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Frangipani pests & problems

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Frangipani Rust

If you can see little puffs or pustules 

of golden yellow powder that start

out on the underside of your leaves

and resemble pollen, this is frangipani rust.

Frangipani rust is a fungal plant disease that is spread via the powder (spores) that get carried away with the wind or through overhead watering. Spores can spread for many kilometres in strong winds or just a few centimetres with a slight bump or breeze. See below our recommended way to control and help prevent the spread of rust to other frangipani plants.

Spider mites

These super tiny crab like insects

draw sap from the centre leaf vein

and then quick spread right across

the entire leaf. Damage resembles thousands of white dots.  treatment - spray the infested plant leaves on both sides with our mite spray to kill all spider mites and eggs. Repeat spray after one week. Sydney Frangipani mite spray is effective on most sap sucking soft bodied insects.

Moth larvae

Moth larvae are one of the most 

common problems of older frangipani

trees in the Sydney region. Trees start

to exhibit a crumbly beard like formation

on branch joints and along branches. Once the crumbling mess has been removed the moth larvae will be found as the cause of the mess. These pests will destroy the cambium layer if left untreated. 

Recommended Treatment - For smaller infestations first, feed your tree well with frangipani fertiliser. Next, you need to remove the crumbly areas (see picture lower left) and spray these pieces with our mint pesticide free insect spray before placing in the bin. Finally, any large wounds should be sealed with our plumeria repair paste. Check the rest of the tree for moths and larvae and spray with mint pesticide free insect spray


For large infestations in Sydney call us for a quote


Anthracnose or black spot is a fungal

disease that is similar to frangipani 

rust and is brought on by hot humid 

conditions. It is generally spread by overhead watering and by infected leaves touching other plants close by. A bit easier to contain than frangipani rust.

Recommended treatment - Treat with our Stop Rust spray. Remove the leaves and re-apply if new outbreaks appear.

Curl grubs

Curl grubs are beetle larvae that feed 

on the roots of potted frangipani and

other potted plants. If you notice your

plants are starting to wobble in their pots and the tips of the frangipani are starting to really taper to to very small tips then the roots might be getter devoured by these little pests. The adult beetles lay their eggs in the loose soil or bark. Once hatched, these grubs feed voraciously on the plants roots, damaging potted frangipani plants and prevent the plants from feeding properly and growing in a healthy and vigorous manor. 

Recommended treatment - Treat by doing a soil drench with Eco-neem biological insecticide


Possums are opportunists when it 

comes to frangipani. They will only 

bite branches that are newer, softer 

growth and generally will only eat what they can reach from the safety of a nearby fence or roof. This usually occurs in winter when theres not a lot of their normal food available. Leaves are occasionally eaten in spring & autumn but they don't really like the taste of them and only tend to go for them if they haven't tried them before.  

LED lights tend to keep them away but the best solution is to ensure they can't reach any branches from adjacent structures. Magnolias suffer also.

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Scale and mildew

Scale and powder mildew are bark

problems and look quite unsightly.

Left untreated it can cause stress to

the frangipani and it may not perform as well as a healthy plant would. 

Recommended treatment - spray with Sydney Frangipani mite spray then repeat spray after a week and gently scrub scale off using a mild or worn nylon kitchen scour pad.

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Aerial roots

Aerial roots or advantageous roots

happen on branches and trunks of 

frangipani trees. This can usually 

indicate that the tree is searching for nutrients it needs for growth. Older trees or trees with a damaged cambium layer quite often throw out aerial roots. If no obvious issues are present then a lack of nutrients left in the soil is the quite probably the cause. Recommended treatment - feed with our specially blended frangipani fertiliser twice a season to increase the amount of organic nutrients available to the tree.

My flowers have changed colour

Many coloured frangipani have naturally

occurring chemicals in their flowers that actually tan or get darker and more intense during heat waves or heat events. This usually occurs in the one or two days before the flower opens or on the day of opening and can make people think it's a different variety or that something is wrong. These flowers can also fade greatly over time after opening. "Did my tree change colour?" Many pinks, reds, tri colours are like this and it can be a confusing time for someone trying to identify the cultivar. This variety to the left is Blood Sun. The top flower opened during a cooler period and has faded over time whilst the bottom flower recently opened during a very extreme heat event. Aussie Pink is also one of these varieties.


Lichen grows on the bark of the trees

and is harmless to the tree. There are

two main types of lichen, the smooth

one protects the tree quite well against 

sunburn, however the other type of lichen is mossy and holds water. We recommend the removal of this type of lichen as excess water against the tree in winter can promote rot. The picture on the left is that of the smooth lichen. 

Recommended treatment - For mossy lichen remove with a wet scour pad. 

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Leaf minors

These little bugs do destroy the look

of the leaves but rarely do they do any

real damage. They are easily spotted

at the end of their silvery trail.

Recommended Treatment - If you really want to get rid of them just remove affected leaves and place in the green waste. 

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Holes & cavities

Holes and cavities can be a result of 

the pith receding after pruning or

just from a rotten branch. These holes

can hold water and cause further damage from rot.

Recommended Treatment - For deep holes its is best to fill them with Sydney Frangipani Plumeria Repair paste to prevent water from ponding and seal the area off from insects. Sealed wounds means happy frangipani trees : )

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Fungal infections

Fungal infections usually start from 

within a branch that has rotted and 

has started to decay. 

Recommended Treatment - Cut off all branches that exhibit fungus or rot and keep cutting back to white healthy flesh and flowing sap, then it is most important to treat the soil by watering with Yates Anti-rot liquid concentrate. This works to kill of the fungal infection attacking the plants healthy tissue giving the frangipani every chance to recover.  

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Black tip

Black tip is a partial die off caused

by cold, still, winter air descending                 downwards that first affects the tips

of frangipani plants. Furthermore, frost events will kill entire mature frangipani trees from a single night of frost. Frangipani are NOT frost tolerant and should never be located where frost can occur. Once the plant cells freeze they turn mushy & black and that's it, their gone!

Recommended Treatment - Cut off all branches that are black & mushy and keep cutting back to white healthy flesh and flowing sap as pictured in the three photos to the left. Then treat the soil by watering with Yates Anti-rot liquid concentrate to kill off any infection.

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The presence of ants in your pots 

generally means your plants are too

dry as ants don't like water and will make

nests in pots where the dry conditions suit them.

Recommended Treatment - Spray with Sydney Frangipani mite spray to kill ants and nests on plant roots and in hole cavities. To keep the ants from coming back place copper coins in your pots or garden beds. (see the picture to the left) For some reason this works and I need to thank David Konishi from Konishi Plumerias for this great idea. 


Sunburn is usually more likely to

occur when the plants are lacking

water and dehydrated during summer.


Always ensure your frangipani are well watered during the hot summer months. In extreme cases, the cambium layer will discolour, burn and the trunks split open causing stress to the tree and reducing the trees ability to draw food and nutrients from the roots. Leaves often get burned from the sun as well during hot weather events.

Ring barking

Ring barking frangipani plants & trees

can happen really easily and can kill 

all frangipani trees including fully 

grown mature trees. Whipper snippers 

usually to blame as the cord damages the soft cambium layer very easily and continued damage will kill the tree. Trees planted in the lawn are mostly affected.

Recommended Treatment - Prevention!! The best way to prevent ring barking the tree is to use a lawn guard like these concrete half circles. See photo to the left. Available at most garden centres.

Assassin bugs

Assassin bugs are predatory bugs

that hunt insects. They do not eat the

plants and are considered good bugs.

These bugs do however have a painful bite so it is highly recommended not to pick them up or touch them. We leave them alone and in turn they protect our plants from the bad bugs.

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Mealy bugs

Mealy bugs tend to be prevalent on 

the underside of leaves. These soft 

bodied insects like to congregate and 

make quite a mess. Check underneath leaves regularly for infestations.


Recommended treatment - spray with Sydney Frangipani mite spray and repeat spray after two weeks.  

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White flies

White flies generally like to breed in

greenhouse conditions. They are easily

controlled by spraying with our own

Sydney Frangipani mite spray.


Good ventilation will also discourage them. Thinning out the leaves and branches will help.

Recommended treatment - spray with Sydney Frangipani mite spray and repeat spray after two weeks.  


Who would have thought that I would                   have to add a segment on aphids for

frangipani but it happened this on quite

a few of our frangipani plants this season, so here's the best treatment - spray the infested plant leaves on both sides with our mite spray to kill all aphids and nymphs. Sydney Frangipani mite spray is also non toxic and safe to use around pets. Sydney Frangipani mite spray is effective on most sap sucking soft bodied insects and is available in our online store.

Weed poison drift

Thin, skinny malformed leaves are usually 

a sign of poison spray drift. Weed killers 

and other grass or yard poisons can bring

on this condition. This condition usually fixes itself over time. Remove malformed leaves and feed with a natural non chemical fertiliser and water regularly in the growing season. Also, it's worth checking what type of sprays are being used in the area and avoid further use in the future. Weed sprays containing glyphosate are usually to blame. 


Borers are larvae from large wood boring

moths. Best treatment is to look for holes 

that seem to be filled or plugged with 

sawdust. Best way to treat is to remove the affected limb if possible and seal the tree wound with Sydney Frangipani Plumeria Repair Paste.

Shrek ears

This is an interesting occurrence and is 

nothing to be concerned with. This is a 

genetic trail of the traditional white and 

yellow frangipani. Small leaflets or shrek ears appear on the leaf stems randomly. This is a handy thing to know when trying to identify cuttings. We have not seen any other plumeria varieties do this unusual leaf formation to date with the exception of Bali whirl as it's a sport mutation from the white and yellow frangipani.


Grasshoppers are a nuisance mostly

but in large numbers they can do a bit

of damage to leaves. Not particularly

a problem in Sydney. 

Recommended treatment - catch and release somewhere else perhaps : ) or if you have chooks

they might find them quite tasty.

Wavy leaves

No, its not a new variety that you

have discovered : ) Wavy leaves are

caused by a lack of water. Well, you might say that's 

impossible because you water every day! Well here

are the causes of a lack of water take up. 1) Soil has become hydrophobic and the plant needs repotting. 

2) Plant is too small for the pot and needs a bigger pot. 3) More frequent watering is required during the 

growing season. 4) The roots may have rotted and water is no longer being absorbed by the plant. 

In most cases repotting into new soil and a bigger pot

and frequent watering will fix the problem however,

the wavy leaves will stay wavy but the new leaves will be straight. Just remember, when your leaves are waving at you they need water : )

Copyright Sydney Frangipani Pty Ltd 2020
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