Growing Plumeria from Seed: A Step-by-Step Guide

By John

Plumeria plant is a very popular plant and is also known as frangipani. It is a garden plant which is loved the most across the globe. Being a tropical plant, it is easily found in regions like Mexico, Central America, South America, Hawaii, and the Caribbean. The plumeria plant has beautiful aromatic flowers. Hence its flowers are used to make perfumes and the famous Hawaiian Lies.

These fragrant flowers come in various colors like white, pink, orange, and yellow. There are about 12 species of plumeria plants.

These are small trees that are typically 5-10 m in height, but they are wide. Their roots are adaptable to be grown in the home garden or in a pot.

How to Collect and Prepare Plumeria Seeds for Germination

When one wishes to grow these beautiful plants, there are two options: one is by seeds, another by cuttings. Here we shall discuss in detail about growing plumeria plants by seeds.

Plumeria seeds can be brought online. But it is advisable to harvest from your own plumeria seed if you have a plant already. The biggest challenge while propagating the seeds is that the plumeria seed might not always give predictable results. Plumeria flowers may or may not look like their parent plant. Plumeria from seeds may sometimes retain the characteristics of the parent plant and sometimes the seeds might turn out into a hybrid plant.

Though the plumeria seeds do not inherit the characteristics of the parent plant, one may still consider some pointers when they wish to grow plumeria from seeds.

  • Flowers’ color and quality – The color and fragrance can be different from the parent plant. Even the number of flowers that bloom can differ.
  • Tree – The size of some of the plumeria trees can be small so some can grow into a small tree.
  • The color and the size of leaves can differ.

Hence the right type of seed is important when you wish to grow plumeria seeds. The seeds of plumeria develop in pods. This is generally formed at the base of flowers that are pollinated.

Plumeria produces seed pods that appear to be short green beans having green shells with seeds inside. Once they are ripe, they become dry and from green, they turn to brown color. Young plumeria seedlings are about 5 mm in size and have a tail that helps the seeds spiral to the floor. This tail acts like a propeller. Plumeria seed wing generally lands facing in an upwards direction.

Once the seeds drop, sow them at the earliest. If one wishes to grow plumeria during spring then put the seeds in a dry seed envelope and store this envelope in a cool, dry, and dark place for 2 years.

plumeria, pink, tropical

Every plumeria plant does not produce seeds. If there is only one plumeria plant and its seed pods are harvested, then the plumeria seedling will be true to its parent plant. However, if someone has a collection of a variety of plumeria plants then there are high chances of crossbreeding pollinators while growing plumeria. This cross-pollination can be avoided by following some precautionary measures.

Once the flower pollinates, cover the top with the bag and tie the bag around the stem in order to prevent insects from pollinating.

Once the flower drops and the seed pod is formed, wait till the plumeria seed pods ripen and then use it. This seed will be a replica of its parent plant.

Plumeria plants do not require male or female plants for the production of viable plumeria seed pods. If it’s an indoor plant, a pollination brush may be used to give a slight vibration like that of bees and butterflies flight.


While preparing for the germination of plumeria seeds indoors, it is advisable to soak the seeds overnight before planting them. The medium used to plant the seeds also needs to be moistened. This avoids over-saturating or waterlogging of the growing medium, and moisture is evenly spread.

Place the seeds in the tray keeping at least an inch distance between each other so that the roots do not get spoiled. Sprinkle the tray using a handheld mister. Ensure the soil is moist but not too wet. Keep spraying on the tray occasionally to maintain moisture. Check the seeds daily to ensure the right environment.

plumeria, flower, tropical

Plumeria seeds should be soaked in order to test their viability. Warm water and Vita zyme are preferred for this. The fertile new cultivars’ viability rate is low. As low as 1% of them would grow into healthy plants. Plumeria seed pods may take about 8-10 months to become viable. Though germination of plumeria by seed requires a lot of patience, planting seeds is preferred to plumeria cutting as this is a better method.

Though spring is best suited for the germination process of plumeria seeds, it is possible to germinate them any time as long as there is sufficient moisture and 60 degrees and above warm temperature.

Harvesting of Plumeria Seeds

To begin with the process, the first thing to do is harvest seeds. Keep your plant outdoors for a good amount of time so the plant gets fertilized naturally by birds and butterflies or fertilize it yourself. If the fertilization is done correctly then it will result in elongated seed pods. Let the seed pods mature on the plant and split open when they are ready. Old nylons may be used to wrap the pods loosely to help in ripening.

One of the important things to remember while germinating plumeria seeds either at home or in the garden is that though the initial seeds may be kept indoors, once it starts getting true leaves the plant needs to be placed in an area that receives plenty of sunlight.

Other Requirements to Grow Plumeria from Seeds

Plumeria seeds respond well to moisture and warmth. Hence follow any of the below methods to grow a healthy plant:

plumeria, petal, flower

First Step: Seed wing to be planted in a seedling pot which has sterile soil and ensures the soil remains moist and not completely wet.

Second Step: Multiple seeds to be placed on the top layer of sterile soil and to be covered under 1/4th inch of soil. Again, ensure the soil is moist and not totally wet.

Third Step: The seed is to be placed between two damp paper towels while ensuring that the paper towels do not become dry.

The germination time for the soil method is approximately 5-10 days or more in some cases. The germination process in the proper method depends on the root growth i.e., when the roots start forming.

Step-by-Step instructions for Germinating Plumeria Seeds

Step 1 – Soak the seeds for several hours or overnight. Moisten the medium used to plant the seeds. Avoid over-saturating or waterlogging of the growing medium. Keep an inch distance between the seeds so that the roots do not get spoiled. Spray the tray as and when required to retain moisture. You can also place the seeds between the moistened tissue papers and leave them for 24 hours. The seeds are ready for sowing when you notice the thicker part getting swelled.

Step 2 – Prepare or buy the potting mix suitable for growing plumeria seeds from a nursery. Moisture the peat moss and potting mix. Make a small hole in it and gently sow plumeria seeds into it for about 5 mm. Keep the swollen part of the seed to be at the bottom and the seedling to be on the top. A part of the wing may stick out of the soil. Gently cover the sides of the seed with soil

Step 3 – Cover the pot using an empty plastic container to give it a greenhouse effect. Put it in a warm and lighted area, but not in full sunlight. Keep spraying water to avoid dryness.

Step 4 – It may take about 7 days to a month or above to germinate depending upon the freshness of the seed. If any seedling displays signs of mold, it should be treated instantly with a mild fungicide.

Step 5 – Generally the husk will fall off by itself, but if this does not happen soon, try removing the husks gently. Otherwise, the seedlings might die or become rotten.

Step 6 – Transplanting the plant is also an important state. When there are new seedling leaves and the seedling appears to be more than 3 inches tall, then it is time to transfer the plant to a bigger pot. The seedling should be removed from the cultivation pot gently along with its peat moss or potting soil and planted in a new pot that is bigger in size or the ground as the case may be.

Step 7 – After transplanting it into a bigger pot or ground, water it on alternate days just to maintain moisture and avoid water logging. To grow healthy and strong plumeria plant, fertilizers can be introduced at this stage.

Step 8 -Frangipani plant grows best in direct sunlight. During the transition period of moving from cultivating pots to bigger pots, giving them direct sunlight should be done gradually. Keep them in the shade and daily leave them for a few hours in direct sunlight.

Tips for Caring for Plumeria Seedlings

Taking care of plumeria seedlings is easy. By following the below tips, you will be able to give proper care and can grow beautiful plants of plumeria.

flower, plumeria, petal
  • The most essential requirement for plumeria is sunlight. Hence ensure the seedling receives as much direct sunlight as possible.
  • Though humidity helps in the initial germination process, a high level of humidity is harmful once the seedlings start growing.
  • Watering should not be done very frequently. It is advisable to water it just to maintain the moisture and not to let the surface get dry.
  • To encourage blooming it is advisable to fertilize once in two weeks with NPK 10-30-10.
  • Sometimes there may appear plumeria rust – an orange powder on leaves causes defoliation. Though this will not harm the plant to the extent of killing the plant, it is better to treat the problem immediately with any fungicide.
  • If the plumeria plant does not receive enough sunlight or if the moisture is not maintained turning it very dry, it may attract spider mites, whiteflies, etc. To get rid of this add 1 or 2 spoons of dishwashing soap to a gallon of water and spray it occasionally on the plant.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Growing Plumeria from Seed

Growing Plumeria from seed is not all that difficult provided if you follow the instructions carefully. It is even more beneficial when you are watchful of these common mistakes done while growing these plants and avoid committing them.

  1. Avoid growing the plant indoors except if you make a greenhouse. The plant needs full sunlight for a minimum of 6 hours to bloom well. You may keep it completely indoor only when there is dormancy and the plant needs to be protected from freezing.
  2. Another common mistake is over-watering. Do not water the plant too frequently. Do not water if there are no leaves. Start watering once the dormancy is over.
  1. It is better not to keep a plate beneath the pot and allow the water to run out. There should be sufficient drainage holes.
  2. Always maintain sufficient distance between the plants so that they don’t overcrowd. Let there be enough space for the breeze to pass through the leaves.
  3. While using fertilizer ensure the fertilizer has low nitrogen content as the nitrogen leads to tall and rangy plants.

Time it Takes for Seedlings to Bloom

flower, blossoms, frangipani

Though it is clear that plumeria seeds are easy to germinate and they can be grown with little but proper care. Also, growing plumeria from plumeria seed is very rewarding. However, one should have a lot of patience to wait for 3-5 years for its bloom.

Seeds may sprout within 3 to 14 days. A seedling may grow about 6 inches within the period of 8 weeks. A year-old seedling may reach the height of 1 foot, 2 years old may reach up to 2-3 feet and 3 years old may reach up to 3-5 feet tall. Generally, once the plant becomes 3-5 years old the seedlings bloom and also branch.

There are potential challenges as well while growing plumeria apart from requiring a huge amount of patience from the owner, like the plant may respond to sufficient light without blooming. At times the buds drop, and the plant may not branch well as expected.

Plumeria plants may not bloom sometimes. Even when the leaves look beautiful and glossy the plant may not have proper blooms. The reason for this could be improper light conditions, lack of nutrients, pest infestation or pruning. Hence ensure sufficient sunlight and spray neem oil for infestation.  

Sometimes plumeria will grow buds but before these buds can open, they drop. This can also happen because of the same reason: less sunlight, fewer or less nutrients or mostly sudden changes like unforeseen weather conditions affecting the plants.

In order to sustain it drops its buds. Hence avoid sudden fluctuations in temperature. Check the roots always because they supply nutrients to the plants. Lack of pruning causes this hence do the pruning regularly.

In order to get rid of these, collect the infected leaves with the help of sanitized tools and safely dispose them. Pruning is best to prevent the disease from spreading.

Key Takeaways

Growing plumeria from seeds is a fun process and you will be delighted to see the results. Stick to the strict requirements like enough direct sunlight and temperature controls and you will see your plumeria blooming into a beautiful plant.

One of the key factors, when you want to grow plumeria plants, is deciding what kind of plumeria plant you want. Then choose a seed pod whose parent plant bears the features you are looking for. While buying or collecting seeds, ensure that the growers are trusted ones. Always choose seed pods from healthy plants. Try and find out the history of the pod if possible. Try to find out if it was cross-pollinated or pollinated by nature or pollinated manually. It is advisable to go for the seed pod which looks healthy and big.

FAQs on How to Grow Plumeria from Seeds

What are the best conditions for germinating Plumeria seeds?

The best conditions for growing Plumeria seeds are warm temperatures and moisturizing. Some people also use heat pads under the trays as the plumeria seeds germinate at temperatures between 65-90 degrees Fahrenheit.

How long does it take for Plumeria seedlings to bloom?

The plumeria seed pods will take 8 to 10 months to grow into viable plumeria seeds. A plumeria plant can take around five years to grow its first blooms.

What is the germination rate of Plumeria seeds?

It takes around 5- 10 days for the Plumeria seed to germinate. It can also take around 30 days if the right conditions are not provided to grow Plumeria seeds.

Can Plumeria seeds be collected from a store-bought plumeria plant?

Yes, Plumeria seeds can be collected from a store-bought plant as well. You can either directly buy seeds from a nursery or take them from a fully grown healthy plumeria plant.

How do I know when Plumeria seeds are ready to be collected?

You would get to know when plumeria seeds are ready to be collected when you can see the cotyledon from the skin, or you can also squeeze it a bit and they’re firm.

Can Plumeria seeds be grown indoors?

Plumeria seeds can be grown indoors when the parent plant is kept indoors and is provided with the right setup to grow fully. You can then take seeds of this plant after it grows fully to plant a new plumeria.

How do I care for Plumeria seedlings?

Taking care of Plumeria seedlings is easy. Make sure that the seedling is sown directly under direct sunlight. And water it once a day for two-three consecutive days, then start watering it when it needs moisture.

Are there any common mistakes to avoid when growing Plumeria from seed?

Yes, the common mistake you can avoid when growing Plumeria is to let the seed dry before planting. Also, keeping the seed soaked more than overnight can also cause damage to it.

Are there any specific varieties of Plumeria that are better suited for growing from seed?

There are many different varieties of Plumeria that you can grow using different seeds. These will grow differently in terms of size, color, and fragrance of the flower it blooms. Some of the varieties are candy stripe, Vera Cruz Rose, Sundance, Thailand Red, and many more.

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