Propagating plumerias is a great way to expand your collection, or share your favorites with friends.
In this post, I’ll talk about the different methods, tell you when and how to take cuttings, and then show you how to root them, step-by-step.
Though it sounds like it would be difficult, plumerias (aka: frangipanim, kalachuchi, or Hawaiian lei tree) are surprisingly quick and easy to propagate.
Below I’ll talk about the different methods you can try, and then dive into all of the information you need to know, including my best tips for success.
It’s fun and addicting once you learn how, and I’ll walk you through the exact steps in this detailed guide for propagating plumerias.
Table of Contents
Can You Propagate Plumeria?
Over the years a lot of people have asked me “can I grow plumeria from a cutting?“. Well, I’m sure you know by now that the answer to that question is YES!
Since I’ve been asked that so many times, and I have several years of experience doing it myself, I finally decided to write a step by step tutorial on how you can do it too.
Plumeria Propagation Methods
There are two main ways to propagate plumerias: from seed or by rooting the cuttings.
In this article, 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 it is actually pretty easy. First, let’s talk about when is the best time to try it.
When To Take Plumeria Cuttings To Propagate
The best time of the year to take plumeria cuttings for propagation is in the warm spring and summer months, especially when it’s humid outside.
If you take them too late in the summer, or in the fall as the mother plant is starting to go dormant for the winter, then they probably won’t root, or it will be much slower.
Rooting Plumeria Cuttings In Winter
Plumerias go dormant during the winter, so if you take the cuttings too late, they will likely won’t root. However, if you store them correctly, you can overwinter them until spring.
Just wrap the cutting with paper, or leave it in the pot and keep the soil completely dry. You can mist it every once in a while if you want, but don’t overdo it or it could end up rotting.
Then in early spring, give it a good, deep drink, and follow the step by step instructions below for rooting it.
How To Cut Plumeria For Rooting
There are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind when cutting plumeria stems and branches for rooting.
It doesn’t make a difference where you cut it, so it’s just a matter of how big or small you want it to be. You can root any size cutting, but you’ll have the best chance if it’s at least 3-4″ long.
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 extremely important to always make your cuts at a downward angle so that water can’t settle into the wound.
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 its energy into producing new roots, rather than maintaining the foliage.
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 forming roots.
To do that, simply let it sit in a dry place until the wound is completely callused over. This can take several days to over a week, so be patient, and don’t rush it.
Related Post: How To Grow Plumeria In A Pot
Rooting Plumeria Cuttings In Water
Another common question I get asked is “can I root my plumeria in water?“. The short answer is yes, technically it is possible.
However, rooting frangipani cuttings in water isn’t always a huge success. Many times, the stems will only rot.
If you have plenty of extras to work with, then by all means experiment with this method. It’s always fun to try something new.
My preferred plumeria propagation method however is rooting them in soil. So, I’ll stick to that for now.
Planting Plumeria Cuttings In Soil
The best soil for rooting plumeria cuttings (also called “medium”) is one that is very quick-draining and doesn’t hold much moisture.
When planting a plumeria cutting in soil, 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 container for rooting each cutting, otherwise you risk overwatering, which will only cause it to rot.
Related Post: How To Choose The Best Plumeria Soil
Plumeria Cutting Care While Propagating
For the best chance of rooting, 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 special. Simply leave it outside, and soon it will root. Just be sure to keep it out of the full sun until then.
But, if you live somewhere dry, or you’re trying to root one indoors, then it’s a good idea to mist it every couple of days with a plant sprayer.
Just don’t water the soil, you want that to stay on the dry side. If it’s too damp, it will only cause your plumeria cutting to rot, and you don’t want that.
You’ll know your cutting has successfully rooted once you see new leaves forming the top.
How Long Does It Take Plumeria Cuttings To Root?
How long it takes for plumeria cuttings to root depends on the environment. But in the right conditions, the roots will start forming in as little as 2-3 weeks.
However, if it’s really dry, wet, or too cold, then it will take much longer. For the fastest results, keep them in a bright, warm, and humid location out of the direct sun.
Why Is My Plumeria Not Rooting?
Your plumeria may not be rooting due to over or under watering, lack of light, or the temperature is too cool.
The soil needs to be kept on the dry side at all times, and it should never be wet. A moisture meter can help you maintain the perfect balance
Also, the roots will form best when it’s between 75-85°F. You can use a heat mat placed under the pots to speed things up.
Transplanting Plumeria Cuttings After Propagation
Once your plumeria cutting has several mature leaves, then you know it’s propagated and ready to move into a new pot or the ground.
You certainly don’t need to worry about transplanting your kalachuchi cutting right away, you can leave it in the small container until it becomes pot-bound if you’d rather.
The best potting soil to use is a porous fast-draining mix, and you should always plant them a container that has drainage holes.
Once your new baby has become established, you can start fertilizing it to encourage flowers, the cuttings can bloom their first year.
Related Post: How To Care For Plumeria Plants (Hawaiian Frangipani)
Plumeria Propagation FAQs
Below I’ll give you answers to the most frequently asked questions about rooting plumerias. If you can’t find what you’re looking for here, add a comment below.
Can You Replant A Broken Plumeria Branch?
Yes, with some care, you can replant a broken plumeria branch. Make sure the branch is dry and not rotten. If the broken end is mangled or crushed, then cut off the damaged parts so you have a clean edge. Clip off the leaves, and leave it to dry in a shady place for a few days. Then follow the steps below to root it.
How fast do plumeria cuttings grow?
Plumeria cuttings can grow very fast in the right conditions. It can take as little as 2-3 weeks for the roots to start forming.
How long do plumeria cuttings last?
Plumeria cuttings can last several months without being planting. However, they will slowly start to shrivel over time, so the sooner you root them after they’re properly callused, the better your success rate will be.
Can frangipani be propagated in water?
Yes, frangipani can be propagated in water. However, it’s not the best method to use, as the cuttings can easily rot. It’s a fun experiment to try if you have extras, but for the greatest chance of success, I recommend rooting them in soil.
Can you plant a fresh plumeria cutting?
While you can plant a fresh plumeria cutting, I highly recommend you let dry and fully callus over first. If you try planting it with a fresh cut, it has a much higher chance of rotting rather than rooting.
Plumeria propagation by cuttings sounds like it would be really hard, but it’s actually pretty easy when you follow these steps. It’s really fast too, so once you get the hang of it, you’ll have plenty of new starts to share with friends!
If you want to learn how to multiply any type of plant you can get your hands on, then my Propagation Made Easy eBook is for you! It has everything you need to know in order to start propagating your favorites right away. Download your copy today!
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Share your plumeria propagation tips in the comments section below.