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.

  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.

  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.


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