Rooting Cuttings

The most economical way to propagate plumerias through cuttings--and since plumeria seeds are not true to the parent plant, it's the only way to propagate a known variety. There are a wide variety of rooting methods; pick the one that works for you.

General Principals for Successful Rooting

Contributed by Mike Atkinson & Cesar Monreal

All of these points are generalizations to get you started, regardless of the method you choose. You may find something works differently for you, a particular cultivar, and your microclimate.

  • Longer and thicker cuttings will generally root easier than short and skinny cuttings.
  • A cutting that is all green, with no brown or grey on the bark, will be much harder to root and more prone to rot.
  • It is best to cut an inflorescence (flower stem) and leaves off a cutting you're going to root. All the energy should go to creating roots, not blooming or maintaining leaves. Leaving inflos and leaves can extend the amount of time needed to root, or worse, dehydrate the cutting. However, there are some easy-to-root varieties that root fine with the inflo intact.
  • Many plumerians swear by rooting hormones and many do not.
  • Cutting a branch from the mother tree makes it vulnerable, so be careful where you place the cutting while it's rooting. Direct sun can cause sunburn, especially if you're in an inland area with more intense sun in the summer. The cutting needs heat to root, not direct sun.
  • Some people have found that a cut just below at least two leaf nodes works best when rooting.
  • Generally you can tell that a cutting is rooted when leaves have emerged and opened. At that point you may acclimate the plumeria to direct sun and start your regular watering and fertilizing regimen.
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