The native frangipani, Hymenopsporum flavum, is a beautiful rainforest tree that is native to coastal areas in Queensland and northern New South Wales, as well as New Guinea.
It is widely grown in home gardens in frost free temperate to warm areas, producing masses of sweetly scented flowers from mid spring and into early summer. When the flowers emerge they’re creamy white and age to buttery yellow, and there will be a beautiful combination of white and yellow flowers covering the tree at once.
Native frangipanis have glossy green leaves and can reach up to 20 m tall in a warm protected spot, but in more exposed areas will usually grow to around 10 m tall and 5 m wide. The flowers are very attractive to nectar feeding birds as well as bees, providing them both with a valuable source of food.
Native frangipanis can be prone to attack by scale insects (pictured above), which can infest both the stems and foliage. This can lead to yellowing leaves and the development of sooty mould, which is a black, ash like fungus that grows on the sweet honeydew that sap sucking scale insects excrete and can cover stems and leaves. Scale can significantly affect the health of the tree, leaving it looking absolutely miserable.
Scale insects can be effectively controlled with an oil based spray like PestOil. Cover as much of the native frangipani as possible (a step ladder might come in handy if the tree is large – be careful up there!), ensuring stems and both upper and lower leaf surfaces are covered. Several sprays a few weeks apart may be required and dead scale can remain on the plant for a few weeks after spraying. Once the scale are controlled, any sooty mould will gradually disappear.
Australian native plants like native frangipani should be fed each spring and autumn with Yates Dynamic Lifter Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser. It’s a rich organic plant food that’s ideal for feeding Australian native plants, providing them with a gentle source of slow release organic nutrients to promote healthy leaf growth and lots of beautiful flowers.