Pruning my tall DR?

MRI_Guy(5a)January 13, 2013

Now for my question: my DR is nearly 4' tall and now that I know what I know about it, I want to prune it back (hard) to encourage more caudex growth but I'm not sure how far down the long branches I can safely cut. I bought a smaller DR a few weeks ago at a local garden center (yes, they even stock them in December/January in Wisconsin). It had a pair of 4-5" branches and I pruned the longer of the 2 back to about 2" and I have new leaves/branches all over the plant now. I water the new one once a week with a couple drops per quart of Super Thrive. The larger DR only gets watered twice a month and has new growth on it as well. I guess these plants weren't told about the dormancy period because they certainly shows no signs of it.

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greenclaws UKzone8a

Hello again and wow, that is a tall DR! I too prefer the short dumpy style with a fat caudex. Your question is a good one and I can see your dilemma.
If it were mine, I would like to see it cut back to around that first kink up from the Y on the left branch, and slightly higher on the right to balance it (around where that pale scar is, two kinks up from the Y this time). It's difficult to see exactly where to cut too as we are looking down on the plant and it alters the perspective, a 'front view' pic would be better to see exactly the scale of the plant. That should push out new growth from dormant buds on the remaining portions. Hopefully someone else who has cut a leggy DR back will help you out as I have never had one big enough to prune other than cut off my 1cm bendy tips as at present. You could later cut back even more or to wherever buds pop out. Sorry I can't be of any more help on this, but this is what I would do myself.
Gill from the UK.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 4:40PM
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MRI_Guy(5a)

Excellent, I was thinking of cutting back to basically the same spots on the branches - making it resemble a "sling-shot" as it were. My next question is: with cuts of this size, how do I, or should I, treat the cuts after they're made? I have read many of the postings on this forum since I discovered it last week and have seen "let them air dry", "cover them with water-proof glue" and "cover them with tan colored caulk". This gal has been with me for a long time and I wouldn't want to do anything to harm her.

Thanks - Scott

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 8:42PM
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teyo(7b)

I agree with greenclaws on the pruning location, it will create a much nicer form. About the cuts, the easiest way for me was to smear honey on them :) honey has antiseptic properties, and even better, it will make the wound heal without creating ugly black scars you get when leaving them to air dry. I've also had good results with ground dolomitic rock powder (it is used as a mineral fertilizer) but that isn't widely available.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 7:15AM
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ltran54(9)

Gill, you gave excellent advice on where and how to prune. I liked your advice very much.
Scott, there are many ways to treat prune cut. I normally don't treat my prune spot, because I do it during summer. But if I do, I use (prune seal), you can get it at HD or use house paint is okay too.
You will see the size of the caudex expands faster after the cut. Good luck, and please remember to share with us later grow.
Marie

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 8:11AM
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MyLan153(5)

Hi Scott, could you tell me which garden center that you got your DR in Dec/Jan, I'm in Milwaukee and it's hard to find DR at any local stores.
I also in zone 5/5A, should I prune and re-pot my DR at this time in the winter? Mine is about 2' tall with 2 branches and I feel like the caudex becomes a bit soft. Please give me advices on this. Thanks in advance. MyLan

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 12:36PM
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MRI_Guy(5a)

MyLan153 - I purchased it from the Stein Garden Center in Oshkosh and if I'm not mistaken, there is a Stein Garden Center in Milwaukee too. It was a full tray of them in the greenhouse portion of the store. The advice part of your post I will defer to the experts; I'm a DR nubie myself...

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 1:18PM
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ltran54(9)

MyLan, you are in zone 5A. Don't cut/prune at this time of year. Wait until the warm weather. It is safer.
Marie

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 7:58PM
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johnsonm08(5a)

I'm in southern WI too. I wouldn't prune till late spring here --in June. Be very careful with the water at this time of year. Cool and wet = rot. If the leaves drop off, or you prune them off, I would not water it till you see new growth. Mine are in the basement and have not been watered for almost 2 months.
Mike

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 10:41PM
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MRI_Guy(5a)

I must be fortunate in that my DR's have not gone dormant over the winter and are actively sprouting new growth. The picture shows one of my seedlings that I sewed last summer and the plant that I had purchased at Stein Gardens about 4 weeks ago (and snow on the deck outside!). It had a pair of 4" branches; I cut one of them down to 2" and look at all the new growth now! I keep my DR's in our south facing 2nd floor sunroom all winter - in a sunny window by day and then atop our Pellet Stove by night. They are very happy plants!

    Bookmark   January 15, 2013 at 1:48PM
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MyLan153(5)

Scott, I picked up a couple of DR at Stein, they're small and look so cute. Your DRs in the photo are nice and healthy.

Marie, Johnsonm08, your advices are very helpful. I'll do the pruning and repot in the Spring. MyLan

    Bookmark   January 15, 2013 at 5:08PM
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sbrow156(Cairns QLD Australia)

MRI Guy I love that cute little one on the left, and its so great seeing the new growth once you have pruned huh :D I made the mistake of pruning during some rain once and my cuts began to get mouldy and rot. I had to recut and i put glue on it which made them not rot. I have since always put something on the cuts. I use cinnamon now as its meant to be a good antifungal. I have not had any problems since using it. I always prune on an angle too ..i think it gives some character. Anyway I have a question...when you prune and say two branches start growing from under the cut. If one grows quite large and the other just seems to stop quite small will it then keep growing again at a later stage? Or will it never get any bigger? Also if a spot starts swelling and looking like it will make a branch but then doesnt will it ever in the future? or should you give up and prune again lower hoping it will grow a branch the second time?

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 8:04PM
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MRI_Guy(5a)

sbrow156 - I took the advice of an experienced DR keeper and I treat the ends of my cuts with honey which also possesses some antiseptic qualities. As to your other questions regarding pruning, I will defer to the experts - which I am not. I wish I could be of more help, perhaps in a couple of years I will be, but for now I am a DR newbie and accept much more advice than I give out. But I sure enjoy hearing from you!

Scott

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 9:05PM
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sbrow156(Cairns QLD Australia)

Hmmmm honey..i may try that next time then...its great you can just use stuff from the pantry rather then having to go out and specifically buy something though :D

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 9:07PM
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MRI_Guy(5a)

Well I took Gill's advice and my too-tall Adenium has been pruned. It had new growth all over the top of it, so I'll be watching for that growth about 2' down from where it was about an hour ago. I used a super sharp fish filet knife to make the cuts and sealed them with honey. And while working on that plant, I noticed flower buds on another one - a good day!

    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 2:10PM
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greenclaws UKzone8a

Oooooer, I do so hope it will branch for you really soon. I feel really responsible for the plants future now! Pleeeeeese keep us updated on it's progress?
Gill from the UK

This post was edited by greenclaws on Sun, Jan 20, 13 at 16:21

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 4:20PM
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MRI_Guy(5a)

I will keep you all updated on its progress Gill. And now that you feel responsible for its well being and need some peace of mind, perhaps you should purchase a large Life Insurance policy for it and make me, its care-giver, the beneficiary. (grin)

Scott

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 6:33PM
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MRI_Guy(5a)

Hey Gill - new growth on the hard-pruned branches, just noticed it this afternoon!

Scott

    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 2:04PM
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greenclaws UKzone8a

Goodness me, that was super quick!!!! I shall now be able to sleep peacefully tonight after 3 nights of being chased by giant naked adeniums......lol!

Gill from the UK. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 5:00PM
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MRI_Guy(5a)

Gill - here's the new branch 6 days later. It's coming along nicely!

Scott

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 8:19PM
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greenclaws UKzone8a

That's brilliant progress with the new branch. Lets hope it's the forerunner of many more. I too have tiny sprouts pushing out on the bare stems of one of my older traumatised DR's, a sure sign things are on the up :D
Gill from the UK.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 3:17PM
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MRI_Guy(5a)

I looked at it again today and there are 2 more branch buds; one on each of the main branches, so it's happy and I'm sure it'll do fine. It gets plenty of sunshine sitting in the deep window sill of a 4' x 8' south facing window and I'll post pictures from time-to-time showing its progress. Thanks again Gill for encouraging me to do the hard prune, it'll look great in a few years; the plant is about 12 years old now and has a very well developed root system.

Scott

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 4:13PM
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MRI_Guy(5a)

I looked at it again today and there are 2 more branch buds; one on each of the main branches, so it's happy and I'm sure it'll do fine. It gets plenty of sunshine sitting in the deep window sill of a 4' x 8' south facing window and I'll post pictures from time-to-time showing its progress. Thanks again Gill for encouraging me to do the hard prune, it'll look great in a few years; the plant is about 12 years old now and has a very well developed root system.

Scott

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 4:21PM
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rcharles_gw

Great to hear MRI Guy. I am going to prune mine back this spring and hope to try some grafting of the pruned off branches.
Nice to see the progress in your adult plant.
Look forward to seeing further photo's.
Rick

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 6:11PM
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greenclaws UKzone8a

Brilliant! At 12 yrs old it is part of the household, I hope it does well. Wonder if the caudex will start to swell now, even if it is originally from a cutting?
Gill from the UK.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 7:05PM
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MRI_Guy(5a)

I found 8 new branch buds today - that's 9 branches budding out since I hard pruned it in the dead of Winter in zone 5a! The new leaves at the bottom of the picture are the same ones shown in the photo of this DR posted above. It's doing great and I'm sure that it will live happily with us for many years to come. And Gill, I too hope that the caudex will swell more!

Scott

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 8:34PM
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rcharles_gw

Scott,
It is so wonderful to see how well your Adenium is doing. It only shows, with your plant being obviously healthy. That these plants are more resilient than we might think.
Good on you. Going to be a nice specimen when these branches all form and give you a beautiful display of blooms. Can't wait to.
Rick

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 9:06PM
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greenclaws UKzone8a

So it looks like the new branches are actually pushing out from old leaf scars? I seem to be getting this with my one that's sprouting, this does make sense really doesn't it as that would be where any growth would normally be. Could they break out at other points along a stem or branch do we know?
Congrats, it's going to be looking good real soon.
Gill from the UK.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 9:34AM
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MRI_Guy(5a)

I noticed 2 more branches today making a total of 10 so far and other old scars starting to swell too. I suppose because it has a 10+ year old root system, it has a much easier time recovering from the beheading ;-)

Scott

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 5:19PM
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Aggie2(10a)

Gill,
new branches will only grow from leaf scars. Keep it in mind while pruning; if you leave very short branch with only one scar there is only one spot where it can grow!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 7:44PM
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MRI_Guy(5a)

Aggie2 - that's good to know and I'll pay attention to that fact next time I hard prune a DR!

Thanks - Scott

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 11:05AM
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MRI_Guy(5a)

Just an update - 12 new branch buds now and they're all green and growing!

Scott

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 2:51PM
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MRI_Guy(5a)

Another update - the January 19th hard-pruned DR is flourishing!

Scott

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 5:35PM
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kodom087 z9a

It's looking great! Good job.

Kirk

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 7:36PM
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MRI_Guy(5a)

Thanks Kirk; and thanks Gill for the great advice and encouragement. It wasn't easy to cut it back that severly, but I'm happy now that I did!

Scott

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 8:50PM
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greenclaws UKzone8a

That is going to soon be one very nice plant, it seems to have responded well to hard pruning.
Hats off to you for having 'the guts to do the cuts' !!!
Gill from the UK.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 12:01PM
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MRI_Guy(5a)

I stopped by my office this morning and noticed what looks like a small cluster of flower buds on my Hard Pruned DR! It's still too early to be sure, but that's what they look like they are shaping up to be. I'll keep an eye on them and post a picture when they are more developed...

Scott

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 12:35PM
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greenclaws UKzone8a

Scott, that is great to see...they most definitely do look like buds developing, fantastic, hope mine do the same!
Gill from the UK.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 5:20PM
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katsols(7b)

Hello MRI guy, i have a one year old adenium, a foot and 2 inches tall and it's growing vigorously but it hasn't branched, plus caudex is pretty small. Do you think cutting it half way that tall single branch will promote branching? and create a fatter caudex? should i do it soon? or wait for summer.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 7:25PM
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MRI_Guy(5a)

Hello Katsols - if it were my DR, I'd hard prune it now. The top growth looks great indicating a healthy plant, so it should do fine. I'd probably cut it down to about half the height. Mine began sprouting new branches 3 days following the pruning and is growing 10 new branches rather rapidly. It's in a very sunny and warm location which I'm sure contributes greatly to its rapid recovery. I have seen many DR's and even own a few with the center/original branch cut completely down to the caudex forcing at least two new branches to sprout either side of it. I'm sure it was done to prevent exactly what your plant is doing now.

Good luck on whatever you decide to do!

Scott

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 10:34PM
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MRI_Guy(5a)

Hello Katsols - if it were my DR, I'd hard prune it now. The top growth looks great indicating a healthy plant, so it should do fine. I'd probably cut it down to about half the height. Mine began sprouting new branches 3 days following the pruning and is growing 10 new branches rather rapidly. It's in a very sunny and warm location which I'm sure contributes greatly to its rapid recovery. I have seen many DR's and even own a few with the center/original branch cut completely down to the caudex forcing at least two new branches to sprout either side of it. I'm sure it was done to prevent exactly what your plant is doing now.

Good luck on whatever you decide to do!

Scott

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 7:31AM
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katsols(7b)

I did it!! my poor stumpy adenium haha
i sprinkled some cinnamon on the cut.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 12:45PM
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MRI_Guy(5a)

Looks good Kat!

Gill, I didn't have any leaves on mine at the level I pruned it back to and it sprouted 10 new branches. Is it ok for Kat to leave those leaves on following the prune? Will they in any way discourage branching?

Scott

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 5:10PM
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greenclaws UKzone8a

Scott, to be honest, I don't know! Hopefully someone may chime in and tell us.

Kat, I had written a post to say the same as MRIGuy basically, the laptop froze and I lost it all, lol! So you took Scotts advice and did it...well done! Keep us posted please on it's progress.
Gill from the UK.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 5:41PM
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