2019 Project – Planting and Growing Plumeria from Seeds

My favorite way to germinate and grow plumeria seeds.
After soaking I placed the Camelot seeds in FCN FlexiPlugs leaving their flags sticking out. After soaking for 4 hours, 68 out of 70 seeds passed the viability test. Usually, viable seed will soak up enough water to cause them to sink to the bottom of the container. The plumeria seed embryo is the part of a seed that contains the earliest forms of a plant’s roots, stem, and leaves. The two that didn’t sink in the water appeared to have underdeveloped embryos.

After soaking I placed the Camelot seeds in FCN FlexiPlugs leaving their flags sticking out. (Soaking Plumeria Seeds) After soaking for 4 hours, 68 out of 70 seeds passed the viability test. Usually, a viable seed will soak up enough water to cause them to sink to the bottom of the container. The plumeria seed embryo is the part of a seed that contains the earliest forms of a plant’s roots, stem, and leaves. The two that didn’t sink in the water appeared to have underdeveloped embryos.

This year my experiments are one to determine the benefits of correcting pH and two to determine if growing seedlings in nutrient saturated FlexiPlugs until time to transplant into pots is beneficial.

Similar to or maybe a version of hydroponics.

Day 1, 2/16/2019

Camelot Plumeria Seeds in FCN FlexiPlugs
Day 1, 2/16/2019
Plumeria Seeds in FCN FlexiPlugs
Day 1, 2/16/2019
Plumeria Seeds in FCN FlexiPlugs
Day 14, 3/3/2019
Hope Seedling in FCN FlexiPlugs

Hope Seedling in FCN FlexiPlugs. What I look for when evaluating my seedlings. When seedlings have a dark trunk, dark leaves with dark veins in the leaf, I believe they have a greater chance of having a colorful flower. Of course, there is no guarantee. This seedling was 19 Days old on 3/7/19 and about 3″ tall.
Camelot seedlings, March 17th, 2019. 29 days Old, time to start transplanting.

Camelot seedling, March 17th, 2019, After 29 days I’m starting to see roots emerge from the plugs.
2019 Project – Planting and Growing Plumeria from Seeds

Soaking Plumeria Seeds

This is a method I’m using to start the first batch of 70 Camelot seeds this year on Feb. 16th, 2019. From the first double pod to open this year at 9:30 AM. I filled one of Kay’s plastic containers about half full of hot tap water (not so hot that I couldn’t hold my finger in it). FYI, We are on well water. The seed will absorb hot water quicker and it adds some heat to the germination process. The seeds are less than 2 weeks old.

It all comes down to water’s viscosity. Cold water is more viscous than hot water, which means that its molecules more readily cling to one another. When water is heated, the water molecules begin to move around much more rapidly, keeping them from clinging together and making the water runnier, that is, less viscous.


Camelot plumeria seeds put on to soak in sealed container with hot water.

Plumeria seeds after 2 hours soaking in sealed container, water still warm.

The third picture is after 3 hours of soaking. Only a few left floating…I knew two very thin ones looked like they would not be viable.

The Camelot seeds are fresh, less than two weeks old. Older seeds will take longer to absorb enough water. I like to soak a minimum of 4 hours, (overnight is good) especially if they are 3 years old or older seeds. When I plant for rootstock, I do not soak them.

Next: Planting Plumeria Seeds in FCN FlexiPlugs

Soaking Plumeria Seeds

Plumeria Seed Starter Kit

As always, we are pleased to share our experiences and technology!

I’m using the Plumeria Seed Starter Kit from FCN

After several years of experimenting with various media and products for germinating and growing seedlings, We, Florida Colors Nursery, decided to make them available on our site. The Florida Colors Nursery Plumeria Seed Starter Kit consists of a flat tray without drain holes, a plug tray and 36, pH neutral 2″ x 3″ foam injected peat plugs pre-saturated with micro-nutrients (Why I use FCN FlexiPlugs). Specific micro-nutrients have been added to promote seed germination and give young seedlings a kick start. The Plumeria Seed Germination Kit is for the serious grower who wants the most out of their seeds.

For best results always start with the freshest seeds possible. Purchase from a trusted seller known to provide quality plumeria seeds.

Nutrient Mix – 1 oz of Carl Pool’s Root Activator (Why I use Carl Pool’s Root Activator) and 1 oz Vital Earth’s Vitazyme (Why I use Vitazyme) per gal of water. The products used for the nutrient mix are products we have been using and also sell on our website, but you can certainly replace them with similar products.

Phase I – Seed Germination

If you need to test viability or speed up initial germination, you may want to soak your seeds before planting. See “How to Soak Plumeria Seeds”
https://plumeriaseeds.com/soaking-plumeria-seeds/  

There are many methods for seed germination. The method below is the best for me in my climate.

  1. Remove the plastic cover. (The tray and plugs are wrapped in plastic and sealed to keep the plugs moist.)
  2. Use a knife to make a slice in each plug, make a 1/2″ wide slice and about 2″ down into the plug.
  3. Place the seed in the slice in the plug allowing the seed’s flag to stick out.
  4. Fill the flat tray with the nutrient mix (1 oz of Root Activator and 1 oz Vitazyme per gal of water) The best way to accomplish this is to lift a plug out, add nutrients and replace the plug.
  5. Seed germination will take from 7-14 days, sometimes longer.

Phase II – Seedling Growth

Phase II is the initial seedling growth

  1. Check the flat tray every few days and add water when needed to keep the tray full. The easiest way is to lift a plug out, check and add nutrients if needed, then replace the plug.
  2. After your seedling has produced three or four real leaves, start fertilizing with Bioblast 7-7-7 (Why I use Bioblast) every two weeks (Mix: 1 teaspoon per gallon, this is half strength), early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Do not spray during the heat of the day.
  3. Check the water level in the trays often and add water as needed to keep the flat tray full of water.
  4. Check and add nutrients as needed, the same mix as above or similar.
  5. Every two weeks foliar feed with Bioblast 7-7-7 fertilize (1 teaspoon per gallon, half strength), early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Do not spray during the heat of the day.
  6. When you see substantial growth and lots of roots, it is time to transplant into soil.
  7. Initial seedling growth is usually 2-3 months before it has enough root to transplant into 1 gal or larger pots.

NOTE: Your seedlings growth will vary depending on the weather and time of year. Spring is the best time for planting and growing plumeria seeds. Seeds need warmth and moisture to germinate; seedlings need warmth, moisture, and light to grow.

 Phase III – Transplanting to Soil and Fertilizing

When you have sufficient roots, it’s time to transplant the plugs into 1 gal or larger pots. I prefer to use Pro-Mix BX with Mycorrhizae (Why I use Pro-Mix BX) for the first transplanting of seedlings in soil. Usually good for eight months before time to move to larger pots.

  1. Fill a one gal pot or larger with Pro-Mix BX with Mycorrhizae.
  2. Drench the Pro-Mix with the same mix as above, (1 oz of Root Activator and 1 oz Vitazyme per gal of water)
  3. Make a hole large enough for the plug to fit in, (we use a rooting tube to make an indention into the soil).
  4. Insert the plug in the soil (Be careful not to damage the roots).
  5. Sprinkle two tablespoons of Excalibur VI (Why I use Excalibur Plumeria Fertilizer) around the plug and the top of the soil. Excalibur should last until the seedlings are approximately eight months old. I like to use the six months because the seedling should need to be transplanted every 6 months or so.
  6. Add soil to cover the fertilizer and the plug with about 1/2″ to 1″ of soil.
  7. Tamp the soil around the plug to assure good contact between the plug and the soil.
  8. Water the first time after transplanting, until the soil is soaked with the Nutrient mix (1 oz of Root Activator and 1 oz Vitazyme per gal of water).
  9. Add soil when needed.
  10. Be sure to monitor soil moisture and water well when the soil is almost dry. (A moisture meter is a good tool to use)
  11. Every two weeks Foliage feed with Bioblast 7-7-7 fertilize (1 tablespoon per gallon, full strength), early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Do not spray during the heat of the day.
  12. Treat for insects as needed.

Now that you have labored so hard to give your seeds the best possible care to help your seeds germinate and grow all you have to do is wait. I can assure you the feeling you get when you a plumeria seedling bloom that you grew from seed is worth it. Hopefully, you will find out how it feels for yourself in a few years.

Plumeria Seed Starter Kit

2-20-2018 Updates – Planting Plumeria Seeds

Pre-soaking Plumeria Seeds
Pre-soaking Plumeria Seeds for 2 hours

I started plugs and seeds soaking on 2-16-2018 and so far I’ve planted a total of 216 seeds consisting of  Jackie, Metallica, Jack’s Purple, Bonnie Fox, Salmon Jack, and others. All seeds planted so far are grown hoping for new cultivars.

 

Materials Needed:
Plumeria Seeds, something to soak the seeds in, 2” x 3” Gro-Tech FlexiPlugs and trays, Vitazyme, Carl Pool’s Root ActivatorPro-Mix BX MycorrhizaeMetal Labels or plastic plant markers and permanent felt tip marker.

Each year I try to verify the products and methods by experimenting with variations on last years proven methods. This year I’m comparing the use of FlexiPlugs and Pro-Mix as starter methods. I also use a control tray from what I determined to be the best method from last year.

  • I put 72 seeds in plug trays filled with Pro-Mix and the rest in trays filled with FlexiPlugs.
    • The reason I’m trying the Pro-Mix is to see if the Mycorrhizae makes a difference on newly planted seeds and young seedling.

      Pre-soaked Flexi Plugs without seeds
      Pre-soaked Flexi Plugs without seeds
  • I pre-soaked older 2016 seeds for two hours – four hours. The seeds that didn’t plump up and felt paper think, I discarded.
    • The reason is to test the viability of the seeds and enhance germination time.
  • I pre-soaked the plugs for about 1 hour or longer until the plugs are completely saturated. I use a mix of 1 oz Vitazyme, 2 oz Root Activator per gallon of water.
    • The reason I use Vitazyme is that it is a biostimulant that fosters plant growth and development throughout the seedlings life cycle from seed germination to plant maturity in a number of ways.
    • The reason I use Root Activator is that it is a 100% natural product which safely promotes regeneration of roots through increased elongation rates. Root Activator stimulates fast root growth, reduces transplant shock, and hastens plant establishment. Also, the root activators are designed to attach to the soil and not wash out as easily as root stimulators.

      Seeds in Pro-Mix
      Seeds in Pro-Mix
  • The remaining seeds were placed directly in the plugs.
    • The reason I place them in the plugs without soaking is they all appear to be viable and by pre-soaking the plugs I have provided plenty of moisture to germinate the seeds.
  •  After planting the seeds, each tray was soaked overnight in a mix of 1 oz Vitazyme, 2 oz Root Activator and 10 drops of Merlin’s Magic Potion per gallon of water. Allowing the plugs and seeds to be saturated with the mix.
  • Then I placed the trays in a location that gets about 7 hours of full sun. Day time times here are now in the mid to upper 80s and nighttime temps are in the low 70s.
    • The reason I place in full sun right away is mainly for the heat. All a seed needs to germinate is moisture and warmth. The full sun and air flow lessen the chance of damping off. Damping off typically occurs when a seed is planted in cool, wet soil and is further increased by poor soil drainage and poor air flow.
  • Seeds in Plugs
    Seeds in Plugs

    I water three to four time a day, keeping the seedling mix and plugs very moist. I have to be careful and watch the Pro-Mix, I expect it to hold more moisture than the plugs.

Note: Cotyledon or the seed leaf is involved in the storage of food reserves. In plumeria, the seed leaf exists in pairs and show above the ground and perform photosynthesis, a function similar to a true leaf. A new seedling can and will take up nutrients even while seeds leaves are still present. I soak the soil and plugs to be sure nutrients are available as soon as needed.

2-20-2018 Updates – Planting Plumeria Seeds

Plumeria Seed Selection

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 their 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.

Plumeria seeds in open seed pod.

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 possible.

 

Planting seeds to grow a new cultivar

Growing seedlings in the hope of getting new spectacular seedlings the most exciting journeys you can have with plumeria. Caring and babying of your seedlings for year after year waiting until it is old enough to bloom is a true labor of love. The anticipation when you see the first inflorescence starting to form is off the charts! If the flower turns out to be just like so many others, it is such a letdown, but you are ready to move on and plant more. But, in that rare case, your plumeria flower turns out to be a world-class spectacular flower, then it’s all worth it and you are ready to plant more. Did I mention that growing plumeria seedling IS very addictive?

Over the past 20 years, I have grown seedlings hoping to get that spectacular plumeria with some success. After joining Florida Colors in 2012 I have been fortunate to be able to dramatically increase my love for growing seedlings by growing several thousand each year for future plumeria.

What I’ve learned about seed selection while growing seedling for new cultivars:

  • Choose potential seed parents that have the characteristics you are hoping for in your seedling. 
  • Obtain seeds from trusted growers.
  • Get to know as much as possible about the pod and pollen parents as possible.
  • Find out as much as possible about what plumeria was growing next to the pod parent.
  • Do your best to research and find out if the parents have produced any good seedlings.
  • Always find out how old the seeds are. The older the seed the less of a germination rate. The germination rate depending on how old they are, how they were stored, the health of the pod tree, when and how they were harvested, and of course the cultivar.
  • Select seeds that look healthy and are not paper thin.
  • I have noticed over the last 4 years that the dark seeds seem to produce the darker seedlings.
  • Note: Seedlings with dark leaves and/or darker trunks have a better chance of producing flowers with color.
  • Note: Even the darkest seedling may produce a white flower.

Planting seeds for grafting rootstock

Growing seedlings grafting: Grafting a known plumeria cultivar onto a seedling with a superior root system is about the only way you can improve an existing plumeria cultivar. The rootstock will not cause any effects on the characteristics of the plumeria. All the characteristics above the ground, flowers, fragrance, growth habit and other characteristics will remain the same. Grafting a plumeria known to typically have weak root systems on a strong seedling root system will allow the plumeria to benefit greatly. The stronger the root system allows more nutrients to be absorbed, giving it a better chance to fight off disease and a better chance of survival. Typically seeds grown for rootstock will be allowed to grow for 1 to 3 years before being used for grafting.

Over the past 40 years, Florida Colors Nursery has grown over a hundred thousand seedlings for grafting purposes.

What we have found about selecting seeds for rootstock:

  • Seeds from pod parents with strong vigorous root systems, typically produce seedlings with a good root system.
  • Seeds from pod parents with light-colored flowers, typically produce good rootstock.
  • Seedling with light-colored stalks, leaves, typically have good root systems and are good for rootstock.
  • Dark-colored seeds will produce darker colored stalk and leaves and are typically not good for rootstock.
  • Seedlings with dark stalks and/or leaves, typically have the greatest graft failure rate.
  • Seedlings that are small and slow-growing typically are not good for grafting.
  • Of course, multi-branched and seedlings that branch a lot are typically not good for grafting.
  • And young green seedlings are typically not good for grafting.

Notice I use typically on every line because there are always exceptions to the rule when it comes to Plumeria.

2-2-2018 – Planting Seeds Project Update

2-2-2018 Update, Starting with the Basic Project Details.

Plumeria Seed Pod ready for plantingPlanting seed weather in Homestead looks good enough to start my seed planting and seedling projects. The forecast says the lows are going to be around 60 and the highs around 80 for the next two weeks. This is the earliest I’ve planted plumeria seeds outdoors. They will be in full sun open to the weather. It will be interesting to see how they do. I expect them to take longer than my normal to germinate. I will be planting some more around March 1, to see if there are differences. 

Here is the updated list of seeds I’m planning on planting. The ones in bold, I waiting on fresh pods to open. I always try to plant all the seeds in a pod, if possible.

Gina, Hope, Jackie, Metallica, Super Round (J115), Jack’s Purple, Dwarf Singapore Pink, Mardi Gras, Aztec Gold, Waimea, Bonnie Fox, Raspberry Sundae, Salmon Jack….so far!

Materials 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.

OK, the bench cleared off, containers and trays cleaned, plugs on to soak and organized the materials and products I use to germinate the seedlings. The plant is to start soaking seeds on Saturday.

I’ve decided to try several methods to see if they make any difference and to give you an idea which will work for you.

Basic Planned Regimen for 2018 Seed Projects –  substituting Pro-Mix BX Mycorrhizae mix for FlexiPlugs

The trays I use have 36 compartments, so most of the trays will have 36 seeds in each with 2″ x 3″ compartments. I will be comparing germination and growth differences between the FlexiPlugs and using ProMix soil.

Phase I – Soaking the Seeds before Planting

Plumeria seeds need moisture and warmth to germinate. They do not require light to germinate.

  1. First Dip seeds in a mix of Vitazyme and warm (not hot) water and allow to dry before proceeding.
  2. Soak seeds in warm water until plump, about 2-4 hours, overnight is ok. A good rule of thumb: Seeds that sink after absorbing water are usually viable. Seeds that float are normally not viable. Soaking seeds gives them a head start and a good way to checks viability.
  3. I sometimes use the paper towel method for germination.
    1. Place the seeds between two paper towels, wet the towels, put in a warm place, keep the towels moist and do not let them dry out. When you see roots it is time to plant the seed. 
      Caution: It’s important you do not continue to soak after roots start showing. They should be put in soil or plugs at that point. Waiting will only increase the chances of damaging the roots. Do not allow the seeds to dry out. 

Phase II – Soaking and Preparing the Plugs and ProMix.

  • Soaking Plugs: Materials: 2″ x 3″ FlexiPlugs, 36 holes Plug Tray for 2″ x 3″ Plugs, Two flat trays to hold the FlexiPlug trays. (one with drainage and one without), Vitazyme and Root Activator.
    • Soak plugs in Vitazyme (1 oz. per Gal) and Root Activator (2 oz. per gal) Soak for 1 to 2 hours.
    • Place the plugs in the trays, then plant the seeds in the FlexiPlugs 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.
    • Place ProMix soil in the trays and gently tamp until firm, plant the seeds in the ProMix with the flags and deep enough to cover the body of the seed with the flag sticking up and above the soil.
    • Water well with leftover Vitazyme and Root Activator mix. 
  • Drenching the Soil: Materials: ProMix, Same 36 holes Plug Tray used for 2″ x 3″ Plugs, Vitazyme and Root Activator.
    Because the 2″ x 3″ plugs aren’t readily available, I’ve decided to test using the ProMix in the Plug Tray instead of the plugs.
     

    • Fill the plug tray with ProMix soil and gently tamp until firm
    • Fill a Plug Tray flat without out holes about 2/3 full with Vitazyme (1 oz. per Gal) and Root Activator (2 oz. per gal) 
    • Place the Plug Tray filled with ProMix into the tray without drain holes. Allow to Soak for 1 hour or so.
    • Lift the Plug tray and allow to drain some, then place the tray with the plugs in a tray flat that has holds.
    • Plant the seeds in the ProMix soil deep enough to cover the body of the seed with the flag sticking out above the soil.
    • Water well with leftover Vitazyme and Root Activator mix. 
  • Using 10″ x 16″ x 3″ Flat Trays: Materials: Seeds, Seedling soil mix, Plug Tray, Vitazyme and Root Activator.
    • Fill a flat tray with good drain holes or slots about 2/3 full of good seedling soil.
    • Water well with Vitazyme (1 oz. per Gal) and Root Activator (2 oz. per gal) 

Phase III – Planting the Seeds

  • Labeling Trays: Before you start planting your seeds be sure to prepare labels and be sure to label every group of seeds with a minimum of the date and cultivar. Create a label for each individual seedling you are planting. 
  • Growing plumeria from seeds for new cultivars and/or rootstock.
    • Growing Seeds For New Cultivars: Materials: Seeds, 2″ x 3″ FlexiPlugs, Plug Tray, Vitazyme and Root Activator.
    • Plant the seeds in ProMix soil deep enough to cover the body of the seed with the flag sticking out above the soil.
    • Water well with leftover Vitazyme and Root Activator mix. 
  • Growing Seeds for Rootstock: Materials: Seeds, Seedling soil mix, Plug Tray, Vitazyme and Root Activator. 
    • Using the flat tray from above, place the seeds horizontal (flat) on the soil and cover with an additional 1/2″ or so of soil.
    • Water well with a Vitazyme and Root Activator mix.

Place in a sunny location, If your nighttime average 60 degrees or above at night you are safe to put the seeds outside. Seeds will germinate and grow best in Springtime and early Summer. Warmer weather helps germination, but the soil over 95 degrees could slow down germination. `The hotter the weather to more often they will need watering.  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

Watering your seeds

  • 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. 
  • For the ProMix in plug trays and the flats, water twice a day to keep the soil moist. Do not allow the soil to dry out.

Seed Germination – your seeds will germinate in 5-15 days, depending on the cultivar, the method used and the growing conditions.

Phase IV – Young Seedlings

After Germination, the seeds will put out roots, the seed leaves (Cotyledon) will break the surface and the seed coat will fall off and true leaves with start growing.

The seed leaves (Cotyledon) contain nutrients to help keep seedling alive until the roots can grow enough to start providing nutrients and until the real leaves have grown to perform photosynthesis to process the nutrients. 

After 3 or 4 real leaves have grown, foliar feed with Bioblast (1 tablespoon per gal). Remember when the seed leaves go away the seedling will need a source of nutrients. Caution: Apply only Early or Late in the day, not in strong sunlight, it may burn the leaves.

Phase V – Transplanting

Materials: ProMix or Seedling soil mix, 2 gal pots, 7 1/2 gal squat pots. Vitazyme and Root Activator, Excalibur and a Moisture Meter

Create a label for each seedling and be careful to label correctly with a minimum or the date planted and cultivar. We put the letter “S” on the tag to clearly indicate it is a seedling.

When you see several roots coming out the bottom and/or sides of the plug or tray it’s time to transplant. 

When transplanting I fertilize with Excalibur IX 11-11-13 (3 tablespoons for 2  pot and 5 tablespoons for the 7 1/2 gal pots) Mix in top 1” of soil to cover fertilizer granules. I suggest 9 months 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, or depending on your growing season, it may be better to use Excalibur IV and apply twice a year.

Be sure the Plugs are completely covered by soil, this will help them to decompose and prevent premature drying out.

This year, I plan on transplanting the 2″ x 3″ plugs to 2 gals and 7 1/2 gal squat pots. I’m expecting the 7 1/2 gal pots may help the growth rate.

Soil mixtures:

  • I’m using Pro-Mix BX Mycorrhizae for the soil mix for growing seedlings for new cultivars.
  • A good seedling mix is good for growing rootstock.

Water well after transplanting with a mix of Vitazyme and Root Activator.

Phase VI – Extended Fertilizing and Care

Materials: Excalibur VI or IX, BioBlast and a Moisture Meter

Foliar feed every two weeks with a mix of BioBlast (1 tablespoon to 1 gal of water) and Vitazyme (2 tablespoons to 1 gal of water), early or late in the evening.

If possible keep seedlings growing for the first year by keeping in a warm, sunny location. Additional Lighting may be needed.

Water as needed, allow the pot to almost dry out and water well making sure all the soil is evenly watered. Do not allow to bet completely dry. A moisture meter is always a good tool to have.

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