For our plants that ship, I use the same mix I have used to start them. For plants that are intended for local sale ata larger size, and in fancy pots, I add about one third, by volume, of poultry grit. Poultry grit is wonderful stuff but is too heavy to mail economically. For the basic mix I use a commercial mix, Fafard 4P but any good grade potting soil such as Miracle Grow, Expert or Jungle Growth will work as a base. To this add one third, by volume, of coarse Perlite.
Starting mix.....2/3rds potting mix and 1/3rd perlite
Final mix for permanent plants.....2/3rds starting mix and 1/3rd poultry grit. You can find poultry grit at any farm supply store. If you can't find poultry grit, aquarium gravel is the same thing, just more expensive. If neither poultry grit or perlite is available, then a bag of pea gravel from Lowe's would work. I'm sure you see where this is going. Make sure water doesn't stand in the mix. Point is, we use what we have available. Think drainage, drainage, and more drainage.
Adeniums need water but cannot stand in water.
Starting the seed:
Start by soaking your seed overnight. Select a pot with good drain holes and fill with the basic mix. Soak the mix until it won't hold more water. I make the holes for the seed with the end of a ball point pen. Make these holes from 3/8" to 1/2" deep. Drop a seed in each hole and cover with potting mix or sand. Press this down to make sure the mix is in good contact with the seed. Let the mix become almost dry and then keep it just slightly damp until
the seeds sprout. Sprouts should start to show within a week to ten days with fresh seed.
Any good garden fertilizer will work for adeniums.Depending on what is available, we use regular 10-10-10, or Miracle Grow or one of the big box knockoffs. You may see it said on some of the forums that Miracle Grow and the knockoffs are no good for Desert Roses. Both of these are fine as long as you don't expect them to act as a foliar feed as they do on other plants. The leaf coating on adeniums prevents uptake as a foliar feed. Use them on the soil instead. Adeniums also respond well to organic fertilizer, especially composted manure and fish emulsion.
Moving Them Up:
If you have your small plants in thin plastic pots they will let you know when they need repotting. The plants will either split the pot or at least cause it to be deformed. This is caused by growth of the underground part of the caudex. When you move these to larger pots, raise the caudex about a half inch above the old soil line. Trim off any fine feeder roots that are exposed by raising. The light colored ring exposed by raising will soon become darker to match the rest of the caudex.
Finally, a word about watering. Adeniums need water in order to grow and flower. We water ours at least once a week during the summer growing season. During the winter dormant season, they get very little water, no more than once a month. The leaves will often yellow and fall off if the plant gets too much or too little water. This is simply a desert survival mechanism and does not hurt the plant.
JT Sessions Country Garden
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