Seed-grown adenium usually have a smooth caudex connecting with the stem and all the way around the roots. Whereas on cutting-grown adenium, you may see some creases at the border of the stem and the caudex.
These creases are the 'scars' of the cuts. The overall shape of a seed-grown plant may get gradually bigger from top to bottom (kind of like this /'''\). The shape of a cutting-grown one may not get as big unless the roots are trained.
As you can see right below, the adenium on the left is grown from seed. And the adenium on the right is propagated from cutting. Let's see how to tell their differences next.
The easiest and fastest way is to look for:
The Caudex-Stem Connection
On seed-grown adenium, you'll see a very smooth connection between the caudex and the stem.
If you have a look around the bigger roots, you can see it's all one-piece connection. There are no visible scars or creases.
On cutting-grown adenium, you'll quickly recognize the creases.
This is usually because adenium cuttings have a flat-cut end. The roots will start growing out from there, forming the creased borderline on the bark or skin. The bigger plant will take the shape of the smaller cutting.
Some other differences are:
Some Other Differences
Resistance Against Rotting
As the caudex-stem-root connection of a seed-grown adenium runs one-thread smoothly through out, if there are any fungal infections, the fungus may easily run its thread through and around the base.
And because of its bigger water-storing caudex, chances of rotting for seed-grown adenium are higher. From some growers' experience, if the infection is really bad, the seed-grown adenium may have a harder time self-healing than the cutting-grown one.
Cutting-grown adenium, especially its creased borderline, turns out to be an advantage in terms of resistance to rotting. The creased lines are like the zigzags of a resistor to slow down the electricity flow. In an adenium, if one of the roots gets rotted and it cannot self-heal, the rotting part may run upwards. However, the max it can run up is usually to the creased border. As an analogy, it's like a road bump up and down at that creased part, making the fungus way to its destination causing the infection longer and more challenging. With its smaller caudex, chances of accidental rotting for cutting-grown adenium is thus lower.
Right about the creased borderline is a sort of joint. The stem of the adenium usually has older fiber whereas as the root part has younger fresher one. Because of this, the plants can do something called detaching the joint. This happens when the lower root can no longer reach the nutrients in the medium or when it is pressed by bigger roots. The plant will stop growing (detach) that root part. When the infected root part is detached, chances of survival for the adenium plant are high. This is the reason why people say cutting-grown adenium could live longer than seed-grown ones.
Another difference between the seed-grown and cutting-grown adenium is:
For the first two years, seed-grown adenium grow very vigorously. Its caudex, branches, and leaves develop fast. For cutting-grown adenium, they may not grow as fast in the first two years. But past that time point, they can really do well when given good conditions.
The roots of seeded adenium are usually more curled up together. Sometimes, some roots may be pressed by other bigger roots, making them grow very small. Here is a natural seed-grown adenium root shape:
For cutting-grown adenium, you can easily shape the roots however you like. You can spread the roots out (like when you spread your fingers out) to form a radial root shape. Or elongate them for a high-root adenium style. This is why many growers, who love shaping roots on adenium choose cutting-grown ones to shape them to their eye of beauty and liking.
It is possible to find seed-grown adenium with some natural evenly shaped root system. But it's more random and more rare–like this one below as an example:
This tiny adenium looks like its roots have been shaped by a human hand. But they have not been so actually. It is all in its natural form. And in some growers' eyes, this is very nice and a natural beauty. Which partly explains why they are willing to pay more for this compared to other seed-grown ones.
Regarding the caudex part, seeded plants usually develop a bigger caudex. The cutting-grown adenium have smaller, slower-growing caudex and sometimes they don't develop any at all. To some growers, cutting-grown adenium have nice-looking caudex.
For seed-grown adenium, it may flower as early as month 7 or within the first year. For cutting-grown adenium, if the cut branch is strong, it can also flower 11 months after being planted.
Both seed-grown and cutting-grown adenium can produce seeds! It is really good news. For the seeded ones, however, the color of the flower is not known beforehand. This is because of gene probability. The offspring may produce flower with the exact same color like its mother or father. Or chances are it may be a totally different color.
However, during the process of them (seed-grown ones) growing up, they will express clues on the appearance to let us know which color they may be. Looking at the color of the leaves tips may give us quite accurate clue of the flower color (e.g. red leave tips mean chances of the plant producing red flowers is high).
If the body of the seedlings is reddish, they may belong to red or purple parents. For red parents, there is 95% of the time that their offspring will also be red. For dark purple, the chance is only 10% and for light purple it is 30%. If the body of the seedlings is very green, then they belong to white or white with red edge flowers.
For adenium cuttings, however, you will know for sure the flower color beforehand. This is because cuttings are exact clones of the mother plant. They will have the same gene, the same age even (at the point of being cut off). Thus, if you know the color of the mother plant's flower, the cutting-grown ones will have that exact same flower color.
Both versions are good for grafting. When you graft the scion on a cutting-grown adenium, it will grow very well. This is partly again due to their lower chances of rotting. Rotting is again the number one reason why most grafting joints fail. So growers could use cuttings for grafting to lessen chances of rotting.
To promote more branches, you could prune the cutting-grown adenium back. It will develop more branches like the seed-grown one. Then growers graft on them double-petal or triple-petal adenium flowers.
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