Every summer season brings myriad bright colors enriched by the beauty of flora and fauna through the weather that is warm, sunny, and conducive to growth and breeding.
One such flowering plant which thrives during the summer months for its blooming and comprehensive development is Plumeria, also known as Frangipani:
Plumerias are native to Hawaii and Central America and all around tropical zones (humid and warm temperature zone).
It can be grown in containers and as trees, with colors ranging from clear white to dark red, with sizes not larger than that of an average human palm.
Plumerias were described as “the world’s most beloved garden plant.”
Some species of Plumeria are globally used as a laxative and are well-renowned in the medical community.
Depending on their variety, they can grow as trees or small shrubs. Even the small potted plants have strong, woody stems and branches.
Plumerias are succulent plants with fat, bulbous trunks that act as water and minerals reservoirs.
Therefore, they can survive in torrid, low rainfall regions.
They have a milky, sticky sap in the stems and branches that oozes out when a branch is chopped off from the main plant.
It starts to flower in the early summer and stops at the beginning of winter.
Propagation of Plumeria
The most common way to grow plumerias is from seeds or existing plant branches or stems (the Cutting method).
One can collect seeds from the matured flowers. Following maturity, the flowers begin to dry up and form pods in less than a year.
Upon attaining full shape and size, these pods store hundreds of seeds.
To propagate Plumeria from its stems or branches, one needs to collect chopped branches from the mother plant.
The milky sap that oozes from the mother trunk from the injury could be irritating and even cause rashes on contact with skin.
Hence, avoid touching the sap.
Start replanting the branches once the sap dries up. This drying takes up to 4 days from the day of choppings.
The plant that forms from the cuttings develops with the color and type of mother plumeria. But, this new plant formed from cutting may not necessarily bear seeds.
Growing Plumeria from Seed
The pods rupture in nine to eleven months (excluding the dormant months) to release all their seeds.
Hence, one needs to place a plastic bag over the pod and casually tie it to the branch just before they turn dry and their color changes to darkish brown or black.
The bag should have small holes in it to allow air circulation.
Determination of the seed viability
Following seed collection, a simple method to determine the viability of the seeds is by gently pressing them with two fingers. Shortlist the seeds by testing the thickness.
- If the seed is thick, it will most likely germinate.
- But if they have the thickness like a leaf, then they are unlikely to sprout.
Collect the shortlisted seeds into a double-sided tissue paper, then soak them in water.
Make sure to put the seeds in the middle of the moist tissue paper and then seal it inside a zipper bag for a week.
Sowing the seeds in the soil
If the seeds can germinate, they will start producing the sprouts and also start to swell.
Take germinated seeds and sow in the soil so that the swollen germinated part is inside and the feather-like edge side remains above the soil.
Use a plastic cup of 250-300 milliliters capacity to grow the plants up to the seedling stage.
A potting mix of sand, cocopeat and vermicompost can be used to help the sprout grow.
If not, even moist garden soil and slightly moist perlite will serve the purpose.
Fill the cup to 80% with the potting mix and make one inch-deep hole to place the germinating seed in it.
Maintain moisture in the mix periodically to provide sufficient water.
The seeds will start to germinate at the end of 2nd week of sowing.
The highly swollen seeds germinate faster than the less swollen ones.
These seeds require ample water during germination, but the water requirement reduces after maturity.
It is best to keep the cups under indirect sunlight; or indoors.
This process of germination reaches the peak when true leaves are formed.
These are the first pair of leaves that have grown off the seedlings, and the seedlings reach a height of 10 centimeters.
Now, these seedlings are ready for transplantation to larger containers or even direct soil.
Transplantation to large containers or gardens.
To ensure a successful transplant, the seedlings have to be delicately removed from the cup.
Fill the larger containers to be used with a mixture of soil and organic compost in the ratio of 80-20 and dig a small hole in the soil.
Cut open the cups with seedlings with a pair of scissors and massage the soil around the plant carefully to dust off the soil that isn’t attached to the roots.
Transplant these seedling plants into the soil of the large containers.
Ensure adequate water supply to the plant according to the age of the plant;
In general, plants require sufficient water after transplantation for successful adaptation and growth.
One can even use drip pads to avoid the drying of soil in case of missed water supply schedules.
As the plant starts developing thick stems and branches, the water quantity can be reduced as per your convenience.
These grown plants can now be kept under direct sunlight as it is a sun-loving plant.
The above steps should result in healthy, full-sized plants when done correctly.
How to grow Plumeria from cutting
This is also called Propagation from Branches
Having a mature plumeria plant or tree nearby could make the propagation of Plumeria very simple, convenient, and much faster.
Select the semi-woody branches that are either half green or half brown colored to be used to grow new plumeria plants.
Chop off the matured branches at an angle and then snip off all the leaves from them.
The milky sap should be allowed to drip off the branches and kept in a cool, shady area for three days before replanting them.
Take a medium to small-sized container since a big container will be necessary if the cutting develops into a healthy plant.
The potting mix of sufficient quantity must be taken, and it should not accumulate excess water and thus must consist of garden soil, sand, and vermicompost in the ratio of 3:1:1.
Cuttings that need to be rooted in soil should first be dipped in rooting hormones or cinnamon powder.
After placing the cuttings in the container, the mix should be filled up to 4/5th of the pot’s capacity.
The soil then requires immediate watering, and the pot should be placed in a cool area for up to a month,
At the end of the month, the roots and a few leaves will appear, and then they can be placed under direct sunlight.
Watering must only be done when it becomes dry and the cracks in the mix are visible.
The cutting must result in newer branches and fully developed leaves in the next two months.
The now-growing plants can be transplanted to bigger containers for maximum bloom.
It can take a year to three years for plants to produce flowers when grown from cuttings and a minimum of four years when grown by their seeds.
Some of the cuttings may not survive and grow into a plant. So using more cuttings would help avoid failure.