HomeFlowers & BloomsHow to Grow Ylang-Ylang | Complete Growing Guide

How to Grow Ylang-Ylang | Complete Growing Guide

Growing Ylang Ylang is moderately difficult if you’re not living in sub-tropical or tropical climate. Read this guide on ‘How to Grow Ylang Ylang’ to understand the basics.

USDA Zones — 9-11
Difficulty — Moderate
Soil Type — Slightly Acidic to Neutral

About Ylang Ylang

Native to Southeast Asia, Ylang-Ylang (Cananga odorata) is a tropical tree belongs to Annonaceae family (sugar-apple family). The name ylang-ylang means ‘flowers of flowers.’ It produces highly fragrant flowers of pale green color, which turns yellow afterwards. Its sweet scent can be smelt from far-far away and more intense and wide when damp wind gust around.

It is also called as Perfume Tree as it is widely cultivated by perfume industry.


Growing Ylang Ylang from seed is better than propagating it from cutting. For this, keep its seeds in lukewarm water for half an hour before sowing to expedite the process, then sow them 1/8 inch deep in slightly acidic and good quality potting soil. Keep that soil moist until germination. It takes a long time to germinate (sometimes up to four months).

Choose a south faced sunny spot, though it also does well in partial shade but blooms lesser. Only water it when top one or two inch soil is dry. As it is a tropical plant it requires good humidity levels to produce more aromatic flowers. If grown in humid place or greenhouse it blooms all year round and thrives better.


It is a rain-forest tree that reaches up to the height of 10-12m. As it is a tall tree, regular pruning is required to retain its shape. If you live at a windy place, plant it before a building or tree because it could fall off in strong winds, as its wood is lanky and not so dense.

*It is a disease resistant plant and blooms through out the year once established and matured.

How to grow Ylang-Ylang in container

To grow it in container, plant ‘Cananga fruticosa’, this is a dwarf variety of ylang ylang. It only grows up to the height of 2-3m, after training it can become a good container plant. Its flowers are not as fragrant as big variety’s but perfect for limited space. To increase humidity levels you can place a tray full of pebbles and water to increase the humidity level.

Why you should plant Ylang-Ylang

Revered in ancient Indo-Malayan scripts it is said that its flowers are mood refreshers and smelling them can increase life.

  1. Apart from old talks, its fragrance is really wonderful, gentle and sweet in a combination of custard-apple and jasmine.
  2. Its flowers attracts natural pollinators like butterflies, hummingbirds and bees.
  3. Its crushed leaves when applied on wounds, heals them.

Ylang Oil

Also called as magical oil there are myriads of benefits of Ylang-Ylang’s essential oil: When sniffed it provides relief from stress, anxiety, depression and blood pressure too. When applied on wounds it heals them. Its oil is also a remedy in hair fall, some drops of oil can be mixed in conditioner for dandruff care.

*You can make its oil from distillation at home or buy it.


  1. I am looking for ylang ylang to plant and grow in my yard. Can someone help where to find or to buy young ylang ylang tree/plant?

    • There is some on eBay. I just got one and is a very healthy plant. I got mine from paradise distributors at Nambour QLD Australia. I don’t know what country your from but I hope this helps.

    • If you are located in the Philippines, you can buy ylang ylang seedlings from the Anao Ylang Ylang Center in Anao, Tarlac.

    • If you’re from Philippines you can purchase at Anao, Tarlac. They also have varieties of Ylang Ylang products :)

  2. You can purchase ylang ylang seeds on E-Bay. I bought a 5 gallon ylang ylang tree in David, Fl. The plant has not flowered yet, but it is growing and doing well potted. I was told to keep it in potted until the roots branch out of the pot.

  3. I reside in Quezon City, Philippines, country where Ylang ylang grows. We, wife and me, like to grow ylang ylang trees in our farm in Angeles city. We have access to seeds of a tree near us and unsuccessfully planted seeds we pickup.

    Thus will appreciate when to pick seeds, when still in tree or after they have fallen to ground. No saplings are seen around base of tree.

    Should we prune trees to no more than ten feet for ease of picking. We had an old tree at our backyard in Quezon City that was over 10 meters tall but was felled by typhoon winds. A factor may have been shallow roots growing on hard surface of adobe strata.

    Tips on best growing medium will be appreciated

    • We live in Hawaii and have 3 large ylang ylang growing. We have repeatedly taken a chain saw and cut them off about 3 feet above the ground to keep them growing low (20 ft) so we can smell the blossoms. They come back over and over very strong! They are growing in lava in a black cinder (1/4″ cinder) / mulch mix. That is the medium we grow all plants in here — fruit trees, vegetables, flowers, all plants. They are very happy with some fertilizer now and then.

      • Hello. I have been topping our Ylang Ylang to keep the height at 25 feet or so. We would like to have more branches start lower on the trunk. You said you cut it at 3 ft anove the ground? The trunk? It survives with no foliage? I though about notching the trunk to see if that works but dont want to cause an issue if it does not. Just trying to get the height back down to around 10 ft

  4. Thanks God we got one big tree around my back yard.they said if you got one ilang ilang tree is really lucky.this tree gives a very relaxing feeling.less stress. Smell is good. I so it that their are Some seed on the branches.

  5. I was lucky to find two trees in the Florida Keys at a great price. It’s been 4 yrs, during that time a hurricane almost knocked them over and a hard freeze took the top of one. I’m am so happy and excited to say. They are finally blooming.

  6. I have a tree and live in southern Florida I do believe it’s a dwarf. I would like to try to make some essential oil does anyone have any ratios I have a small crockpot that holds approximately 2 cups of water was wondering if it’s worth my time

  7. Tried the seeds before but isn’t work on me. That is why i want a small plant.
    Please let me know. I live in Wesley chapel, Tampa bay Florida
    Thanks in
    Aída yolanda

  8. I have a small cananga fruitosa
    that I bought as a sapling.It is trying to flower now which is very exciting as it is so far away from its native environment.I live in Sydney ,Australia.I wouldn’t mind betting this would be the only specimen tree south of Brisbane.

    • I remember seeing one at the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney… it’s encouraging to hear that yours is doing well too. Would I be able to purchase cuttings from you, for propagation? I would love to try growing them too here in Sydney.

    • I remember seeing one at the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney… it’s encouraging to hear that yours is doing well too. Would I be able to purchase cuttings from you, for propagation? I would love to try growing them too here in Sydney.

  9. This above information is very good for the Ylang-ylang growers.. I’m growing Ylang-ylang plants of about 1200 plants in the area of 10 acres near Bangalore, India…

  10. I see a lot of questions on where in Florida can you purchase a Ylang Ylang plant, but no responses. I too would like to know.

    • Pine Island Nursery, south of Miami at 186 St near Krome Ave. it’s a zone 10 plant, so it would probably suffer in northern Florida. It needs a sub-tropical climate and zone 10 is best. I am now growing some from seed, but takes a while to see success. I’ll post if I have any seedlings.

      • I’m in St. Petersburg and just bought a nice sized (5ft) ylang ylang tree from Jene’s Tropicals… along with some oleander, bay, rosemary and grand dame jasmine. I read about them a few years ago and have been wanting one since. Can’t wait till it blooms, I’ve never smelled them :))

  11. I have a healthy yalang yalang tree that is covered with flowers. After blooming the flowers produce numerous seeds. The problem I’m having is getting the seeds to germinate. Any tips?

  12. From what I’m reading this is a great plant and I would love to have one. But, I live in Missouri, US. We have hot humid summers and cold winters. I have a small house and a big, big yard. I’m thinking this is a no go for me. What do you think?

  13. I live in Merritt Island Fl. I purchased an Ylang Ylang tree at a garden show at Florida Tech In Melbourne (summer of 2015) It was about 4 ft tall. It started blooming the following summer and it blooms all year. The fragrance is amazing. I live in a small deed restricted community and the neighbors loved it. I mulched around the tree and seedlings were popping. I have one for my next door neighbor, I gave one to my daughter in Tampa and I have a few more in pots and I planted one in the side yard which is now over a foot. I am going to try growing it indoors. I found that they grow faster when in the ground

  14. This is a somewhat delicate tree. Because it grows so quickly, the wood isn’t dense and the long branches can break easily in a strong wind.

  15. I live in Dallas, Texas and am overwintering my dwarf ylang-ylang inside, in a small, cheap grow tent with a humidifier. For me, success of this plant hinges on the roots establishing wherever you plant it. For new roots to grow, it seems to need warmth and humidity. Doesn’t have to be hot, but consistently warm, with good humidity (over 60%). New leaf growth indicates the roots are establishing. Has been disease resistant so far in a grow tent with grow lights and humidifier, but no fan to circulate air.

  16. My Ylang Ylang tree is 10 foot tall and the Wesley Chapel, Florida area had an evening of frost and all the leaves turned brown. Will the tree recover? Extra Watering maybe, what plant food should be used. We inherited the tree and would like it to thrive. This would be the year of great blooms we think, now not so sure.

  17. Hello! I have a beautiful Ylang Ylang that was thriving until leaf eater ants ate all the leaves. Any recommendations to help it thrive again? A friend recommended planting kutuk or sweat potato around it to prevent future attacks.

  18. If anyone would like to share a plant, seed or tree ylang ylang or any other tree or plant that might help…. I would love to have one as my mom had a stroke and I have read they are helpful with blood pressure and healing. Mom is eighty and having a rough go not being able to go to Church and teach Sunday school or play the drums with our choir any more. Praying for miracles and they come in all shapes and forms. Thank you all


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