How to grow plumeria from cuttings – for new frangipani plants

Whether you're growing these tropical plants indoors or out, making more is easy

pink frangipani flowers
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Q: I am growing a frangipani tree in my conservatory, where it seems to be thriving. I'd love to propagate it by taking cuttings – is it possible to do so?

A: Frangipani, or plumeria, are beautiful, tropical plants that can be grown indoors in colder regions or outdoors in more suitable climes. And yes – you can take cuttings from them to grow new plants, which can be done in early spring.

frangipani flowers

Frangipani flowers have a beautiful fragrance

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How to take cuttings from frangipani plants – in 10 steps

The task of propagating plumeria is relatively straightforward – and once they're planted, all you need to do is water them very lightly and watch and wait for new signs of growth. According to the Royal Horticultural Society, rooting should occur within four to six weeks if conditions are right.

Simply follow these steps:

  1. Before you take cuttings from your plumeria, make sure you're wearing gardening gloves. The sap can irritate the eyes and skin.
  2. Using a clean pair of pruners, take cuttings that are around 12in long from the stem tips of your plant.
  3. Remove the leaves and set the cuttings aside to dry for a few days. During this time, they should create a scab over their cuts which will help to prevent bacterial infection, says Anna Ohler, the Owner of Bright Lane Gardens nursery. 
  4. Fill small pots with a lightweight soil blend. 'Choose well-draining ingredients like coco coir and perlite mixed with a seedling potting mix,' Anna recommends.
  5. 'Dip the end of each cutting into a powdered rooting hormone,' Anna continues. 'This increases the chances of your cutting growing roots.' Bonide's Rooting Powder from Amazon is well-rated.
  6. Plant the cut end of your cutting into your prepared soil medium, burying it 4in or so in the soil.
  7. 'Place the cuttings in a warm location that has a lot of bright light,' Anna says. However, she warns against direct sunlight which can harm them. The Royal Horticultural Society advises covering them with a polythene bag and putting them near a radiator, or placing them in a heated propagator.
  8. Keep the soil lightly moist – but be very careful not to do it, as the cuttings can easily rot.
  9. 'After four weeks, you can start to gently tug on the top part of the cutting to see if there is any resistance from new roots,' Anna says.
  10. Once signs of new growth have appeared, transplant your cuttings into larger pots. If you plan to move them outdoors, harden them off for a few weeks, first.

From personal experience when taking cuttings, it's always best to take a few, if possible, and plant them in individual pots. That way, you'll be less disappointed if some fail.

Anna Ohler
Anna Ohler

Anna is an avid plant hobbyist and the Owner and Operator of Bright Lane Gardens, a boutique plant nursery in Northern Michigan. With over a decade of experience in gardening and landscaping, she takes every opportunity to share her knowledge on all things plant related.

frangipani cuttings on window sill

Once your cuttings have rooted, leaves should start to develop

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Can you root plumeria in water?

Although it is possible to propagate plumeria cuttings in water rather than soil, it's not usually advised. However, if you wish to give it a try, remember to stay clear of the common water propagation mistakes.

frangipani cuttings growing in small greenhouse

A warm, bright, humid environment is best for plumeria cuttings, such as an indoor greenhouse

(Image credit: faithie / Alamy Stock Photo)

Once you have successfully propagated your frangipani, it's important to care for it properly. Water sparingly (barely at all during winter), avoid pruning if you can, and move it to a larger pot when needed – usually around once every two years. Before long, you should be able to enjoy more of those beautiful, scented blooms.

Holly Crossley
Contributing Editor

The garden was always a big part of Holly's life growing up, as was the surrounding New Forest where she lived. Her appreciation for the great outdoors has only grown since then; over the years, she's been an allotment keeper, a professional gardener, and a botanical illustrator. Having worked for for two years, Holly now regularly writes about plants and outdoor living for Homes & Gardens.