Frangipani Plumeria: Types, Colors, Fascinating Facts & Essential Care Tips

Crisp white Frangipani Plumeria flowers with a vibrant yellow center set against a backdrop of lush green leaves

Frangipani Plumeria, also commonly known as ‘Leelavadee‘, ‘Temple tree‘, or simply ‘Frangipani‘, is a tropical flowering plant that has captured the fascination of botanists, garden enthusiasts, and nature lovers around the world. Originating from tropical areas such as Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, this plant tugs at the heartstrings of its beholders for its magnificent beauty and simplistic elegance.

Frangipani Plumeria’s unique appeal lies in the fascinating contrast between its vibrant blossoms and its thick, succulent branches and dark green elongated leaves, resulting in an exquisite visual experience. Intriguing as it may seem, for a plant that enrobes itself in such a ravishing array of flowers, the Frangipani Plumeria initially appears as a rather unpretentious tree, especially when not in bloom. With thick, fleshy branches stretching out towards the sky and vying for sun’s affection, it bears an uncanny resemblance to a stout cactus. But this leafless facade is temporary, as spring graces the Frangipani Plumeria with an outburst of leaves, transforming it into a floral specter of breathtaking beauty.

Types of Frangipani Plumeria

Frangipani Plumeria showcases a remarkable diversity, enchanting its enthusiasts with a myriad of colors, an array of petal shapes and sizes, and a wide scope of fragrances.


The aesthetic beauty of the Frangipani Plumeria is epitomized by its myriad of colors. Here are a few standout colors:

  • White Frangipani: This is perhaps one of the most common colors of the frangipani family, signaling purity and serenity. The Plumeria alba is characterized by its spiral arrangement of flowers and dark green leaves that provide a stark contrast to its pristine white petals with a yellow center.
  • Red Frangipani: The fiery red Plumeria rubra is a sight to behold. The deep red color of its petals, juxtaposed against a vivid orange or yellow center, is reminiscent of the glorious sunsets in the tropics.
  • Pink Frangipani: Known as Plumeria pudica, this variety creates a whimsical atmosphere with blush pink blossoms. The pink hues ranging from a soft baby pink to a bold fuchsia come together to form a delightful sight.
  • Yellow Frangipani: Dawn breaks in the form of the Plumeria obtusa with its bright yellow blossoms reflecting the beaming rays of the morning sun. Occasionally, you may also spot variants with white petals and a yellow center.

Photos of Frangipani Plumeria

“Pristine white petals of Frangipani Plumeria with vibrant yellow center”
“Delicate white Frangipani Plumeria blossoms against lush green leaves”
“Graceful White Frangipani Plumeria flowers symbolizing purity and serenity”
“Close-up of alluring White Frangipani Plumeria with a striking yellow heart”

Vibrant red petals of Frangipani Plumeria with bold yellow center

“Vibrant red petals of Frangipani Plumeria with bold yellow center”
“Fiery red Frangipani Plumeria blossoms against contrasting green leaves”
“Close-up of vivid Red Frangipani Plumeria, symbolizing tropical beauty”
“Spectacular red blossoms of Frangipani Plumeria showcasing its tropical allure”

Elegant Pink Frangipani Plumeria with blush petals and inviting yellow center, among rich green foliage

“Soft pink petals of Frangipani Plumeria with warm yellow center”
“Delicate pink Frangipani Plumeria blossoms contrasting against vibrant green leaves”
“Close-up of charming Pink Frangipani Plumeria, evoking feelings of tropical romance”
“Captivating pink blossoms of Frangipani Plumeria highlighting its exotic allure”

Radiant yellow petals of Frangipani Plumeria with striking golden center

“Radiant yellow petals of Frangipani Plumeria with striking golden center”
“Bright Yellow Frangipani Plumeria blossoms set off against deep green leaves”
“Close-up of luminous Yellow Frangipani Plumeria, symbolizing tropical cheerfulness”
“Spectacular yellow blooms of Frangipani Plumeria evoking sunny tropical vibes”

Petal Shapes and Sizes

Despite belonging to the same genus, the Frangipani plant exhibits a surprising variety of petal shapes and sizes:

  • Round Petals: These Frangipani flowers have thick, rounder petals that overlap one another, creating a lush, full blossom. This feature is often observed in Plumeria obtusa, where the flowers grow in clusters and boast a waxy surface.
  • Elongated Petals: Certain varieties of Frangipani have slender, elongated petals which are slightly curved at the edges. These are commonly seen in Plumeria rubra types, lending them an uncanny elegance.
  • Sizes: The size of Frangipani flowers can range from the small and dainty blossoms measuring about an inch across to the grandeur of larger flowers expanding up to four inches.


An enchanting attribute of Frangipani Plumeria is its fragrance. Each type of Frangipani possesses a unique enticing fragrance:

  • Plumeria alba: This type is cherished for its light, sweet, and subtly vanilla-like scent.
  • Plumeria rubra: The red and pink frangipanis offer an intenser, spicier aroma that lingers in the air, often described as a sweet peach or citrusy smell.
  • Plumeria obtusa: Generally, the yellow and white Frangipani types exude a slightly lemony fragrance that’s both refreshing and invigorating.

Some Facts about Frangipani Plumeria

Apart from its visual appeal and captivating fragrance, the Frangipani Plumeria is enveloped in fascinating facts steeped in symbolism, natural interaction, and the plant’s survival tendencies.

  • Symbolism: Depending on the culture, the Frangipani Plumeria symbolizes a whole array of different concepts and ideals. In Hawaiian culture, for instance, it’s symbolic of positivity and used to celebrate special occasions. In several Asian cultures, it signifies immortality, due to the plant’s capacity to produce flowers even after it’s uprooted. In modern Western ideology, it is often associated with love and life.
  • Moth Pollination: Unlike most flowers that welcome bees and butterflies for pollination, Frangipani Plumeria is a favorite of the sphinx moth. The flowers’ potent scent, most vibrant at night, acts as an alluring invitation to these nocturnal creatures.
  • Latex: The Frangipani Plumeria tree secretes a milky latex sap. Although helpful to the plant as it discourages pests, this sap can cause skin irritation in humans and toxicity if ingested.

Caring for Frangipani Plumeria

Caring for a Frangipani Plumeria does not require a green thumb. With basic care instructions and a mindful eye for potential issues, the plant can flourish beautifully in your garden.

  • Climate: The ideal climate for growing Frangipani Plumeria is tropical or subtropical. However, it can also tolerate cooler temperatures if it’s undertaken adequate protection against frost.
  • Watering: Frangipani Plumeria is a hardy plant and tends to be drought-resistant. Over-watering can lead to rotting. An effective watering method is to wait until the top layer of soil is dry before watering the plant again.
  • Light: Frangipani Plumeria needs direct sunlight for at least six hours every day. This promotes its growth and leads to healthier blooms.
  • Fertilizing: Regular fertilization from spring to autumn helps the Frangipani Plumeria to remain sturdy and vivacious, promoting bloom health and longevity.
  • Pruning: Pruning is an essential practice that encourages branching, giving the Frangipani Plumeria a more lush and full appearance.

In reality, the beauty of the Frangipani Plumeria transcends above its vibrant hues, hypnotic fragrances, and alluring elegance. Over centuries, it has bridged humanity with nature, symbolized myriad of human emotions, and yes, it certainly has painted the canvas of life with strokes of ultimate beauty. It’s time we embrace this beauty, nurture it in our gardens, and let it spread its fragrance in the environment, marking a bond, a friendship between humans and nature.