Propagation is a great way to “clone” your plumeria shrub. It can literally become a second plant, an exact match to the original plumeria. To propagate, you would use a cutting, or a piece of the plant strategically removed, and force it to grow roots to survive.
But what exactly does it mean to “strategically remove” a cutting from the parent plant? It’s all in how you cut it and from where you take the piece of plant.
- Very sharp pruning shears
Step 1 – Find The Right Piece
Ideally your plumeria cutting would be between 12 and 18 inches long, and would be a smaller branch coming off of the end of the large branch. Some plumeria plants have been as short as 6 inches, but the larger the cutting, the better the propagation. The piece should be healthy and green, and mildly flexible. (Don’t break it testing the flexibility though.) When you find your piece, it’s time to cut your piece off your frangipani plant.
Step 2 – Take Your Cutting
Now that you’ve found your piece, cut it off where it branches off its main, parent limb. It’s at this joint from which you want to take your cutting. Carefully make your first incision, trying to keep the branch as intact as possible. Depending on your cutting, you may be able to use a paring knife rather than large shears, but if you want a larger cutting, the thick branch may take a little more muscle to cut.
Cut this piece at a 45-degree angle as smoothly as possible. You now have a brand-new, green plumeria cutting. After you remove it, take all of the leaves and their little stems off. The cutting should look like a stick.
Step 3 – Ignore It
It’s highly recommended that you leave the cutting to dry for about 2 weeks, or until a callus has developed at the bottom of your cutting (where you cut it off). Some gardeners have had success in planting the cutting before that point, but the success rate is much higher with letting the cutting dry out, as it encourages it to survive.
After it’s dry, it’s ready for propagation. It’s recommended that you use a little root growth hormone at the cut part, and plant it in very well drained soil. The best soil to use would be a combination of cactus mix, topsoil and sand, as this is generally organic material. Make sure you don’t fertilize until the first four true leaves form on the cutting, as they’re more likely to need the nutrients and, consequently, less likely to get chemical burn.
The most common mistake made when propagating plumeria cuttings is to overwater them. The soil should be virtually dry, or the cutting will rot and won’t have the chance to root.
Using this method of cutting, you should be able to propagate several plumeria plants from your parent frangipani shrub.