Growing plumeria from seeds can be a rewarding and exciting way to add new cultivars to your collection. But in order to grow plumeria from seed you must know something about caring for plumeria seedlings.
If you germinate you seed between wet paper towels or use other methods of germination other than planting straight in plugs or soil, you should plant the seedling as soon as you see a root. Leaving them too long or allowing them to dry out could damage or even kill the new seedling.
A seed turns into a seedling as soon as it germinates. When you plant a seed, the first leaves to emerge are the cotyledons. These leaves will look different from leaves that will grow later. The purpose of these leaves is to provide stored food to the seedling for a short period of time. True leaves grow shortly after the cotyledons. When your seedling has three of four true leaves it need light to start generating energy through photosynthesis that will help feed the plant for the rest of its life.
- How much water should my seedling get?
Watering is very important, you should keep the soil moist but not wet. In the sun small pots will dry out very quick. As you transplant into larger pots the soil will be able to hold more water and watering is needed less often.
- When do I transplant my seedlings?
Transplanting seedlings at the proper time is crucial to their development later on. If you transplant them before they are ready, they may have a hard time surviving. If you wait too long, your seedlings growth may be slowed down or become pot bound in its original container. When it comes to how to transplant seedlings, there is no hard and fast rule to how tall a seedling should be before you transplant or put outside in the garden, due to the fact that different plumeria grow to different sizes. A general rule is when a seedling has three or more true leaves and you see roots coming out of the bottom of the pot, it’s large enough to transplant or place out in the garden (after it has been hardened off).Making sure that the plant has enough of these leaves to keep it sustained when planted out in your garden is important to its proper growth. Just remember, it isn’t how tall but how many true leaves your plant has that will determine when you should be planting seedlings out. But even when your seeds are big enough to plant out, make sure you harden off your seedlings before planting them.
- When and how to fertilize seedlings?
When the seedling has true leaves and roots it is capable of absorbing nutrients from the soil or from fertilizer. When cotyledons are gone, the seedling needs other sources of nutrients. We recommend adding a balanced slow release fertilizer, such as Excalibur to the soil or spray with a foliar fertilizer such as Bioblast at half strength. More info on Nutrients and Fertilizer
- What size pots are best for my seedlings?
Start with a small sized pot and transplant into larger pots as your root system develops. Transplanting or starting with a 4″ pot will allow plenty of room for the roots and provide the pot to almost dry out between watering. When you see roots coming out of the pot it is time to transplant to a 1 gal pot. Do not allow the roots to become root bound in the pot. If you slip a couple of pot sizes and go to a much larger pot, the soil will have harder time dissipating the moisture and heat has less chance of helping the roots grow.
- Can I plant my seedling in the ground?
Spring is the best time to plant in the ground, after the last frost and best when the night time lows are above 60s. Planting in the ground is a good idea as soon as they have established a good root system. I would allow to grow to minimum of 18″ before putting them in the ground. At that point you can treat your seedling as you would mature plumerias. They still need a supply of nutrients, good sun, good soil with good drainage. Some use raised beds to allow the benefits of the in ground space for the roots to grow. Just remember to protect from cold and to provide plenty of room to grow.
- What soil is best for my seedlings?
When preparing to transplant you need to get quality soil for seedlings. The soil is the key to success with any plumeria and should give your seedling the optimum growth. Any good soil suggested for seedling is ok, but the best soil I have found is ProMix BX with Mycorrhizae. The soil must be well draining no matter what soil you use.