How to grow Adeniums from seed?

54641210dApril 4, 2013

I think it'll be a good idea to gather all information about germinating seeds. Those of you who had success growing seedlings, what exactly did you do?

Some important things I'd like to know are:

-Pre-planting agenda (did you soak in warm water? For how long? What type of soil? What did you put in the soil before the seeds?)
-Set up (how big the pot, how deep or how much soil in the pot, how much soil covered the seeds, anything to raise humidity? lights?)
-Environment (temperature, placement in house, humidity?)
-Time (how long before the majority has sprouted?)
-Maintenance (how much water and how many times a day? temperature? fungicides, insecticides? fertilizers? etc.)

It'll be great if we can gather more information on this. From what I've read, all you needed to do was soak the seeds for a few hours and plant in a well draining soil. And what a disaster that turned out to be! (40% germination... and sprouts are continuously dying!)

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I'm trying the exact same thing for the first time as well. I've gave it a first go with a few of my seeds. What I have accomplished so far is I soaked 4 seeds, spouted 3 and so far one of the sprouts has been lost. I actually soaked my seeds for about 72 hours. It wasn't intentional, I merely forgot about them. But 3 of the 4 sprouted in the water and I planted those. The 2 still with us are very small. One has a single leaf about the size of a BB barely poking its way out. The other has two leaves and is maybe a 1/4 inch at most tall. I probably started about 7 weeks ago. I am doing this indoors under a lamp with a cheapo CFL buld installed about 18" above the plants. No heat underneath either. I am using straight miracle grow cactus mix. From what I am reading the seeds like between 80 and 85 degrees so I am waiting until closer to summer to try another batch and I think this time I'm going to use the same soil, mother nature for light and heat, soak the same way and use a shallow plastic container with a lid and many seeds in it and wait till they are a few inches tall to transplant.

To add to the original question, I'd like to know how fast I should expect these to grow and if outside can it get too hot? Also at what point should I fertilize. I attached a picture so anything else someone wanted to add would always be welcome information.


    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 11:40PM
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Try this one.

Here is a link that might be useful: growing adenium from seeds

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 7:07AM
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fakechuchi, that's a great website! Very detailed and beginner friendly.


    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 3:55PM
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Josette, thanks!

My sister's counterpart seed-sowing experiment was a dismal failure. At first we thought it was a damping-off problem. Then she saw birds pecking at her pot---clearly hoping there were more seeds there after they ate all the other ones!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 7:47AM
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greenclaws UKzone8a

Hello 546, you asked some questions, well I'm from sunless, cool and cloudy old England, so I guess my conditions are not what a lot of you have in your own country, but some info will be the same. That said, I have been growing DR'sfrom seeds for several years, and although I say it myself, I have some nice plants! I did have more, but I won't mention that!! OK here's what I do.

I soak them in warm water...but I don't intentionally keep it warm, it cools naturally.
I soak them for 3hrs MAX.
I planted the last batch of 22 into pre-soaked coir pellets. Prior to using those I used 2.5 diameter inch plastic pots, but anything small will do The greater the volume of 'empty' compost, the greater the chance of overwatering and cold conditions which = rotted seeds/plants.
I use to use a gritty mix with particles smaller than the adult DR's mix with a bit of cactus soil added to it as baby plants only have tiny roots. Apart from that I 'put' nothing else into the soil/pellets.
Only need to be covered with a mere sprinkle of soil.
Soil level is within 1/2 inch of the pot rim else they struggle for the light.
I don't bother with lights to get them to sprout, just sun to help warm them, but k
Keep humidity and soil moisture high, they can't dry out at this stage.
They go into a heated propagator in a south facing window till sprouted, then out and on to pebble filled trays in the window in the sun (if it shines!).
Have had this last lot start to sprout early in the 3rd day after planting. Most are up well within a week, after that I would say they have rotted....but I don't get a prob with that personally.
Watering is dependant on so many factors, ambient temp, compost, size of pot, size of seedling etc etc, hard to give you specific info. But what I will say is that seedlings need to be kept on the moist side especially when tiny, drying out is a death knell for them.
I keep mine in as warm and sunny spot as I can provide at all times of the year as my climate is so very different in the UK to yours. We have a relatively short growing season, lots of cloud and low sunlight levels compared to what DR's are best grown in...but I CAN grow them as many UK growers on here also can. I have yet to get flowersto hold and open though. When I do, you will all hear about it!!! lol!!
Seedlings make most growth in the early stages, so getting a good strong plant early on is best. I can't advise of ferts, bug bashers etc as mine are also specific to my country. Details of NPK ratios are on here somewhere though and I use a general flowering plant fert slightly diluted once a week and plain water in between.
Hope this helps.
Gill from the UK.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 4:46PM
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greenclaws UKzone8a

Sorry my post doubled up, laptop froze so I've deleted one of them.
Gill from the UK.

This post was edited by greenclaws on Sun, Apr 7, 13 at 16:50

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 4:48PM
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Gill, very helpful advice!

It can get dreary here too in New England. Probably not as much as the UK. Do you use any fungicide for your soil? A few people advised in sterilizing the soil before planting (something I didn't do... and the cause of death for my first batch), but I'm not sure if treatment should be given regularly, like fertilizer. What do you suggest?


    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 8:38PM
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greenclaws UKzone8a

Hello Josette, I don't sterilise the soil or use fungicides either as I often get 99-100% germination with almost every batch, maybe I am just lucky!! If you have had probs with very young seedlings dying off in big numbers I would try everything you can so I would sterilise and spray according to the info which should be given on your chosen product.

Your seed source may be the problem. Are they from self grown plants or from a reputable dealer or other supply? Old or weak seeds will either not sprout or will produce weak seeldings that won't thrive.
Gill from the UK.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 1:19PM
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Hi Josette,
This seed starting can sometimes seem overwhelming if reading too much, I find. I do not think they are that difficult, you need to find which works best for you.
I have not used sterilized medium or used a anti-fungicide before, but it would not hurt and would possibly rule out those factors.
I use a free draining mix, lay seed on top (soil level 1/2" from top of pot and cover with a forestry grit or some type of fine rock) water in sparingly and put in propagator. When about 50% have heaved the soil, I remove from propagator and just mist every day or so to keep seed husks softened and to keep moisture for slow to start seed.
I believe that the quality of seed (age, etc.) and over watering cause these rotting issues. They are susceptible to collar root in seedlings which begins at the soil level.
While writing this it makes it sound so difficult, but take in what is presented and filter out what does not fit your situation.
I hope this helps somewhat. Do not want to discourage you.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 2:10PM
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Thanks for the responses Gill and Rick. Next time, I'll take care not to over water. However, I will also try an anti-fungicide this time.

My first seeds were from adeniumcenter on ebay. A few of the users here bought seeds from him and said he was reputable. I don't think the seeds were the problem, since many did germinate but they eventually died off in my care.

fakechuchi mentioned using chamomile tea as an anti-fungicide. Can other types of teas be used for this purpose?


    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 2:07AM
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Hi Josette,
Cannot comment on the chamomile tea usage. We used to be able to buy a product here called 'funginex' which is a topical fungicide to prevent damping off of seedlings. Most of these items are not available here (Canada) for local retail sales.
Adeniumcenter has always sent very good quality and viable seeds and always very helpful.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 12:07PM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

I like all of the above info ...

Also the use of seedling heat mats are what I like to use and while growing under my lights in the winter. I will use Turface fines to sow my seeds and then once they are about two inches and look strong I repot I to the Gritty mix. As far as fertilizing mine , after the second set of leaves they will receive diluted FP every two weeks or so . I keep the seedlings moist while they are newly sprouted and once they have some size, I will let them dry out a bit between watering.

Great info guys!


    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 7:59PM
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Hello all:

I am attempting to start my seeds (thank you, Laura!) to grow into nice healthy adeniums. I am wondering at what stage/age of growth should they come off of the seedling heat mat?

Thank you in advance!


    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 5:13AM
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In most cases the bottom heat is only necessary until shortly after germination. Good light is important all the time. You would definitely want the ambient temperatures to be warm. Some use heat mats under seedlings, but you would need to watch that they do not dry out.
I use heat matt for a few days after heaving the soil.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 9:03AM
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I'm also in the process of starting adeniums from seeds so it was great to find this thread. :)
My problem here is that it's freezing outside and my apartment ain't that warm either. I could put the seeds near the radiator to keep the temperature nice and warm but it'd be hard to provide them light while in there.

I know some seeds require light to germinate but I think it probably won't be necessary for adenium seeds.. am I right? Of course I'll move them to light once the germination has happened.

I actually germinated some adeniums last year about same time and it went fine - I just don't remember how I did it anymore! Maybe all this new information is just making me overthink it this time... :)

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 9:09AM
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I wouldn't be too concerned about strong light until they are up and as for heat, I use a heat mat for maybe 7-8 days.
You are probably right that you may be over thinking, but you never know who could have a wonderful idea.
Starting during winter is always a challenge for temps.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 10:32AM
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thanks for the great info!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 9:16AM
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interesting topic, i'm trying to grow them from seeds now. i have 5 in moist soil, 5 in water for 6 hours, and then planted in soil, and 4 sowed on moist paper(looking for the best way to germinate them in the netherlands)

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 3:09PM
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greenclaws UKzone8a

Hi Snarfie and welcome to the forum. How did your seeds do? Just hope they germinated for you. It can still be done in our less than favourable climate so hope you had success? Good to try different methods. Cold and wet is what to avoid at this time of year especially.
Gill UK

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 10:05AM
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3 have germinated, just ine is doing really well. only the moist paper ones were germinating

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 1:18AM
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Karatts(NY 7)

Glad I found this page! I'll be attempting to grow my own adeniums soon and I was thinking of picking up a germination kit. Not really sure what to do, but all this information has been very helpful!

If anyone has had any success growing adeniums in a semi-cold environment with not much sun, please let me know what you did!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 8:34PM
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ladylotus(Z3/4 ND)


I live in North Dakota and successfully grow adeniums and have grown many adeniums from seed. I just ensure I give them the most sun that I possibly can.

I place my seeds in a tray with bottom heat and as much sunlight as possible. I cover the tray until the majority of the seeds have germinated. I also keep the seeds moist by using a spray bottle when I see that the soil is getting ready to dry out. They are very easy to grow from seed.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 11:08PM
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zzackey(8b GA)

We just planted the seeds in plant trays with regular potting soil in a shady spot. They did great. We watered them every day.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 11:14PM
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I do much the same as Ladylotus mentions and I find that starting them in the spring is more effective. When I have started in the fall/winter months I used to put under a grow light to keep them growing throughout the winter. The seedlings need to be kept growing and not go dormant. I found that the ones started in Feb/Mar where at the same size by summer as those started in the fall. Did not seem worth the cost of extra heat and lighting.
The big thing with these plants especially once transplanted in your climate and mine is to have them in a gritty mix. With this gritty mix, it will make the probability of cold/wet conditions around root zone less. When watering, do not water in evening or when you know there is going to be a temperature drop.
I hope some of this is helpful. It is what has worked for me to date. Always, a learning curve.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 11:29PM
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