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Grafting and Pollination




There are a few different ways to graft frangipani too, you can do a V graft, and angled graft and a flat graft, there is also a patch graft but that is a bit harder and not really for the novice.

Each type of graft is exactly how it sounds, as long as you have cambium to cambium they should take. The time of year is also important, I do mine in spring  through to the end of summer when the weather is warmer and there is sap flowing as this is needed for it to work. You can do it into autumn but the cooler it gets the less likely it is for the wounds to heal cleanly, thios normally happens in around 3 weeks. You also need to make sure that both the grafting stock and new graft piece are matching cuts so that they are hard up against each other, this is important as you need the cambiums tight against each other in at least one section, you also need to make sure that the wound is completely covered so no air or water can get to it our it will fail.I do two methods, the straight cut and the slant cut and will list the way I do each seperately.


The Straight Graft.

The pics at the top of the page are a straight graft taken at the time of doing it(2008) and again 3 years later.

 I always make sure the receiving wood and graft wood are the same size before cutting them, if you use a template it will ensure that they are identical cuts as well. You need to work quickly so have all your equipment ready, make your cuts and hold the 2 pieces together, I use pins to make sure they do not move once I release them. I find 2 to 3 pins in both pieces does the perfect job, once you have pinned them together wrap the exposed cuts in grafting tape tightly, go past the cuts by an inch or so and up and down the stem at least 4 or 5 times. Once you are satisfied with this cut your tape and take an elastic band and loop it over a pin then loop it over the opposite pin in the opposite piece, keep working your way around the circumference. Use at least 2 rubber bands for security, they will also keep pressure on both pieces of wood to hold them tightly together as well as holding the tape in place. Place the frangipani in a warm place out of direct sun, as with cuttings you will need to remove the leaves from the top piece of the graft before this process and again you will have a good idea if it has taken once it starts to grow leaves, do not let any water get on the grafted area while it is healing. Once you are satisfied that the graft has taken remove the rubber bands and tape, if you have done it right it will be obvious, do not remove the pins at this stage as they are security to still hold the 2 pieces together until the wound is fully healed.   Some of the grafting tapes now used stick to themselves so they do not need the rubber bands, I still like to use them though  as they maintain pressure on the joins.


The Angled Graft.

Have you tools ready and cut a piece of tape at least  70cm long so you are ready to wrap the graft. Cut your root stock at an  angle that is enough to allow a good connection and support the cut the same angle on your grafting piece. Start the wrap just below the rootstock cut so that the tape is locked and doesnt move with a 5cm piece hanging free(to tie it off). now place your graft piece onto the root stock and wrap 3 times at spaced intervals, keep the pressure on the tape and you can now move the graft piece to align the cuts so the cambiums line up, the tape should hold them together. Once you are happy that they are ok you can continue your wrapping making sure you cover all the cuts areas on both pieces then tie off the ends. You can cover the graft up with a freezer bag or similar to maintain good humidity, I also use a tape similar to glad wrap to make sure I have a good seal on the cut. If you have done it right you will start to get leaf growth in around 3 weeks, remove the bag if you used it and then just leave the graft to heal and the tape can stay on for added security.

Always practice grafting with an old frangipani before you try to do it with any good ones, you do not want to ruin a good plant.

Photo is of a double flat graft done in early '08 onto a seedling, I used two different coloured  growth tips only 6" long, plant has grown quite a bit since then and flowered as well. 

Dennis ©




Hand Pollination


There are a few ways to go about hand pollinating frangipani, the easiest is where you insert something fine down the throat of the flower till it touches the bottom then spin it in your fingers. This will break open the anthers and with any luck the pollen will fertilize the flower causing a seed pod to grow. You need to repeat this regularly through the flowering cycle till you find the best time for it to happen, this varies from place to place due to the growing conditions, here at the farm it can be from early December through to March/April but the closer to winter the greater chance of the pods being aborted. I use a few different things to do this, from the stalk from one of the grass weeds to a sanded down tooth pick or a piece of fishing line, just as long as it fits easily down the throat and it will spin inside the flower and break open the pollen sacks. Pods start to develop about 2 weeks after fertilization and mature in around 9 months so you can count back once the pod opens to find out the best time to try pollinating, this type of pollination is referred to as "selfing".

A detailed description can be found below in the "twister pollination" link.


Water Pollination


The next type of polination is a better way to introduce different pollen into the flower but you can still self it as this method leaves the plants own pollen in  the flower. First select the male parent and pick several fresh flowers and split them open so you can remove the anthers, there are 4 in each flower. Once you have removed them place them in a tablespoon or small recepticle and add some distilled water then you need to try to break open the anthers(I use a teaspoon) and make a slurry with the pollen and water. You then pour this into a syringe with a plastic needle fine enough to fit in the flower, give it a good shake so that the pollen is well mixed(the more anthers used the better the slurry) and then place the needle in the throat to the bottom and squeeze in just a small drop of the mix. As the water evaporates the pollen fertilizes the flower if you have gauged it right, you only do this to a couple of flowers per inflo as too many cause the plant to possibly abort them and it slows down the growth of the other pods. Again you will know within a couple of weeks if it has worked otherwise you do it again.


 Cross Pollination : The Moragne Method


This is the only true way to do a total cross pollination as the anthers are removed from the receptor flower. To do this I use a magnifying head piece(similar to the ones doctors use) so that I can see the small anthers easily, with a scalpel I open the bottom of the flower and remove the anthers of the donor male and go to the the selected female and repeat the process after removing the top off the flower. I then press on the donor anthers slightly to break the pollen open and place them inside the receptor plant then push a plastic straw over the flower and cover the hole I cut to access the anthers etc. The top of the straw is bent over and taped or the end melted/stuck together( before putting it on the flower) so that nothing can access the flower to contaminate the cross, again I only do this to a couple of flowers per inflo, I repeat this in two weeks time if no pods start to grow.


In all these methods you need to use newly opened/opening flowers as your donors and female receptors even in “selfing” as it gives you a better chance of success and do not give up, once you find the premium time to pollinate you can get pods on your plants regularly but do not over do it as it will drain the plant of energy. Pods are reasonably quick growing and need to be of a reasonable size before winter to survive, too many on the one plant can mean none survive. At the start of spring you can put stockings or similar over the pods so that you do not loose any seeds when they open up, open weave is better as it will not hold water which can cause rot problems. Then it is simply a matter of planting your successful crosses out and waiting to see if you have created a new variety.

Also remeber to write down the crosses and the dates you did them as well as tag the trees with the info, this way you do not forget exactly what you did and when you did it so that you can repeat it as necessary, mark each entry as a success or failure for future reference.

There are some varieties that are exceptional pod setters, I have found that cerise is a huge pod setter and so are some of the pinks, with seedlings it is best to let them mature for a few flowering seasons before trying to set pods so that the genes are stronger, they can take up to 3 flowerings before their true flower colour is determined, sometimes even longer.


CLICK ON CROSS POLLINATION below for detailed directions/pics

© Dennis

Grafting by steps


Click on the Links above and below for detatailed info & pics of each task

Cross Pollination by steps



Twister pollination