Plumeria trees, a common name for them is frangipani, and in Hindu culture, they are called Temple Tree. They are deciduous shrubs or small trees native to Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean.
However, they can be grown in warm climates and in tropical areas and sub tropical climates or zones 10-12.
Propagating Plumeria – A How To Guide
Fun fact: these plants are also the national flower of Nicaragua and the national flower of Laos, most common for their white flowers and small yellow centers. They are also the flower used on traditional Hawaiian leis.
These small trees can grow between 12 and 15 feet high, are born in terminal clusters, and their trunks can grow just as wide. They can develop a vase-like form with gnarled branches, long green leaves, and distinctive fragrant flowers with their sweet scent as they mature.
Some varieties of frangipani include:
- Plumeria rubra
- Plumeria alba
- Italian nobleman
- French botanist
Plumeria flowers are most known for their sweet-smell and pinwheel-shape. They start budding in early summer and carry-on blooming through late fall.
These beautiful tropical plants and showy blooms can make a bold statement in any home garden, and if you want to have more of them, there’s a couple of propagation techniques that you can use.
Today, we’ll be talking about how, with plumeria and other plants, you can grow new plants from existing ones, through seeds and through plumeria cuttings. Let’s get started!
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Propagation Through Cuttings
Propagating plumeria from cuttings is a straightforward process. The best time to take plumeria cuttings from mature flowering plants is in the early spring and summer. During this time of the year, it’s an active growing season.
Find a healthy branch with a brown or grayish surface that’s about 12 to 18 inches long. Using a sharp knife that’s been disinfected with rubbing alcohol or 10% bleach solution, sever the branch from the mother plant or ornamental shrub. Make sure to cut the branch tips flush to the base, and that you have a straight, clean cut.
You can dip the cut flower end into powdered sulfur to prevent fungi from developing and to stop the milky sap from leaking out. Remove all flower, flower bud stalks, and most of its leaves, leaving just a couple at the tip of the cutting. This will encourage it to divert its energy into making new plumeria roots.
It’s important to allow your cuttings to form a callus first before rooting. So, wrap the cut surfaces end of your frangipani plant in plastic wrap and leave it for two weeks.
After a couple of weeks, you can plant your root cuttings into a pot for new root growth. Fill a one-gallon nursery pot with perlite.
Insert a cutting 1 ½ inches to 2 inches deep. It‘s a good idea to set a stake next to your tropical plants to keep your large cuttings and main branch anchored in place.
Water the potting soil or potting mixture and place it in a warm spot with plenty of bright light and good airflow or good air circulation. Do not water it again during the root development period to prevent root rot.
Another way to prevent root rot and have a good root system is to have drainage holes in your potted plants and growing container to help with excess water.
In 45 days, new leaves will start to appear, and you can replant your best cuttings. You can then replant directly into the soil or in bigger containers containing a potting soil mixture + 1/3 compost + Perlite about 15-25%.
Water your own plumeria plant once a week and fertilize in the summer at least once a month.
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Propagation Through Seeds
Don’t be fooled by Plumeria’s exotic looks. These blooming large shrubs are easy to germinate from seeds. However, it may take up to 3 years for your young plants or new plants to start seeing blooms.
When you see seed pods splitting open on an existing plant, you can gather the papery-thin seeds.
Seeds can be planted in seed-starting trays or small containers with draining holes. Simply fill them with lightweight potting mix and water lightly. Next, lay a layer of seeds and cover them with a 1/8 layer of soil. Mist the top of the planting mix.
Germination can take 7 to 14 days. It’s best to keep your planted seeds in warm and sunny areas, so place your container or plastic pots outdoors in a place that receives full sun and direct sunlight. Seedlings of frangipani flowers can be transplanted to the ground after new growth of 3 or 4 true leaves have developed.
On an average, you can expect a seedling to reach 6 inches in height in about 8 weeks. A one-year-old seedling will stand about 1 foot tall. After 2 years’ growth, 2-3 feet tall, and 3-5 feet after 3 years’ growth.
After 3-5 years’ growth, the seedling could bloom and branch further until it becomes taller.
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