Am I doing this right?

sugi_c(9a)March 10, 2013

I don't know what possessed me to buy this, but after seeing some photos, I suddenly decided I had to own one.

So I bought one. It arrived. And now I'm wigging out.

After doing some reading up on Adenium, it seems it likes lots of water, superbly draining soil and lots of sun -- is that correct?

I followed by planting in gritty mix in a wider and shallower pot (the best I have within my collection right now outside of going to a bowl), and I can place it anywhere from full, full sun indoors to outdoors, or go as shady as I need to also. All light sources will be south-facing be it indoors or outdoors, FYI. it full sun indoors or part sun outdoors, or...?

And -- I am not entirely certain I planted this at the right depth. The caudex has some roots growing out of it and I'm thinking those have to remain covered to some degree, correct?

The roots in question:

Most of these are long enough to be planted in the medium, but a couple of them stop short before the height I've placed it at. I'd have to plant about 1/2" deeper, at least, to fully cover in soil. So, given that it's gritty mix, I just pushed up some to cover the bottom of those roots. I can easily spray them daily to keep them moist if need be.

I'm a first-timer with this plant and honestly have NO idea what I'm doing. I've seen photos of totally grown Adenium on here and the internet -- but their roots don't have this issue; I have no idea what to do with these stray roots, haha.

If anyone here experienced with this could provide some feedback and suggestions, it'd be awesome if I could keep this interesting specimen alive.


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I am no expert, but I will give my thoughts. The planting depth looks fine and your soil mix looks to be gritty. Do not worry about the small side roots that appear. This is common. When you potted up you would see a difference on the caudex (stalk/roots) of color. The roots being somewhat pale white/yellow, this is what was under the soil prior to you getting it.
Planting at the same depth so pale root area is under soil is good. You do not want to plant it anyy deeper than where it was planted before. Can raise the plant next season to expose if you like.
The Adeniums can take full sun, more so as older plants.
I could only wish to have your climate and growing conditions.
I would keep it in a filtered sunlight position in south. Maybe filtered sunlight during the hottest part of the day and direct in morning and late afternoon.
Water it when the soil dries back, which will vary depending on temps, rainfall if exposed. I would hold off on fertilizing for a bit and when you see it starting to actively grow then give it a fertilizing every 2 wks. and top dress with a small amount of 10-10-10 , 14-14-14 slow release fertilizer.

Your plant looks to have had the central leader pruned off to make it form laterals.
You will find a lot of very supportive people on this site from seasoned growers to beginners and this what this forum is all about.
We all have to start at the beginning.
I am sure that some others will give you sound advice and do not get too concerned. These plants are quite forgiving.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 9:50AM
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Though I'm no expert, I do know that root rot is very common as adeniums do not like a lot of water. Some of the owners here do not water their DR throughout their dormancy. They are desert plants, which is why the well-draining soil is recommended and to water sparingly. It's only during the first few months as a seedling that you have to keep the soil moist and the humidity high.


This post was edited by 54641210d on Sun, Mar 10, 13 at 9:54

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 9:53AM
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Watering sparingly is only recommended in crappy store bought cactus mixes, when using a gritty mix one of the biggest advantages is that you can even water by dunking the pots in a bucket of water if you wish. Watering sparingly causes salt buildup and uneven root development, while decent watering flushes out excess salts and evenly distributes moisture. But there is very little perched water in such a mix, so unless you leave the pot standing in a saucer of water it is very hard to drown your plants.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 12:53PM
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greenclaws UKzone8a

Hello Grace and welcome to the forum, I hope you enjoy it here!
Your plant looks nice and placed at just the right level in the mix which appears to be spot on, a real gritty mix so you should have no probs with rot. You often see small roots that are above the soil level, especially in spring each year when you re-pot and raise them up a bit to show more of the fat part underground. I slice them off with a scalpel flush with the caudex. You can do them at any time though, you may wish to do a couple now, let the plant settle in and begin to grow and snip of the others later on. As long as it has plenty of other feeder roots below soil level, it won't miss them. If they don't go into the soil, they will eventually dry up. I wouldn't bother spraying them personally...more chance to rot the caudex then.
Gill from the UK.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 2:59PM
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Thank you, guys, for the feedback and extra information. I am relieved to hear that it's planted at the right depth.

I let it sit without watering (after repotting) for about 20 hours (as was suggested somewhere else on the internet) and then watered heavily yesterday to drench it through. Given the sunny, sunny spot it's in right now, getting full sun from about 8am to 3pm and bright light as long as the sun is up -- it seems happy for the time being. As summer approaches, I'll move it if it looks like it's getting to be too much.

Gill - definitely the "soil roots" have all been nicely planted into the gritty mix. Thanks for letting me know re: the other roots hanging from the caudex; I will slice them off or just let them fade out. Good to know I don't have to water the suckers.

Rick, re: fertilizing, I have not done so as of yet and will wait awhile per your advice. However, the ones you're suggesting seem to be even in NPK ratios. So...should I not use Foliage Pro when it comes time to fertilize this adenium? Go with something a bit more balanced across?

Thank you, all.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 7:08PM
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I have used the 10-10-10 slow release on soil in spring on the mature Adeniums and fertilized with 20-20-20 water soluble .
I am not familiar with Foliage Pro, but have heard many speak of it.
It was suggested to use Dyna Gro 7-7-7, which I am going to look into.
Fertilizer choice seems to be different for a lot of us.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 10:53PM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Hi Sugi,

It certainly looks good to me. I also use the Gritty Mix on all of mine and i love it!!! (They love it too!!)

All of my seedlings, Adeniums and Arabicums i use the Pro TeKt and Foliage Pro on mine. I have seen your progress on making your mix on the gardening forum and Josh and Al have streered you in the right direction. You did a great job before anyone could post about how well you did without anyone commenting on your mix. I was quite inpressed at what you had accomplished!! Bravo!!

I was working at the time and everynight in the hotel, they didnt have wifi.. i was so bummed, but it was to much of a hassel to post from my smart phone and i was tired. Glad to see you here!!

We have a wonderful group and i know you will be happy around this bunch of people!!



    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 12:43AM
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Teehee, Sugi. You are done for. I, too, went from "I dont know what possessed me to get this plant" to now having two containers of Adenium seedlings growing inside what used to be table lamp that has since been converted into a nanonursery. It has gotten so that I just installed a light meter app on my phone so I can measure how much light my plants are getting.


    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 8:54AM
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greenclaws UKzone8a

Now that is what I call dedication to your DR's with a capital D..!!!!
Gill from the UK.
PS...I confess also as I have just bought a moisture meter for mine, lol!!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 12:47PM
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Hi guys -

Hmm, checking the date of this posting out, in 17 days, my Adenium looks....unwell.

First, what I think might be good news:

Is this a bloom? Or do all leaves emerge with pink around the edges? Sorry if it's not clear - these photos are from my phone instead of my camera.

And then everything else is not-so-good news:

OK, what happened here?

Yesterday, this leaf was yellowing -- but not quite yellow. Today, clearly, it's yellow.

Before it turned yellow, a smaller leaf turned completely yellow.

(The one behind it IS the troubled leaf photographed above this photo.)

And this final shot is of another leaf on the plant, also showing hints of yellow -- scaring me:

It's in Al's gritty mix, so I am inclined to think I am not drowning it. Since I potted it up, I've probably watered it mayyy~yybe 3-4 times? The last time was with a small dose of Foliage Pro.

At this point, other than couple of evenings where I rubbed the leaves down a bit to remove these hard water marks it came with -- I haven't done much to the plant.

It is sitting indoors, though, in full sun; that said, it really has not been hot in temperature or sun, but it is plenty bright.

Any ideas come to mind on what it is I am, or am not doing right?


    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 7:53PM
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Grace, your mix looks terrific, and so do those new leaves! You're doing a great job so far.

Don't worry too much about the yellowing leaves--I believe that's totally normal as they shed old and get ready to put out new foliage.

Someone else with more experience can chime in if I'm wrong, but mine are doing the same, as are my plumerias, just like they do every early spring.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 8:28AM
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Jandey, I didn't realize anyone had replied to this question! GW email notifications leave a bit to be desired, huh?

Thank you for your reply! I came back to search this post out because I noticed one more leaf showing yellow tints. The two originally posted did completely yellow (and a really deep gorgeous shade of yellow!) and the third greenish one stayed on. Between those and this new one yellowing, these are all on the lower half of the DR.

Reading your reply that it's just shedding old leaves is a relief.

The buds are definitely flowers! I'm excited to see this one bloom; I wasn't expecting flowers this quickly, or even this year!

Thanks again!


    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 4:52AM
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A year and a half later, my Adenium has finally found what it likes. From when I first got it to most recently, it was ailing and just doing poorly, and really hasn't grown at all. Whatever it grew, it would eventually lose and so forth, for no clear reason except maybe it was too cold there. Never saw a single bug on this thing.

Since moving out of SF and into the heat of my new area, it's just come to life where finally, things aren't browning or yellowing or generally bothering this plant.

I can't wait for it to begin growing!

    Bookmark   September 15, 2014 at 5:38PM
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