adenium arabicum research

kuroc(z8 AR)February 2, 2014

I live in an apartment and am unable to grow plants outside. I'm only allowed to have plants in my bedroom which only has a north window. So I grow all my plants beside my low light tropicals under growlights.

I ordered some adenium arabicum dwarf black seeds.
I liked the short fat caudex this variety could have.

Because of space issues I want to grow it in a bonsai fashion.
I plan on keeping two of the seedlings and selling or giving away the rest when they get big enough.

What's the best way to grow a plant with a short fat caudex with many branches on top and not take up too much space?

Would you let 4 or 5 branchs form naturaly. Then go through a process of letting branchs grow and pruning them back? I want to achieve a dense full canopy.

This post was edited by kuroc on Mon, Feb 3, 14 at 14:09

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ginger9899(10 SW Florida)

Kuroc, I have no experience with Arabicums and am not a talented pruner but you may want to look around at this site:

http://www.siamadenium.com/articles.html#.UvPUJPldWfg

They do tons of things to shape Arabicums in the style you are interested and somewhere in there you'll find articles about pruning and growing techniques that may help. This article speaks of leaf cutting also:

http://siamadenium.com/articles/Maintain_Branches_HS.html#.UvPV4_ldWfg

Good luck!

-Heather

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 1:37PM
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kuroc(z8 AR)

One important thing I have learned so far by glancing at this site is that I should use organic fertilizer for a healthier looking adenium.
The roots will look more muscular, the skin will look better, more branch internodes, and the plant will grow slower.
Thanks ginger 9899
I will study this site some more.

also what the best organic fertilizer for adeniums?

This post was edited by kuroc on Thu, Feb 6, 14 at 16:18

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 4:08PM
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ginger9899(10 SW Florida)

I know nothing about organic fertilizers, I use Dyna-Gro Foliage Pro myself. I'm not sure I've heard about too many using organic fertilizers. Sorry.

-Heather

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 12:09AM
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kuroc(z8 AR)

The man that runs that site uses fish emulsion, composted cow manure, and bone meal. So I picked up some and thats what I'm going to try.

1 Like    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 2:58AM
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rcharles_gw

My experience, so far with the Arabicums hybrids seed, is that they vary so much. They do not all become as short and fat as many others do.
I asked an acquaintance in Australia that has been growing these for quite some time and they commented that some will remain taller than others.

Whether growing them in a controlled situation such as Mike's under grow lights and grown hard, maybe you would see remarked results.
Mike has some very exceptional seedlings, but these could also be the selected varieties that he has?
I think organic would work, but I would research it so as not to cause undo burning to young plants.
Rick

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 5:44PM
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jv44(Zone 4 MN)

Rick, yeah, these super-compact arabicums are what you would call "select"....and even then there are differences between the varieties. For instance....all 8 of my 'Head Explodes' seedlings are staying very short and seem to grow wider or fatter more so than getting taller. Yet others, like 'Diamond Scintillation' are getting taller as well as getting fatter....but they still aren't getting tall like normal arabicum seedlings. And all of these super-compacts are branching far more profusely and at a much younger age than normal arabicums....although the 'Head Explodes' seedlings aren't branching as much....yet. Just the name 'Head Explodes' tells me it is coming eventually. Here's a pic of my largest (fattest) HE seedling taken last night....it does have branches forming more than the other 7 HE seedlings.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 3:57PM
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jv44(Zone 4 MN)

And here's a shot of all 8 HE seedlings together....all short and fat.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 4:00PM
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jv44(Zone 4 MN)

Compare the previous photo with this one of all 4 of my 'Diamond Scintillation' seedlings....taller than HE but still getting fatter nonetheless and branching like crazy. Yet they're much shorter than normal arabicum seedlings of the same age.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 4:03PM
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rcharles_gw

Those are so cool, Mike. Love the compact nature of them.
The closest that I have with this type of growth would be the seedlings of the True Socotranums that I have. Definitely not as big in size, but same squat appearance. So nice.
Rick

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 7:41PM
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greenclaws UKzone8a

Woweeee! They look amazing, so compact and healthy, it will be interesting to watch their progress in the future. Thanks for showing us.
How old are they and do you feed them, if so with what? Sorry for all the ???'s!!
Gill UK

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 9:13AM
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ltran54(9)

JV44, these are the best of all seedlings I ever saw.

Marie

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 5:17PM
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kuroc(z8 AR)

JV44 at what age did you start feeding your seedlings? Also did you use chemical or organic fertilizer?

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 7:30PM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Hi Mike!!

Those are the best looking seedlings I have ever seen as well..

Great job with these beauties!! Always nice to see your trees!

Thanks for sharing!!

Laura

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 6:11PM
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jv44(Zone 4 MN)

Thanks for the comps everybody! I'm telling you, it's not so much me and my culture or growing techniques....it's more the genetics of the seeds of these plants. Seriously--I've only been growing adeniums since last May, with the exception of a single Black Fire obesum seedling I bought off Ebay maybe 3 years ago! That Black Fire seedling did very little for me--blooming OR growing--until I repotted it in late summer of 2012...and I can't even recall what media mix I used other than my usual use of mostly pumice. That repotting caused it to bloom for me with a single flower in April/May last year.....and that sparked my interest in giving adeniums a serious try. So I ordered a bunch of arabicum seeds from adeniumseeds.com in Thailand (as well as some obesum seeds from a source we're not allowed to mention here because of their spamming practices) and started learning--first step was joining this forum and the adenium forum on Yahoo.

That being said....these seedlings are roughly just over 4 months old. I had read somewhere back when I first got arabicum seeds that some growers in Thailand used a slow-release fertilizer in their mix when they sowed their seeds. I've done that with every seed sowing using Osmocote 20-20-20. After my seedlings get large enough to repot singly, I first used Superthrive, then some fert. I got at a local hydroponics supply called Ionic Grow 3-1-5 at a weaker dilution than what it called for. The Ionic is a chemical fert. as I haven't gotten into organic fert. yet--will try that this growing season. Occasionally I use Schultz Orchid Food 19-31-17, again at a weaker dilution than what it says on the package.

When I got the seeds for these super-compact arabicums I was told that their big secret was Liquinox Start Vitamin B-1 transplant solution....but due to translation problems, I never did find out if they used this regularly or just when transplanting/repotting. So to be safe I've used it every week in addition to my usual feeding.

I also got a tiny free sample of HB 101 which is advertised as a 100% natural plant vitalizer that is highly regarded by Japanese bonsai growers.....I've used it occasionally as well but have no idea if it's doing anything.

Just recently I got some Spray-N-Grow micronutrient complex which of course is not a fertilizer but a supplement. I've used this twice now so I'll have to wait a bit to see if it helps. It seems plumeria growers rave about this stuff--some of my adenium growing friends on Facebook also grow plumerias, so that's where I heard about S-N-G.

That's about all I know really.....my media has a lot of pumice--50% to maybe 75% (I experiment with the ratios) with pine bark fines as my only organic component other than some coir that I toss in because that's what I sow all my seeds in. Other ingredients I've also used in the mix depending on what I've had on hand are: Turface, diatomaceous earth, and recently Cherry Stone--though we're now out-of-stock of that where I work. I want to try a certain NAPA Oil Dry that's supposed to be the same as Turface or D.E.--we also have an oil dry product where I work (Menards, same as Home Depot or Lowes) and I just got a small sample to try from a bag with a hole in it!

Sorry for such a long post......I tend to be a perfectionist and very specific. So to make up for that I've added a photo of my latest obesum flower--I still have a tough time believing how they will bloom under fluorescent lights!

Mike in MN

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 1:05AM
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jv44(Zone 4 MN)

Another quick pic showing that same obesum bloom along with my Thai soco Khao Hin Zon flowering. That KHZ has bloomed twice for me now under the lights and it now has 2 new flowers open. Notice the size difference--the KHZ is just under 1" in daim. while the white obesum is a bit more than 2".

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 1:12AM
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jv44(Zone 4 MN)

A couple of other things to consider with regards to my growing conditions.....because of my extremely free-draining mix of mostly pumice and the fact that (almost) all my adeniums are sitting on an electric seed germination mat that's on 24/7.....I have to water most of my seedlings DAILY--though I do skip a day now and then just to give them a break. Also, I mist my adeniums heavily, several times a day, using purified water--our tap water is hard and causes white spots on the leaves.

And one intangible thing that sounds like magic....I have my adeniums growing in my bedroom/computer room/art studio and the past few weeks I've been going to sleep with YouTube videos playing of rain storms (to help me go to sleep faster) and I always give them one last heavy misting of water before I go to bed. I read somewhere once that plants somehow "like" classical music being played and respond with better growth. Do the rain videos actually help my plants--who knows? They certainly help me go to sleep faster so I'll continue to play them.

Mike in MN

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 2:22AM
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rcharles_gw

What ever you are doing. Keep doing it,it is working for you.
Love the little flower on the KHZ.
Thank for the insight into your practices.
Rick

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 9:12AM
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kuroc(z8 AR)

Thanks for saying which products you use JV44. I shale have to give some of them a try.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 9:51AM
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jv44(Zone 4 MN)

Glad I could help.....another thing I should mention, and this goes to the originally posted question....a technique used by certain growers in India and Thailand, including the source of the seeds of the super-compacts, called "ballooning", where they clip off all the leaves....and for whatever reason this supposedly causes the caudex to bulk up and get fatter. I've tried it on 5 of my arabicums...in this photo, the one on the far right is a Black Giant and the one in the center is a Yak Saudi--these are both regular, normal arabicums....whereas the two on the left are Petch Muang Kong (PMK) and I guess they're dwarf arabicums....and lastly, the one in the red container is my biggest Diamond Scintillation--one of the super-compacts. Why the two PMKs look so different from each other is beyond me!

Now I just clipped the leaves on these a couple of days ago, so it will be at least a few weeks before I'll see any caudex growth. But I've got this photo now to compare them to...

Also....that Cherry Stone I mentioned....you can find info at www.cherrystonegrit.com I just noticed today that we have more in stock at Menards--a 25 lb. bag is $3.99. This would be a good substitute for crushed, decomposed granite in the "gritty mix". I have a 2 gallon (I know, weird measuring, but that's how it's sold on Ebay from Bonsai Jack) box of 1/4" pumice and a 1 gallon box of 1/4" red lava rock that should get here tomorrow. The red lava rock is also something I've used before instead of Turface or D.E. I've got a lot of repotting to do this weekend.....obesum seedlings from Laura's seeds and a bunch of others....

Mike in MN

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 11:14PM
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ginger9899(10 SW Florida)

Ballooning! That's the word I was trying to think of when I mentioned the article with "leaf cutting" in it lol. I have been trying to think of that word all week. I'm interested in seeing if you see a real measurable difference by doing it.

-Heather

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 11:52PM
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