Adenium: From Parents to Progeny

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Posted by @WQP on
I'm no expert, but I've been doing this for 25 years and I've learned a few things; one of them is how to make adenium produce seed pods. The photo shows a few I picked last week. As I said, I ain't no expert, but it sure has worked for me. I will start from the beginning, from what I use to pollinate the flower all the way to planting the seeds and having seedlings sprouting.

First thing you have to do is get yourself some artist paint brushes like the ones they sell at Walmart, 25 brushes for around $5.00. That's the one I buy, it has all kinds and sizes you can choose for different types of flowers. Here's a close-up of the brush pack so you know which one I'm talking about.

Out of this brush pack you're going to choose this brush (#3) for pollinating the Desert Rose (Adeniums) only, all other bushes are good for all kinds of other flowers.


Now choose a flower that has recently opened by the base as shown in the photo and gently squeeze it a little at the base. Look inside the flower center part as you look at it from the front, notice how the center will slightly open when you squeezed it? It's where the four hair-looking things come together at the end.

2010-04-07/WQP/b69ed4 2010-04-07/WQP/5d45dd

Now take your #3 brush and careully introduce it through the middle of the flower and gently introduce the point of the brush through the opening as you squeeze the base of the flower. Now gently move the brush in a circular motion inside the flower base, that’s where the pollen is, got to be careful not to break the style that's inside there. Repeat this on all the flowers available at the moment thus this increases the chances of pollination due to the fact that the more you do it the more pollen you have on the paint brush tip. Flowers last for a few days so you can repeat it several days until the flower falls off. Best time to start doing this is about half an hour after the flower has opened.

Here's a close-up of it. Notice how the center opens when you squeeze it a little.


This is what is being done as you introduce the brush through the center of the flower. I've ripped off part of the flower so you can see were the pollen is and were it's suppose to end up, as you notice the pollen is at the bottom where the two antenna hair looking things are and where it's supposed to end up on that little white point you see in the middle.


This is what the pods look like after a few weeks if pollination was successful. This is the color it turns to as it's almost ready, notice the pods are still in the V formation, as time goes on it will start to turn like an up-side down V, more like an arrow point, this is when it's getting ready to open.


At this stage I tie a trash bag around the middle so it doesn't open and seeds fly away like feathers. This is a pod that has ripened and opened, see how the seeds are designed to fly away at the slightest breeze? Seeds have these feathery things at each end of them. Actual seeds are this cylinder shape 1/4" to 3/8" tan colored thing to the right side of picture.


Now, how I plant them. I like to use a hanging flower basket for two reasons, first because they're big enough to hold at least a hundred seeds at once, second they stay nice and humid long enough for seeds to germinate. I use seed potting mix for this purpose, particles are small and loose; I fill the basket one inch from the rim. After you get the soil in the basket, you must wet it until water comes out the bottom. Basket should look like this, ready for seeds.


Now place your seeds on top of the soil like demonstrated in the photo.


Now you start to cover your seed just barely with the seed soil mix as shown in the photo. Here's a close-up so you can see what I mean.


This is what it should look like after you finish covering them.


Now comes the tricky part, you have to sprinkle them again with water without disturbing the seeds. How you do that? Simple, you take your watering can and you start to pour water outside of the basket and swing it across the basket to the other side of it. Not too slow and not too fast, you have to do this several time in order to get a nice smooth surface look.

After you have watered it, look closely to see if any of the seeds have been exposed, don't worry, just press them down a little so you can cover them.

This is what they should look like after you cover the exposed seeds.


After this, just water it once more and place in a sunny location. This is what it should look like in two to three weeks after you planted them, they usually start to sprout after a week.


After a year, more or less, they start to bloom. If you want to get lots of bloom out of your Desert Rose, you need two things. First, you need a high phosphorus fertilizer. Desert Rose uses a lot of phosphorus to produce blooms, but one thing to have in mind is that from time to time you have to water it a lot, enough for water to come out the bottom for a few minutes to avoid salt build-up. And second, lots of sunshine, this induces bloom while the contrary produces growth, the more sunshine the closer the leaves grow together and the less sunshine the more separation of leaves giving a lanky weak look with no flower on it.

Just to let you know, you can propagate Desert Rose from cuttings but it will not produce the bulb shape root system like the ones grown from seeds. All you have to do is let the cuttings dry out for about three days before you plant them in a humid potting mix, not soggy wet. You have to let the wound dry or it will rot.


Comments and Discussion
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
For hand pollination by Kenric Jul 7, 2019 10:18 PM 0
Untitled by dragoness Jan 7, 2013 9:27 AM 0
Getting started by valleylynn May 24, 2010 6:35 PM 9
Wonderful!! by Ridesredmule May 5, 2010 3:55 PM 2
Nice Article by clintbrown May 5, 2010 9:29 AM 0
Great Bio by rucky May 5, 2010 3:16 AM 0
Interesting Article! by nap May 2, 2010 7:31 AM 1

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