Adeniums forum: To snip or not to snip?

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Name: Ron
Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
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rattlebox
Mar 31, 2015 10:27 PM CST
Here are some of the Adenium (recently re-potted) I have grown from seed over the winter. They have done well, with the larger ones being 5-6" tall.

Thumb of 2015-04-01/rattlebox/046ad6

A number of the larger ones have started sending out several side branches, and were looking like they would be quite nice specimens. However, now that the weather has gotten warm, the main stems have gone into a growth spurt, and the side branches have stagnated.

I have a scalpel I can use to make a nice clean cut, but am a bit nervous about lopping the top off such small plants.

Are they large enough to prune? Confused
[He] decided that if a few quiet beers wouldn't allow him to see things in a different light, then a few more probably would. - Terry Pratchett
Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
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Dutchlady1
Apr 1, 2015 3:16 AM CST
Personally I'd give it a little time.
Name: Rick
Vancouver Island, Canada (Zone 8a)
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RCanada
Apr 1, 2015 7:16 AM CST
Rattlebox,
I have dwelled on whether to or not to prune/pinch out seedlings myself.
With the majority started about 4yrs. ago now, there are many that stayed shorter with many lateral branches and others that grew taller. I believe that they are going to grow naturally
In the way that there genetic make up dictates (short and chubby or taller), whether from same seed pod or not.
I have done a fair amount of pinching at an early stage if I felt that they where getting taller and I was trying to keep more compact. I had so many seedlings that I felt a bit of experimentation could not hurt. The one thing I have noticed is that as they where pinched at an early stage. The pinched/pruned site is almost negletable to date.
I, of course would prefer that they grew nice and compact without human intervention.

Big thing to remember is to always where surgical gloves and wash knife afterwards, as sap from the Adeniums is toxic.

Thought I should mention that I did not prune because my seedlings where etiolated from lack of sunlight, just naturally wanting to grow vertically instead of gaining girth and absent of lateral branch formation.
Rick
"Many times a day I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labors of my fellow men, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I received"
Name: Melissa E. Keyes
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Zone 11+
Charter ATP Member
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coconut
Apr 1, 2015 11:37 AM CST
One man said a caterpillar "pruned" his seedlings when they were tiny. They all lived, and grew branches.

In my experience, an Adenium that wants to be tall will simply grow one stem until it's as tall as it wants to be.

I am careful of the sap, but I don't wear gloves. I do wash my hands soon after handling these plants. I've goofed and tasted the sap, PHEW!!! Bitter as stink! I wipe any blade immediately, as something in the sap will discolor and and make steel blades dull.

Go ahead and chop some, see what happens!
Thumb of 2015-04-01/coconut/f6d77b

Name: Ron
Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Region: Florida Hummingbirder Butterflies Bromeliad Tropicals Foliage Fan
Plant and/or Seed Trader Xeriscape Seed Starter The WITWIT Badge Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier
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rattlebox
Apr 1, 2015 9:00 PM CST
Thank You! Thanks everyone for your input. If these were seedlings from my own plants I wouldn't be so concerned, but these are from four batches of seed from Adenium Ko in Taiwan, so putting them under the knife makes me a bit nervous.

I kinda agree with you, Hetty and Rick. Most of them need to grow some more before I make the decision to snip or not.

But there are a couple with significant side branches that are looking at me. Those side branches, I can see it in their eyes, they want their chance to shine.

The caterpillar pruning reminded me of a seedling whose caudex was only about an inch tall when the bottom half rotted away. I stabbed the top half into Rootone, gave it a chance, and it lived. So with those things in mind, Melissa, and with your casual vote of confidence, I feel more inclined to make a couple cuts.

It'll be a couple days before I can get back to them. I'll post back!

Thanks again! Thank You! Thank You!
[He] decided that if a few quiet beers wouldn't allow him to see things in a different light, then a few more probably would. - Terry Pratchett
Name: snarfie
netherlands
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snarfie
Apr 4, 2015 8:04 AM CST
I also had an adenium, and i have all kind of toxic sap plants: nerium, several species of euphorbia, and i think everyone's skin reacts in its own way to toxic sap, my hands have no problem with these, but get itchy from hyacinthus and colocasia or alocasia sap
plants everywhere!
Name: Doris Klene
Greensburg,Indiana.
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kareoke
Apr 5, 2015 6:28 AM CST
This is my Large plant that I cut back severally and it is already putting out new leaves

Thumb of 2015-04-05/kareoke/f998a7

Name: Deborah Pryor
Orangeburg, SC Zone 8a (Zone 8a)
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Deebie
Apr 6, 2015 8:47 AM CST
Hurray! That's awesome, Doris. Good job.
Name: Ron
Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Region: Florida Hummingbirder Butterflies Bromeliad Tropicals Foliage Fan
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rattlebox
Apr 8, 2015 8:05 PM CST
OK... I both snipped and didn't snip. The three I was considering pruning when I started this thread, I decided not to prune. The side branches were doing well on their own, and I'm curious how they'll develop on their own. Here are two of them:

Thumb of 2015-04-09/rattlebox/590b0c Thumb of 2015-04-09/rattlebox/7b506d

They are just under 6" tall right now. I re-potted them so they'd have more room for growth.

I did decide to prune these two:

Thumb of 2015-04-09/rattlebox/ce2426 Thumb of 2015-04-09/rattlebox/0fa27a

They had small branches started that seemed to be going nowhere. Here is the after:

Thumb of 2015-04-09/rattlebox/8a5f5e Thumb of 2015-04-09/rattlebox/8c6f3f

I learned a lesson here. Re-pot first, then prune. Re-potting a newly pruned seedling that has a big bubble of sticky sap sitting on top of the fresh cut, while trying to not get that sap all over my hands and not get dirt onto the fresh cut, was a pain. Much simpler when you re-pot first! Whistling

The cut tops were dipped in Rootone and were set aside to dry and callous a few days before potting up. They are in the pot by the mother plant only long enough to take the photo,

[He] decided that if a few quiet beers wouldn't allow him to see things in a different light, then a few more probably would. - Terry Pratchett
Name: Ron
Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Region: Florida Hummingbirder Butterflies Bromeliad Tropicals Foliage Fan
Plant and/or Seed Trader Xeriscape Seed Starter The WITWIT Badge Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier
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rattlebox
Apr 8, 2015 8:10 PM CST
Doris, I bet that large Adenium will be quite impressive when it next comes into bloom!

[He] decided that if a few quiet beers wouldn't allow him to see things in a different light, then a few more probably would. - Terry Pratchett
Name: Doris Klene
Greensburg,Indiana.
Horse,cattle owners click klenepipe
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kareoke
Apr 9, 2015 5:33 AM CST
[quote="rattlebox"]Doris, I bet that large Adenium will be quite impressive when it next comes into bloom!

I sure hope so, I am surprised at how fast it started putting put new leaves.

Name: Doris Klene
Greensburg,Indiana.
Horse,cattle owners click klenepipe
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kareoke
Apr 9, 2015 5:35 AM CST
I love how you cut back on those they should do really well.
Name: Melissa E. Keyes
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Zone 11+
Charter ATP Member
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coconut
Apr 9, 2015 10:14 AM CST
Ron, doing great there! When I have sap to deal with, I blot it with a bit of paper towel.
Name: Ron
Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Region: Florida Hummingbirder Butterflies Bromeliad Tropicals Foliage Fan
Plant and/or Seed Trader Xeriscape Seed Starter The WITWIT Badge Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier
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rattlebox
Apr 9, 2015 8:39 PM CST
Yeah, Melissa, a clean paper towel or napkin would sure have been handy after making that first cut!

The second cut was much simpler having already re-potted. I just sliced the top off and dealt with the top. I didn't have to think about the base.

I re-potted another group of seedlings today, but haven't made any more cuts. I'll re-assess in a few weeks to see if any more "need" to be pruned, and maybe even make a couple experimental slices. The ones I already cut look to be healing nicely.

And Doris, seeing how you pruned back your large Adenium made me realize I need to do the same with my two large ones. It'll have to wait a while, though, as they both have just come into heavy bloom. But I know what the future holds! Whistling

[He] decided that if a few quiet beers wouldn't allow him to see things in a different light, then a few more probably would. - Terry Pratchett
Name: Ron
Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Region: Florida Hummingbirder Butterflies Bromeliad Tropicals Foliage Fan
Plant and/or Seed Trader Xeriscape Seed Starter The WITWIT Badge Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier
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rattlebox
Apr 13, 2015 7:41 PM CST

OK... went back in with the knife. Green Grin! Big Grin Green Grin!

It wasn't my intention. I have a total of 56 seedlings labeled into groups according to seed parent, but felt it was time to give each plant it's own code so I can track individual plants. While I was in there I decided to do some more pruning.

The two plants I had already pruned are healing up and looking really good. However, the three with well-developed side branches I had previously decided not to prune were not looking quite so hot. Nothing wrong with the plants, but the side branches were showing signs of growth inhibition from the main stem. So I cut away that main stem.

I top-pruned a few others that had the beginnings of side shoots but with little development, such as this one:

Thumb of 2015-04-14/rattlebox/f85aad Thumb of 2015-04-14/rattlebox/4e9fb9

At first I was really happy with this one:

Thumb of 2015-04-14/rattlebox/8672be Thumb of 2015-04-14/rattlebox/da517d

And then I looked inside the top I had cut off:

Thumb of 2015-04-14/rattlebox/b78048

Buds! Five inches tall, seven months old, developing buds. And I had just chopped the plant in half, cut the top with the buds off! Grumbling

I'm so-o-o anxious to see what those seed from Taiwan produce that I'm still kicking myself. I immediately looked back over all the other seedlings, including the cut tops, but this was the only one. Sad Sad Sad
[He] decided that if a few quiet beers wouldn't allow him to see things in a different light, then a few more probably would. - Terry Pratchett
Name: Rick
Vancouver Island, Canada (Zone 8a)
Seed Starter Peonies Plumerias Dog Lover Hibiscus Region: Canadian
Tropicals Keeps Horses Cactus and Succulents Adeniums
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RCanada
Apr 13, 2015 8:14 PM CST
Nice looking plants, Ron. What a shame about pruning the one with buds. I can imagine how you must have felt. I am sure that the new branches will show you some buds also.
Nice that you are getting laterals on your seedlings.
Rick
"Many times a day I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labors of my fellow men, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I received"
Name: Ron
Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Region: Florida Hummingbirder Butterflies Bromeliad Tropicals Foliage Fan
Plant and/or Seed Trader Xeriscape Seed Starter The WITWIT Badge Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier
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rattlebox
Apr 13, 2015 9:27 PM CST
Thanks, Rick.

As you mentioned before, some want to produce lateral branches, others just want to grow straight up. Two of the seed groups produced most of the plants with the early tendency for laterals. The range of development within each seed group is quite interesting. Not just with the tendency for and extent of development of side branches, but also in caudex color and in leaf size, color and shape.

I'm assuming flower size, color and shape will also vary quite a bit as well when the time comes.
[He] decided that if a few quiet beers wouldn't allow him to see things in a different light, then a few more probably would. - Terry Pratchett
Name: Melissa E. Keyes
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Zone 11+
Charter ATP Member
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coconut
Apr 14, 2015 12:36 PM CST
Sorry I laughed at your whacking off buds! teehee. Sorry for you, really! I've gotten flowers in as little as five months to the day. But I didn't chop them off before they could bloom! hahahaha. OOPS! Oh, I am SO sorry for your loss!

Excellent quote you have about beer!

Is this the bud you cut off?
.
Thumb of 2015-04-14/coconut/39bf78

Name: Melissa E. Keyes
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Zone 11+
Charter ATP Member
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coconut
Apr 14, 2015 12:38 PM CST
Or this one? In the future, either don't examine what you just chopped, or look verrry closely before you rush in.
.
Thumb of 2015-04-14/coconut/a3d1e3

Name: Ron
Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Region: Florida Hummingbirder Butterflies Bromeliad Tropicals Foliage Fan
Plant and/or Seed Trader Xeriscape Seed Starter The WITWIT Badge Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier
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rattlebox
Apr 14, 2015 5:23 PM CST

O-o-o-oh Melissa, you do have an evil streak! Glare
Hilarious! Hilarious! Hilarious!

But seriously, if the seed Chi-Lung Ko of Ko Adenium in Taiwan are true to what he advertises, the pod parent (ostensibly selfed) of the plant with the buds looks like this:

Thumb of 2015-04-14/rattlebox/31c703

So, yes, I'm really anxious for them to bloom. I wasn't expecting buds on a plant this small, so hadn't even looked. I will DEFINITELY take a better look before making any cuts in the future! nodding nodding nodding
[He] decided that if a few quiet beers wouldn't allow him to see things in a different light, then a few more probably would. - Terry Pratchett
[Last edited by rattlebox - Apr 14, 2015 5:26 PM (+)]
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