How to Take Plumeria Cuttings: A Step-by-Step Guide to Propagating Beautiful Blooms

Are you looking to add a splash of tropical beauty to your garden? Plumeria, also known as frangipani, is a stunning flowering plant that can bring a touch of paradise to any landscape. If you’ve ever wondered how to propagate plumeria through cuttings, you’re in luck! In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the process of taking plumeria cuttings and help you ensure the success of your new plant babies.

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of plumeria propagation, let’s first understand why cuttings are the preferred method for reproducing these vibrant flowers. By taking cuttings from a mature plumeria plant, you can clone the exact characteristics of the parent plant, including its flower color, shape, and fragrance. This means that you can create an exact replica of your favorite plumeria variety or even experiment with creating new hybrids.

Gathering the Necessary Tools and Materials

Before you start taking plumeria cuttings, it’s essential to gather all the necessary tools and materials. Having everything prepared will ensure a smooth and efficient propagation process. Here are the items you’ll need:

Secateurs or Pruning Shears

A sharp pair of secateurs or pruning shears is essential for making clean and precise cuts. Ensure that your tools are clean and sterilized to prevent the spread of diseases.

Rooting Hormone

Using a rooting hormone can significantly increase the chances of successful rooting. Look for a powdered or gel-based rooting hormone specifically formulated for woody cuttings.

Potting Mix

A well-draining potting mix is crucial for healthy root development. Look for a mix that is specifically formulated for cacti and succulents or create your own by combining perlite, vermiculite, and coconut coir.

Pots or Containers

You’ll need small pots or containers to plant your plumeria cuttings. Ensure that the containers have drainage holes to prevent waterlogging.


Labeling your cuttings is essential for keeping track of the different varieties and ensuring you know which cutting belongs to which parent plant.

Watering Can or Spray Bottle

A watering can or spray bottle will come in handy for watering your cuttings and providing them with the moisture they need for healthy root development.

Plastic Bags or Domes

Creating a mini greenhouse-like environment can help retain moisture and create the ideal conditions for rooting. Plastic bags or domes can be placed over the pots to create this environment.

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Selecting the Right Time and Place

Timing is crucial when it comes to taking plumeria cuttings. The best time to take cuttings is in late spring or early summer when the plumeria plant is actively growing. During this time, the plant has sufficient energy and resources to support new growth. Choose a day when the weather is mild, avoiding extreme heat or cold.

When selecting the location for taking cuttings, find a quiet and clean area where you can work undisturbed. Ensure that your work surface is clean and sanitized to prevent the spread of diseases.

Preparing the Mother Plant

Before harvesting cuttings, it’s essential to prepare the mother plant to ensure successful propagation. Follow these steps to prepare the plumeria plant:


Start by pruning the plumeria plant to encourage new growth and provide a good base for taking cuttings. Use sharp, clean secateurs to make clean cuts just above a leaf node, which is the point where a leaf emerges from the stem. Prune any dead or diseased branches, as well as any branches that are crossing or rubbing against each other.


After pruning, it’s crucial to sanitize your tools to prevent the spread of diseases. Clean your secateurs with rubbing alcohol or a diluted bleach solution. This step helps ensure that any potential pathogens are eliminated, reducing the risk of infecting the cuttings.

Allowing the Cuts to Dry

Once the pruning is complete, allow the cuts to dry and callus over. This process usually takes around one to two weeks. Place the pruned branches in a dry and shaded area, ensuring good airflow. This drying period helps prevent rot and infection in the cuttings.

Taking the Cuttings

Now comes the exciting part – taking the actual plumeria cuttings. Follow these steps to ensure successful cutting collection:

Selecting the Stems

Choose healthy stems that are at least 12 to 18 inches long. Look for stems that are green, firm, and free from any signs of disease or damage. It’s best to select stems that are not flowering, as the energy is focused on blooming rather than root development.

Making Clean Cuts

Using sharp, clean secateurs, make a clean diagonal cut just below a leaf node. The leaf node is where the leaves emerge from the stem. Make sure the cut is smooth and not jagged, as this can increase the chances of disease or rot.

Removing Leaves

Remove any leaves from the lower half of the cutting. Leave a few leaves at the top to provide some energy for the cutting. Removing the lower leaves helps prevent rot and allows for better air circulation around the cutting.

Applying Rooting Hormone

Dip the bottom end of the cutting into a rooting hormone powder or gel. Ensure that the hormone covers the cut end and the lower nodes where the roots will emerge. Gently tap off any excess hormone.

Treating and Healing the Cuttings

After taking the cuttings, it’s essential to treat and heal them before planting. Follow these steps to ensure proper healing:

Air Drying the Cuttings

Place the cuttings in a dry and shaded area to allow them to air dry for a day or two. This helps the cut ends to callus over, reducing the risk of rot and infection.

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Applying Antifungal Powder

To further protect the cuttings from fungal infections, you can dust them with an antifungal powder. This step helps prevent rot and promotes healthy root development.

Healing in a Warm and Dry Environment

After treating the cuttings, place them in a warm and dry environment to heal further. Ideally, the temperature should be around 75-85°F (24-29°C) with low humidity. This environment encourages callusing and root development.

Rooting the Cuttings

There are several methods you can use to root plumeria cuttings. Here are three popular techniques:

Soil Propagation

In soil propagation, the cuttings are planted directly into a well-draining potting mix. Follow these steps for successful soil propagation:

Preparing the Potting Mix

Choose a well-draining potting mix specifically formulated for cacti and succulents. If you prefer to create your own mix, combine equal parts perlite, vermiculite, and coconut coir. Fill the pots or containers with the potting mix.

Planting the Cuttings

Make a small hole in the center of the potting mix using a pencil or your finger. Insert the bottom end of the cutting into the hole, ensuring that at least two nodes are below the soil level. Gently press the soil around the cutting to secure it in place.

Creating a Mini Greenhouse

Place a plastic bag or dome over the pot to create a mini greenhouse-like environment. This helps retain moisture and creates the ideal conditions for rooting. Keep the bag or dome in place until the cutting shows signs of new growth.

Water Propagation

Water propagation involves rooting the cuttings in a container of water. Follow these steps for successful water propagation:

Preparing the Container

Choose a clean and transparent container, such as a glass jar or bottle. Fill it with clean water, ensuring that at least two nodes of the cutting are submerged.

Monitoring and Changing the Water

Check the water level regularly and replenish it as needed to ensure that the nodes remain submerged. Change the water every few days to prevent the growth of algae or bacteria.

Transferring to Soil

Once the roots have developed to a sufficient length (about 1-2 inches), it’s time to transfer the cutting to a well-draining potting mix. Follow the steps for soil propagation mentioned earlier.


Air-layering is a technique that involves encouraging roots to form on a section of the parent plant while it is still attached. Follow these steps for successful air-layering:

Choosing the Branch

Choosing the Branch

Select a healthy and mature branch that is at least pencil-thick in diameter. The branch should have several leaf nodes and be easily accessible for the air-layering process.

Girdling the Branch

Make a horizontal cut around the branch, approximately 1 inch below a leaf node. This cut should go through the bark and into the inner wood of the branch. Make another parallel cut about 1 inch above the first cut. Connect the two cuts with a vertical cut, creating a ring of removed bark.

Applying Rooting Hormone and Moisture

Dip a toothpick or cotton swab in rooting hormone and apply it to the exposed wood and cut area. Moisten a handful of sphagnum moss and wrap it around the girdled area, ensuring it is securely held in place.

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Wrapping and Enclosing the Moss

Wrap a sheet of plastic wrap around the moss, creating a tight seal. Secure the plastic wrap with tape or twist ties. This enclosure will help maintain moisture and create a favorable environment for root development.

Monitoring and Root Development

Check the air-layered branch regularly to monitor root development. In a few weeks to a few months, roots should start emerging from the moss. Once the roots are several inches long, carefully cut the branch below the root zone and pot it up in a well-draining potting mix.

Providing Optimal Care for Rooted Cuttings

Once your plumeria cuttings have rooted, they require specific care to ensure their healthy growth. Here are some tips for providing optimal care:


Water the rooted cuttings when the top inch of soil feels dry. Avoid overwatering, as plumerias are susceptible to root rot. Provide enough water to moisten the entire root zone, but allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings.


Plumerias thrive in full sun, so choose a sunny spot for your rooted cuttings. They require at least six hours of direct sunlight daily to promote healthy growth and abundant blooms.


Feed your plumeria cuttings with a balanced fertilizer specifically formulated for flowering plants. Apply the fertilizer every two to three weeks during the growing season, following the package instructions for dosage and application method.

Temperature and Humidity

Plumerias prefer warm temperatures between 70-85°F (21-29°C). Protect your plants from cold drafts and frost, as they are sensitive to temperature drops. Plumerias also prefer moderate humidity, so ensure proper air circulation to prevent fungal diseases.

Transplanting Rooted Cuttings

Once your plumeria cuttings have established roots, it’s time to transplant them into their permanent homes. Follow these steps for successful transplantation:

Choosing the Right Container

Select a container that is at least 12-16 inches in diameter and has drainage holes at the bottom. Ensure that the container is large enough to accommodate the root system and provide room for future growth.

Preparing the Potting Mix

Fill the container with a well-draining potting mix. You can use a commercial cacti and succulent mix or create your own by combining equal parts perlite, vermiculite, and coconut coir.

Transplanting the Cutting

Carefully remove the rooted cutting from its current pot by gently loosening the roots. Place the cutting in the center of the new container and fill the remaining space with the potting mix. Ensure that the cutting is at the same depth as it was in the previous pot.

Watering and Settling

After transplanting, water the plumeria thoroughly to help settle the soil and eliminate air pockets around the roots. Ensure that the water drains freely from the bottom of the container.

Placement and Care

Place the newly transplanted plumeria in a sunny location with at least six hours of direct sunlight. Continue to provide the optimal care mentioned earlier, including regular watering, fertilizing, and monitoring for any signs of pests or diseases.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Even with proper care, plumeria cuttings can sometimes face challenges. Here are some common issues and their solutions:


Common pests that can affect plumerias include mealybugs, aphids, and spider mites. Regularly inspect the plants for any signs of pests and treat them accordingly. You can use organic insecticidal soaps or horticultural oils to control infestations.


Plumerias are generally resistant to diseases, but they can occasionally face issues such as root rot or fungal infections. Ensure proper watering practices and provide good air circulation to prevent these problems. If necessary, treat the plants with appropriate fungicides.

Environmental Stresses

Plumerias can be sensitive to extreme temperatures, high humidity, or drought conditions. Protect the plants from cold drafts, excessive moisture, or prolonged periods of drought. Provide a favorable environment by maintaining appropriate temperature, humidity, and watering practices.

In conclusion, propagating plumeria through cuttings is an exciting and rewarding process that allows you to expand your garden with stunning tropical blooms. By following the step-by-step guide provided in this article, you’ll be well-equipped to take plumeria cuttings successfully and watch as your new plants flourish. So, grab your gardening tools and get ready to enjoy the beauty of plumeria in your own backyard!

Jhonedy Cobb

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