it’s possible to train (control branch direction) those branches using string or light rope.

The lower and thicker the branch, the more difficult it will be. You will need to be more gentle, allow more time and possibly need to pull the trunk or other branches in the opposite direction so they hold their position.

How do I prune a frangipani branch?

How do I get my frangipani to produce more branches?

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How to grow a frangipani by seed?

1-Purchase or find some frangipani seeds.

2-Plant seeds in groups in small posts in rich potting mix.

3-Water frequently.

4-Protect from direct sun, heavy rain and animals.

5-Repot after 6-12 months into individual pots.

Each frangipani seed will produce a unique flower. Seedlings often grow for several years before flowering so waiting to see the flower type requires patience but can be exciting.

Seedlings grow for several years into a one metre thick single stem plant before forking.

How to grow a frangipani from cutting?

1-Cut off a straight branch around 300mm long of your favourite frangipani variety.

2-Allow 2 or 3 weeks for the wound to heal over.

3-Plant into a pot or into a garden bed using rooting hormone powder.

4-If it stays firm and grows leaves, you have succeeded. If leaf growth is stunted and the stem becomes soft, it will most likely die.

5-If your frangipani dies before growing roots, buy a frangipani from a grower or retail nursery.

How do I get my frangipani to produce more branches?

Natural Forking

Frangipanis fork naturally after they flower. Flower buds are produced at the branch tip and new tips are formed either side of the flower bud. Frangipani branches usually produce two new tips but small frangipani plants often just produce one tip beside a flower bud and some species can produce 3 or more new tips.

If you want your frangipani to produce more branches, the best thing to do is wait patiently for it to fork naturally. Natural forks have a nicer appearance and result in a better balanced frangipani tree.

Forced Forking

When a frangipani branch is broken or cut off, the remaining branch stump will produce new shoots around the new branch end. Small and thin stumps often die but longer and thicker stumps will continue growing.

Forced forking often happens by accident or after pruning but it’s not a good way to get a frangipani to produce more branches.

New Branches From Trunk

Almost no frangipani species, pudica excepted, produce new branches from the trunk and along the branches. They only produce new branches after they flower and the branch tips.


How to propagate frangipani?

Frangipanis can be propagated by seed or by cutting.

Most frangipanis are propagated by cutting in order to get a plant with the exact same flower as the parent.

Each frangipani seed will produce a unique flower using dormant and parental genes. While most flowers will be unappealing, this is the way to  produce an amazing new variety. Seedlings often grow for several years before flowering so waiting to see the flower type requires patience. Growers do not usually sell seedlings since the young seedlings have an unknown flower type.