Updated: Jun 11, 2021
When buying frangipani you often have a number of choices available, both in-store and online. A number of retail chain stores and Trademe sellers are selling frangipani seedlings, without a label that lets you know that they're too young to bloom.
So here is a brief guide to what to ask or look for when purchasing. Also, remember these are tropical plants that go dormant in cool weather, so buying cuttings to root over the cold months is a risky business. If you are new to this, I suggest buying in spring when you have a much higher chance of success. At the very least, ensure you have access to a heat mat or hot water cupboard as heat from below is pretty much essential to growing roots on these.
ALWAYS ask the seller before buying -
Q: is it seed grown/seedling or a cutting off a flowering tree?
Q: is it a fresh cut or an old one? can I see the callus, please?
these will help you decide if it's worth purchasing. Also, if buying online check the photo is a real photo as some sellers use google photos. To check, using your Windows desktop or laptop only, open the photo and right-click on it then select "search google for image" from the menu that appears
Always ask for photos of the actual plant or cuttings you’re purchasing, and if buying on trademe - check the seller's feedback first and avoid buying from recent sellers if the price is over $50 as a huge number have been selling white frangipani as coloured varieties. Avoid cuttings with discolouration, or with wrinkles, these are signs of dehydration and rot or sunburn which can kill your cutting.
These are fun and easy to grow but slow to flower. Anywhere from 18months to 7 years or longer, and there is NO guarantee what colour they'll be. NONE.
Do NOT pay for a particular variety because it won't be that variety, even when hand-pollinated they STILL CANNOT say what colour it will be.
Part of the fun with seeds is that it's a lucky dip.
I personally love growing them by seed, but if you are wanting fast action, these are not for you.
as above. Do not pay more than $15 for these unless they are 3 or more years, it's not worth it.
A tip cutting is one that has the leaf tip at the top.
Roughly $20 upwards depending on size and branching, make sure it's no shorter than 6 inches, preferably longer, as the stem is your battery to charge the roots you want to grow. The more tips it has, the more it's worth.
You pay less for standard white and yellow variety's, usually $20 / $50 for an unrooted white and yellow cutting depending on size and tips. I charge $25 for the very small single stems $50 for my smaller ones with two branches.
You'll pay more for coloured varieties and A LOT more for dark colours such as reds or Purples. Just be aware they struggle here in New Zealand and are well known for being harder to grow and fickle to flower.
Splash variety's and Variegated leaves are rare and highly sought after due to it being a genetic mutation that cant be copied by the seeds.
Mid cuttings are taken from the middle of the stem and will sprout branches from the leaf nodes on the sides.
You should expect to pay less for these as they take a lot longer too bloom than a tip cutting, usually three years or more. frangipani don't bloom from a cut end for a number of years. Overseas, people tend to not even bother buying them and a lot of professional growers refuse to sell them.
We have a tight market here in New Zealand so less choice, and I personally would always take a mid-cut because they tend to branch multiple times from the nodes nearest the cut and it gets you more branches faster and it's affordable. In fact, most of my purchased cuttings are mid cuts, for this reason, it’s slower but cheaper and with extra branches long term
The bigger it is with more branches, the more expensive it is, coloured variety's cost more and are harder to get flowers from ( they like heat)
Always check where the cuttings were taken on it, if it has a lot of cuttings taken off it, it will be a number of years before those bloom again.
Check the stem and trunk for discolouration - a sign of sunburn or rot - wrinkles are also a bad sign. test the firmness by GENTLY pinching it , squishy is bad.
dehydration and sunburn can kill your tree, so try to choose plants and cuttings that don't have the signs - wrinkles, discolouration, softness.
dehydrated cutting below
rotting twin branched cutting
a good clean cut end ready to callus