There are several ways in which you can get the chubby adenium caudex that many growers love. Even though some of the methods may seem like a torture to our plants, they actually help promote their growth and strengthen them! Come join us as we begin exploring the different methods right now.
1. Feed our babies with good food
To get a thicker, fatter caudex you can try feeding our desert roses with a higher amount of nutrients or feed them more frequently.
Oftentimes, the nutrients we feed them won’t get absorbed all 100% by the plants. Rather, they may be shared with other organisms living in the soil with our babies or being washed away partly with the water.
Even though some gardeners don’t like the idea of giving their plants fertilizer, it’s really common sense that if we want to get a fat caudex we can consider ramping up the good bits.
Organic fertilizers will be good for the job. Chemical fertilizers may be like Mc Donald’s meals to our plants. In the long run, the benefits might not be worth it.
Organic fertilizers with good or balanced proportions of N, P, K in the adenium soil mix are great sources of nutrients.
If you have veggie scraps lying around your kitchen, those are great, too. Planting some beans in the soil can help enrich it with valuable amounts of nitrogen.
Here's a good all-purpose plant food that lasts for 6 months:
|Get Plant Food That Lasts for Months|
|* Full of water-soluble nutrients for healthy growth|
|* Does not burn desert roses when used as instructed|
|* Easy to apply & reapply many times|
2. Prune / tweak / pinch our babies
There are 3 reasons why pruning or defoliating our desert roses may help give us a natural, fat caudex.
It’s about visual proportion. When the branches are too long and high, we may visually get an idea of the caudex not being too chubby. When they are pruned shorter, we may see the caudex as being thicker or fatter.
When we cut off the branches, the plants may think that they are under attack. Therefore, to prepare themselves for the next "just-in-case", they size up their caudex –where most of the water & water-soluble nutrients are stored.
When we cut the branches, some sap will flow out. For a clean pruning job, these sap-collecting pruning shears can help:
|Get Sharp, Strong Pruning Shears|
|* Strong carbon steel that cuts in a snap|
|* Comfortable to hold for left, right & arthritic hand|
|* Sap groove to avoid sap sticking onto cutter & fingers|
Or better yet, a super ninja Japanese garden knife for 1001 gardening tasks:
These two tools might come in handy for our "enlarging" job as you shall see when we continue to:
3. Prune the root
After we “hurt” our dear adenium on the top part, now we begin playing with them on the bottom part. Pruning the root can also help us get a fatter caudex naturally.
What you do is dig up our plants from the pot. Wash away the soil sticking onto the roots. And we use something sharp to cut some of the roots off.
During this process, we are basically “attacking” our plants and training it into fight mode. The plants might be thinking, “What’s going on, dude? Where are all my roots going?”
Because they are not fragile species like a glass of wine, the desert roses will have to adapt to survive by making their caudex 3x or 4x bigger.
With a bigger caudex, the plants will be able to store more water and nutrients and be very much prepared even when they lose parts of their roots again.
Hmm. But how about we do a 2-in-1?
4. Prune root & defoliate
Some gardeners even go more extreme by cutting up the roots and chopping off the branches on their plants. Now this is exactly what we mean in the beginning of the post by torture.
If you decide to do this, consider pruning and defoliating your babies after the winter (the dormant period) and before the summer (the hot period). Although we want to strengthen and make our caudex bigger, we don’t want to kill our plants.
If you do this when the weather is too cold, the plant won’t be able to use the water it has in the caudex, which may lead to rotting. If the weather is too hot, oh well the plant may shrink before it can develop a bigger caudex.
So when then?
Around February or before June is a good time to do this. After cutting off their water in and outlets (i.e. the roots & the leaves), you may put some fungicide, garden lime powder, or cinnamon on the cuts to protect our plants.
Also hang the plants somewhere shady for 10-15 days. This is the intensive 2-week boot camp training process right here. After this period, when we re-pot our plants into good soil and hydration, they will survive and thrive.
As you can see in the picture above, they are our 2 babies getting heavy pruning on Jan 21. Why do we hang them upside down now?
When we cut off the root & branches, the nutrient transport system is weaker than usual. It may not have enough energy to pump the good juice up to the top-most parts. This is why we lean on gravity to help us out.
Placing them upside down, the flow of the nutrients will follow the flow of gravity, helping our plant survive during this "rough" period.
For more details about this process, check out this hack right here:
5. Choose species that naturally have fat caudex
The specie that naturally has a fat caudex is the Adenium Arabicum. Their caudex is chubby and even the branches are fat. If you don't know yet what Adenium species have what size of caudex, check out this detailed post on different Adenium species (with pictures!).
The only downside to the Arabicum specie, however, is that it can grow way too big for many pots to handle—often to the size of a small elephant. Their hairy leaves also attract spores and insects, which some gardeners don’t really like.
That is why growers cross hybrid species like the Thai Soco Adenium. This one has all the good genes from the Arabicum but doesn’t have hairy leaves and doesn't grow a caudex as big as a washing machine.
Golden Crown or Emerald Crown is another good one if you love chubby adenium. If you’re into mini or dwarf desert roses, then check out the Dorset Horn Adenium (or DHA) or Adenium Broccoli (not sure about the spelling). They are super cute plants to keep with curly leaves.
Time to Grow Bigger
Alright! Now you know five of the ways we can get a fat caudex for our adenium naturally. It’s not too difficult, right.
Even though some methods are easy to implement, you do need to be a bit patient before the results start showing themselves. With that said, happy gardening and don’t forget to show our lovely community your beautiful desert roses! Peace.
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