Plumeria alba (White Frangipani)

Scientific Name

Plumeria alba L.

Common Names

White Frangipani, Pagoda Tree, Caterpillar Tree, Nosegay Tree, Milk Tree


Plumeria hypoleuca var. angustifolia, Plumeria revolutifolia

Scientific Classification

Family: Apocynaceae
Subfamily: Rauvolfioideae
Tribe: Plumerieae
Genus: Plumeria


Color: White
Bloom Time: Spring to fall


Plumeria alba is a small deciduous tree that grows in a vase-shape and up to 25 feet (7.6 m) tall. It features fragrant, white flowers with yellow centers. Upright branches are thick but weak and have a milky sap. Oblong-lanceolate, green leaves are up to 12 inches (30 cm) long and spirally clustered at the stem ends. Very fragrant, 5-petaled flowers are up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) in diameter and bloom in terminal clusters at the branch tips from spring to fall. They are white with yellow centers.

Plumeria alba (White Frangipani)
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USDA hardiness zones 10a to 12b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 60 °F (15.6 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Although you don't have to live in the tropics to grow Plumeria in the home garden, you should know its growing requirements beforehand.

Often grown in the garden as an ornamental shrub or small tree, Plumerias need to be grown in well-draining, slightly acidic soil. They also need at least 6 hours of full sun.

While the plants are fairly tolerant of salt and windy conditions, they are not tolerant of cold and must be protected. Therefore, they should be container grown in colder regions. In areas that may be warm most of the time but still fairly prone to cold winters, the plant can be dug up and overwintered indoors. Alternatively, you can sink container-grown Plumerias in the ground, bringing them indoors once the temperatures begin to drop in fall. Once warmer temps return in spring, you can return the plants outdoors.

When growing Plumerias in pots, use a coarse, well-draining potting mix. A cactus mix or perlite and sand should be fine. See more at: How to Grow and Care for Plumeria.


Plumeria alba is native to Central America and the Caribbean. It is now common and naturalized in southern and southeastern Asia.


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