How to grow the Frangipani tree from seed

The Frangipani tree - Plumeria species and cultivars, are a genus of mostly deciduous shrubs or small trees from Central and South America including the Caribbean Islands. Plumeria species are easily propagated from cuttings but they have a milky latex containing poisonous compounds that irritate the eyes and skin. This often makes the favourite method of propagation for many seed germination.

Frangipani seeds -
Frangipani seeds are of a winged design and are best sown fresh from the pod, Before sowing place the seeds between moistened tissue papers and seal inside a resealable pot or bag. Leave for 24 hours in a suitable warm environment to allow the seeds to swell.

In the meantime fill 9 cm pots with a good quality compost such as John Innes 'Seed and Potting'. When the seeds are ready, push the swollen end of seed approximately 5 mm into the compost allowing part of this wing exposed.

Gently water in and then place inside a heated propagator at a temperature of between 20-24 degrees Celsius. Alternatively place inside a resealable clear pot or polythene bag and move to a warm bright position such as a windowsill, but one which not receive direct sunlight during the warmest part of the day.

Frangipani seedlings
Keep the compost moist at all times but not waterlogged and you can expect germination to occur from approximately 7-40 days depending on the seeds freshness.

Once they have emerged they can be removed from their propagator, pot etc.but kept in a warm, bright position, the embryonic seed leaves (dicotyledons) will emerge with the remains of the seed coat (with wing) still attached. This usually drops off by its own accord however as the leaves grow bigger and the seed coat (testa) is still in place spray it with a fine mist and gently remove.

When the first set of true leaves have emerges and the plant is approximately 10 cm tall it will be ready for potting on into a well-drained compost. Disturb the root ball as little as possible during this process. and moving forward, water regularly but do not allow the compost to become waterlogged. They can either be cultivated as pot grown specimens under protection, but if temperatures do not drop below 10 degrees they can be hardened off over a period of ten days to two weeks before growing outside in their permanent position.

How to grow the Frangipani tree from seed
Note. If the compost is kept too wet then fungal infections can take hold eventually killing off the seedlings. Always treat with a suitable fungicide the moment an infection is realised.

Main Image - Zachi Evenor CC BY 3.0
Middle Image - Renesis CC BY-SA 3.0

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