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Sowing Plumeria

Growing Plumeria from seeds
Plumeria propagation is relatively easy. They can be grown from cuttings quite easily. But sowing has the advantage of being able to aquire more different species, since the international trade of live plant materials is restricted. I prefer the following steps to successful grow plumeria from seed:

  1. Soak your seeds in warm water for a minimum of 6 hours. I always let them soak over night and plant them the following day.
  2. Prepare a container for the seeds. You can best use a well-draining growing medium. I like to use a mixture of cactus compost (60%) and perlite (40%)
  3. Place the seeds with the winged part sticking out of the soil and the fat end in the dirt. The fat end should be about 0,5 cm embedded in the dirt.
  4. Water your plumeria seeds well to increase contact with the soil.
  5. Place the container on a heating pad and keep the temperature of the growing medium between 26 – 34 C. If you don’t have a heating pad you can use the heat of an appliance such as a freezer or have more patience in a sunny window.
  6. Gently water them once every three days (when it begins to dry out) until the seedlings appear. Do not let the medium dry out and do not let the mixture become water logged. Too much water causes more problems than too little.
  7. Most seeds germinate in 7-14 days. If the conditions are sub optimal it may take longer. Most seeds will sprout within 4 weeks of sowing.
  8. When the seedlings reaches 10-15 cm and are showing the first true leaves you can plant them into a larger container.

It might take two years for these young plants to develop into small trees and flower, but it’s worth the wait, and you’ll appreciate their exquisite fragrance even more.

It’s quite easy to take care of a Plumeria plant. Most important is that it needs lots of sunlight and good water management.

Plumerias thrive in a full sun environment. Pick a nice sunny spot in your home (southern-facing window) so that the plant receives sunlight throughout the day. In the summer it is possible to move your plant outdoors. But don’t give it full exposure right away, or it could burn. Instead, put it in the shade for a few days, and gradually introduce it to a full sun location.
When grown as a fulltime houseplant it’s best to supplement natural light with a good quality growlight. The plant will survive without it but you will rarely have flowers.

Plumeria have varying water requirements depending on the time of year and temperature. During the summer months, give it a really good, deep drink. Allow the excess to drain completely, and wait until it’s mostly dry before watering again. Make sure the soil never dries out completely.
Also, plant your plumeria in a container that has ample drainage holes.
In the fall and winter months (when the plant typically goes dormant); drastically reduce moisture. During the colder months you can stop watering completely.

Plumeria plant is acclimated to naturally well-draining cactus mix soil. A mix of 50% good quality potting soil and 50% perlite works well too. The soil should have a neutral to acidic pH, ideally hovering right around 6.0.

Temperature and humidity
Plumeria thrive in warm temperatures. The ideal temperature is between 16-25°C. If it gets much colder, they’ll start dropping their leaves, and terperatures below freezing will quickly kill them. Even a light frost can damage the tender branch tips. Hotter weather doesn’t often bother them, though the high heat in arid climates will dry them out too quickly. Quite surprising, Plumeria plants prefer moderate to low humidity levels.

During the peak growing season, give your plumeria a phosphate fertilizer every two or three weeks to promote new growth.

3 thoughts on “Sowing Plumeria

  1. Hello,
    I just purchased seeds from you and need to know
    1) what do you call Cactus compost exactly:
    – compost made from cactus plants, or
    – compost designed to grow cactus on it

    2) Should the perlite and compost be mixed or layered?

    3) Can I sow the seeds in an interim pot, so I can move them later to a bigger one? Or should I plant them directly in their final pot to avoid moving?

    Kind regards

    1. Hello Nicolas,

      With cactus compost I mean, compost (or potting mix) to grow cacti in. If you want to mix this yourself you can use 50% sandy soil (for example garden soil) and 50% compost. Perlite should be mixed in. When making your own potting mix, you should strive for a homogenous mixture. Plumeria don’t mind being repotted. In general it’s best to sow in a smaller container to prevent the soil from being too wet.

      happy growing!


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