- Plumeria Pruning Info: How And When To Prune A Plumeria
- Plumeria Care and Pruning
- How and When to Prune a Plumeria
- Plumeria Care
- How to take care of your Plumeria / Frangipani
- SUN REQUIREMENTS
- WATER REQUIREMENTS
- INSECTS & DISEASE
- WINTER STORAGE
- Plumeria Care Regimen
- Before your spring growing season
- Removing damaged branches and roots
- Checking and Spraying tips for insects
- Plumeria waking up from Dormancy
- Re-potting or adding soil
- First fertilizing – Granular
- Foliage Fertilizing – Throughout the growing season
- Plumeria Cutting Propagation – How To Grow Plumeria Cuttings
- Plumeria Cutting Propagation
- Growing Plumeria from a Cutting
- Plumeria Propagation Methods
- When To Take Plumeria Cuttings
- How To Cut Plumerias For Propagating
- How To Grow Plumeria From Cuttings
- How To Care For Plumeria Cuttings
- How Long Does It Take Plumeria Cuttings To Root
- Transplanting Plumeria Cuttings
- Where To Buy Plumeria Cuttings
Plumeria Pruning Info: How And When To Prune A Plumeria
While plumerias normally need very little pruning, they can get quite tall and untidy if not kept properly maintained. In addition to good care, some plumeria pruning info may be necessary.
Plumeria Care and Pruning
Plumeria (common name frangipani) is a small tree that grows around 30 feet (9 m.) high. It is native to tropical America and is very common in Hawaii. The leaves are glossy and pale green, while flowers are pale-colored and form a pretty pinwheel shape. They can be white, red, yellow, or pink and are often used to make leis, keeping for days.
This tree loves hot and dry locations, so full sun and well-draining soil is a must. It does have some wind and salt resistance, though, so it can grow near the sea with few problems. Plumeria should be fertilized every three months for best flower production.
Trim after blooming to promote healthy growth. It also needs some pruning to help maintain its size and keep it healthy.
How and When to Prune a Plumeria
Pruning plumeria can help keep the
tree to a smaller size and help remove dead and diseased branches. Many gardeners wonder when is the best time to prune plumerias.
When pruning a healthy tree to maintain size, it is important to prune only in the winter or early spring to avoid causing damage to the blooming cycle. Trimming off dead or diseased branches can be done at any time of the year and will not affect the blooms or harm the health of the tree.
Pick the right tools to use for pruning. A sharp knife works great for smaller branches. Sharp pruning shears are good for medium-size limbs. Pruning saws are good for branches that are more than 3 inches (7.5 cm.) in diameter. Keep your tools as sharp as possible to make even and clean cuts. Jagged, unclean cuts invite infection to the tree. Sterilize the blade of your tools after each cut. This will help prevent any disease spread, even if your tree is healthy. Rubbing alcohol is the best thing to use for sterilizing.
Picking the proper location to trim is very important so you do not over or under trim the tree. If your tree is long and lanky and you want it to take on a fuller look, trim tall branches. Simply make a cut to remove the top branches. Only remove what you have too; don’t overdo it.
Trimming the top off will encourage new branches to form on the side of the tree. Take a large branch that has 3 or 4 other branches protruding from it. Make the cut about 1 foot (30 cm.) above the branching point. Don’t just trim for looks, trim for the health of the tree as well.
When removing dead or diseased limbs, take special precautions. Cut off any dead branch at the location of the problem. After cutting, you should see clean white sap oozing out. This is a sign of a healthy tree. If you do not see any oozing, you may need to cut the branch back further. Remember to keep tools sterile and dispose of the trimmed branches to prevent problems from spreading.
How to take care of your Plumeria / Frangipani
Plumeria, also known as Frangipani or Hawaiian lei flower, is an exotic tropical plant that is easy to grow. It can be easily maintained as a small tree grown in a container on the patio or in the garden. Plumeria require at least 6 to 8 hours of sun to produce blooms. Mature plants bloom from May through November, depending on where you live and the length of your growing season.
Plumerias love sun, the more the better. Six to Eight hours of full blazing sun is necessary for best blooming. Plumerias will not produce bloom stems (inflorescences) without adequate sun exposure. Full sun (sunup to sundown) is BEST.
Plumeria need water, but can withstand extended periods of being dry. Small pots may need to be watered daily, while Large pots or those in the ground may not need it as often, whatever works best for you. They get used to the conditions they find themselves in. If in doubt, drier is better than wetter. Never use a saucer under your plants. Purchase a moisture meter and check your plants often until you get to know their water needs in your yard. Plumeria love water but they need to dry out between watering.
Time released fertilizers are now available that deliver fertilizer over 6-9 months, which may be applied one or twice a year depending on your growing season. You may feed your plumerias with a balanced fertilizer with micronutrients, such as Excalibur 11-11-13 or similar. A consistent feeding program with a even number fertilizer will produce vigorous plants with large showy clusters of flowers. Foliar feeding helps with bloom production and may be used every 2-3 weeks from Spring through September. Stop fertilizing your plants about 45 days before your dormancy period starts. Avoid fertilizers high in Nitrogen (the first number) to maintain compact growth. High Nitrogen fertilizers will cause tall lanky growth and less flowers.
INSECTS & DISEASE
Plumerias have very few problems. Spider Mites, White Flies, Mealy Bugs and Scale will attack plants left too dry and/or in too much shade. Spray with liquid dishwashing soap (Dawn, Sunlight, etc.) at 1-2 tablespoons/gallon or chemicals suggested for these insects. Plumerias occasionally get a “rust” fungus on the leaves in the fall, but it is rarely very harmful because the plants start to lose their leaves about the same time. “Rust” is always the result of not enough air circulation combined with too much moisture on the leaves.
Basically, DON’T LET THEM FREEZE OR BE EXPOSED TO FROST. Plumeria go dormant in winter, and may be stored in a garage, closet, green-house, etc. They need no water or sunlight during this period — typically when night temps are consistently below 50 degrees. This will vary in different parts of the country. They may be stored in their pots (best) or bare-rooted for plants which are dug out of the ground.
Plumeria Care Regimen
I would like to share our vision of the best Plumeria care regimen for all plumeria growers. I hope the following helps you with your goals and plans for the year.
The goal is to know what, when and why, so you can improve every year by giving your plumeria the best growing conditions. Making a plan and documenting all adjustments will allow you to look back and hopefully determine where you can make improvements.
At the beginning of each season, we examine what we did last year and try to determine how we can improve our methods and products. The following is an outline for our Plumeria Care Regimen at Florida Colors Nursery. Please keep in mind your growing environment and how it differs from our Zone 10B in South Florida. The start of your plan should correspond to when you are past the threat of a frost or freeze. You should also make a plan to protect you plumeria from cold weather, just in case you get caught.
Before your spring growing season
When: At the beginning of your growing season or before you modify your soil or add nutrients.
What: I highly suggest getting a Soil Test to determine what nutrients your soil has or doesn’t have. The more you know about your soil and environment the better decisions you can make about caring for your plumeria.
How: Your local agriculture office or local nursery can perform soil tests. There are also commercial companies and self-test kits available.
Why: The soil test will indicate what nutrients are present and if they are locked up. A too high or too low pH will make it difficult or impossible for your Plumeria to absorb nutrients efficiently.
Removing damaged branches and roots
When: Before putting them out for spring.
What: Start by checking your plumeria for signs of insects, branch or root rot, soft branches, bent branches or broken branches.
How: Cut all damaged branches until you see all white when possible. Trim roots until you see white or green.
Why: Remove dead, damaged and diseased branches and roots to help prevent insect & decay organisms from entering the plumeria. Eliminate crossing branches to prevent damage caused by their rubbing against each other.
Checking and Spraying tips for insects
When: Before putting them out for spring from storage or as leaves and blooms start to grow
Greenhouses & pots, you should have been controlling pest all winter. But it is still a good idea to treat before taking out. I suggest you spray two weeks before taking them out and again right after taking out for Spring.
In the ground, I suggest you start spraying as soon as you see the leaves emerging. (Do not spray in direct sunlight or on dehydrated plants)
What: Suggest – Summit Year-Round Spray Oil
How: Spray or mist to cover the entire plant.
Why: By treating with Year-Round Spray Oil or similar you kill the insects and eggs. Giving your plants a good healthy start. Horticultural oil controls insects without synthetic chemicals. Mites including Rust Mite / Spider Mite (also eggs), Scales including Black Scale, California Red Scale, Whitefly and Blackfly (also eggs), Sooty Mold.
Plumeria waking up from Dormancy
When: As soon as you see the sign of your plumeria waking up and if the weather allows.
What: Soak your plumeria roots with a mixture of water, root activator (Carl Pools Root Activator) and a bio stimulate (Vitazyme) to help give them a kick-start.
What we suggest: A mixture of Vitazyme and Carl Pool’s Root Activator.
How: Soak your bare rooted plants for about 1 hour. Soak your potted plants from bottom up or drench. Drench you’re in ground plants with 1 to 2 gals.
Why: A bio stimulate (Vitazyme) helps the overall health of the plants and the root activator (Carl Pool Root Activator) give the roots a kick-start with what they need to wake up and start growing.
Watering – Water heavy for the first two days and water heavy every other day for the first week. After that water as needed.
Re-potting or adding soil
When: In the Spring or when they outgrow their pots or when they need additional soil.
What: An excellent well-balanced and well-draining soil. I prefer to use soils without fertilizers and a good decomposed natural mulch without additives.
What we suggest: A good soil mixture is 1/3 Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss, 1/3 Coir and 1/3 Perlite (horticultural grade). Or potting soil with a little extra Perlite added or a similar soil mix.
How: The goal is to provide new soil to add back washed away nutrients to the roots. Gently shake off as much of the old soil as possible and fill in with fresh soil. Water in well and add more soil as needed. For re-potting we add decomposed natural mulch, 1”-2” in the bottom and 1”-2” on top of pots depending on the pot size. This adds some organic matter as it decomposes and helps keep the weeds out and moisture in.
Why: Fresh soil provides aeration, retains moisture and adds back nutrients that were washed out or used up by the plants. Over time, the organic materials that the soil mix is made will break down and decompose to the point where you will lose the drainage and aeration properties that are inherent in container media. When that happens, discard the old soil to the compost pile or to the garden and refill the container with fresh soil mix.
Mulching – Use decomposed mulch to add nutrients and organic matter. The mulch on the top also helps keep weeds down and helps retain moisture. In the ground, cover the ground with natural mulch partially decomposed up to 12” deep each year. If you use fresh mulch, the decomposition will rob your plants of nitrogen.
Watering – Always water well for the next two or three days.
First fertilizing – Granular
When: At the beginning of the growing season
What: Use a balanced granular controlled release fertilizer with micro-nutrients.
What we suggest: Excalibur VI (6 months) and IX (9 months) with an NPK of 11-11-13 and micro-nutrients designed specifically for Plumeria or a similar fertilizer
How: Cover the fertilizer with 1″-2″ of soil and water well.
Why: Granular fertilizer is designed to feed your plumeria from the roots, from the bottom up. Healthy roots are the key to producing healthy plants. We have found that a balanced NPK fertilizer with micro-nutrients produce healthy growth, promotes blooming, bloom size and seed production. It is essential to use a balanced fertilizer not high in nitrogen, phosphorus or potassium. A balanced fertilizer with micro-nutrients will also help correct nutrient deficiencies.
Foliage Fertilizing – Throughout the growing season
When: From every two weeks to every month.
What: A Balanced fertilizer with micro-nutrients.
What we suggest: Bioblast with micro-nutrients and an NPK of 7-7-7. We also spray with Vitazyme every time we spray.
How: Foliage feeding in the early morning or late evening, avoid applying in hot sunshine.
Why: Foliage feeding is used to get the nutrients to the leaves and branches faster, but doesn’t last as long as granular fertilizers. Used to improve the overall health from the top down and give the leaves and blooms a quick shot of nutrients during stressful times.
Plumeria trees are tropical and therefore must have conditions at least approximating tropical/subtropical in order to flourish. Plumeria do best in full sun with at least a half day’s sun exposure to bloom properly. They do well when potted in an appropriate size pot to the size of the tree in well drained soil. The appropriate sized pot acts as a ballast for the tree so that it does not blow over in a breeze. The following is a list of items important to growing plumeria:
- AS MUCH SUN AS POSSIBLE FOR WELL ROOTED PLANTS OTHER THAN IN DESERT ZONES
- FERTILIZER HIGH IN PHOSPHORUS (NPK MIDDLE NUMBER)
- WATER SOLUBLE FERTILIZER SHOULD HAVE A PHOSPHORUS CONTENT OF 50 OR HIGHER
- GRANULAR FERTILIZER SHOULD HAVE A PHOSPHORUS CONTENT OF 20 OR HIGHER
- PLANT IN A WELL DRAINED SOIL
- MAKE SURE THE DRAIN HOLES IN THE POT ARE NOT CLOGGED, SO EXCESS WATER CAN DRAIN
- PLUMERIA MAY BE GROWN INDOORS WITH GROW LIGHTS
- PLUMERIA DO WELL IN SCREENED POOL CAGES IF THE CAGE IS IN FULL SUN
- WHEN ROOTING PLUMERIA SUBMERGE NO MORE THAN 3 INCHES INTO THE SOIL FOR A 12″ TO 16″ CUTTING
- DO NOT WATER PLUMERIA WHILE THEY ARE ROOTING
- THE ROOTING PROCESS SHOULD TAKE 5 TO 6 WEEKS IN LATE SPRING AND SUMMER
- ROOTING PLUMERIA IS SUCCESSFUL AT MINIMUM TEMPERATURES OF 60 DEGREES
- YOU MAY USE ROOTING HORMONE IF YOU WISH, IN MOST CASES IT IS NOT NECESSARY
- DARK REDS AND SINGAPORES ARE THE MOST DIFFICULT TO ROOT
- BEGIN SLIGHT WATERING OF A ROOTING PLUMERIA WHEN THE LEAVES ARE WELL DEVELOPED
- ONCE THE LEAF HEAD HAS FULLY DEVELOPED YOU CAN WATER NORMALLY
- REGARDLESS OF POPULAR OPINION PLUMERIA LIKE WATER, JUST NOT TOO MUCH
- WATERING SCHEDULE DEPENDS ON THE TIME OF YEAR
- THE HOTTER THE WEATHER THE MORE WATER IS NECESSARY TO KEEP LUSH GREEN FOLIAGE
- IF A BUD IS PRESENT IN A PLUMERIA CUTTING, IT MAY VERY WELL BLOOM WHILE ROOTING
- WHEN DORMANT (WINTER, DECEMBER THRU FEBRUARY/MARCH), DO NOT WATER
- REMOVE AND COLD DAMAGE IMMEDIATELY (CUT UNTIL CENTER IS WHITE
- BEGIN WATERING AND FERTILIZING AT THE FIRST SIGN OF THE GROWTH TIP COMING TO LIFE (IT BECOMES WET LOOKING)
- PLUMERIA ARE HARDY TO 33 DEGREES
- IF GROWN INSIDE OR IN A GREENHOUSE, PLUMERIA ARE SUBJECT TO (WHITEFLIES, SPIDERMITES, & MEALY BUGS)
- THEY ALL CAN BE CONTROLLED WITH WEEKLY APPLICATIONS OF INSECTICIDAL SOAP
- ROOTBOUND PLUMERIA BLOW OVER IN A SLIGHT WIND, REPOT OR ROOT PRUNE
- ESTABLISHED PLUMERIA TREES, GROWING IN THE GROUND CAN TOLERATE LOW WATER CONDITIONS (XERISCAPE)
- PLUMERIA MAY BE PRUNED MOST ANY TIME OF THE YEAR, BUT WINTER IS OPTIMUM
- DO NOT EXPECT FLOWERS FOR SEVERAL YEARS ON LIMBS OF SMALL TREES WHICH HAVE BEEN PRUNED
- LARGE ESTABLISHED TREES ARE CAPABLE OF BLOOMING THE SAME YEAR THEY ARE PRUNED
- PLUMERIA GROWN FROM SEED DO NOT NECESSARILY HOLD TRUE TO THE PARENT
- ON AVERAGE, A SEEDLING WILL NOT BLOOM UNTIL IT IS 3 YEARS OLD
- CUTTINGS ARE FAR AND AWAY THE BEST METHOD OF STARTING PLUMERIA
- POTTING SOIL OR PERLITE OR A COMBINATON THEREOF ARE GOOD FOR ROOTING CUTTINGS
- FOR THOSE IN DESERT REGIONS OR EXCESS HEAT, (HIGH 90’S AND ABOVE), BE MINDFUL TO NOT EXPOSE CUTTINGS TO DIRECT SUN ALL DAY. THIS WILL LEAD TO “SCORCH” AND POSSIBLE DEATH TO A CUTTING OR PLANT PLANTS GROWING IN POTS ON CONCRETE OR DECKS WILL OBVIOUSLY REQUIRE GREATER HYDRATION
- GREAT FOR CONTROL OF RUST ON PLUMERIA IS
Blooming plumeria as a small landscape tree in Malaga, Spain.
Plumeria is a genus of eleven species of shrubs and small trees in the dogbane family (Apocynaceae) native to tropical America from Brazil to Mexico and the Caribbean. With common names of plumeria and frangipani, a few species and hybrids are grown as ornamentals in tropical and sub-tropical areas worldwide for the attractive and fragrant flowers. The name frangipani comes from the name of a 16th century Italian nobleman who created a perfume with a similar scent. Now commonly naturalized in Asia and Pacific Islands, they are often planted in cemeteries or around both Hindu and Buddhist temples. There are hundreds of named varieties. The different species have distinct forms and growth habits. P. rubra is the national flower of Nicaragua, while P. alba is the national flower of Laos (despite being an introduced plant there).
Plumeria have widely spaced, thick succulent but brittle branches with thin grey bark and a milky sap that can irritate the eyes and cause dermatitis in susceptible individuals. Elongate leathery or fleshy leaves are borne in clusters near the branch tips.
When nearly leafless (L) the spacing of the branches and the grey-barked stems (LC) are more apparent. Each stem terminates with a cluster of leaves (RC and R).
The alternate leaves may be round or pointed on the tips, smooth or corrugated, and glossy or dull green. Depending on the species or cultivar, plumeria plants may be upright and compact, or open and sprawling. There are dwarf types with evergreen foliage, but the flower quality tends to not be as good. The P. rubra types are deciduous, while P. obtusa and other white-flowered species are evergreen. These plants only branch after flowering or injury.
The leaf of P. rubra (L) has a pointed tip (LC); P. obtusa (RC) has rounded leaf tips (RC); P. pudica has spoon-shaped leaves (R).
Waxy, 2- to 4-inch tubular flowers are borne in terminal clusters on the ends of the stems from early summer until fall. The five rounded overlapping petals may be broadly to narrowly oval.
Terminal buds (L) open over time (LC) from a furled bud (C) to the tubular flower (RC) with five petals (R).
Flower colors include pink, red, white, and yellow, or pastel bicolors. The flowers are very fragrant, with a scent including hints of jasmine, citrus, and gardenia. Since they are pollinated by night-flying sphinx moths, the flowers really begin to release their fragrance in the evening, but they can still have a lovely floral scent at other times. The flowers are used for making leis on many Pacific Islands. The number of flowers per cluster varies greatly, with some cultivars producing as many as 200 flowers and others as few as 50 over a period of months. The percentage of branch tips that will set flowers also varies considerably from 10-60%, with compact plants generally blooming more heavily than more leggy plants. And peak bloom time and number of subsequent flushes of flowers also varies by cultivar.
Plumeria flowers come in a diversity of shapes and colors.
If pollinated, a flower of the species can produce a two-horned seed pod. The hard, leathery, cylindrical follicles grow up to 8 inches long with pointed ends. When mature, they split along the length of the pod to release the 20-60 winged seeds, usually in early spring. Cultivars rarely produce seed pods.
A large P. rubra tree with seed pods (L, LC); the two-horned pods (C), dry pod opened with rows of seeds (RC) and the winged seeds (R).
A red-flowered cultivar as a street tree.
In warm climates plumeria are used as landscape plants where some types can grow more than 30 feet tall. In cold areas, plumeria are best grown in containers to be moved outdoors during warm weather – to be placed on porches or patios where their delightful fragrance can be enjoyed in the summer – and brought indoors when the weather cools in autumn and night temperatures drop to the 40Fs.
Plumeria is easy to grow in containers.
Plumeria need bright sun, warm temperatures, and appropriate moisture to thrive. They need well-drained soil that doesn’t dry out and doesn’t remain soggy. The more light the plant receives, the more water it needs. But over-watering may result in root rot and plant death, so allow the planting medium to dry out between waterings (and reduce the frequency of watering when temperatures are cooler). In containers use a coarse, well-draining potting medium, such as cactus mix or regular potting medium amended with pumice, poultry grit or perlite.
Place plumeria where the fragrance of the flowers can be enjoyed.
Fertilize frequently during the growing season with a high phosphorus (blossom-booster) fertilizer to encourage flowering, and do not fertilize at other times of the year. These plants don’t usually require pruning, but if it is necessary that should be done in spring before deciduous types leaf out. Plumeria have few problems, but can be infested with common greenhouse pests such as white flies and mealybugs, and are very susceptible to spider mites. Insecticidal soap can be used to control these pests. Repot as needed in late winter, either root-pruning for planting back into the same container, or replant the intact root ball in a larger container.
Plumeria is propagated from seed or stem cuttings (the only way to maintain named selections or cultivars). Take 12-18 inch cuttings of leafless stem tips in spring and allow the cut end to dry before planting in well-drained soil. It will take one to three years for cuttings to bloom and three or more years for plants grown from seed. Seed is not readily available (other than collected from a tree), and flower color and quality may not be the same as the parent tree, although white, red and yellow-flowered types generally produce seedlings of the same color as the parent (pinks and multicolored are more likely to produce seedlings in a range of colors).
Plumeria cuttings for sale (L), a branch tip cut for rooting (LC), and new leaf growth (RC and R).
The most commonly grown species of Plumeria – and hybrids of these – include:
- P. alba, white plumeria, generally has white flowers with a yellow center without any tinge of red on the buds or flower stalks. In its native Puerto Rico this plant can grow up to 40 feet tall.
- P. obtusa, commonly called Singapore plumeria but native to the islands of Cuba and Hispaniola, has white or pink flowers with very rounded petals that often are recurved at the tips, evergreen foliage, and leaves that are shiny with rounded ends. The plants tend to be smaller than other types.
- P. pudica has white or pink flowers with rounded petals and evergreen, spoon-shaped leaves that are long and thin, widening out at the end. The plant forms a profusely-branched, medium-sized tree.
- P. rubra (= P. acutifolia, P. tricolor) has red-tinged flowers, buds, or flower stalks. The numerous selections and cultivars may have white, yellow, pink, orange, red, bicolor or multicolored flowers with oval petals that may be recurved or slightly furled. The deciduous, elliptical leaves have pointed ends. They grow into rangy trees up to 25 feet tall.
- P. stenophylla has thin white flower petals with gaps between each petal and long, thin leaves on shrubby plants up to 8 feet tall.
- P. x stenopetala is a hybrid between a P. stenophylla and an unknown plumeria forming a small compact plant, with deciduous long narrow leaves and white flowers with narrow petals.
– Susan Mahr, University of Wisconsin – Madison
Plumeria Cutting Propagation – How To Grow Plumeria Cuttings
Plumeria is a tropical and subtropical flowering plant that’s very popular for its fragrance and for its use in making leis. Plumeria can be grown from seed, but it can also be propagated extremely well from cuttings. Keep reading to learn more about how to grow plumeria cuttings.
Plumeria Cutting Propagation
Rooting plumeria from cuttings is very easy. About a week before you plan to plant, you should harden off your cuttings. To do this, you can either take your cuttings from the plant or simply cut a deep notch in the spot you plan to make your cut.
Your plumeria plant cuttings should be between 12 and 18 inches long. Either way, you should wait a week after this step before you plant. This gives the newly cut ends time to callus, or harden off, which helps to prevent infection and encourage new root growth.
If you remove the cuttings from the plant straight away, store them for a week in a shady place with good air circulation.
Growing Plumeria from a Cutting
A week later, it’s time to plant your plumeria plant cuttings. Prepare a mix of 2/3 perlite and 1/3 potting soil and fill a large container. (You can also plant them directly in the ground if you live in a very warm climate).
Dip the cut end of your cuttings in a rooting hormone and sink them about halfway down into the potting mixture. You may need to tie the cuttings to stakes for support. Water your cuttings as soon as you plant them, then let them dry out for several weeks. Watering them too much at this stage can cause them to rot.
Place the containers in a spot that receives full sun or just a little bit of shade. Roots should form in 60 to 90 days.
Propagating plumerias is a great way to expand your collection, or share your favorite plant with friends. In this post, I’ll talk about different plumeria propagation methods, show you when and how to take plumeria cuttings, and then show you how to grow plumeria from a cutting, step-by-step.
Plumerias (aka frangipani plant or Hawaiian lei tree) are beautiful tropical plants. They grow to be large trees in warm climates like Hawaii, and are popular for their fragrant flowers (which are used to make leis). I brought home my first plumeria cuttings from Hawaii several years ago, and have propagated my plumerias several times over since then. It’s fun and easy!
Plumeria Propagation Methods
There are two main plumeria propagation methods you can use for growing new plants – propagation by seed or by plant cuttings. In this post, I will show you how to grow plumeria from cuttings. I’ll save the seed starting for a future post.
I know it sounds scary, but growing plumeria from cuttings is actually pretty easy. First, let’s talk about when is the best time to try it.
When To Take Plumeria Cuttings
The best time to take cuttings for plumeria propagation is during their active growing season, which is in the spring and summer. Summer is the easiest time of the year to root them too, especially when it’s warm and humid outside.
If you take cuttings too late in the summer, or in the fall as the plant is starting to go dormant for the winter, then they probably won’t take root.
Rooting Plumeria Cuttings In Winter
Plumerias go dormant during the winter, so if cuttings were taken too late they will likely stay dormant and won’t grow roots. However, if you store them correctly, you can overwinter them, and root them in the spring.
Just leave the cutting in the pot, and keep the soil completely dry all winter long. You can mist it with water every once and a while if you want, but don’t overdo it. Then in early spring, give it a good drink of water, and follow the plumeria cuttings care instructions below for growing them.
How To Cut Plumerias For Propagating
There are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind when cutting plumeria stems for rooting (and for pruning plumeria plants too). It doesn’t make a difference where you cut the stem, so it’s just a matter of how long you want to make your cuttings.
But you do want to be sure to use a sharp pair of pruners, and always sterilize them so you get a nice clean cut. Also, plumerias are very prone to tip rot, so it’s important to always make your cuts at a downward angle so that water can’t settle into the wound.
Taking plumeria cuttings for propagation
How To Grow Plumeria From Cuttings
Before you get too excited and stick your plumeria cutting directly into the dirt, there are a few steps you’ll need to take to prepare it for the best chance of success. First, remove the leaves from the cutting. This will allow it to put all of it’s energy into growing new roots, rather than supporting the leaves.
Second, be sure to allow the wound to cure (dry out) before you attempt to root it. This step is super important, so don’t skip it, otherwise your plumeria cutting will likely rot instead of growing new roots. Let it sit in a dry place until the wound is completely cured. This can take several days to over a week, so be patient, and don’t rush it.
Plumeria cutting cured and ready to propagate
Rooting Plumeria Cuttings In Water
A common question I get asked is “can I root my plumeria in water?”. The short answer is yes. However, rooting plumeria in water isn’t always a huge success. Many times, the stems will only rot when placed in water.
If you have plenty of cuttings to work with, then by all means experiment with this method! My preferred plumeria propagation method however is rooting them in soil. So, I’ll stick to that for now.
How To Root Plumeria Cuttings In Soil
When planting a plumeria cutting, it’s very important that you always use a clean pot to avoid any type of contamination.
Also, make sure you don’t use a huge pot for planting plumeria cuttings, otherwise you risk overwatering which will only cause it to rot. I use 4″ pots for rooting most of mine, and once and a while I might go up to a 6″ pot if I’m rooting a larger stems.
- Cured plumeria cuttings
- Propagation soil (I mix my own using perlite, potting soil, and coarse sand – but you can use a succulent soil mix instead)
- Plant rooting hormone
- A clean pot (I use 4″ pots for mine)
Here are the steps for how to start a plumeria cutting in soil…
Step 1: Dust the cut end with rooting hormone – Rooting hormone will help plumeria cuttings grow roots, and also speed up root formation. You can try rooting your cuttings without it, but I find that I have more success with plumeria propagation when I use it.
Dip plumeria cutting into rooting hormone
Step 2: Make a hole in the dirt – Use your finger or a pencil to make a hole in the soil where the cutting will go. If you didn’t dust the end with rooting hormone in step 1, then you don’t have to worry about this step. But making a hole in the soil first will keep the rooting hormone from rubbing off when you stick the cutting into the soil.
Step 3: Put cutting into the soil – Put the cut end into the hole you made, and then pack the soil down around the base of the stem. You want to make sure the soil comes into contact with the cutting, and that it will stay in place. The roots will grow out of the bottom of the stem, so you don’t have to plant it very deep. Just deep enough so it will stand up on it’s own.
Rooting plumeria cuttings in soil
Step 4: Wet the soil – Give the soil a good drink, until water starts coming out of the drainage holes. Allow the water to drain completely from the pot, and never allow it to sit in a tray of water. Then place your cutting in a protected, humid location, and wait for the roots to grow.
How To Care For Plumeria Cuttings
To encourage roots to grow, be sure to keep the air around your plumeria cutting humid, but the soil on the dry side. If you live in a humid climate like I do, you don’t need to do anything. Simply leave it outside in the heat and humidity, and soon it will start to grow. Just be sure to keep it out of the sun until then.
But, if you live somewhere dry, or you’re trying to root the plumeria plant cutting indoors, then it’s a good idea to mist it every couple of days with a plant sprayer to keep the humidity level high.
Just don’t water the soil, you want that to stay on the dry side. Damp soil will only cause your plumeria cutting to rot, and you don’t want that. You’ll know roots have started to grow once you see new leaves growing from the top.
Leaf growth means plumeria root system has formed
How Long Does It Take Plumeria Cuttings To Root
How long it takes for the cuttings to root depends on the environment. If it’s really dry, then it will take much longer for plumeria cuttings to root. But, if you keep them in a humid location, and give them bright light (not direct sun), then they will root much faster. In the right conditions, plumeria roots should start growing in a week or two.
Successfully rooted plumeria cutting
Transplanting Plumeria Cuttings
Once your cutting starts growing and has a few mature leaves on it, then you know it’s safe to pot it up. You certainly don’t need to worry about repotting plumeria cuttings right away, you can leave them in the small pot until they become pot-bound if you’d rather.
The best potting soil for plumeria plants is a porous mix, and they should always be planted in a pot that has drainage holes. They do not like to be overwatered, so it’s super important to make sure to use a fast draining plumeria potting mix. You can use succulent potting soil, or make your own plumeria potting soil by mixing coarse sand and perlite or pumice with general potting soil.
Once your new baby plumeria has become established in it’s pot, you can start fertilizing it to encourage flowers! Plumeria plants can flower starting their first year! You can use tropical plant fertilizer specifically made for plumerias and other tropical plants. Otherwise, some of the best fertilizer for plumeria plants are compost tea (you can get in liquid form, or buy compost tea bags to brew your own), fish emulsion or liquid kelp (don’t use these two indoors though because they are a bit stinky).
Learn how to grow a plumeria plant in my detailed plumeria plant care guide!
New plant after propagating plumeria from cuttings
Where To Buy Plumeria Cuttings
If you’re ever in Hawaii, you can find plumeria cuttings for sale all over the place. But if not, don’t worry, it’s also pretty easy to find plumeria cuttings for sale online (I bought this red plumeria cutting last year, and it’s growing great!). If you want to purchase them online, just be sure to order plumeria cuttings in the spring or summer for best results.
Plumeria propagation by cuttings sounds like it would be really hard, but it’s actually pretty easy when you follow these steps. They grow really fast too, so once you get the hang of it, you’ll have plenty of new plants to share with friends!
If you want to learn how to multiply any type of plant you can get your hands on, then my Plant Propagation Made Easy eBook is for you! It has everything you need to know in order to start propagating your favorite plants right away.
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Share your plumeria propagation tips in the comments section below.