How to Grow Ylang-Ylang Tree Easily

Ralph Astley is a retired gardener from Philadelphia who specializes in outdoor plants and trees. With years of hands-on experience, Ralph not only cares for a diverse range of outdoor flora but also shares his extensive knowledge through well-written articles and social media posts. A trusted authority in arboriculture, he's committed to helping the community grow healthier, more robust gardens.
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Learn the secret to Growing Ylang Ylang Tree and enjoy its fragrant blossoms with this detailed care guide!

Grow Ylang-Ylang Tree Easily

Read on to learn everything about Growing Ylang Ylang Tree. From optimal growing conditions to proper pruning techniques, master the art of nurturing these aromatic plants for a rewarding and fragrant garden experience.

Botanical Name: Cananga odorata

USDA Zones: 9-11

Common Names: Perfume Tree, Cananga

Ylang-Ylang Tree InformationYlang-Ylang Tree Information

The Ylang Ylang Tree (Cananga odorata) belongs to the family Annonaceae and is native to the tropical regions of Southeast Asia.

This evergreen tree can reach a height of about 20 meters (66 feet) and boasts glossy, elongated leaves that shimmer in shades of dark green. Ylang Ylang flowers are the true showstoppers, exuding a captivating fragrance that is both sweet and exotic.

The Ylang Ylang Tree is known for its distinct blooming pattern. The flowers undergo an intriguing transformation, changing colors as they mature. Starting as greenish-yellow buds, they gradually turn into bright yellow blossoms with long, drooping petals. The fragrance emitted by these flowers is highly sought after and widely used in perfumery, thanks to its rich, floral aroma.

Propagating Ylang Ylang Tree

Ylang Ylang Tree can be propagated through various methods, including seeds, cuttings, and air layering. But the best one is propagation via seeds or cuttings.

Propagating Ylang Ylang Tree

From Seeds:

  • The seeds can be collected from mature fruits that have turned yellow or brown.
  • Soak the seeds in water for 24 hours before planting to enhance germination.
  • Fill a seed tray or small pots with a well-draining potting mix, plant the seeds about 1 inch deep.
  • Maintain a consistently warm temperature around 70-80°F (21-27°C) to promote germination.
  • Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged during the germination period, which can take several weeks to a couple of months.
  • Transplant the seedlings into individual pots once they develop a few true leaves, and continue to provide them with bright, indirect light and regular watering until they are ready for outdoor planting.

From Cuttings: 

  • Take semi-hardwood cuttings from a healthy Ylang Ylang Tree, preferably during the spring or early summer.
  • Cut a 6-8 inch section of a branch just below a leaf node, ensuring there are at least 2-3 sets of leaves on the cutting.
  • Remove the lower leaves from the cutting, leaving a few at the top intact.
  • Dip the cut end of the cutting in a rooting hormone to encourage root development.
  • Plant the cutting in a well-draining potting mix or a mixture of peat and perlite, burying the lower part of the stem in the soil.
  • Place the cutting in a warm and humid environment, ideally under indirect light, and mist it regularly to maintain moisture levels. Rooting typically takes several weeks to a few months.
  • Once the cutting has developed a healthy root system, transplant it into a larger pot or suitable outdoor location, ensuring it receives adequate sunlight and water as it continues to grow.

Best Pot for Ylang Ylang Tree

 A pot with a diameter of at least 12-16 inches (30-40 cm) is ideal for growing ylang ylang. This size allows the roots to spread comfortably and prevents the plant from becoming root-bound.

Additionally, choose a pot with good drainage holes to prevent waterlogging and ensure proper aeration of the soil. Opting for a slightly larger pot size also allows for better moisture retention, reducing watering frequency.

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Requirements for Growing Ylang Ylang Tree

Requirements for Growing Ylang Ylang Tree


Ylang Ylang Tree grows well in full sunlight, so choose a location that receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily. Place the plant in an area where it can bask in the warmth of the sun and soak up its energizing rays.

A sunny spot will promote healthy growth and enhance the production of its aromatic flowers.


When growing Ylang Ylang Tree, you should go for well-draining soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH range of 6.0-7.0. A combination of loam, sand, and organic matter, such as compost, creates an ideal soil mix.

This composition ensures good drainage while retaining adequate moisture, allowing the roots to breathe and access essential nutrients.


Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Ylang Ylang Tree appreciates regular watering, especially during periods of active growth.

Water the plant thoroughly, allowing the soil to absorb the moisture, and then allow the top layer to dry out slightly before watering again. Avoid overwatering, as it can lead to root rot and other issues.

Temperature and Humidity

Ylang Ylang Tree thrives in warm and humid conditions. It favors a temperature range between 70-90°F (21-32°C). Protect the plant from cold drafts and frost, as it is sensitive to low temperatures.

Provide ample humidity by misting the leaves regularly or placing a tray of water near the plant to create a humid microclimate. This mimics the plant’s native tropical environment and promotes healthy growth.

Ylang Ylang Tree Care

Ylang Ylang Tree Care


To support healthy growth, Ylang Ylang Tree benefits from regular fertilization. Use a balanced, slow-release fertilizer with equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK).

Apply the fertilizer during the growing season, following the package instructions for the correct dosage. Avoid over-fertilization, as it can lead to excessive foliage growth at the expense of flower production.


Pruning Ylang Ylang Tree helps maintain its shape, promotes bushier growth, and encourages better airflow. Prune the plant in early spring before new growth emerges.

Trim back any dead, damaged, or diseased branches, as well as any overcrowded or crossing branches. Prune lightly to maintain its natural form and avoid excessive pruning, which can reduce flower production.

Pests and Diseases

Ylang Ylang Tree is generally resistant to many pests, but it can occasionally be affected by common garden pests such as aphids, scale insects, and spider mites.

Monitor the plant regularly for any signs of infestation, including distorted leaves, sticky residue, or visible insects.

This tree is relatively disease-resistant, but it can be susceptible to fungal diseases if conditions are consistently damp or there is poor airflow.

To prevent diseases, ensure proper drainage and avoid overwatering. Provide adequate spacing between plants to allow air circulation when growing Ylang Ylang.

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Ylang-Ylang Tree Benefits

  • Ylang Ylang Tree essential oil is known for its calming and soothing properties. It can help reduce feelings of anxiety, stress, and tension, which promotes relaxation and emotional well-being.
  • The plant has uplifting and mood-enhancing effects. It can help alleviate feelings of sadness, promote a positive outlook, and improve overall emotional balance.
  • Its oil is also beneficial for the skin due to its antiseptic and moisturizing properties. It can help balance oil production, improve skin elasticity, and promote a healthy complexion. It is particularly useful for oily or acne-prone skin.
  • The oil of this plant can contribute to healthy hair and scalp. It can help control excess oil, reduce dandruff, and promote hair growth. Additionally, its floral scent can provide a pleasant fragrance to hair products.

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  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.

    • 2 years for mine – 24″ when I got it, planted in sand along a Privacy fence, full sun all day. Heavenly by night. Started blooming in September in SW FL

  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

    • Good morning Cindy, my name is Robert. I have a ylang ylang plant of which I purchased from Logee’s, which carries ylang ylang plants. They excell in tropical, rare; and unusual exotic plants from around the world. I’ll be keeping your mom in prayer, and trust God no matter what. Oh, and they have them in a four inch pot, so it’s not tiny; but small enough to sit on your windowsill in direct/partially sunny locations indoors. Please keep me informed of your mom’s progress in her healing. God bless, and praying for her health. If you don’t mind my asking, what is your mom’s name? (But God already knows) keep the faith sister, Robert


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