1-27-2018 Updates – Seed & Seedling Projects

January 27th, 2018

Seed selection and planting, it’s time to start working on the details. My planned start date, Feb 1st is just around the corner.

Here is the list of seeds, Gina, Hope, Heirloom, Jackie, Metallica, Super Round (J115), Jack’s Purple, Dwarf Singapore Pink, Mardi Gras, Aztec Gold, Waimea, Bonnie Fox, Raspberry Sundae….so far!

Products Needed:
Plumeria Seeds, something to soak the seeds in, 2” x 3” Gro-Tech FlexiPlugs and trays, Vitazyme, Carl Pool’s Root Activator, Bioblast 7-7-7, Pro-Mix BX Mycorrhizae, Excalibur VI 11-11-13, Metal Labels or plastic plant markers and permanent felt tip marker. Hydrogen Peroxide and Merlin’s Potion for new experiments. 

2018 Seed & Seedling Projects

Basic Planned Regimen for 2018 Seed Projects

  1. Dip seeds in a mix of Vitazyme and warm (not hot) water. Caution: Allow to dry before proceeding.
  2. Soak seeds in warm water until plump. A good rule of thumb: Seeds that sink after absorbing water are usually viable. Seeds that float are normally not viable. Gives them a head start and a good way to checks viability. Caution: It’s important you do not continue to soak after you see the roots starting. They should be put in soil or plugs at that point. Waiting will only increase the chances of damaging the roots.
  3. Soak plugs in Vitazyme (1 oz. per Gal) and Root Activator (2 oz. per gal) Soak for 1 to 2 hours. (New Experiment: soak in 1 oz of hydrogen peroxide per 1 gal.) 
  4. Place seeds in plugs with the flags and deep enough to cover the body of the seed with the flag sticking up and above the soil and water well. Plumeria seeds will also germinate by placing them on the side and covering with 1/2″ of so of soil.
  5. Place in sunny location, I think full sun is the reason I’ve had almost no problems with damping off or seedling rot. Caution: In hot regions you may need some shade
  6. Water often to keep plugs very moist. 2-3 times a day. The FlexiPlugs are foam injected peat plugs, that have proven to provide great air circulation even when wet and the plumeria seeds grow great. Although decomposition takes much longer than normal plugs, I feel it is worth the trade off. Caution: In areas where you sun will burn leaves, you may have to only water well in morning and evening.
  7. Start Foliar feeding with Bioblast (1 tablespoon per gal) as soon as they all have an average of 3-4 leaves. Remember when the seed leaves go away the seedling will need nutrients from the soil or fertilizer. Caution: Apply only Early or Late in the day, not in strong sunlight, it may burn the leaves.
  8. When you see several roots coming out the bottom and or sides of the plug transplant to 1 gal pot. Caution: Be sure the Plugs are complete covered by soil, this will help the decomposing and prevent premature drying out. (New Experiment: I plan on transplanting the 2″x3″ plugs to a 7.5 gal squat pots)
  9. I suggest using Pro-Mix BX Mycorrhizae for your soil mix.
  10. Fertilize with Excalibur IX 11-11-13 (1 tablespoon per gal pot) Mix in top 1” of soil to cover fertilizer granules and water well. I suggest 9 month because you can apply again in 9 months providing nutrients all year long. Caution: If you can’t keep the seedling growing all year long, It may be better to use Excalibur IX at the beginning of the growing season.
  11. If possible keep seedlings growing for the first year by keeping in a warm, sunny location. Additional Lighting may be needed.
  12. Water as needed, allow pot to almost dry out and water well making sure all the soil is evenly watered. A moisture meter is always a good tool to have.

2018 Planned Experiment 1 – (Hydrogen Peroxide)

  1. Dip seeds in a mix of Vitazyme, Hydrogen Peroxide and warm (not hot) water. Caution: Allow to dry before proceeding. Optional will dip some and not dip some.
  2. Soak seeds in warm water and Hydrogen Peroxide until plump. (1 oz of hydrogen peroxide to 1 gal, final mix to be determined) A good rule of thumb: Seeds that sink after absorbing water are usually viable. Seeds that float are normally not viable. Gives them a head start and a good way to checks viability.
  3. Soak plugs in Vitazyme (1 oz. per Gal), Root Activator (2 oz. per gal) and Hydrogen Peroxide (1 oz to 1 gal) Soak for 1 to 2 hours. 
  4. Place seeds in plugs with the flags and deep enough to cover the body of the seed with the flag sticking up and above the soil and water well.
  5. Place in sunny location, I think full sun is the reason I’ve had almost no problems with damping off or seedling rot. 
  6. Water often to keep plugs very moist. 2-3 times a day work for me.
  7. Start foliar feeding with Bioblast (1 tablespoon per gal) as soon as they all have an average of 3-4 leaves. Remember when the seed leaves go away the seedling will need nutrients from the soil or fertilizer. 
  8. When you see several roots coming out the bottom and or sides of the plug transplanting the 2″x3″ plugs directly into 7.5 gal squat pots and 3 gal pot.
  9. Soil is Pro-Mix BX Mycorrhizae or a mix with Florida Colors soil and Pro-Mix Mycorrhizae. Details of the mix coming at time of transplanting.
  10. When transplanting, fertilize with Excalibur VI 11-11-13 (1 teaspoon per gal pot) Mix in top few inches of soil, it is best to completely cover fertilizer granules and water well. I use 6 month I keep seedling growing year around and I apply again in 6 months providing nutrients all year long.
  11. If possible keep seedlings growing for the first year by keeping in a warm and in a sunny location. Additional Lighting may be needed.
  12. Water as needed, allow pot to almost dry out and water well making sure all the soil is evenly watered. A moisture meter is always a good tool to have.

2018 Planned Experiment 2 – (Merlin’s Magic Potion – MMP)

  1. Dip seeds in mix of Merlin’s Magic Potion and warm water and allow to dry before proceeding.
  2. Soak seeds in warm water and Hydrogen Peroxide until plump. (1 oz of hydrogen peroxide to 1 gal)
  3. Soak plugs in Merlin’s Magic Potion (2 oz per gal) Soak for 1 to 2 hours. 
  4. Place seeds in plugs with the flags and deep enough to cover the body of the seed with the flag sticking up and above the soil and water well.
  5. Place in sunny location, I think full sun is the reason I’ve had almost no problems with damping off or seedling rot. 
  6. Water often to keep plugs very moist. 2-3 times a day has worked for me.
  7. Start foliar feeding with Bioblast (1 tablespoon per gal) as soon as they all have an average of 3-4 leaves. Remember when the seed leaves go away the seedling will need nutrients from the soil or fertilizer. Foliar feed every two weeks (1 oz to 1 gal of water) 
  8. After two weeks or so, but before transplanting into pots, soak plugs with seeds in a mix of Merlin’s Magic Potion and water. (1 oz to 1 gal of water)
  9. When you see several roots coming out the bottom and or sides of the plug transplanting some of the 2″x3″ plugs directly into 7.5 gal squat pots and some in 2-3 gal pot.
  10. Before transplanting into pots, soak plugs with seeds in a mix of Merlin’s Magic Potion and water. (1 oz to 1 gal of water)
  11. Soil is Pro-Mix BX Mycorrhizae or a mix with Florida Colors soil and Pro-Mix Mycorrhizae. Details of the mix coming at time of transplanting.
  12. When transplanting, fertilize with Excalibur VI 11-11-13 (1 teaspoon per gal pot) Mix in top few inches of soil, it is best to completely cover fertilizer granules and water well. I use 6 month I keep seedling growing year around and I apply again in 6 months providing nutrients all year long.
  13. If possible keep seedlings growing for the first year by keeping in a warm and in a sunny location. Additional Lighting may be needed.
  14. Water as needed, allow pot to almost dry out and water well making sure all the soil is evenly watered. A moisture meter is always a good tool to have.
  15. Drench with Merlin’s Magic Potion (2 oz to 1 gal of water)
  16. Continue foliar spraying with Bioblast every two weeks (1 oz to 1 gal of water) 

Depending on the weather, I planning on starting this project on Feb 1, 2018. Come back then.

1-27-2018 Updates – Seed & Seedling Projects

Optimizing Seed to Seedling Growth

My 2018 projects are designed to determine how to speed up the growth of seeds and seedlings to the point of maturity without causing them to grow excessively tall and lanky. The goal is to grow seedlings to maturity and produce blooms as soon as possible. It is important to understand all about the Plumeria seeds and seedlings growing habits and of course the limitations. Using different products, strength and methods can produce different results at different stages during the growing period and in different growing environment and conditions. I’ve experimented with many growing methods and products to determine what works best for me. A short cut would be finding someone in your area and start with what they have had success with and see if it’ll work for you. 

Plumeria are Dicots (Two-seed Leaves)

The primary root, called the radicle, is the first thing to emerge from the seed. The primary root anchors the plant to the ground and allows it to start absorbing water. After the root absorbs water, the shoot emerges from the seed. In dicots, the shoot has three main parts: the cotyledons (seed leaves), the section of the shoot below the cotyledons (hypocotyl), and the section of shoot above the cotyledons (epicotyl). The way the shoot emerges from soil or growing media follows two main patterns. In plumeria, the section of the shoot below the cotyledons elongates and forms a hook, pulling the cotyledons and the growing tip through the soil. Once it reaches the surface, it straightens and pulls the cotyledons and shoot tip of the growing seedlings into the air. This is called epigeous germination. 

After the shoot emerges, the seedling grows slowly while the storage tissue of the seed diminishes. Soon, the plant develops a branched root system or taproot. Then, true leaves that look like the leaves of the mature plumeria appear. These leaves, unlike cotyledons, photosynthesize light into energy, allowing the plant to grow and develop. When the true leaves start converting light into energy, the seedling needs a source of nutrients.

How Plumeria Seeds Form and Germinate – Before You Start Growing Plumeria From Seed

 About Plumeria Seed Selection

Optimizing Seed Germination

We know that plumeria seeds need optimal amounts of water, warm temperatures to germinate. If we don’t create the most optimal environment possible, then plants tend to germinate slowly and unevenly. Generally, space is limited, so we want plants to germinate as quickly as possible. Uneven germination can also cause problems. If you have ever had to transplant a flat of seedlings where half are ready to plant and the other half are too small with root balls that don’t slide easily out of their cells, you will understand why. Damage to roots can cause a setback in the growth of the seedling.

One common option to achieve optimal germination temperature in growing media is to use germination mats. These mats allow you to set the temperature according to seed requirements. For Plumeria I’ve found 85 degrees or above seems to be good. Plumeria will germinate in 7 days at 85°F but may take more than 15 days to germinate at 65°F.

Make sure you maintain optimal temperatures for your plumeria seeds. It is also critical to promote air circulation to mitigate fungal pathogens such as those causing damping off. I’ve been growing outside in the sun with very little dampening off problems. 

Starting Seedlings in Plugs 

Additional information about seeds and seedlings is available on Plumeria Care

Optimizing Seed to Seedling Growth

Typical seedling growth after 12 day in Plugs

Typical seedling growth in tray after 12 days

The optimal temperature for growing seedlings may be different from seeds. Remember, the optimal temperature will stimulate optimal growth. Cooler temperatures generally slow down growth, and warmer ones speed up growth to a point. 

Temperature and time required for growing Plumeria seedlings to transplanting size using FlexiPlugs. Day (F) 75-90, Night (F) 60 or above, Time 15-20 days. I plan on transplanting to pots when I see plenty of roots and three or four real leaves. The photos show seedling at 12 days, the roots are there, but they need a few more leaves.

Over the last four years, I’ve been experimenting with different media for seeds and seedlings. I’ve determined the 2″ x 3″ FlexiPlugs are the best choice for my growing conditions. They give me the ability to water 3 or more times a day and the plugs still provide adequate oxygen to the roots. I soak the FlexiPlugs in Vitazyme and Carl Pool’s Root Activator and the plug does a good job of holding the nutrients. The plugs also provide the best way I’ve found to allow transplanting with minimum root damage. The only issue I found is the slow decomposition rate of the plugs, but I haven’t noticed any negative effects on the growth of the seedlings.

As the seeds germinate and the seedlings grow, it is important to keep the plugs moist by watering less often but longer to accommodate developing root systems. I check my seedling several times a day by pressing the top of the plugs with my finger to check for moisture. If they don’t feel moist or if they look a little dry, I will water. Remember to carefully monitor and water the plants at the edges of trays. They dry out faster than those in the middle. Something else I like about the FlexiPlugs, I actually watered the Plugs every hour or so during the day for 4 days, the seedlings did fine.  But you should remember using some other methods, overwatering can increase the probability of plumeria developing damping off or stem rot.

Why Use FlexiPlugs

Fertilizing Young Plumeria Seedling – About Growing Plumeria Seedlings

Additional information about seeds and seedlings is available on Plumeria Care

Optimizing Seed to Seedling Growth

About Plumeria Seeds

Plumeria Seeds

When germinating plumeria seeds at home or in a greenhouse, the first thing to remember is plumeria seeds may be started indoors but should be transplanted and moved to a location that provides plenty of light as soon as it has 3 or 4 real leaves. Leaving a seedling in small containers may result in disrupted growth, which can lead to unfavorable results. However, starting plumeria indoors is a great way to get an early jump on the outdoor growing season. When choosing a medium in which to germinate plumeria seeds, look for one that says something along the lines of, “seed starting mix.” This type of growing medium will likely have a moderate elemental fertilizer charge, which will benefit the newly sprouted seedlings. Seeds can be germinated in many different styles of trays and containers, so choose the type that best fits your space needs. If starting just a few seeds, a simple, flat starting tray or small individual containers will work great. When planting many seeds at once, it may be wise to use trays that are divided into separate growing chambers. This will cut down on the amount of transplanting needed as the plants grow. Remember, all a plumeria seed needs to germinate in warm temperatures and moisture. Some growers do use heat pads underneath the starting trays. Most plumeria seeds will germinate at temperatures between 65-90 degrees Fahrenheit and the added warmth in the growing medium can speed up the germination process. Using supplemental lighting, like a T5 fluorescent bulb, can also help provide extra heat. Though seeds may not need light in order to germinate, the seedling will need light, so having a light source ready is a good idea. I would use caution when starting seeds in a bright window sill because direct sunlight through glass can alter the intensity and the seedlings may stretch and become ‘leggy.’ (There are many good plumeria seed germination methods, I suggest you research each one and use the one or ones that fit your situation.)

When preparing to germinate seeds indoors it is a good idea to soak the seeds overnight or at least 4 hours in a warm place. Moistening the growing medium before planting any seeds. This will help to ensure that the medium is not over saturated or water-logged and that the moisture is spread evenly throughout. Using a tray, spread the seeds so they have about an inch between each, this will help minimize the root damage when transplanting.  I have found using plugs is much easier to handle and preserves the roots when transplanting. There are many good planting methods and you should examine each to see which fits your situation and may help result in higher germination rates. If planting is occurring in a flat starting tray, space seeds at least an inch apart, either in rows or in a grid pattern and cover lightly with 1/4″ of growing medium (remember oxygen is important during germination, so don’t pack the medium down to much). Then, spray the entire tray lightly with a hand-held mister. The soil should be kept moist, not wet long enough for the seeds to germinate, it may need to be sprayed with the mister occasionally to maintain even distribution of moisture. Some growers use starting trays that have plastic, hood-type lids. This will keep the humidity around the seeds at higher than average room levels and may help increase the chance of successful germination. Be sure to check the seeds daily to maintain an optimal environment.

Environmental Considerations

As the plumeria seedlings begin to pop up through the soil, there are a few environmental aspects that should be given proper attention right away: light intensity, humidity, and airflow. Remember the seeds of different cultivars may germinate in different lengths of time. Usually, plumeria seeds will germinate in 5-10 days, but I have seen it take up to 30 days if conditions aren’t right. Plumeria seeds can sprout in total darkness, but, once the seedling breaches the soil, a sufficient light source is imperative. Those first “true leafs” will need a light source to perform photosynthesis and create carbohydrates, which will help sustain both normal plant growth and, most importantly, root growth. Without proper lighting, the early vegetative growth of a plant can be negatively affected and could cause long-lasting problems.

Humidity can be helpful during the initial germination process but, as the seedlings begin to grow, high levels of humidity can spell disaster. As internal processes burn up the seedlings’ energy sources, the plants will need to release oxygen as a gas through their stomata (a process called transpiration). As the oxygen leaves the plant, water and elemental nutrients are pulled up through the roots. In a humid environment, the stomata will remain closed and the roots will not take in water. If the growing medium is wet without proper aeration, the water will have nowhere to go and the roots will likely suffocate and die.

Airflow and humidity almost go hand in hand. A nice flow of air through the plant’s canopy will encourage the flow of carbon dioxide to the leaves and, subsequently, oxygen away from them. This is not just true for seedlings, but for plants in all stages of growth. A small fan on medium or low can help keep humidity levels low and the heat from any supplemental lighting to a minimum. Be sure to keep the rooting medium moist, but not too wet. Seedlings need water and going too long without can result in serious damage. However, if the medium remains too wet for too long it may impair root growth. As the seedlings grow, they will eventually exhaust any nutrient charge that the growing medium had to offer, so light fertilization may be needed while waiting to transplant into a different container.

As the seedlings grow, with proper care and attention, they inch closer and closer to fulfilling their own unique destiny. Every plumeria seed has its own DNA structure and will not be exactly like any other. As we stand by, eagerly awaiting the flowers of our labor, it is important to remember that every plumeria we grow has entered into this life as a small, almost insignificant looking thing, that so many refer to as simply, just a seed.

Before You Start Growing Plumeria From Seeds

Plumeria seeds are fun to grow and can provide you with many years of pleasure. Before you begin you should consider seed choices and the limitations of your growing environment and conditions. Something to remember, Plumeria Rubra seeds do not grow true to its parents and they will take up lots of space and attention until they bloom. The average time to bloom is from two the three years, some shorter and some can take much longer.

Choosing the Right Plumeria Seeds

Before exploring how to best grow your plumeria seeds and seedlings, start with the right seed. If you intend to grow for grafting rootstock or you want to grow a new cultivar, you should use the best quality plumeria seeds. Coming soon….Plumeria Seed Choices.

What Do Plumeria Seeds Need to Germinate?

Viable plumeria seeds are living entities. They must contain living, healthy embryonic tissue in order to germinate. All fully developed seeds contain an embryo, a store of food reserves, wrapped in a seed coat. Seeds generally “wake up” and germinate when soil moisture and temperature conditions are correct for them to grow.

Seeds Need the Right Environment to Germinate

Temperature, moisture, air, and light conditions must be correct for seeds to germinate. All seeds have optimal temperature ranges for germination. The minimum temperature is the lowest temperature at which seeds can germinate effectively. The maximum is the highest temperature at which seeds can germinate. Anything above or below this temperature can damage seeds or make them go into dormancy. At optimal temperatures, germination is rapid and uniform, for plumeria seeds usually 5-10 days.

Plumeria seeds need correct moisture to initiate internal processes leading up to germination. In soil, this is generally about 50-75 percent of capacity. A fine-textured seedbed and good seed-to-soil contact are necessary for optimal germination. Aeration in the soil media allows for good gas exchange between the germinating embryo and the soil. Seeds respire just like any other living organism. They need oxygen and produce carbon dioxide (CO2). This carbon dioxide needs to be able to move away from the seed. If the soil or media is not well aerated due to overwatering or compaction, the CO2 will not dissipate and seeds can suffocate.

Not all seeds have the same light requirements. Most seeds germinate best under dark conditions and might even be inhibited by light. Don’t confuse seed light requirements with what seedlings need. All seedlings require sunlight. Seedlings will become leggy and fragile and will not grow to their potential if they do not have sufficient light.

Soil temperature conditions for plumeria seed germination, Minimum (F) 60, Optimum Range (F) 75-95, Optimum (F) 85, Maximum (F) 95. Soil temperatures should be taken by inserting a soil thermometer 3-4 inches deep into the soil surface and noting the temperature.

Seed Dormancy

For plumeria seeds to come out of dormancy, we have to break their physical dormancy factors. Plumeria seeds have a thick seed coat, The most common method is some form of soaking the seed in warm water. Others use scarifying (scratching the surface) the seed, artificially weakening the outer coat of the seed. Water and warm temperatures are the two factors that break plumeria dormancy.

There are several methods used to help test viability and germination of Plumeria seeds: Pre-Soaking in warm water, Soaking between paper towels overnight, soaking between paper towels in a plastic bag, planting directly into the soil, placing in styrofoam and floating in the water, planting directly into plugs, etc. They all work, the trick is to find out which method or combination of methods works best for you. Coming soon…Plumeria Seed Viability Test

Steps of Seed Germination 

  1. Imbibition. The seed rapidly takes up water and the seed coat swells and softens. The outer seed coat becomes soft and wrinkly with water.
  2. Interim or lag phase. During this phase the seed activates its internal physiology, cells respire, and the seed starts to make proteins and metabolize its stores of food.
  3. The radicle and root emergence. The cells start to elongate and divide, bringing the root and radicle out of the seed.

To find out whether or not your seed is viable, do a germination test. Wrap seeds in a wet paper towel, place in a warm spot, wait 4 hours or overnight, and count how many seeds absorb water and plump up. The ones that plump up will most likely germinate.

If you save your seed from the year before, think about this: the life of a plumeria seed can be cut in half by an increase of just 1 percent in seed moisture or by an increase in storage temperature of just a few degrees. A simple rule of thumb is to store your seed in a dry cool place.

A study was done by Eulas Stafford with the Plumeria Society of America. He gathered a large quantity of Slaughter Pink seeds and proceeded to plant 10 seeds a year for 10 years. The results: The first two years 100% germinated and after that, an additional 10% failed to germinate each consecutive year. In the 10th year, only 1 germinated. 

Early Seedling Development

Plumeria are Dicots (Two-seed Leaves)

The primary root, called the radicle, is the first thing to emerge from the seed. The primary root anchors the plant to the ground and allows it to start absorbing water. After the root absorbs water, the shoot emerges from the seed. In dicots, the shoot has three main parts: the cotyledons (seed leaves), the section of the shoot below the cotyledons (hypocotyl), and the section of shoot above the cotyledons (epicotyl). The way the shoot emerges from soil or growing media follows two main patterns. In plumeria, the section of the shoot below the cotyledons elongates and forms a hook, pulling the cotyledons and the growing tip through the soil. Once it reaches the surface, it straightens and pulls the cotyledons and shoot the tip of the growing seedlings into the air. This is called epigeous germination. 

After the shoot emerges, the seedling grows slowly while the storage tissue of the seed diminishes. Soon, the plant develops a branched root system or taproot. Then, true leaves that look like the leaves of the mature plumeria appear. These leaves, unlike cotyledons, photosynthesize light into energy, allowing the plant to grow and develop. When the true leaves start converting light into energy, the seedling needs a source of nutrients. More…Fertilizing Young Plumeria Seedling 

Managing for Optimal Germination and Seedling Development

Optimizing Germination

We know that plumeria seeds need optimal amounts of water, oxygen, and temperature to germinate. If we don’t create the most optimal environment possible, then plants tend to germinate slowly and unevenly. Generally, space is limited, so we want plants to germinate as quickly as possible. Uneven germination can also cause problems. If you have ever had to transplant a flat of seedlings where half are ready to plant and the other half are too small with root balls that don’t slide easily out of their cells, you will understand why. Damage to roots can cause a setback in the growth of the seedling.

One common option to achieve optimal germination temperature in growing media is to use germination mats. These mats allow you to set the temperature according to seed requirements. For example, plumeria will germinate in 7 days at 86°F, but take more than 15 days to germinate at 65°F.

Make sure you maintain optimal temperatures for your plumeria. It is also critical to promote air circulation to mitigate fungal pathogens such as those causing damping off.

 

Seedling Development

The optimal temperature for growing seedlings may be different from that for seeds. Remember, the optimal temperature will stimulate optimal growth. Cooler temperatures generally slow down growth, and warmer ones speed up growth. 

Temperature and time required for growing Plumeria seedlings to transplanting size. Day (F) 70-90, Night (F) 60-70, Time (weeks) 2-4 

It is still critical to maintain good air circulation and sufficient moisture. Generally, watering should be deeper to accommodate developing root systems. Remember to carefully monitor and water the plants at the edges of flats. They dry out faster than those in the middle. However, overwatering can increase the probability of plumeria developing damping off.

Over the last four years, I’ve been experimenting with different media for seeds and seedlings. I’ve determined the use of FlexiPlugs to be the best choice for my projects. They give me the ability to water as much as 3 times a day and they still provide adequate oxygen to the roots. They also hold nutrients and provide the best way I’ve found to allow transplanting with minimum root damage. More…Starting Seedlings in Plugs

Visit Plumeria.Care to find many articles by Plumeria experts from around the world. Follow this link for some great articles on Seeds and Seedlings.

About Plumeria Seeds

A Guide for Growing Plumeria From Seed

This guide shares the basic methods I use for growing plumeria from seed, caring for seedlings, and the products I use. I hope this guide helps you with your seed goals for the year.

There are many proven methods to growing plumeria from seed and you should examine to see if any could help you develop a method that works for you. This is only a guide and should be adjusted to your seed growing environment.

When I have a batch of seeds, I examine what I did in the past and determine if I can make any improvement. The following is my detailed plan for growing plumeria from seed in 2018. This plan covers from germination until they first produce blooms.

Please keep in mind your growing environment and the differences from South Florida Zone 10B. The start of your plan should correspond to when you are past the threat of a frost or freeze. You should also make plans to protect your plumeria from cold weather, just in case you have a late freeze or frost. 

My goal is to know what, when, and why, so I can improve my method every year or even with each batch. Documenting all adjustments as you go will allow you to look back and better determine where you can make improvements.

Why I grow seedlings?
          1. To grow a new and exciting cultivars
          2. To grow rootstock for grafting
          3. But most of all to see that one-of-a-kind flower for the first time.

Using the methods and products below; I have been able to get about 10% of my seedlings to bloom in less than 12 months and about 60% to bloom in 18 to 24 months. The majority of the remainder bloom from 24 to 36 months. (Some do still take 3 years and even longer.)

What you will need: Plumeria Seeds, something to soak them in, paper towels, 2” x 3” Gro-Tech FlexiPlugs and trays or plugs or good seedling soil mix to plant the seeds in, Vitazyme, Carl Pool’s Root Activator, Bioblast 7-7-7, Pro-Mix BX Mycorrhizae, Excalibur VI 11-11-13, Labels and permanent felt tip marker. Hydrogen Peroxide is good to use for mold or fungus.

Seed selection

Seed selection is very important when growing plumeria seeds. Plumeria Rubra seeds do not produce true to their parents. Sometimes a seedling will look like its parent, but it will never be exactly the same.  A few characteristics to consider:

  • Flower: Color, size, keeping quality (how long it lasts after picking), fragrance, etc.
  • Tree: Growing habit, size, etc.
  • Leaves: Color, size, etc.
  • Blooming: Quality, size of inflorescence/flower stalk, number of flowers blooming at the same time, how long does it bloom, etc.

I’m always trying to improve my chances of getting that spectacular plumeria seedling.

If possible:

  • Select a pod parent that is known to produce the characteristics you desire or at least a pod parent that has the characteristics you desire.
  • Obtain seeds from trusted growers.
  • Find out the history of the pod, e.g., What’s growing close to the pod? Did they bloom at the same time? Was it cross-pollinated, manually pollinated, or pollinated by nature?
  • Obtain all the seeds from a pod when possible.
  • Select seeds from a healthy tree.
  • Select seeds that are plump and look healthy.

Before you plant your seeds

Soak plumeria seeds to test the viability and soften the shell to give them a kick start.

When: Plumeria seeds germinate best in the spring, but can be germinated any time if provided with enough moisture and warmth staying above 60 degrees.

What: Use quality seeds, warm water, and Vitazyme

How: 

  1. First, examine each seed by placing it between two fingers. If they have some thickness, they most likely are viable. If they feel paper-thin, they most likely are not viable.
  2. For faster germination and rooting, dilute Vitazyme with warm water at a rate of 1 oz to 19 oz of water, a 5% solution, and dip or mist both sides of the seed. Allow seeds to dry prior to planting or soaking.
  3. For a soaking mixture, dilute Vitazyme with warm water at a rate of about 1.29% or 1 oz to 128 oz (1 gallon).
  4. Place your seeds in the container, place in a warm area, and allow to soak for approximately 4-6 hours (or even overnight). Soaking longer than overnight could cause damage to the seeds. Seeds that are very thin and are still floating are most likely not viable. To further test this, plant all the seeds, but mark the ones that did not sink.
  5. Check your seeds after several hours to see which seeds are absorbing enough liquid to allow germination and to sink to the bottom.
  6. Do not allow your seeds to dry out before you plant them.
  7. Now your seeds are ready to plant.

Why: 

  1. To soften the seed’s protective coating
  2. To allow the seed to absorb as much water as possible
  3. To test the viability of the seed
  4. To provide nutrients as early as possible, helping germination and starting the rooting process sooner

Preparing Plugs

When: Prior to planting seeds in plugs.

What: 2”x3” Grow-Tech peat plugs, warm water, Root Activator, and Vitazyme.

What we suggest: A mixture of warm water, Vitazyme, and Carl Pool’s Root Activator.

How: Soak your plugs in a mixture of 1 gal of warm water, 2 oz Root Activator, and 1 oz Vitazyme for about 2 hours.

Why: Vitazyme is a bio stimulate with vitamins that help the overall health of the seeds and the Root Activator adheres to the plugs or soil and gives the roots a kick-start. I use the plugs because they hold the right amount of moisture and provide ample aeration that allows the new roots to breathe.

Watering: Keep your plugs wet or leave them soaking until you are ready to plant the seeds.

Planting your seeds

When: Plant your seeds right after soaking into the prepared plugs. DO NOT allow either to dry out. If they dry out they could be damaged.

Plugs, Pots or Trays, After Soaking, For the seeds, I grow for new cultivars, I prefer planting the seeds directly into 2″ x 3″ Grow-Tech FlexiPlugs, a foam peat plug. For the seeds, I’m growing for rootstock in flat trays or 4″ pots.

What: Carefully selected plumeria seeds, 2”x3” Grow-Tech FlexiPlugs. Warm water, Root activator, and Vitazyme. You will also need a 36-hole tray and a flat for the plugs. A cover is optional.

Why: The reason I use the plugs is they hold moisture allowing me to keep them soaked with water and still providing ample aeration and allowing the new roots to breathe. I use the 2” x 3” FlexiPlugs that allows me up to 14-21 days before I have to transplant to pots.

Watering – I grow Plumeria seeds in full sun and water 2-3 times a day depending on the weather. My goal is to keep the plugs very moist to the touch. I have had no damping off or rotting problems with this method.

Start Fertilizing – Foliage

When: Before transplanting the plugs into pots, after three or four true leaves have grown. I use the same mix ( see below) approximately every two weeks

What:  BioBlast 7-7-7 NPK fertilizer, Vitazyme

How: Foliar feeding early in the morning or late in the evening with Bioblast at 1 tablespoon per 1 gallon of water and Vitazyme at 1 tablespoon per gallon. Do not spray in the hot sun it will burn the seedling leaves.

Why: Seedlings have seed leaves that provide them with nutrients for the first few weeks of their life, but when the seed leaves dry up and fall off the seedling needs nutrients. Bioblast works with every part of your plant. Soil organisms are invigorated with Vitazyme bio-stimulants providing quicker, more vigorous growth. Roots are encouraged with our Root Activator. A balanced 7-7-7 NPK provides the essentials of plant growth and structure. B-Vitamins and Zinc encourage a robust immune system, while Iron promotes chlorophyll production in the leaves.

Watering – I continue to grow Plumeria the seedlings in full sun and water at least 2-3 times a day depending on the weather. My goal is to keep the plugs moist to the touch. I’ve had no damping off or rotting problems.

Transplanting to Pots and Fertilizing

When: As soon as I see roots sticking out of the plugsPlumeria seedling roots coming out of the Plugs grown from seed, transplant into larger pots. Normally I will use 1 gal pots, but this year I’m using 7.5 gal squat pots. Approximately 14 days after planting in the plugs.

What: ProMix BX Mycorrhizae, Excalibur VI 11-11-14 with micronutrients, Vitazyme, and Root activator.

How: Fill 1 gal. pot with a mixture of ProMix BX Mycorrhizae mixed with 2 tablespoons of Excalibur Vi. Fill a 7 1/2 gal. squat pot with ProMix BX Mycorrhizae or the mix of your choice, dig an area our in the mix about the size of a 1 gal pot, port the contents of the 1 gal pot in the hole, then punch a hole about the size of the FlexiPlug (about 2″x3″) in the center of the filled 7 1/2 gal pot. Place the plugin the hole and press the mix firmly around the plug. Water in well with a mix of Vitazyme 1 oz to 1 gal and Root Activator 2 oz to 1 gal. You may need to add more soil mix if the plug is not covered completely with at least ½” of the mix. Water again the next day and then when the soil is almost dry. I would suggest using a water meter from time to time to verify the moisture content. It is very important the soil does not stay wet.

Why: Promix BX contains Mycorrhizae and is a fast-draining mix. The Excalibur VI, a 6-month granular slow-release fertilizer designed specifically for plumeria that provides all the nutrients a seedling needs to grow strong. Vitazyme a bio-stimulate helps the overall health of the seedlings and the Root Activator adheres to the soil and is there to help the roots develop and grow faster.

Watering – Water once a day for the first two days, then water when the soil is barely moist. At this point, I check with a moisture meter and water when on the low side of moist. It is important not to overwater, keeping the excess soil mix from becoming water-soaked. It is also important not to allow the root zone to become dry.

Fertilizing – Throughout the growing season

When: Apply Excalibur VI every six months, Foliar feed every two weeks to every month with BioBlast.

What: Excalibur VI 11-11-13, BioBlast 7-7-7, Vitazyme and Carl Pool’s Root activator

How: After 6 months, I spread 3 or 4 tablespoons of Excalibur VI on the top of the soil and mix in the top 1-2” of the soil. The seedling should still be in the 7 1/2 gal squat pot. Foliar feed with BioBlast 1 oz to 1 gallon and Vitazyme 1 oz to 1 gal every month or less. Drench with Vitazyme and Root Activator in the Early Spring or if transplanting.

Why: Excalibur provides a balanced slow-release fertilizer specifically designed for plumeria.  BioBlast works with every part of your plant. Soil organisms are invigorated with Vitazyme bio-stimulants providing quicker, more vigorous growth. Roots are encouraged with our Root Activator

If possible, do not let seedlings go dormant their first winter. You can treat seedlings as adult plumeria after the first growing season.

Keep looking for more space, they will grow!

Most Produces on this page can be found at Florida Colors Nursery

A Guide for Growing Plumeria From Seed

2018 Plumeria Pollination Projects

Planning for late 2018 and 2019 plumeria seeds

Work in Progress…..

Every year, I have to start thinking about the next year’s supply of seeds. Determining which plumeria I want to get seed pods from and should I manually self-pollinate or cross-pollinate. This year, Irma gave us a chance to rearrange most of our plumeria beds. So what I decided to do is put plumeria I want to pollinate or cross-pollinate in the same beds or at least close to each other. These are the plumeria I feel will help produce offspring with the traits I’m hoping for.

The first bed has the following Plumeria, I will manually cross-pollinate different combinations over the 2018 growing season.

Bed Number SE-01 contains 6 plants:

  • Camelot – Penang Peach seedling, great color, great bloomer, compact grower, sets seeds
  • George Brown – Penang Peach seedling, unusual color, great bloomer, compact grower. rarely sets seeds
  • Super Round – believed to be a Penang Peach seedling, great color, compact grower, sets seeds
  • Penang Peach – produces some great offspring. Good color, compact grower, sets seeds
  • Desert Sunrise – Chameleon. Compact grower. Sweet Scent, sets seeds
  • Bangkok Fire – Good Color, medium compact, ?sets seeds?

Bed Number SE-03

Bed Number SE-03

Bed Number FSB-01 contains 8 plants: I’m going to change some of these out.

  • Heirloom – a seedling of Summer Spice, compact grower, unusual color, sets seeds but rare.
  • Gina – semi compact grower, good color, good bloomer, sets seeds
  • Siam Ruby – a compact grower, good color, good bloomer, sets seeds
  • Thornton’s Lemon Drop – compact grower, good color, great bloomer, sets seeds
  • Dwarf Orange – Great color, compact grower, 
  • Raspberry Sundae – Great color, medium grower, good bloomer, sets seeds
  • Fireblast – Great color, medium grower, good bloomer,  sets seeds.
  • Queen Amber – Great color, medium grower, good bloomer 

Bed Number 

For more info on Plumeria Pollination and Pollinators

2018 Plumeria Pollination Projects

1-18-2018 Updates – Seed and Seedling Projects

Jan 15, 2018

2018 Seed Project preparation started today. I checked to be sure I have everything I need for my projects.

Gathering Supplies Needed:

January 17, 2018

This year will be using 2017 as a baseline. 

Merlin’s Potion from Florida Colors Nursery, not yet on the market. If 2018 experiments go well we will bring to market, but it largely depends on results from the final tests. Merlin’s Potion is an all organic product designed to boost plant health, growth and most important blooming. I developed it mainly for seedlings. I will post more about it later. 

January 18, 2018

Seed inventory and selection is next….see Plumeria Seed Selection

Unfortunately, seed selection depends on what you can get or what you have.

Here is the list, 

  • Gina,
  • Hope,
  • Heirloom,
  • Jackie,
  • Metallica,
  • Jack’s Purple, 
  • Dwarf Singapore Pink,
  • Mardi Gras,
  • Aztec Gold,
  • Waimea,
  • Bonnie Fox
  • ….so far!

January 23, 2018

Notes: The 2018 project will be divided into 6 phases:

PHASE I

Seed Selection

PHASE II

Soaking and testing seed viability.

PHASE III

Germinating Seeds

PHASE IV

Growing Seedlings to transplants size

PHASE V

Growing seedlings to the next transplant stage

PHASE VI

Growing seedlings to bloom

Depending on the weather, I’m planning on starting PHASE II, seeds soaking on Feb 1, 2018.

 

1-18-2018 Updates – Seed and Seedling Projects