How I Plant Plumeria or Frangipani from Seeds
Why Grow Plumeria (Frangipani) from Seeds?
There are over 300 varieties of Plumeria (Frangipani) and not one nursery will stock all. So, when I wanted a variety that I liked, I had no choice but to buy the seeds online.
Plumeria from Seeds Will Not Always Give You the Same Variety as the Parent Plant
Buying plumeria seed online is also the only way to get new or special variety.
The problem when propagating by seed is you does not know the results. The flower can be similar or different from the parent plant. This can be annoying especially if you like a certain variety. Although others say that it will take at least two years before it blooms, mine took slightly less than a year.
If you grow plumeria from cuttings, the plant will be similar to the parent plant. It will also bloom earlier.
Despite these disadvantages, I had no choice but to grow the variety that I like from seeds.
Are you faced with similar predicament and not sure how to propagate the seeds? Then, this article will guide you with photos and easy to follow instructions.
Note: Plumeria is the botanical name and Frangipani is its common name
Frangipani Seeds - Growing Instructions
Follow the tested and proven steps below, to grow your plumeria or frangipani from seeds:
1. Germinating Frangipani Seeds
If you buy seeds online, you will not know if the seeds were harvested recently or if they are couple of months old. Freshly harvested seeds will germinate faster while older seeds will take a longer time.
To hasten the germination process, the seeds need to be plumped up with moisture for it to grow.
The easiest way is to place the seeds between moistened tissue papers. Leave it for 24 hours in a warm environment. You will notice that the thicker part of the seed will swell. The seed will now be ready for sowing.
2. Prepare Potting Mix
Meanwhile, you can either prepare your own potting mix or buy it ready made from nursery. For this project, I use Baba brand 'Seedling Package'. It came with 0.88 lb. (400 gram) peat moss and ten numbers of cultivation pots that are 2 inches (5 cm) deep.
If you don't use this cultivation pot often, you can save money if you reuse or recycle 0.12 gallon (500 ml) empty mineral bottles. Cut off two thirds of the bottle and use the bottom one third. Make holes at the base and after cleaning, your cultivation pot is ready for use.
3. Transplanting the Swollen Plumeria Seeds
Moistened the peat moss (or potting mix) and make a small hole in the mix.
Then, gently push the plumeria seed about 0.2 inches (5mm) into the mix. Make sure the swollen end is at the bottom and the seed wing is at the top. Allow part of this wing to stick out of the soil.
Tenderly firm the soil against the side of the plumeria seed.
4. Create a Mini Greenhouse Effect
Place these pots in an empty plastic container and cover it, to create a mini greenhouse effect. Place it in a warm lighted area, but not under full sunlight.
Check daily to make sure the soil is not dry. If the top soils look dry, mist it with plain water.
5. Plumeria Seed to Germinate
Depending on the freshness of the seed, it will take from 7 days to over a month for the seed to germinate.
In the photo shown below, this seed germinated exactly seven days after sowing. The rest of the seeds in the other pots started to show signs of new life only after two weeks.
Most of the time, the leaf will emerge with the remains of the husk still attached. It will drop off as the leaves grow bigger.
If any of the seedlings show sign of mold during germination process, treat it immediately with a mild fungicide. (You can buy the organic fungicide from Baba).
6. What to Do If the Husk Sticks to the Cotyledons
The husk will usually fall off by itself, but occasionally this may not happen soon enough. If these husks are not removed from the cotyledons i.e. the embryonic first leaves of the seedling, the seedlings might rot and die.
Hence, you have to assist by spraying it with a fine mist and gently remove these husks.
7. Transplanting Plumeria Seedlings
Once you see a new set of leaves and the seedling is more than three inches tall, you can start to transplant it to a bigger pot.
Gently remove the seedling from the cultivation pot and together with the peat moss (or your potting soil) transplant it to the new and bigger pot.
In my case, the plant will finally be planted in the ground. So, I reuse an empty 2.5 gallon (9.5 liter) empty mineral bottle as the pot for transplanting. It is also lighter and easier to move around.
I prepare my own potting soil using one part peat moss, two parts fine broken bricks and three parts garden topsoil. You can do similar 'recipe' or buy ready-made potting soil.
Once you have it transplanted, water it every alternate day, but make sure the soil is not water logged.
You can now introduce fertilizer which is high in phosphorus content to help your young plumeria grow strong and healthy. I use organic fertilizer that is a mixture of cedars, cypress, pines and plantains. I use it once a week.
Moving it to Full Direct Sunlight
Plumeria or Frangipani loves direct sunlight, but this must be done gradually. A week is about just right for this 'moving transition period' from shaded to direct and stronger sunlight.
You start by putting them in a shady and protected area. Leave it for a few hours. Increase the time for the next few days until it is a full day exposure, but still under the shade. During this period, keep nudging it to be closer to the full sunlight. After a week of doing this, it will be ready to be exposed to full sunlight on a daily basis.
That's it folks. Just sit back and enjoy your hard work. And, make sure you water and put fertilizer as directed.
What If My Seedlings Do Not Germinate?
You followed the above planting procedures, but the seedlings do not germinate. Then, chances are the seedlings may be ‘old’.
Plumeria seeds must be planted as soon as they are harvested because of their short lifespan.
So, when I had this problem, I wrote to the seller and explain the problem. He was happy to replace it with new seeds, but I had to wait for two months for the next harvest.
When I planted the new seeds, all grew within a week!
Buy Plumeria or Frangipani Seeds Online
Plumeria or Frangipani is an easy plant to maintain. With proper care and attention, it will reward you with beautiful blooms and fragrance.
They come in many colors and they have their own unique fragrance. It grows easily even in cold climate, but expose it to full sunlight. It is quite contented if you plant it in a pot, but it will only grow to the size of the container.
Why don't you start your own plumeria collection now? You have more choices and varieties if you grow them from seeds.
If you Google plumeria or frangipani seeds online, you will find several websites that sell them online. Prices vary. I got mine at US$2.99 for five seeds.
You can also buy them through Amazon.com
You Can Buy Frangipani Seeds from Amazon.com
Photos of Plumeria that I Grew From Cuttings
Frangipani can be grown from cuttings, grafts and seeds. I have done only from cuttings and from seeds, but have yet to try from grafts. The accompanying photos are some of the cuttings that I planted recently.
These cuttings started to show sign of new life after about a week of planting.
Plumeria Trivial: Have you Smelled the Many Fragrances of Frangipani?
Various varieties of frangipani or plumeria will smell differently. With its rich and sensual floral fragrance, the cosmetic industries had been using it for years.
If you have not smelled the real frangipani before, here are some of the perfumes that feature frangipani in its composition. Not so close to the real thing, but good enough!
- Coco and Beige by Chanel
- L'Air du Printemps and Love by Nina, by Nina Ricci
- zar Femme by Christian Lacroix
- Bora Bora for Women by Liz Claiborne
- Coral Flower by Lolita Lempicka
- Frangipani Absolute by Ormonde Jayne
- Versace Woman by Versace