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