Critiques and Evaluations of Named Varieties

bronxfigsMay 5, 2012

This is a cutting-edge forum. A clearing-house for the latest information about all aspects of growing Adenium.

I have read almost everything that I could find about Adenium culture, and nowhere to be found are any evaluations or critiques of any named varieties that could commonly be found. Why?

Let's pick a variety..."Super Noble Concubine"...

Do the flowers have any substance....are they Kleenex-thin, or, waxy? Will they collapse if a rain drop hits them?

Are the colors clean, or muddy?

Is the plant prone to diseases, and/or attracting insects?

Will it instantly rot if given the wrong watering schedule?

Is it a good breeder?

Do all flowers open together...or, open one by one?

How long is the blooming period?

Do the leaves scorch in full sun?

You get the point. I believe these are the things that we growers need to discuss. Yes, much depends on correct culture, but is every plant that's introduced for sale, a great performing plant? There have to be some real "dogs" out there on the market that are just, lousy, plants.

Breeders constantly cull plants and reject them, then select the best of the best. We should do the same with plants on the market,... plants that we buy.

Which varieties are heroes...and which are the zeros? Why waste time and money growing junk-plants?


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Frank you bring up some excellent questions. Is there a registry of named adenium varieties? Do you have to go thru a process to introduce a new variety like yo do with brugmansias? They need to be grown out for several years and usually in different conditions. The flushes are evaluated for color and shape stability, the plant itself for hardiness, and if all is good you apply for registration to BGI (brugmansia society). I don't think that anyone is necessarily turned down as long as you have all your ducks in a row (pod and pollen parents, color, etc) but there's so many named brugs that look so much alike. Maybe it should be more difficult to register a new cultivar. The same holds true for passifloras. I've never heard of anything for adeniums but then again I haven't really looked.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 10:45AM
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I have no clue if there is such a registry for Adenium. You would think some Cactus and Succulent Society, or some prominent Botanical Garden, the snooty Royal Horticultural Society, etc. would insist on some kind of standards for plants, but I guess it is just wishful thinking.

However, that doesn't mean that we cannot comment, and evaluate some plants that we grow, ... either, pro, or con. I just ordered my first, named Adenium. When/if it blooms, I will let this forum know what kind of a flowers it produced, plant vigor, flower substance, and anything else that might be of interest to another grower. I wish there was a "Garden-Watchdog" for named/registered plants.

It seems like any schmuck that can hybridize a flower, will do so, then register the variety. Too many plant families are being "ruined" by lousy performing plants, and lousy genetics. Doubles that can't be supported by weak stems, multi-petalled monstrosities, (African Violets, Day Lily, double/triple Hippeastrum, Peonies that fall over from weight of blossoms, now, even Adenium flowers that look like balls of used Kleenex tissues). I would take a clean, tailored, single, flower, with a waxy substance that will last for a week, over the tissue-paper blossoms that collapses from their own weight, any day.

Just my opinion. If a plant is lousy, I call the growers and politely let them know, in botanical terms, why the plant stinks.


    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 2:16PM
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GW data base sounds good, at least in reference of flowers size and color. Other characteristic may be so dependent on growing conditions that it can be meaningless. Even with named varieties I believe we can only expect same flower color, leaves shape and probably similar branching pattern (in not pruned specimens). I have seen it in many plants, great example would be Hoya; you get a plant, bring it to your house and couple of weeks later you see that new growth looks different that rest of the plant or the "fast grower" sits there and does nothing forever! Size and color of leaves may change with conditions, so the speed of growth.
Most of people consider adenium slow growing, not me! I have 3 years old plant standing over 2 feet with 8 in of caudex! Limiting factor for me (and the plant) will be pot size. I can barely move it now, so when it fills this pot we are done, no more potting up! Indoors, may adeniums would be half size or less, due to lack of space and small pot! Would this mean that that particular variety is always big or small?


    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 10:49PM
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I could see the problems that you are outlining. Thanks for the input. I hadn't realized that cultural conditions could influence these plants in such a major way.

It's very frustrating when you see a plant in some catalog and the growers give you no information about the plant's characteristics...just a picture.

So with's a lottery?


    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 12:53AM
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Just as a point of information:

Tropica Nursery has on their web-site, evaluations of different varieties of Adenium hybrids. Useful information, and comparisons.

Probably as close as we will get to varietal information.


    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 7:40AM
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I have a few theories on why less is generally known or published about nameed Adeniums than, say, Plumeria. Or, for that matter, why named Adeniums are arguably not as popular or easy to find as named Plumeria.

1) Unlike Plumeria, you can get blooms from an Adenium seedling the first year. In one year year you can get a great idea of how good of a seedling you have on your hands. This might take several years for a Plumeria.

2) In my limited experience, a small lot of seedlings can produce at least a small percentage of plants that offer good growth, branching, and blooming habits. Seeds are generally inexpensive and the outcome will be known in months and not years.

3) Most say that seedlings are ideal for obtaining a swollen caudex. I have seen many large cutting grown plants for sale an I can that they definitely look different. I do not know if this might change over time, esp. if you raise the plant when repotting.

4) Propagation of named varieties is only by grafting- obviously effort is required here.

All this being said, a grafted, named variety is obviously the best way to get a specimen with the attributes you desire... especially, when you are seeking a very specific color or type of bloom. So for that purpose, it would be desirable to have an authoritative catalog somewhere. For that matter, I find info on certain attributed of named Plumeria to be lacking (ton of focus on blooms not not as much disseminated about other characteristics.)

Happy growing,

    Bookmark   May 13, 2012 at 7:37PM
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irun5k....If I ran 2 blocks, I'd keel over!

Thanks for the Adenium information and sharing some thoughts with us.
It can be frustrating when no evaluations, or even opinions regarding named plants are offered by growers, hobbyists, etc. On the consumer/potential buyer's end....which plant do I buy? It seems like we just buy for the flower, and then have to deal with the plant as best we can, whether it's a weak-grower, bug-magnet, disease-prone...etc.
I guess in the end, it's... buy what you like and hope for the best.


    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 6:01AM
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Frank, I agree, it is a bit frustrating. I wonder if a more information is known, but closely held by growers in parts of Asia where these plants have been cherished for a long time? I don't mean, kept as a secret... I just mean that the Internet isn't the authoritative source of all knowledge (as much as I wish it was at times).. lots of knowledge in the world is still held in people's heads, passed from generation to generation, etc.

Here are a couple of other thoughts. The rootstock for an Adenium seems pretty critical, yet variable.... so even grafted named varieties could have considerable differences in the caudex. I treat all my plants the same but I have had a few Adeniums fall to caudex rot- I'm fairly convinced at least some of this is because of genetics.

Second, I see a lot of beautiful plants in this forum. Yet, it is rare I see a flower posted here that looks dramatically different from something I've seen before... certainly the doubles/triples are unique.... but you can find people claiming to sell all sorts of odd colors and whatnot. Conveniently these are usually seeds which of course means nothing... but really, was there a parent plant somewhere that actually has bright yellow flowers with deep red stripes extending from the throat? If such cultivars exist I would guess that they must be extremely rare.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 8:58AM
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Interesting thoughts expressed in the 1st paragraph. I Have grown plants for years, and there is no doubt in my mind that specialized growers of these Adeniums know exactly which plants are genetic "dogs" and which plants are great. All really crucial information is shared by only a few. I also grow Clivias, and the Chinese have all sorts of tricks up there sleeves to make their plants attractive to potential buyers...not all dealers, but some, even photo shop different flowers onto perfect-looking plants. I just bought an Adenium that is growing a garish-pink flower, that was supposed to be a creamy-peach, with salmon edges. A pastel. If I took the right drugs, I might see/imagine the described colors at some point in my stupor. I see white flowers with a lousy pink, picotee edge. Nothing special, and I hate pink! Will I ever see a peach-cream, pastel blend? What do you think the odds are?

Your comments on the posted flower photos....almost all have the same looking flowers, and colors. Yes the doubles, & triples do look a little different, if you care for that kind of blossom. Personally, I'd rather have a neat, tailored, single, with a heavy, lasting, substance than these kinds of novelty flowers. But, everyone to their own tastes.

So far, in my early stages of buying some Adeniums, I have a $40.00 strike-out sitting on my windowsill. I don't know what to expect from mail-order plants at this point. I usually make it a rule not to buy any plant without first seeing the flowers, but I have no access to any plants, so I must deal through the mail. It's a dilemma.

Thanks for your thoughts.


    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 12:49PM
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I don't have enough experience myself yet to offer any opinions, but when I was trying to search online about different cultivars I found this commentary by David Clulow about different cultivars and what their seedlings are like.
Below is his opinion about "proven performer" adeniums first written in 2006 :

*WHITE *- *'Spindrift'*
* *
I have grown many different whites. For me the best is undoubtedly
'Spindrift'. Always in flower, floriferous and a wonderful 'doer'. 'White
Lotus Star' I find not very floriferous and relatively difficult to
grow. 'Arctic Snow' is also very floriferous and the flowers slightly larger than
'Spindrift'. But it has a serious fault. Any water on the petals causes
brown spots which are most unattractive. 'Spindrift' does not have this
problem. 'Spindrift' is an easy breeder, when crossed with other purer
whites it gives virtually 100% white flowers but just a small percentage of
these will fade with some pink flush.
*PINK - 'Beauty of Taiwan'*
* *
I received a cutting of this in April 2005. Just one cutting produced eight
successful grafts which started to flowers only *three weeks *later! They
have never been out of flower since! Easy to grow and incredibly
floriferous and big flowers of excellent shape, what more could you want in
a pink?
I suspect this is a member of the Arizona grex, i.e. *A. obesum *x *A.
swazicum. * Can anyone confirm this? For me its only fault is that it is
completely sterile, no pods and no pollen. But this also means that all its
energy goes into flower production and not into reproduction.
*RED - 'Super Satisfactory' *and possibly 'Black Ruby'
Only a few years ago 'Black Ruby' was considered to be the best red. How
quickly things progress! When I see 'Black Ruby' in my collection with just
a few flowers, I usually reach out to throw it away but stop when I read the
label as when in full flower it makes a wonderful specimen covered in
flowers. But the flowers are small. This is probably in the background of
all our new red hybrids.
'Super Satisfactory' definitely has the 'wow' factor! When the flowers
first open they are large, deep red with a wide black picotee and the petals
overlap in an excellent shape. Everyone who first sees this goes
'Wow'! However
as the flowers get older the black picotee vanishes and the flowers get even
bigger but still have a wonderful colour. I have flowered some seedlings
(from Mr Ko) of this, all have been excellent but not as good as 'Super
Satisfactory' . I am using it extensively as a parent but it is too new as
yet to know the results.
I suspect 'Super Satisfactory' will become the yardstick against which all
other reds will be judged. It will be very difficult to produce a red
superior to this.
*RED NOVELTY - 'Small Red Plum'*
* *
Although the flowers are small and open they are produced in enormous
numbers. Its black-red colouring with a white pencil picotee is quite
unique. Vigorous, easy to grow and unusually floriferous. An excellent
* *
*STRIPES - 'Harry Potter' *and *'Star of Tomorrow'*
* *
I don't think anybody needs a description of 'Harry Potter'. Easy to grow,
always in flower an superior Adenium. 'Star of Tomorrow' is a seedling of
'Harry Potter' and has all its attributes but the flowers are a little
bigger and much darker. The two cultivars are sufficiently different to
warrant having both in your collection Both are superb.
'Harry Potter' is an easy breeder. I find 'Star of Tomorrow' easy as a
pollen parent but difficult to virtually impossible as a pod parent.
*WHITE with RED PICOTEE - 'Super Noble Concubine'*
This is another with the 'wow' factor. When you first see the large white
flowers with a fairy narrow picotee of deep red which itself has a pencil
black picotee you invariably go 'wow'! A superb flower, reasonably
floriferous and well worth growing. Easy to breed both as a pod and a
pollen parent. It is producing some rather superior offspring.
*FANCY - 'Star of Romance'*
* *
'Star of Romance' is a most unusual Adenium. With its dark throat and dark
picotee its colouring is unique. The flowers are relatively small but
produced in huge numbers and it is always in flower. This should be in
every collection it is a most superior Adenium. I have found it fertile
both as a pod and as a pollen parent but it is too new as yet to see any
*NOVELTIES - 'Kaleidoscope' *and *'Desert Star'*
* *
With its unique blue/purple colour on opening 'Kaleidoscope' is most
attractive and unusual. Not very floriferous but vigorous and well worth
growing. I have had some success using it as a pollen parent but none as a
pod parent.
'Desert Star' is neither vigorous nor floriferous. But it has the most
exquisite colour of pale lavender blue. One of my favorites, I would hate
to be without it. I have a batch of seedling coming up using the pollen of
'Desert Star' on 'Spindrift'. I will post some photos when they start to

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 1:34AM
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Exactly what I had in mind. Merits and demerits. Why spend good money on crap cultivars?

We need more of these kind of critiques all over these forums, not only the Adenium forum.

Thanks for the contribution.


    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 4:54PM
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