How to Transplant Plumeria: Complete Beginner’s Guide

When you’ve successfully taken a plumeria cutting or grown frangipani from seed, it’s important to know how to transplant it properly. In this article, we will talk through all the stages of transplanting plumeria.

As well as transplanting cuttings, similar processes can be taken to transplant mature plumeria too, so take notes, as this will as become important when your trees are older.

What is transplanting?

Transplanting simply means moving your plant from one place to another. In horticulture, we typically use the term to talk about ‘potting-up’, either with cuttings, seedlings, or mature trees, from one pot into a larger container, but it can equally be sued to talk about planting plumeria out in the garden.

When to transplant plumeria

Plumeria should be transplanted in spring, at the start of their active growing season, when they are coming out of dormancy, but if your plumeria is outgrowing its container, and have exhausted the potting soil, it’s better to transplant it at any time to avoid root rot through winter.

the signs that your plumeria is ready to transplant are best seen by looking at root growth, assessing the soil, and some clear signs on the foliage. Below, we’ll look at when to transplant plumeria at different growth stages:

When to transplant plumeria cuttings

Plumeria cuttings take quite quickly and are best started in early to mid-spring. After around 90 days your plumeria should have a strong root ball, with roots poking out of the base of its container.

While we typically advise moving plumeria in spring, for cuttings, it’s important to pot them into the more fresh potting soil as quickly as possible to avoid them from becoming root-bound, or weak due to lack of nutrients in the sued soil.

Signs that your plumeria cutting needs repotting include roots poking out of the base of the container, potting soil drying out very quickly between waterings, and limp yellow foliage due to lack of nutrition in the soil.

Definition: Root Bound; When a plant’s roots begin winding around the inside of the pot they fail to produce fibrous roots and struggle to find nutrients. Severely root-bound plants can strangle their own fibrous root with excessive fleshy roots that are trying to break free of the container.

When to transplant plumeria seedlings

Transplanting plumeria seedlings depends on o when you sowed them. If you sow plumeria in spring, they should be potted up to a slightly larger pot in summer. If you sow plumeria in summer they can often stay in their small container through winter. Avoid repotting or transplanting plumeria in autumn or winter as the roots will be sat in wet compost and unable to take up any moisture.

When to transplant mature plumeria

Mature plumeria should only be moved in late winter at the end of their dormant season. Outdoor plumeria are particularly at risk of disease and will struggle if moved during their growing season as the developing roots are heavily distributed by any relocation.

You can transplant mature plumeria in containers to slightly larger pots any time from late winter to early spring, until just before the last frosts.

If you have mature plumeria planted outdoors in the ground in warmer regions, avoid moving them at any time other than very early spring. They will quickly recover from a big move when their growing season begins a few weeks later but will flower less for the first year after moving.

How to transplant plumeria cuttings

Transplanting plumeria cuttings is simple but you need to get the soil right and avoid jumping up to a container that is too big.

These tropical plants don’t like being moved, and definitely don’t like sitting in wet soil. Below, we look at the best soil for transplanting plumeria, and how to choose the right container.

The best soil for transplanting plumeria

Plumeria is happiest when rooting into loose, free-draining compost, with reasonable water retention, so always use grit or perlite mixed in generously with your soil and compost mix.

Potting plumeria is more about nutrients than the substrate, so if you don’t have access to perlite, try mixing grit or gravel into compost to make it more free draining.

Transplanting plumeria cuttings, step-by-step:

Plumerias are slow rooting plants in any location, and in any soil, so never piot up to a container more than 2″ larger than the previous container.

Ideally, choose a pot that is 2″ deeper, and 1″ wider on each side. Until plumeria has rooted into the compost it will act as a sponge, holding excess water. For the first few weeks there is a good risk of plumeria root rot, so protect your young plumeria by only potting up to a slightly bigger pot.

Plumeria Transplantation Materials:

  • Container
  • Compost
  • Grit / Perlite
  • Fertilizer

Plumeria Transplantation Method:

  1. Start by tipping your plumeria gently out of its old pot, taking care not to damage the young stems.
  2. Tease any winding roots out gently to promote lateral growth.
  3. Add grit, gravel, or crocks to the base of the new pot to aid drainage.
  4. Add 1-2″ of fresh potting soil (50:50 compost and perlite) to the base of the pot.
  5. Place the plumeria root ball into the new pot, and gently fill the soil in around it.
  6. Aim to leave 1″ of space at the top of the pot, between the soil and the rim.
  7. Fill this space with gravel or grit to prevent water from sitting around the base of the plant.

How to transplant mature plumeria

Mature plumeria are much harder to transplant than plumeria cuttings or young plumeria in containers. For any plant in the garden, it’s really important to take the entire root ball, and remove some foliage to help it recover after moving.

With plumeria, this means digging a circle around the entire plant, at least as wide as the canopy, then using a form to firmly, but carefully, tease any downward roots away from the ground.

Once the entire root ball is free, get help to lift it to the new position.

For the new hole, dig twice as deep as the root ball, and 1ft wider. This helps to loosen the soil so that rooting in is easier for the plant.

Cut back your plumeria by 1/3, aiming to cut just above leaf nodes. This gives your mature plumeria the best chance of recovery after transplanting.

How do you care for plumerias after transplanting?

After transplanting plumeria, they should be positioned in full sun, fed, and watered. Regardless of the time of year, your plants are moved they will need help to establish a good root system in their new location.


Plumeria transplants need plenty of light after being moved, especially in early spring, and this triggers new growth. If your plumeria has been sitting dormant over winter before transplanting, place it in bright but dappled light so it can come out of dormancy without shock.


After transplanting plumeria cuttings, or a mature tree, water them well until they are established. This can take 3-6 months but is usually faster, so continue watering them generously once or twice a week through spring and summer as soon s the top layer of soil has dried out.


As well as transplanting plumeria into fresh compost, which helps with rooting anyway, adding fertilizer into your watering regime more regularly for the first year is essential.

See our guide to plumeria fertilizers for the best plumeria fertilizers for indoor and outdoor plants.

Transplanting plumeria, FAQs

What kind of soil is best for plumeria?

Plant plumeria into well-drained soil, using either a mix of compost, perlite, and grit or a shop-bought potting mix like cactus compost. If planting outdoors, mix plenty of grit into clay soils to improve drainage, or add compost into sandy soils to add water retention.

Can you cut a plumeria branch and replant it?

Plumeria branches can be pruned as regrown if you do it correctly. These are called plumeria cuttings, and use the unique ability of plants to regrown different cells from their nodes.

Can you plant a plumeria cutting in the ground?

Plumeria cuttings should always be treated with are, indoors, in a controlled environment. Avoid planting plumeria cuttings directly into the ground.


Transplanting plumeria and caring for transplanted plumeria shouldn’t be overwhelming. As we’ve shown with the guide above, transplanting plumeria is straightforward and can be a lot of fun.

whatever you do, don’t rush it, as transplanting plumeria, like any plant, is a task that requires care and attention.

3 thoughts on “How to Transplant Plumeria: Complete Beginner’s Guide”

  1. Why should one avoid planting cuttings in the ground? My plumeria has grown great in the ground, even the cuttings. Is it because they get too big?


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