The Q&A Archives: Rooting, cutting back desert rose

Question: My desert rose is about 2 ft. tall, very lanky w/ leaves growing about 8 in. from top. It fell over breaking off at the fork in the branches, I cut the broken branch off. The plant last flowered approx. 1 month ago--so thinking might as well cut back as far as is safe so not to kill entire plant. Not sure how to root cut off parts as well as how far down to cut off to the big wide part at the bottom


The Desert Rose is scientifically known as Adenium obesum, or the fat adenium, referring to its grossly thickened trunk. Many adeniums branch rather sparsely and, even when kept rootbound, can look leggy after time. Judicious pruning will result in better branching and a fuller-looking plant. Because the flowers are developed at the ends of the stems, a more fully-branched plant will also produce more flowers. Adenium cuttings can be rooted. Cuttings should be dipped in rooting hormone and placed in a well-drained rooting medium (such as Perlite) and kept watered. Results are better in an enclosed area of high humidity. You can simply drape some plastic wrap over the pot of cuttings. You can prune about a third of the length of each stem off. If you prune too far back, or if you damage the main stem by cutting it back, the roots will respond by sending out multiple new stems. I would just cut the remaining branches back by one third. If your plant is lanky, you can encourage a bushy growth habit by pinching out the growing tips. Wherever you pinch, two new stems will appear. Hope this information is helpful.

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