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How to Root Plumeria Cuttings

Rooting Plumeria Cuttings in Soil

Rooting cuttings in soil is the best way to get strong roots,

To get the best results, follow these simple steps:

  • It's by far better to root plumeria cutting in the Spring or early summer.
  • Select cuttings from a healthy plumeria
  • Take cuttings with gray or mature wood, green cutting are much harder to root.
  • Although it depends on the cultivar, most cuttings should be approximately 12" or longer. 
  • Take the cutting with a sharp knife or cutters. Be sure to disinfect between trees.
  • Cut the leaves off about 1/2" from the branch before or right after you take the cutting. Leaves left on cuttings will cause the loss of valuable moisture. Breaking the leaves off can damage the cutting and allow disease to enter at the damaged leaf nodes.
  • If you're using a rooting hormone apply immediately after taking the cutting, before the sap dries.
  • Allow the cutting to dry until the cut end is nice and firm. This takes 5 to 15 days depending on the weather.
  • If the cut end becomes soft or rot starts, you will need to cut until all the dark coloration is gone. You can dip in a rooting hormone after a new cut is made.
  • Before planting be sure the cutting is firm and looks healthy.
  • If the cutting looks dehydrated or wrinkled you can soak for 4-6 hours in water. A bit of superthrive can be beneficial.
  • Plant the cutting in your potting medium. Lightly tamp the mix around the stem of the cutting to provide support. If needed you can brace the cutting with stakes make out of bamboo. The less movement the better.
  • Water the soil well and place in warm dry area. Most plumeria cuttings do well in full sun while they root. Cuttings thrive on warmth and humidity, the potting soil should be well draining and kept dry after the first watering. A good rooting mix is 1 part soil mix with 1 part perlite.
  • Misting the cutting is ok if you see signs of wrinkling.
  • When you see 3-4 new leaves and the new plant is established with healthy root growth. Transfer it to a new pot with fresh well-draining potting soil and fertilize.

All plumeria cutting will root under perfect conditions, some take longer than others. Do your research so you are aware of the hard to root cultivars. The two biggest mistakes are over watering and trying to root late in the growing season.  For difficult to root plumeria cuttings you can use a grow or heat mat placed under the pots to encourage new root growth. 

Plumeria roots grow best when the root zone temperature is between 75 and 85 degrees.

Rooting Plumeria cuttings in water

Although people have been rooting plumeria in water with some success, this is not the best way to root your plumeria. The roots that form in water are not the same as roots that form in soil. They are fragile and brittle, adapted to growing in water as opposed to soil. Once you transfer a water-rooted plant to soil, many of these roots will break off immediately and the rest will shrivel and die up as they're replaced by the more robust roots adapted to soil.

If you do water root, Just remember once a plant is in water, it will develop "water roots" and feed itself with water nutrients. When you put it in soil, after all that is where they grow naturally, the first week, keep it in a cup, so the soil is really wet, puddle like, then gradually as the weeks go by, decrease the water and just let the soil be moist.

That way, it eventually will send out new dirt roots, and can feed itself accordingly.

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