How To Keep Plumeria Trees Small

Small plumeria trees are ideal for urban gardens, but how do you keep your plumeria small?

In this article I’ll show you how to plant, prune and care for plumerias to keep them small and compact.

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small plumeria tree

Plumerias, also known as frangipanis, are beautiful tropical trees with bright, fragrant flowers.

They grow best in warm, tropical climates but they can also be grown in pots and overwintered indoors in cooler climates.

Plumeria trees can grow up to 30 feet (9 metres) tall but you can keep them to a compact, manageable size with regular pruning. [1]

Dwarf plumerias

Most dwarf plumerias grow to around 12 feet (3.5 metres) tall so they’re great for small gardens.

Dwarf Pink Singapore (Plumeria obtusa) also known as petite pink, is one of the most popular dwarf plumeria varieties and it only grows about 3 feet (1 metre) tall.

It’s evergreen with light pink, fragrant, pinwheel-shaped flowers.

Dwarf Watermelon, also known as Cherry Clusters isn’t a true dwarf but it’s very compact and perfect for growing in a container.

It blooms early and late in the season with beautiful pink flowers that have a sweet strawberry fragrance.

plumeria flowers on a tree

Planting plumerias in pots

Potted plumerias are ideal for sunny courtyards, decks and balconies.

You can plant any variety of plumeria in containers because the pot will prevent them growing to their full size.

Choose a large pot that has plenty of drainage holes in the bottom and use a potting mix that is easily draining to prevent the soil becoming waterlogged.

Caring for plumerias in pots is fairly easy, just make sure the pot is situated in a spot that receives at least six hours of sun during the day.

Placing the pot on a plant stand with wheels makes it much easier to move it around to catch the sun.

Plumerias need plenty of water during spring and summer while they’re actively growing but it’s good to let the soil dry out slightly between waterings to prevent root and stem rot.

Potted plumerias need to be fertilized regularly to bloom so use a liquid fertilizer every two to three weeks during spring and summer.

Once the temperature starts to cool down in fall you can stop fertilizing, cut back on the watering and move your plant indoors if you live in a cool climate.

white frangipani flowers

Pruning plumerias to keep them small

Plumerias planted in the garden can grow 18 to 24 inches (45 to 60 cm) a year so regular pruning is essential to keep them small and compact.

The best time to prune plumerias is early spring but you can remove diseased branches at any time of the year to keep the tree healthy.

Trimming the top of the tree helps to limit the height of the tree and encourages new branches to grow at the sides of the tree to give it a fuller shape.

Potted plumerias are slower growing than trees planted in the garden but they’ll also benefit from a yearly prune to keep their size small.

pink plumeria tree

So there are my tips for keeping frangipani trees small and compact.

Even if you can’t find a dwarf plumeria you can still grow a regular plumeria tree in a small garden by planting it in a pot or pruning it hard every year if it’s out in the garden.


Have you tried growing a plumeria tree in a small garden? Let me know in the comments below.

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Kelly Martin

Hi, I'm Kelly Martin, a landscape gardener and designer with over 10 years experience. I have a passion for small space gardening and I love designing and creating beautiful outdoor spaces that maximize the potential of small urban gardens. Read more

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Susan

    I have a Plumeria tree which is about 8 feet tall. Will pruning make it stop growing because it’s getting too big for my house.

    1. Kelly Taylor

      Hi Susan, yes if you trim it regularly you can keep it to a smaller size

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