When to transplant plumeria?

  • Water the garden plants to be dug and/or transplanted the day before you plan to lift them. This ensures that the whole plant will be hydrated, roots, leaves and all when it’s time to transplant. Make it a good, deep soaking so the roots can take up as much water as possible. (This will also make it easier for you to dig. A nice bonus.)
  • If you are planting something you received plant bare-root, allow the roots to soak in a bucket of water for a couple of hours.
  • Dig and/or transplant when it is overcast or during the cooler evening hours. This will give the plant the entire night to get adjusted in its new spot before being exposed to the heat and bright light of the day. This is especially important when transplanting small seedlings.
  • Water the plant again immediately before digging or removing from its pot. You want the soil around the rootball the well-saturated so that the soil will adhere to the roots when it is dug from the garden. This prevents the roots from being exposed to drying winds.
  • Never leave the roots exposed to sun, heat or wind. It’s tempting to remove all plants from their pots and place them where you want them to go in the garden, but roots will desiccate quickly. Remove each plant just before planting.
  • Water the hole before you place the transplant into it. You want the soil so saturated it turns to mud. This is sometimes referred to as puddling.
  • Place the transplant into the hole, fill it halfway with soil and then water again. Allow the water to settle the soil around the roots and then finish filling the hole.
  • Lightly firm the soil around the transplant. You want to close any air pockets in the soil, but you don’t need to press so hard that you compact the soil. Let the water settle things rather than stomping with your foot.
  • Once again, water the whole plant, leaves and all. This probably sounds like too much water, but you would be surprised how much water can evaporate during the planting process. If you are working on a cool, still, overcast day, you can get away with a little less water, but never skip the final watering once the plant is in the ground.
  • If possible, shield the new transplant from direct sunlight for 3 to 5 days. Use a floating row cover or lean a board in front of the transplant to block the direct sun.

Repotting and Transplanting

My many years of experience have proven that repotting plants increases health potential and overall plant growth. There is nothing complicated about moving or repotting plants unless they are enormous. A large tree, for example, will require professional help, but the principles are still the same.

Potting Plants
The health of a potted plant will start to deteriorate if it has out-grown its container. Roots trailing from the bottom of the pot, leaf drop, and depleted soil are signs that the plant needs repotting. One or two pot sizes larger will usually be sufficient. Don’t be too eager to repot everything. Some plants (especially ferns) actually prefer slightly cramped conditions and many flowering plants bloom more prolifically if they are a little root-bound.

Before repotting, water the plant well. When the water has drained away, invert the pot, lightly tapping the sides to release the mass of roots. Add Dr. Earth Potting Soil® to the new pot, and then insert the plant so that it sits at the same surface level as before. Add Dr. Earth® Starter Fertilizer to the potting mix for maximum transplant success. Surround the plant with some more soil mix and firm in. Water the plant well.

Garden Plants
Plants established in the garden may also need moving if they have outgrown their site or are unhappy in a particular position. If possible, try to move them when they are dormant (usually in winter), avoiding extreme weather. If you have to move plants in summer, they will benefit from some temporary shade while they reestablish themselves. Cover the plant with some lightweight fabric and apply Dr. Earth® Planting Mix as mulch to protect the roots.

When moving a medium sized tree or shrub, it is best to break-up the project into a few sessions. Water the ground thoroughly, and then loosen the soil in a wide circle around the plant. Leave it for a few days then repeat the process, gradually digging deeper until it is possible to lift out the root mass. Always use a sharp spade, and if roots look ragged or bruised, re-trim them cleanly.

If you have to move a plant some distance to a new site, wrap its root ball in a piece of plastic or burlap. Plants that are difficult to handle can be pruned before transplanting. Prune them back by up to one-third to reduce the shock to their root system. Immediately transfer the plant to its new hole, adding fresh Dr. Earth® Planting Mix and Dr. Earth® Starter Fertilizer. Firm the soil around the plant and water in well.

If the plant is to have a period in a pot before it is planted, then choose a container only slightly larger than the root ball. Fill any gaps between the roots and the sides of the container with potting soil, then water well, both before and after potting. Only feed if the pot-bound period is to be an extended one.

A certain amount of transplant shock is almost inevitable with a mature specimen. Reactions can vary. The plant may look a bit weedy, or it may drop its leaves. If the latter happens, treat it with consideration, don’t let it dry out or drown. It should recover with time.

Seedlings are easy to transplant, as they haven’t had time to develop an extensive root system. If they have been grown in groups, separate them by gently pulling them apart, or if they have delicate roots, cut them apart with a sharp knife. Make a small hole in the ground, and then position the plants, firming the soil gently around them. Water the seedlings in well and ensure they are kept moist until they become established.

Indoor seedlings may need hardening off before transplanting. Place them in a sheltered place outside for a few hours each day, gradually increasing exposure to full sun and night temperatures over a few weeks.

Seedlings in the garden can be reestablished in a new site that better fits your garden scheme. Dig them out carefully, retaining as much accompanying soil as possible, then plant them as above. Remember to feed every plant that is moved with Dr. Earth® Fertilizer. This will help to reduce transplant shock, increase transplant success, and ensure that your plants are off to a great start.

Taken from a presentation by Ron Killian at the February 2009 Society Meeting

Pruning Guidelines

Ron prunes when the growth habit of a plant forces him to. For example, a Jeannie Moragne Plumeria is often a tall, single stalk. To demonstrate his techniques, Ron brought a Mary Nicholson Plumeria, a white that flowers all year. The plant he brought was getting too heavy on one side and would require extensive staking.

When talking cuttings, longer is better. Shorter cuttings have less energy and are therefore more difficult to root. Danny Kashou interjected that taking a cutting can encourage a plant to branch in an area where the tree hasn’t branched before if five to six inches are left on the plant. Ron stressed that people need to consider the time of year before cutting to stimulate branches. Early in the season, odds are better for the plant to branch; later in the year, the plant may not have enough energy.

Be sure not to create any recesses on the plants that will collect water. After making cuts, seal cuts with lime paste or DAP, available at home improvement stores. Bud Guillot uses plumeria blossoms to seal cuts, pressed firmly over the cut.

Repotting Instructions

Then Ron demonstrated repotting on a Penang Peach. First, he turned the pot upside-down and removed the plant. He pulled all the soil off to expose the roots. At home, he would hose the roots with a fine, hard spray to wash all the soil off the roots. Ron uses scissors to root prune his plants. This removes any poor roots, spurs new growth, and allows him to keep a plant in the same size pot.

Moving Plumeria Plants : How And When To Move A Plumeria

Plumeria, or frangipani, is a fragrant tropical plant that is often used as an ornamental in warm region gardens. Plumeria can develop into large bushes with extensive root systems. Transplanting mature plants may be difficult due to their size and the root mass, but transplanting a plumeria cutting is easy provided you get the soil mixture correct. Knowing when to move a plumeria is also an important aspect. We’ll go over some tips on how to transplant plumeria, whether cuttings or established plants.

Moving Plumeria Plants

Established plants may suddenly no longer fit where they were growing. If a mature plant needs to be moved, plan a season ahead. At this time, cut around the root mass to sever some of the larger roots – also known as root pruning. This will stimulate new root growth, but roots will be easier to manage the next year when the plant is moved.

Moving plumeria plants that are large can take a couple of gardeners. The season after cutting the roots, water the plant well the day before transplant. Spring is when to move a plumeria, because the plant is just beginning active growing and it will be less

likely to suffer from shock when lifted.

Dig around the root zone and lift the plant onto a tarp. Wrap the tarp around the roots to keep moisture in. Prepare the new bed by digging a hole twice as wide and deep as the root mass. Fill the bottom of the hole with loose soil in a cone shape and settle the roots on top of this. Back fill and press soil around the roots. Water the plant in well.

How to Transplant Plumeria Cuttings

Cuttings are the most common method of propagation because they establish quickly and the new plants are true to the parent. If all goes well, new cuttings are ready to transplant in 30 to 45 days. The cutting should have several pairs of true leaves prior to moving.

If you are simply moving the plant to a larger container, a nice cactus soil will provide a good growth medium. In-ground planting spaces need to be amended with compost and plenty of grit to keep soil porous.

Gently loosen the soil around the cutting and remove it from the pot, being careful not to damage the small roots. Situate the cutting in the container at the same height and depth at which it was growing and fill around with the cactus soil. In-ground plants should be installed in a hole that is twice as deep and wide but then filled to just accommodate the roots. This looser region allows the plant roots to easily spread as they grow.

Care After Transplanting a Plumeria

Once plumeria transplanting is complete, the plant will need to be well watered to settle the soil. Do not water again until soil is dry.

Place newly potted cuttings in a sunny location with some protection from the hottest rays of the day. After 30 days, fertilize with 10-50-10 ratio fertilizer. Water this in well. Spread fine bark mulch around the base of the plant to prevent weeds and moisture loss.

Cuttings may require staking at the outset. Once rooting has established, the stake may be removed. Larger plants should be pruned the next year after blooming. This will help open the interior, increasing air and minimizing disease and pests.

Feed plumeria once annually at the beginning of the growing season. This will encourage the beautiful, scented blooms and healthy, glossy foliage.

How to Repot Plumeria

Plumeria is fragrant, beautiful and hardy. Growing a plumeria shrub outdoors may be more feasible for some, however others may want to plant your plumeria indoors in a container, in order to better control the environment and protect the plant from the winter cold.

Step 1 – Identify The Need For Repotting

As with other plants, growing a plumeria in a container poses one major problem: Limits. The plant’s root system is very literally bound by the pot, which means the roots can grow in a spiral around the pot, tangled up in each other, or even out of the pot. In some cases you may even see the roots growing out of the drainage holes!

These signs are how you can tell whether or not your plumeria needs to be repotted. If any of these symptoms are visible to you, it’s time to buy your beautiful plant a new home. Don’t buy one too large. This can actually kill the plant because the soil can hold more water this way, thus causing root rot. Try to plan for about 2 years of growth, and each time you repot, plan accordingly.

Step 2 – Prepare Pot, Work Area, and Plant

If you’re working indoors, lay down some newspaper so as to contain the dirty mess that comes from taking a plant from its pot. If you’re outdoors, or your plant is too big to repot inside, don’t worry about this step.

Go ahead and fill your new pot about halfway with the soil/lava rock/sand mixture, to give your plumeria a well-drained place to live. Plumerias prefer dry soil and will rot promptly if subjected to wet conditions. It may be a good time to give the soil a full dose of fertilizer, like you usually do in your plumeria care regimen. Set the pot aside and work on your plant.

Step 3 – Get That Plant Out Of There!

Since you’ve inspected your plumeria shrub already to determine whether or not to repot, you should be aware of how to pull out your bush. Lift the plant and turn it over, taking care not to let the plant touch the ground (this can put unnecessary pressure on the stems). Thump the bottom a couple of times with your hand and loosen the plant. When you remove it, turn it back rightside up, and gently loosen the roots. If the roots started to spiral around the pot, simply score downwards down the roots. This will encourage them to grow in a better direction.

If the roots are growing out of the drainage hole, very gently try to work that root back up through the drainage hole as you pull out your plant. Generally the biggest root there is known as the taproot of a plant, and this is the most important root, so you don’t want to damage it if that’s the root coming through the hole.
Once you have it out, you can repot it.

Step 4 – Repot

With your plant in one hand, use your free hand to dig a well into the topsoil mixture in your pot. This means that you dig a hole within the dirt, but not all the way to the bottom, to accommodate your plant. After it’s dug, simply place your plumeria into it and pour the rest of your topsoil mixture into your pot. Gently pat it down so as to support the plumeria plant, and step back to admire your work.

How to Root Plumeria Cuttings

Propagation by cuttings is the most common method used to propagate plumeria.

  • Plumeria cuttings will produce an exact clone of the parent plant.
  • Rooting or grafting cuttings will not change the characteristics of the cutting.
  • Normally plumeria cuttings are quite easy to root if done in the Spring and Summer.
  • If you plan on rooting over the winter, be sure you research the bet methods and requirements for your area.
  • All plumeria cuttings will root under perfect conditions, some take longer than others. Do your research so you are aware of the hard to root cultivars.
  • Some hybrid plumeria can be more difficult to root making grafting a more dependable method.

The most common mistakes are over watering and trying to root late in the growing season. For difficult to root plumeria cuttings you can use a grow or heat mat placed under the pots to encourage new root growth. Plumeria roots grow best when the root zone temperature is between 75 and 85 degrees. Avoid taking cuttings from plants that show symptoms of mineral nutrient deficiency. Conversely, plants that have been fertilized heavily, particularly with nitrogen, may not root well. The donor plumeria tree should not be under moisture stress, it is a good idea to water your plumeria well the day before taking cuttings. Cuttings from lateral shoots often root better than cuttings from terminal shoots. There are many good methods used by people in different regions for rooting cuttings. You can find some good articles on cuttings with various methods on Plumeria.Care. Which one works best for you will depend on the time of year and your climate.

Rooting Plumeria Cuttings in Soil

Below is a guide to start your plumeria from cuttings. What are Plumeria Cuttings, Rooted Plumeria and Grafted Plumeria.

  • When to take cuttings?
    Although you will eventually wind up with broken branches at different times of the year, the time of the year is important to your cutting survival chances. Different regions have different length of growing season.
    • Spring is the best time to start plumeria cuttings, when the are waking up from dormancy.
    • Early to Mid Summer is also good time. Late summer is ok for cultivars that root easily. The later you start a cutting the less chance you have to correct problems you may have.
    • Early Fall or later does not give your cutting a chance to put on a good root system to survive the first winter unless you extended the growing season with lights and bottom heat.
  • When taking cuttings it is important to decide the reason you are taking the cuttings.
    • Will you root the cutting yourself?
    • Will you graft the cutting?
  • Preparing the donor Plumeria tree for taking cuttings
    • Selecting a healthy tree with no visible signs of stress is important, the healthier the donor tree, the better survival chances your cutting will have.
    • Watering the donor tree the night before will provide extra hydration to the cutting.
    • Remove the leaves by cutting the leaf stem about 1/2″ from the branch before or right after you take the cutting. Leaves left on cuttings will cause the loss of valuable moisture. Breaking the leaves off can damage the cutting and allow disease to enter at the damaged leaf nodes.
    • If taking the cutting for rooting remove any inflorescence, they could prevent the cutting from rooting.
  • Take cuttings from plumeria using clean tools. You can use garden shears, a sharp knife or saw with fine teeth.
    • Clean your cutting tools between taking cuttings from each tree or even more often.
    • Do not cut bad branches off when taking cuttings.
    • Select a branch from the last growing season that is light gray for best results.
    • For rooting, cuttings should be 12″ or longer. Larger cuttings have a better chance of rooting, but I’ve noticed that very large branches take longer to root.
    • For grafting, cuttings should be 8″ to 12″ long. Large cuttings are more difficult to handle and slip more easily. Finding the right root stock can be a problem for large diameter cuttings.
  • Right after you make the cuttings.
    • For rooting, dip in a rooting hormone, the longer you wait the less benefit it will have.
    • For grafting no need to dip in a rooting hormone.
  • Allow the cuttings to Callus. Roots will not form until the cutting has formed callus.
    • Place in a warm dry place out of direct sun.
    • Allow plenty of air circulation.
    • Check the cut ends often to be sure they are not getting soft. If you find any getting soft, you should cut until you see good white wood.
    • Allow the cuttings to dry until the cut end is hard, usually from 1 week in warm climates to 2 weeks or longer in cooler climates.
    • Cuttings can be stored for weeks or even months, depending on the cultivar. The sooner they are planted after properly callused, the better they will do.
  • Potting soil mix preparation
    • Use a mixture of 1 parts Perlite to 1 part potting mix WITHOUT fertilizer. The key is to have a well draining mix.
    • Moisten the potting mixture until it holds together but is not dripping water.
  • Fill a rooting tube or 1 gal pot (larger if needed for big cuttings) with lots of drain holes with the potting mix.
    • Use one pot for each cutting
    • Or one rooting tube for each cutting
    • If using rooting tubes, place a cotton ball in the bottom so you will not lose soil.
    • You can use a large pot and place several in 1 pot. This is called gang rooting. It works well, but can cause damage to the roots when transplanting.
  • Make a hole 3″ to 5” deep and a little bigger than the diameter of your cuttings in the center of each pot.
    • Use your finger or the handle of a trowel.
    • Insert the cutting in the hole.
    • Gently firm the soil around the cutting.
    • It is a good idea to use bamboo stakes to keep the cutting from moving. The slightest movement for wind or animals could break the newly formed roots.
  • Watering you newly planted cutting
    • Place your potted cutting in a warm location and move to full sun after a week or so of exposing it to more sun each day.
    • Water the pot or rooting tube well ONCE with water or a mix of water, Vitazyme and Carl Pool’s Root Activator and do not water again until you see 3 or 4 full leaves.
    • Add more soil if needed.
    • Check the cuttings every week.
    • If the cutting seems to get dehydrated or shows wrinkles, then you should lightly mist every day until the wrinkles are gone or at least minimized watering, too much water on a rooting cutting will cause rot.
  • When your cutting has 3 to 4 full sized leaves your cutting typically will have roots. The more the leaves the more roots.
    • Fertilizing by misting the new leaves is a good idea. Use 1/2 strength for first time and spray early or late in the day, but not in full sun.
  • Depending on your location and weather, cutting will form good roots in about 45 days. In cooler areas it could take as long as 90 days.
  • The reds are usually harder to root.
  • Transplanting
    • Your cutting can stay in a 1 gal pot for many months. You can transplant to a larger pot when you see roots coming out of the pot.
    • If in a Rooting tube, you should transplant when you see 4-6 leaves.
    • Or transplant into the ground only after the roots are well established. (If you plan on digging them up each winter, protect from the cold, or your in an area free of frost or freezes).
  • After transplants you can start watering, fertilizing and treating your plumeria as you do your others. Caution: You new plumeria may not need as much water because it doesn’t have a large amount of roots, so use caution and water only when the soil is almost dry.


  • Cuttings should generally consist of the current or past season’s growth. Avoid taking green cuttings, they are harder to root and avoid material with flower buds if possible. Remove any flowers and flower buds when preparing cuttings so the cutting’s energy can be used in producing new roots rather than flowers. Take cuttings from healthy, disease-free plants, preferably from the upper part of the plant. Select cuttings from a healthy plumeria.
  • If your cutting looks wrinkled, soak overnight in warm water. Add a little SuperThrive (follow mix instructions) or Hydrogen Peroxide (use 1/2 cup to 1 gal).
  • If you cutting starts to get soft and turns black on the cut end, you should cut until you see all white.
  • If your cutting is already hard on the cut end, you do not need to recut.
  • DO NOT use a bloom booster fertilizer (high center number), you want the cutting’s energy going towards creating roots, not to producing blooms.
  • Newly rooted cuttings should not be transplanted directly into the landscape. Instead, transplant them into containers. Growing them to a larger size before transplanting to a permanent location will increase the chances for survival.
  • Rooting time varies with the type of cutting (tip or mid cutting), the cultivar being rooted, and environmental conditions. Reds typically require more time than white or yellow plants. Early Spring to Mid Summer is a good time to root plumeria. Once rooted, they will have three or four normal sized leaves and may be transferred to a larger pot and fertilized. Winter is not a good time due to plumeria going dormant.
  • The rooting medium should be sterile, low in fertility, and well-drained to provide sufficient aeration. It should also retain enough moisture so that watering does not have to be done too frequently. Materials commonly used is a mixture of one part peat and one part perlite (by volume). Vermiculite by itself is not recommended, because it compacts and tends to hold too much moisture. Media should be watered while being used.
  • Place the cutting out of direct sun in a dry location. Allow the cut end of the cutting to dry until it is dry and firm. This takes 5 to 15 days depending on the weather. If the cut end becomes soft or rot starts, you will need to cut until all the dark coloration is gone. You can dip in a rooting hormone after a new cut is made. Before planting be sure the cutting is firm and looks healthy. If the cutting looks dehydrated or wrinkled you can soak for 4-6 hours in water. A bit of SuperThrive can be beneficial.
  • Treating cuttings with root-promoting compounds, (while the latex is still wet) can be a valuable tool in stimulating rooting of some plumeria that might otherwise be difficult to root. Prevent possible contamination of the entire supply of rooting hormone by putting some in a separate container before treating cuttings. Any material that remains after treatment should be discarded and not returned to the original container. Be sure to tap the cuttings to remove excess hormone when using a powder formulation.
  • While terminal parts of the stem are best, a long shoot can be divided into several cuttings. Depending on the Cultivar cuttings will generally range from 10 to 18 inches long. Use a sharp, thin-bladed pocket knife or sharp pruning shears. If necessary, dip the cutting tool in rubbing alcohol or a mixture of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water to prevent transmitting diseases from infected plant parts to healthy ones.

Supplies You’ll Need

  • Clean and sharp shears or knife
  • Isopropyl Alcohol, for cleaning tools
  • Hydrogen Peroxide, Why Hydrogen Peroxide or SuperThrive
  • 1 gal or 2 gal nursery pots or Rooting Tubes
  • Rooting Hormone powder. I suggest Hormodin 2 Rooting Compound for wood and semi-woody plants
  • Potting soil
  • Coarse Perlite
  • Bamboo stakes
  • Vitazyme, Why Vitazyme?
  • Carl Pool’s Root Activator, Why Carl Pool’s Root Activator?
  • A good balanced slow release fertilizer to feed the roots. I suggest Excalibur 11-11-13, Why Excalibur 11-11-13?
  • A good balanced fertilizer for Foliage feeding. I suggest BioBlast 7-7-7, Why Bioblast 7-7-7?

Rooting Plumeria cuttings in water

Although people have been rooting plumeria in water with some success, this is not the best way to root your plumeria. The roots that form in water are not the same as roots that form in soil. They are fragile and brittle, adapted to growing in water as opposed to soil. Once you transfer a water-rooted plant to soil, many of these roots will break off immediately and the rest will shrivel and die up as they’re replaced by the more robust roots adapted to soil.

If you do water root, Just remember once a plant is in water, it will develop “water roots” and feed itself with water nutrients. When you put it in soil, (after all that is where they grow naturally) the first week, keep it in a cup, so the soil is really wet, puddle like, then gradually as the weeks go by, decrease the water and just let the soil be moist.That way, it eventually will send out new soil roots, and can feed itself accordingly.

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