Starting Plumeria seeds in Styrofoam boats in water!

kasha77February 6, 2012

Well I've read that you can speed the germination of Plumeria seeds by floating them in little boats made out of packing peanuts. (Finally, there's another use for those annoying little devils!) I added a drop of Super Thrive to the water, and labeled each peanut with name and date. (Laura, if you look closely, your name is on the little boats in the last pic) Ive heard that they can germinate in 4 days using this method. I'll keep you posted on their progress! :)

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Cool! I look forward to the progress pictures.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2012 at 7:35AM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Hi Kathy!!

That is really awesome!!!

"USS LAURA" LOL.... love those cute little guys!!!

Please keep un informed as to how they do!

I think you are doing a great job Kathy!!!

I have never seen this before...

They all look wonderful!

Keep up posted...

Take care,


    Bookmark   February 7, 2012 at 11:42AM
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Hi kasha77, Here's how I floated my seeds. They were marked on the outside of the cells and once floated put on a heat mat. Yours are looking good. Hope they all sprout.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2012 at 10:31PM
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OK! It's been a few days and here's the results-
most of my seeds have germinated.

Now- does anyone have any idea on what kind of soil to pot them up in? I have the components to make the gritty mix- should I use that, and, if so, how often shall I water them?
Thanks for any info!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 7:45PM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Hi Kathy!!

That is some pretty work!!!


Hopefully Peg will see this post and comment on what she does after hers germinate using the peanuts.

I have not tried this method before, so i really cant comment on how or what to do.

My seeds are sowed in the mix and i leave them..

Hopefully someone that has germinated this way can share their experience with you.

You could always try several methods and see what works best for you.

Gritty mix..then sprinkle with the fines from the Turface on top ( i would place it right on top of the mix and cover with the fines...

Use half perlite half Cactus mix..

Starter seed mix..

Looks like you have quite a few seeds, so you can try a few in each and see what works best!

I wouldnt keep them to wet, but dont let them dry out either. Keep a close eye on them and keep them somewhat moist. You could even use a mister and spray them daily.

Do you have them under grow lights? Heating mat?

Good Luck and keep us updated..


    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 12:02PM
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kasha77, I use the same mix for all plumeria no matter what stage they are in. I use reptile bark, pumice, perlite, and a soil called ocean forest. I mix equal parts. I would say what ever you are using for your cuttings and plants will work. I have no experience with the gritty mix so if that is what you want to use maybe others will jump in. I'm so new here I hoped others would answer as I'm no expert. This is just what I did and it worked for me. Hope that helps. I need to figure out how to do the smaller pics. LOL Peg

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 1:28PM
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HI Girls-
I've never had a Plumeria before, and these seedlings are my first ones, so I don't know what to use for my mix. I have on hand some coarse perlite, Coir, peatmoss, coarse sand, and granite grit. Could I use some or all of these to make a mix for Plumeria? What proportions should I use? I have no idea where to even find those other ingredients. Karyn1 suggested waiting til the Coytleon leaves appear, and then transplant them into Plumeria medium when the true leaves appear. And Laura, I forgot to ask you- can you remember where these seeds came from (which plumeria), so I can have an idea of what they might become? I realize they could be entirely different from their parentage. Thanks so much for sharing all your knowledge!:)

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 2:26PM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Hey Kathy,

I am no expert by any means !! : ) I have learned thru others here and by reading these books that you may find helpful....

The Handbook on Plumeria Culture By: Richard and Mary Helen Eggenberger.

Growing Plumerias In Hawaii And Around The World By: Jim Little These are wonderful books and can really give you some helpful information if you are interested!!!

We have some great people here on the forums that have and continue to teach and i will always be learning too!

You can always make a Mix of Fir Bark (Petsmart) its by Zoo Med. You can find this in the Reptile section. Coarse Perlite, Gran-i-git. Screen the Gra-i-grit, and Perlite to get rid of the fine particles and mix equal parts to make a Fast draining mix. I would make sure that you moisten the Fir Bark and other ingredients while you make the mix.

Karyn has been a member here for a long time and has been very successful with her Plumeria. She has always given great advice!!! : )

You have asked about the Mother tree to your seeds. This tree is a Noid White/ Pink Plumeria (meaning No identification)

I will post a few pics for you to see the Mother tree!

Good Luck with your seeds..

Let us know what you decide!!!

Take care,


Have a great day!!!


    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 3:29PM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia


I wanted to correct myself...

You have the Gran-i-grit.
Fir Bark can be found at Petsmart...
To take the place of Turface, you can go to a Napa Auto Store and purchase the Napa Floor Dry Part #8822 That is a good subsitute for Turface..

I wanted to say that that would be a great mix.. You could adjust the other using Perlite and Gran-i-grit and Fir Bark..but i would go ahead and get the Napa.. It would be easy to find if you cant find the Turface..

Wanted to try and clear that up for you!! : )

Take care,


    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 5:56PM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia


I cant stop thinking of you and your seeds!! : )

If you want, i will send you some mix all prepared since it sounds like you are waiting for your seedlings to grow a little bit longer before you decide to plant them in some type of mix. Send me an email again with your address and i will send you some mix out late this week.

I wouldnt mind, you dont need much for all of your new seeds, then youu can see what and how it is mixed. I know you dont have any cuttings and or rooted Trees...
Let me know if you want to take me up on the mix.

Others have done this for me and i would love to help you get there too!

Ill be looking for your email!! : )

Have a great night!!


    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 11:46PM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia


Thanks for the email..

No problem at all!!!

Glad to help you!!

Happy Valentine's Day!!!


    Bookmark   February 14, 2012 at 11:27AM
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Hi Kathy. I move the seeds from the "styrofoam boats" to a soil medium when the cotyledons open, but before the first set of true leaves appear. Sorry if what I said in the earlier post was confusing. Turface is also sold at some nurseries as a soil conditioner. I don't remember who puts it out under that name. All I can remember is that it's in a green bag. I also used crushed Hydroton pellets to improve drainage.

Laura I post here infrequently now but still browse the forum. Your plumies and adeniums are just beautiful! I've cut way back on the number of plumerias I grow. There's just not enough space to store them in the winter. I think my bare root storage fiasco was the last straw. If they could be cut back like many of the other plants that I grow I'd have kept more, but I have increased my adenium collection. lol

    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 8:33AM
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Thanks for the clarification Karyn. I've taken my emerging seedlings out from their little "boats" and have planted them in a slightly coarse mix. I placed them on a heating mat, and boy did they take off! I moved them to my greenhouse and they are doing beautifully. I will be shopping around for more seeds to broaden my collection. I know it takes years for them to bloom, but it will be worth the wait!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 10:17PM
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Hi kasha...

when you put your germinated seeds into the soil... how did you do that?

Was it difficult to remove seeds from polystyrene pieces?? I'm afraid that I could break seeds roots...

PS excuse me, I'm Italian ad I'm 15, i don't speak English very well :)

    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 12:19PM
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figara(Ca 9)

Jesuis welcome! Do not worry your English is very good. Styrofoam is easy to brake so if you do it gently should be no damage to the roots.


    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 12:48PM
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Thank you Pat!!!

I hope that it will be as easy as you say.

I put some seeds in water like this method of sowing... now we have to wait...

Do you know how much time do the seeds take to germinate???

    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 3:08PM
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Jesuis, I agree with Pat that your English is very good! We love international visitors.

The styrofoam will split apart easily at the hole where the seed is resting, but you are right that you need to be careful. If you break the root off the seedling will not survive.

Most plumeria seeds will germinate in 7-20 days. Usually the faster they germinate, the stronger the seedling will be.

Please let us know how your seeds do!


    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 8:22PM
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figara(Ca 9)

Jesuis, practice braking some Styrofoam. Make a hole in the middle, stick a seed in it and than try to brake it. For example can lay the Styrofoam on the side on the table and try to braking little by little so you do not damage the imaginary root or you keep it in your hands... you can start braking it from the top (where the leaves are) down toward the root. See which way works better for you. In this way you will be more comfortable braking the Styrofoam when your seeds sprout .

Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 12:59AM
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Hi Jesuis, and welcome to our forum!
Your English is wonderful! I always admire so many Europeans that easily speak more than just their native tongue! :)
As far as your question on germinating Plumeria seeds, you can also use the flat Styrofoam top from a take out tray from a restaurant. Just cut it into many little squares, insert the seeds, and float them in a container in water. I set my container that held the little "boats" in a warm (70*) room, and they germinated within 5-6 days. It was very easy to take them out of the Styrofoam, no worries at all! Best wishes on starting your Plumeria seeds, please keep in touch so we can enjoy your progress with you!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 3:14PM
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Hi Kathy, the way you germinated your seeds is awesome! I am laughing over here because it is pretty darn cute, and boy do they grow quickly! I ordered seeds last night from BBB and am now even more excited for them to arrive after seeing this thread.

Question, you mentioned you set them afloat in 70* water, how did you keep it that temp? Did you set the container on a heating mat or under grow lights, or both? Your success is very inspiring, absolutely cannot wait for mine to arrive. Did you go with Laura's mix? I am thinking I'll do half cactus with half perlite... And finally, Karyn1 said, "I move the seeds from the "styrofoam boats" to a soil medium when the cotyledons open". Is the cotyledons the brown part of the seed?

Thank you and congrats on your success!


    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 12:28PM
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postlethwait(10Lehigh Acres)

After seeing this on the site, I purchased about 40 seeds. I did not have the peanuts but had thin sheets of styrofoam. I cut slices in the styrofoam and pushed the seeds in the cuts and then floated them in water. That was on the 11th of April. I have about 65% of the seeds with roots showing and I am sure I will have more in the next few days. Am excited to see them rooting. Can't wait to pot them up and get them growing. I am new to Plumeria, just purchased my first one in Feb. a bare root at a home show. It now has 8 or 9 leaves. I also purchased 2 others a couple of weeks ago that are about 3-4 feet high. Waiting for the blooms. Thanks for all the great ideals on this site.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 11:10PM
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i purchased some seeds online and i haven't been able to get them to sprout. i tried the method described in plumeria101 and the seeds all rotted. i decided to try out your styrofoam boat method. the seeds have been floating for about a week now and still none of them have sprouted. does anyone have any recommendations they could offer me?

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 1:37PM
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Like postlethwait, I have heard of people taking a thin sheet of styrofoam, cutting slits in it and floating it in a bowl of water. That would seem to be the easiest to set up and take care of, since the seeds would all be in one container.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 7:17PM
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Lmre, are the floating seeds in a warm area of your house? They do need it to be a little warmer, like on a heating mat or under grow lights this time of year.

Or it may be that your seeds just need a little more time to sprout.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 11:23AM
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    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 4:25PM
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I have been sprouting seeds for the past few weeks. Here is the method that i use. I went to walmart and bought some multi-colored craft foam. I used a different color craft foam for each strain of seeds (example: Mardi Gras seeds went with the green craft foam and Dang Mang Mee seeds went with the red foam). I cut little slits in the foam (about 10 slits per foam piece) and inserted the seeds in each slit. I then used a plastic container and filled it with warm tap water and added about a teaspoon of liquid fert. I then placed the container with seeds in the window of my kitchen so that the sun would keep the water somewhat warm throughout the day. I soaked the seeds for about 4 full days (nothing sprouted yet). I then removed the seeds and planted each seed in its own jiffy pot with a soil mix of perlite, peat moss, and cactus soil (do not use Miracle Grow). I placed the seeds outside on my patio and water lightly every day (and within 3 days they sprouted.) Out of 66 seeds 49 sprouted within 3 days of being planted in soil mix (thats about 74% sprouted). When I used Miracle Grow I only had about 15% of the seeds sprout. Once the seeds start to sprout I plant each jiffy pot in a 1 gal container so that I don't have to worry about them for a while. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 12:55AM
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