Adenium advice

Glendale, AZ(Zone 9b)

I need some adenium advice. I have four smaller grafted adeniums that grew quite well this summer. Three of them have nice compact growth (three kings, tropical sun, and unknown) and the fourth (shocking pink)is quite long. This is the one blooming in the photo. What I would like to know is it okay to prune adeniums? When is the best time? And if you prune will they flower the following year. I like the plants but prefer a more compact growth. I have another larger adenium (see next photo) which grew as much as 24 inches this past summer. If I prune this back will it grow back and will I get flowers? I also understand that I should not water them from November through April here in Phoenix. This advice seems quite universal. However I did read that this is okay for larger plants but smaller plants should get a quarter cup of water each month during dormancy. Is this true for the smaller plants? Also is it best to keep the dormant plants outside (frost free of course) or inside? Thank you for any support.

Thumbnail by kdkral
Glendale, AZ(Zone 9b)

Photo of larger adenium. Leaf curl is unknown.

Thumbnail by kdkral
Ventura, United States(Zone 10b)

I agree that your pink one and large one both need a good pruning! I don't think this is a good time of year to do it. I think one is supposed to prune in the spring, and flowers will follow after that. Leaf curl might be due to some sucking insect like aphids or spider mites. The cuttings that are pruned can be rooted easily in warm weather. Here is a great site with a ton of information, including instructions on pruning: Look under "Adenium Cultivation"and "Pruning."

I have kept some of mine outside during the winter on my semi-covered patio, and I kept some in the greenhouse for the last two winters. I am not putting up a greenhouse this year so mine will stay outside on my covered patio. If I had the room, I would bring them inside. I water mine as long as they have leaves, but it is probably wise to keep them on the dry side if they are going to stay outside but protected from frost. I would think that they would be happiest where it is the warmest so, if you can bring yours inside, that is probably the best place for them.

I am not an expert on growing adeniums so I hope others will chime in and give you their opinions. There are a couple of adenium threads going here so you might look for those and ask these questions again on those. BuriedTreasures (Chris) and Ncasselberryfla (Brad) and Eclipse (Kyle) know more about adeniums than I do.

Geneva, FL(Zone 9b)

Light pruning is good--in the early spring, or other times during the growing season t promote flowering and branching.

I recently discovered another way to get them to flower is to fertilize them like you would a plumeria or other plant with Peter's or other regular strength water soluble fert. They will then do something disturbing:-- drop all their leaves!
However, a little patience is rewarded when, in 2-3 weeks, they break out into heavy blooms and new leaves follow. Pruning back hard can also have the same effect, however. I wouldn;t do this as I want mine to get bigger. You can however prune lightly any time of year except during dormancy. The cuttings can also be rooted quite easily.


Ventura, United States(Zone 10b)

Thanks for this info., Brad!

Valrico, FL(Zone 9b)

You can prune during dormancy as well, but you'll need to be even more mindfull of over-watering. For ones in pots, I prune and let them go bone dry, and stay that way until I'm ready to flush them in the spring. They absolutely explode with a nice compact habit, and lots of blooms.

The ones I keep in community beds over the winter, I don't prune, as I have less control over their water.


The Shocking Pink looks very stretched. Did that one get less sun than the others? With the sideways growth, it appears that it was "Looking for the light". THat's the only time I ever see that.

Correct on the curled leaves. Most likely an insect, with spider mites being the most likely suspect. If you're chemically inclined, Orthonex works like a champ on them. Just follow the directions, and the plant won't have any problems.


Glendale, AZ(Zone 9b)

Thanks for everyones advice.

All the plants actually received the same sun exposure. The shocking pink just grew faster. It actually did not grow toward the sun. The plants are on the same wall they were growing on all summer except with a gazebo behind them (giving afternoon shade). As for spider mites, I did treat the large adenium a few months ago with a Bayer product to treat mites, thrips etc. But I did not see any difference in the new leaves. I thought you can see spider mites or at least evidence of them other than leaf damage. The curled leaves show no sign of damage other than being curled. The good folks at also suggested mites and a possible micronutrient problem. Their reply was:

“As always, not easy to say but would guess that you have the plant in too much shade with too much nitrogen so it has grown fast and soft and maybe the level of micronutrients are short for this kind of growth. If your water is hard it would also raise the pH of the soil and prevent the micronutrients from being absorbed. If your water is very soft you might be short of calcium.

The other possibility is mites: they are difficult even for us to handle and my advise would be to just prune back the plant to 9-12 inch of hard stems and discard all the soft material and leaves. I don't know if you are warm enough through your winter to allow you to do so now; if not, wait till Feb-March and do it. You could also change the soil once the plant starts to sprout. In the meanwhile use a good micronutrient mix, stop the NPK fertilizer and don't use granular slow release: if its already in the pot, remove it by discarding the top inch of soil.

Its possible that I am totally mistaken on this but the above is what I can think of from the picture. For a plant like yours, which is so lanky, its a good idea to prune back anyway: will give you better shape and also a mass of bloom about 3 months after pruning. “

Next season, prune back, more sun, no nitrogen, additional micronutrient mix.

Ventura, United States(Zone 10b)

Interesting! Thanks for sharing that info.

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