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Home Lifestyle Gardening How To Propagate Plumeria From Cuttings

How To Propagate Plumeria From Cuttings

The plumeria plant is an ornamental shrub or small tree native to Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Colombia. Today, the plant adorns homes in nearly all tropical and subtropical regions of the world.

Plumeria is an excellent choice if you are looking to add adornments, centerpieces, or colorful cut flowers to your home. The flowers are great for making leis or flower necklaces, too!

The plant comes in a wide variety of attractive colors, including different shades of white, yellow, purple, deep crimson, lilac, and a range of orange and pink.

You don’t have to be an expert horticulturist to grow or propagate plumeria. This article will cover everything you need to know to add the plant to your indoor or outdoor garden.

There are a few different ways to grow plumeria. These include growing it from seeds, rooting the cuttings, air layering, and grafting. For this article, I will only focus on how to grow the plant from cuttings.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about growing plumeria. Remember to read the answers to some of the commonly asked questions about the plant at the end of this article.

Propagating Plumeria from Cuttings

Best Times to Propagate Plumeria

The first step in growing plumeria from cuttings is to know when to take the cuttings. The best time for this is during early spring and midsummer when the plant is in the active growing season.

These are also the best times to propagate the plant from cuttings. Keep in mind that plumeria is a tropical plant, so it does well during warmer months.

You want to avoid taking cuttings during colder months because the plant is usually dormant during these periods.

How to Take Cuttings

Making cuts from plumeria branches is not rocket science. You don’t even need any sophisticated garden materials to do this. All you need is a pair of sharp garden shears or a hand pruner, alcohol for sterilizing, gloves, and knowledge of the basic steps.

Here’s how to make cuts:

  1. Sterilize

First, rub alcohol to sterilize the cutting tool. This will prevent the possible spread of disease to the cuttings.

  1. Make the cut

Next, cut at a downward angle to prevent the plant’s water from settling into the wound. Plumerias are vulnerable to tip rot, so take cuttings at an angle that will minimize rots.

Make cuts of about 12 to 15 inches long. Make sure you completely sever the branch at the base without leaving a stub behind. Aim for a clean cut. If your cut is not straight, use the cutting tool to get a neat cut.

You can stop the sap from leaking out by dipping the cut end into powdered sulfur. But it’s okay if you don’t have sulfur. Just make sure the cut end heal properly before rooting it.

  1. Stripping

Use the sterilized shears to remove any flowers and leaves from the cuttings. Do this before or immediately after you make the cuts. This will allow your new cuttings to support root growth instead of putting some energy into supporting the leaves and flowers.

  1. Allow healing and drying

Lastly, place the cuttings in a warm or human area and let them dry for about one to two weeks. The cutting is not ready for rooting until it dries out and the cut end heals. Your cuttings will rot in the soil if you root them before they heal and dry.

Tips about cuttings

Keep the following in mind when you take cuttings:

  • Wear gloves before making cuts to prevent the sticky sap from the plant from getting on your hands.
  • Always take cuttings from thick, disease-free branches.
  • You want to stay away from taking green cuttings because they are more difficult to root.
  • Take cuttings from mature branches. You will know these from their darker green or brown colors.
  • If the plumeria cuttings look wrinkle, put them in warm water and allow them to soak overnight.
  • Consider buying cuttings from garden stores or ordering online if you are unsure about making cuts yourself.

Storing Your Cuttings

If you don’t plan to grow your plumeria cuttings when they dry out, you can store them in the future.

Wrap each cut end with plastic wrap and secure it with a rubber band. Place them in cardboard boxes and store them in a warm, dry place.

For best results, I recommend storing the cuttings for not more than three months. Keeping them longer than that can increase the chance of mold or disease.

Rooting Plumeria Cuttings

It can take up to four years for a plumeria to flower if you plant the seed. One of the quickest ways to get them to blossom is by rooting the cuttings. This explains why growing the plant from cuttings is the most common method of propagation.

Once your cuttings heal and dry, they are ready to go in the soil. Here’s the proper way to root them.

How to Root Plumeria Cuttings in Soil

We’ll get to the actual rooting steps in a bit. Before then, it is important to take note of the following:

  • Buy one pot for each plumeria cutting.
  • A 4-inch pot is ideal for most cuttings. You can use a 6-inch pot if you plan to root a fairly large cutting.
  • Make sure the pots are clean to avoid contamination.
  • Each pot should have drainage holes to allow excess water to flow out. Your cuttings will rot if water pools at the bottom of the pots.
  • Use a powdered rooting hormone and propagation soil for the best results. I recommend buying fast-draining potting soil, as this will prevent fungus and mold growth. Also, consider buying perlite for mixing with the potting soil.
  • Do not plant the cuttings directly in the ground outdoors. Start the cuttings in indoor pots, even if you intend to transplant them outdoors in the future.

Steps

  1. Mix the potting soil and fill the pot

Thoroughly mix the fast-draining potting soil and the perlite and make sure they incorporate very well.

Fill the pot with the soil mixture up to about an inch from the brim. Your pot will likely overflow when you water your plumeria if you add too much soil to the pot.

  1. Apply growth hormone (Optional)

Dip the cut ends into a cup of water and then into the powdered rooting hormone. The water will make the powder stick to the cuttings.

This step is not absolutely necessary, though. But I find that applying the rooting hormone can make the roots grow faster.

  1. Planting the plumeria cuttings

Next, make a hole in the potting soil using a pencil or your fingers. Make a hole of about three to five inches deep. This prevents the soil from removing the hormone when you plant the cuttings. Skip this step if you are not using the growth hormone.

Insert the cut end of the cutting into the soil, preferably in the center of the pot. Pack the soil down around the base of the cutting.

You want to make sure the cutting is standing erect without moving. If necessary, add a stake to the pot and tie it to the cutting to provide extra support.

It is super important to prevent any type of movement at this stage. Even the slightest movement caused by wind or animals can break the plant’s new roots and prevent growth.

  1. Wet the soil

Add enough water to the potting soil.

While too much water is not good for growing plumeria from cutting, this initial rooting process requires adequate watering.

Pour water into the pot until it drains from the drainage holes. Make sure the water drains completely.

If you use a nonporous potting mixture, the water will not drain. If this is the case, consider adding vermiculite to the soil to help with drainage.

Remember to water the plant only once. Do not water your plumeria again until it produces about three to four full leaves.

  1. Keep your plumeria safe

Place the newly rooted plumeria cutting in a warm location indoors.

Caring for Plumeria Cuttings

Your plumeria should spend the first week after rooting in a humid location, away from direct sunlight.

All you have to do is to wait for it to take root. This usually happens around four to eight weeks. But you don’t have to keep your plumeria indoors throughout that period.

After the first or second week of rooting, it is safe to bring the plant outdoors daily to get more sunlight. Six to eight hours of sunlight per day is more than enough for your plumeria.

The surest way to encourage quick root growth is by increasing the humidity level of the environment. Consider placing the pot on a seedling mat to raise the soil temperature. It won’t take too long before the cuttings will start to show new buds.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a seedling mat. There are other ways to promote growth. You can do that by keeping the temperature of the plant’s environment between 60oF and 70oF.

Temperatures below 50oF will cause the plant to go dormant and slow its growth. If the weather outside becomes cold, bring your plumeria indoors. The plant fares well in room temperature conditions.

There’s not much to do while waiting for the cuttings to take root and produce leaves. But you should remember to check your plant every week. This is particularly true if you live in a very dry climate.

It is a good idea to lightly mist the cuttings if they show wrinkles or appear dehydrated. Repeat this until the plants show improvement but remember that excess water can cause the cutting to rot.

Keep an eye out for infestations from flies and mites. You will know when this happens because the leaves will start to curl.

Spray your plumeria with light horticultural oil to protect it from infestations.

Transplanting Plumeria Cutting

Typically, plumeria cuttings are ready for transplanting after about 45 days. In any case, you will know it is okay to transplant your cuttings once they start to produce some mature leaves.

Transplanting can be to a larger pot or in the ground. If you are moving the plant into the ground outdoors, make sure to prepare the planting space with adequate grit and compost to make the soil porous.

Water the plant after transplanting to settle the soil. Consider adding fertilizers after transplanting to boost growth.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take for plumeria cuttings to root?

How soon your plumeria will take root depends to a large extent on your location, weather, and the type of care you provide. But under normal circumstances, you can expect it to root between four to eight weeks of planting the cuttings.

Can I plant the plumeria cutting directly into the ground instead of a pot?

It is best to first plant the cuttings in a small pot when you cut them. They are too young and vulnerable to go directly into the ground. Let them develop a proper root system inside a pot before transplanting to a bigger pot or plant them in the ground.

How long do plumeria cuttings last?

Typically, plumeria cuttings can last for about two to three months or more provided you store them properly. But you might be lucky to find plumeria cuttings that will grow even after two years in storage.

How do you root plumeria in water?

Add distilled water to a container up to about the eight inches mark. Put the plumeria cutting into the water and place the container under a grow light or in a warm and bright area of your room. Change the water once every three to four days.

Transplant the plumeria into a growing pot when it starts to produce hubs. Rooting plumeria in water can be tricky and might not be as successful as planting them in potting soil.

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