When shopping for adenium seeds, you may have seen those pictures of beautiful blue adenium flowers and may have been tempted to get some yourself.
Before doing so, we and many more experienced gardeners need to let you know that, all-blue desert rose flowers may not really exist outside of the Photoshop photo-editing world.
For seed-grown adenium, the blooming rate of near-blue purple flowers is also very low. In reality, the road to blue adenium is a dream almost becoming true even for highly experienced breeders.
What colors are desert rose flowers?
Usually, desert rose plants will produce crimson red, pink, to pale pink flowers with white or yellowish tubes. If you buy hybrid ones or some special species, you may get blackish red or purple flowers.
Yellow desert roses do exist even though they are more rare. With more experience and skills, however, many nurseries or gardeners have been able to sustain and reproduce the yellow ones.
White adenium flowers like Snow White (as it's affectionately called) also exist. They can be completely white or with pink lines at the edges of the petals. These are often the cross between Arabicum x Crispum or Arabicum x Obesum x Crispum. Those like Harry Potter flowers have very distinctive markings as you can see here.
The next question people often ask is:
How many layers of petals do adenium flowers have?
Depending on the variety you choose, natural adenium flowers usually have a single layer of petals. Thanks to trial and error and a bit of genetic luck, growers have been able to cross and produce double and even triple layers for the different species.
To get more layers, people use the double crossing technique. They cross single layer flowers with single layer flowers, then take that offspring and cross it with another single. This produces some surprising & magnificent results. An experienced adenium grower shares the technique here.
Also, a little trick to know if it's a single or double beforehand:
When you touch the bud of a flower that has not bloomed yet, if you feel that it’s quite soft or thin, then it may be a single bloom. When you touch another flower bud, if it feels slightly firmer or thicker, then it may be a double or triple bloom.
Double or triple bloom adenium flowers are usually grafted on other adenium branches. This is to help growers choose the known flower color beforehand–as seed-grown adenium may not produce the exact color like the parents. When grafted on cuttings, these multiple layer flowers can grow really well.
Looking around for blue desert rose flowers
Here is a great informative video on what to look out for when buying adenium desert rose seeds online to get the best deal for your money.
>> Link YouTube:Adenium seed selling scams and how to avoid them
The bad ones are described in the first half of the video and the good sellers are described in the second half of the video, which starts at around 14:00.
You can also take a look at this Adenium store. Even though they have a wide selection of desert roses and varieties, none of them are really blue in color. Also have a scan around the real, genuine sellers, you may find that no seller really has true all-blue desert rose flowers.
>> Link Outside blog post: Blue Adenium Siam Adenium
But some progress has been made:
The road to blue adenium
According to a breeder in Thailand, all-blue is a dream color for many breeders. It seems that unlike other colors like yellow, the blue color tends to start from the flower edges and runs down to the throat (or the lower flower tube).
To make all-blue flowers, one way is to spread the color from edge to throat. And this is where the challenge lies. Although making any other desired colors like red or yellow run from throat to edge is easy, making blue run from edge to throat is relatively more challenging.
From an accidental find of a tiny thin blue border on some flowers in 2007 (probably due to a gene mutation or an expression of a hidden gene), breeders have crossed and bred varieties with deeper blue or deeper purple edges/stripes. Dr. Mark Dimmitt has seen something similar with one of his flowers:
The red flower pigment can be expected to mutate to blue one of these days, as it has in many other red-flowered species. I once had an A.obesum with blue petal margins, but it died.
To continue the lifeline of the blue ones, they use stable varieties like the red as the father pollen, which would not affected by the mother styles like colors or shapes, to retain wanted father characteristics like round petal tips or color while still keeping some desired characteristics of the mother. The red father flower may have probably been stylized with the blue border from the mother.
After some crossings and back crossings, here are the results so far:
This is as blue as we can get so far.
Why there are no natural all-blue adenium flowers?
In our humble (non-scientific) opinion, we may need to look back at the different colors of flowers, fruits, and plants with respect to their environments.
As you may see with blue or purple fruits like blueberries, grapes or blue flowers like lupines or butterfly peas, they tend to live in cold or slightly cooler environments.
The color of the outer parts may suggest to us the temperature of the environment they live in. The color reflects the range of sunlight that the plants don’t absorb.
For example, imagine for a moment that we were a little grape and lived in the cold weather, we would need to get warm light in and reflect cold light out. Thus, we may take in the hot red orange rays to warm ourselves & give out the cool blue or purple-ish rays, which are then reflected by our blue-ish appearance.
Similarly, desert roses live in hot, sunny deserts & would need to keep their cool inside. Because of that, they reflect warm, hot colored rays out giving them warm colors like red, pink, yellow or darker red on the outside.
From hot African savannas to Brazilian deserts, we see fruits and plants with more dominant colors like red, yellow, pink, dark red and so on, which are slightly hot or warmer colors.
So it may not really follow this line of thought imho to have an all-blue desert rose because blue is a slightly cooler color that may suggest the cool or colder environment the plant lives in. And our desert roses don’t really like to live in cold or cool environments. They live in hot environments and would die quickly in cold ones.
Anyway, this is one way that I look at it.
After all, the point I wanted to share with you is:
Avoid Wasting Money on Fake Blue Desert Roses
The whole point is there are no true all-blue desert rose flowers... yet. You'll get much better deals for your money sticking to tried-and-true breeds for now.
To not waste money on selling scams, look for warmer colors like red, yellow, dark pink when you’re buying desert rose seeds. Those are safe bets that won’t leave you disappointed. Good news is many existing ones have exquisitely beautiful flower patterns so you may be spoiled for choice.
Many growers have had high hopes when buying so-called rare seeds only to find out months later that they are only ordinary pink ones. Definitely raise some questions when you see pictures of adenium that are way too blue.
However, because nature is so diverse with many variations, these are not hard-and-fast set-in-stone rules but only the guidelines for choosing the desert roses that many of us know of until this date.
Here's a seed seller with thousands of cultivars & cheap prices if you're interested:
>> Link Blog post: Mr. Ko Adenium Seed Review - Good or Bad?
With that said, hope you’ll have a great time growing your desert roses. Let us know if you have any cool gardening tips. We'd love to hear from you. Peace & be well.
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