Caudiciforms 101

Georgetown, TX(Zone 8a)

WOW! I just clicked on the caudiciform forum because I had no idea what they were. I've been enthralled looking at all of your wonderful plants! I'm sitting here waiting for my hubby to get home so I can leave him with the kids and run to Home Depot to see if they have one for me to buy, LOL.

Then again, maybe I should learn about them first. From looking through the posts, I see that they apparently have a dormant period in the winter. I think I've seen them at Home Depot in the house plant section. Do they make good indoor plants, or do they need to be outside in the warmer seasons?

When I've seen them at HD, I had no idea they bloomed, much less that they had such spectacular blooms! Are they related to Mandevilla, or is Mandevilla a type of caudiciform?

I see lots of posts referring to adenium. Are all caudiciforms adenium? Do they all bloom? Is a ponytail plant a type of caudiciform?

What are some good varieties for a first timer, or are they all easy or all difficult? I'm pretty good with outdoor plants, but didn't have much luck with houseplants in the past, so I stopped trying to keep them. But now I just moved into a much larger house which really seems to need plants inside. I have hard floors and large rooms, so I figure more plants will buffer the echo-y-ness of it. Also, I have plenty of natural light now. So I'd like to keep some as houseplants but if they'd be happier outside I also have a big deck area just waiting for some container plants to fill it up!

So please, educate me! What are the basics of caudiciforms?

Niceville, FL(Zone 8b)

A caudiform is a plant with a fat base. There are many many plants that meet that description. Many of them make great house plants or good bonsai. Most of mine are adeniums. Adeniums are related to plumerias. Adeniums are wonderful because they are easy to care for, have beautiful blooms, and their bases will twist and turn and create unusual forms. I only have about 25 adeniums. When it starts to get cold, I bring them into the garage and let them rest for the winter. In the spring they come out of the garage. I began to water them again. That is also a good time to trim them up. I have them in full sun and they do great.
I have this thing about the variagated adeniums and have quite of few of the like that. I always look for the different and unusual. I have 3 that are quite large.
Be careful. These things are addictive.
By the way. Someone is planning an adenium co op this spring (unless they change their mind). That is a great place to get started. There are also a couple places that I can recommend that will give you a nice plant for your money. If you shop on ebay, you gotta be careful.

Georgetown, TX(Zone 8a)

Yes, I probably got taken today on Ebay, ordering seeds for a variegated adenium. Later I saw in some of the posts that variegated's don't come true from seeds. I haven't won the auction (yet) but it looks like I will. Oh well. Lesson learned. Maybe I'll get something interesting. I also ordered seeds for one called Black Beauty. That ebayer said it does come true from seed.

I already found the co-op thread and posted that I'm interested. Looking forward to that. Meanwhile, I picked up a mystery adenium at a local nursery. I'm sure it had been sitting in their greenhouse all year, but it looks like it's just starting to come out of dormancy, with a few new leaves. It appears never to have gone completely dormant though because it still has some old leaves too.

I read the hydroponics thread and wanted to do that, but then again, I have a regular pot that it would look great in. Since the pot has regular drain holes, I can't do the hydroponics thing with it. Maybe I'll just pot it up in regular soil for now and when it outgrows that one, I'll do the hydroponics. Can you do it with regular pea gravel, or do you have to use that red clay agro stuff?

So when I go to start the seed, how do I do it? I've never grown anything from seeds other than the beans they give you in Kindergarten. I bought a small Jiffy seed starting tray with the little peat disks. Is that the right thing to use or will they rot in it?

Niceville, FL(Zone 8b)

I am going to let someone else step in about the seeds. I have grown many many seeds in my life but never adeniums.
I do have Black Beauty, and she is a beauty. My adeniums are in my garage and they have not gone completely dormant. Should be an interesting growing year. I do have a couple that I need to lift a little higher and get more of the caudiform/root system out of the ground. They also need a serious trimming. Spring will be a good time for that. The cuttings can be rooted and grown, so Peep stay tuned!!!

Yardley, PA

I was taken on the varigated seeds. If it is not too late, I would write and tell the buyer what you know and you want to cancel. I have bought many caudiciforms on ebay and that was the first problem I have had.

I have over 100 caudiciforms probably more I just haven't counted in awhile. I love them because they are so weird and wonderful. I think most are primarily grown for the caudex except the adenium with has both caudex and flowers. The caudex is a water reserve that is used because they have to use for droughts. The biggest enemy of the caudiciform is cold and wet conditions. They will tend to rot. The adenium is just one type of caudiciform, there are 100's if not 1000's of different varieties. I have mine in semi-hydroponics and have had tremendous success in preventing rot. I don't know about pea gravel for s/h but many people who use soil use that and many other things to lighten up the soil for swift drainage.

I have mine under light inside for the winter. I keep mine warm so most of mine do not go completely dormant but the do slow down. I like to keep the roots so I do not let mine go completely dry. Some keep them cool and give them no water and they go completely dormant and they do fine also. I just had an adenium bloom for me.

I believe that Mandevilla's are not caudiciforms. The ponytail plant is an easy caudiciform to grow.

Adenium seeds are usually very easy. I use vermiculite in seed starter trays. I put a cover on it for humidity and have the tray on heat. They can start growing within 24 hours. After they have a few sets of leaves, I repot them. They grow pretty quickly.
I buy a lot of caudiciforms at the following site also. It is fun to browse. Be careful, caudiciforms are very addictive. The is also a site on Yahoo groups called "fat plants" where many very experienced growers chat. Looking forward to hearing how your progressing. This site gets pretty active in the spring when things start growing again.

Georgetown, TX(Zone 8a)

Sally, kind of funny you say that about cancelling the bid. Let me show you the correspondence I've already had with this person:

"Dear deminimus,

In researching adeniums, I have learned that variegated
adeniums usually won't come true from seed. What are the
chances that these seeds will produce variegated plants?

Here is where I learned seeds usually don't produce variegation.

These people seem to really know their Caudiciforms. If
possible, I would like to withdraw my bid unless you can offer
assurance and documentation that these seeds will produce
variegated plants."

"Well if you wish to withdraw your bid so be it. The "experts" at Dave's are really only a bunch of amateurs using the site as a forum. We have ben growing these from seed for the past 2 years and within the framework of hybrid seed coming true to form from seed have had good results. It really would help if you did your research before-hand.


"Dear deminimus,

I didn't mean to offend you, but you don't have to be snotty
about it. I was completely respectful in my message to you.
You are right, I should have done more research beforehand.
But to be honest, if it weren't for the "amateurs" at Dave's, I
would not have been ordering from you in the first place
because that is where I became interested in adeniums. There is
a difference between an amateur and a hobbyist. I am an
amateur. I couldn't have told you the difference between an
Adenium and a hippopotomus a week ago. They are hobbyists.
Many of them have been growing them from seed or grafting for
far more than 2 years.

When you say "within the framework of hybrid seed coming true
to form" you've had "good results", what does that mean? What
percentage are true? If it's 80% or 90% that is fine. But if I will
be hard pressed to get one mature variegated plant out of 10
seeds, that is not so good. I don't want to withdraw my bid
unless chances are low."

To be fair, he did say this in his original Ebay ad:
"Please note that the seed on offer is hybrid seed. We do not normally offer hybrid seed for sale as it will not always come true to form or colour from seed. This seed has been selected specifically for its track record in throwing consistently variegated foliage but this cannot be guaranteed.
Limited quantities only."

But the title of the auction is "Variegated Desert Rose (Adenium obesum) - Fresh Seed" so someone responding to the ad would expect to get variegated plants.

He never responded to my last message, but I just looked at MyEbay and it says I'm no longer bidding on anything, but I never got outbid, and the auction hasn't ended yet. So apparently he did cancel my bid without saying so. I can only assume that he doesn't really have that much faith that the seeds will be true to form, or he just didn't like me. ;o) Either way, I got out of it, and it was thanks to you, Sally because your post "I think I got duped" was what tipped me off. Thanks!

Now I have to wait until March or April when Snowbelt will have some of the Kao Sala Phat Nong and Raji Nee Mai Ngam available. *tapping foot* *looks at watch* *rolls eyes and looks at CALENDAR*

I'm learning! I hope Snowbelt is who the group here does the co-op with. Apparently y'all have had all good experiences with them, and they've got the good variegated's. Oh, but there weren't many reviews on Snowbelt in the Garden Watchdog. Maybe those of you who've had experiences with them (and Buried Treasure) could add some more info over there.

Niceville, FL(Zone 8b)

Peeper, thank you for reminding me. I just went over there and added a comment. Go over the Buried Treasure and check out Miss Japan. That one is a beaut.

Yardley, PA

Oh that is great Peeper. I had about 15 seeds, they all grew out and not one was varigated. He is full of crap. I am glad you didn't waste your money and time. I will bet he is the jerk I bought from.

It is amazing the hybrids they are coming up with fast and furious with the adeniums. I have about 10 and am going to sit back and see what is next. I am hoping for a varigated double which I am sure will happen eventually.

I have bought from both Snowbelt and Buried Treasure and have been pleased with each of them.

Georgetown, TX(Zone 8a)

I saw Miss Japan! She is lovely!

Ventura, United States(Zone 10b)

I didn't read this whole thread, but I saw the bit about variegated seeds, and while it is true that there is no guarantee that the variegation will be passed on, it can be passed on through the seeds, and there is a greater likelihood if the parent is variegated. It has to do with double the number of chromosomes. Once, I sowed about 30 seeds of a variegated vine, and out of the 30 plants, one was variegated. Variegation can also come about naturally, by sports, by viruses, and even by bud grafting. I think that the seller here was right in giving that admonition.

Georgetown, TX(Zone 8a)

Which admonition do you think he was right about? I admitted in my first reply that he was right that I should have done more research beforehand. But do you think he was right by advertising a batch of 10 seeds as "Variegated Desert Rose" when there is probably less than a 10% chance of a seed producing a variegated plant?

Yardley, PA

No, I do not think the seller was right about leaving out the fact that you may not get any varigated plants from the seed. I don't think we should have to do the work of Sherlock Holmes because of obvious, important omissions. That, to me, is fraud.

Ventura, United States(Zone 10b)

I was talking about this admonition:

To be fair, he did say this in his original Ebay ad:
"Please note that the seed on offer is hybrid seed. We do not normally offer hybrid seed for sale as it will not always come true to form or colour from seed. This seed has been selected specifically for its track record in throwing consistently variegated foliage but this cannot be guaranteed.
Limited quantities only."

I didn't see his ad but was going on what you wrote was in his ad.

Seeds from a variegated Desert Rose plant could be stated as Variegated Desert Rose Seeds. I think most informed people know that there is no guarantee that the seeds will be variegated. I suppose, if they are not informed, they might think that they would come true, but he states, according to what you wrote, that they are hybrid seeds, and that means to most people that they may not come true. I don't see fraud or misleading words here. That is just my opinion.

There is a whole lot of fraud on eBay though, and this is nothing compared to what I've seen. There should be a big Caveat Emptor warning across the logo of eBay.

He did say apparently that "This seed has been selected specifically for its track record in throwing consistently variegated foliage but this cannot be guaranteed." I don't think you can get more up front than that. Believe me, there are plenty of sellers that would leave this kind of admonition out.

Yardley, PA

That ad is pretty good. I thought there was nothing said at all.

Georgetown, TX(Zone 8a)

Okay, I take responsibility for my ignorance. Now, can we get back to my original reason for making this post which was to try and relieve some of my ignorance? Tell me more about caudiciforms!

I did buy this pachypodium densiflorum v brevicalyx off ebay, but it was a local seller, so I was able to pick up the plant at their store in Spicewood, TX. The store had a cool name, "Spicewood Spines" and of course they specialize in succulents. Here it is when I first potted it. I hope it's okay to have put it in with some Hen 'n' Chicks and another succulent I don't know the name of.

Thumbnail by PeeperKeeper
Georgetown, TX(Zone 8a)

It seems happy initially. This was one week after I got it and you could already see some growth starting to happen at the tips. It sits in a bathroom window on the West side of the house, so it gets the strongest afternoon sun through the window.

Thumbnail by PeeperKeeper
Georgetown, TX(Zone 8a)

Here it is today. The pachypod and the Hen n Chicks seem happy, but the little succulent I stuck in the pot with them is not. I'm wondering if the decorative pebbles I put on top of the soil is not allowing the soil to dry out enough (I've only watered once since potting and that was after almost a month). Or it could just be that the succulent doesn't root as well from a cutting as I expected. It seemed similar to sedum when I got it though so I thought I could just put it anywhere and it would go.

Thumbnail by PeeperKeeper
Yardley, PA

It looks great and your set up with the succulents is really pretty. That leafed out quickly.

Adelaide, Australia(Zone 10a)

Hi PK,
Your little blue leafed succulent is Oscularia deltoides. From what you have said, those pieces are only cuttings - they probably can't compete with the established plants for any soil moisture. The easiest way to root those kind of woody succulents is to dip the pieces in some rooting hormone powder and then push them down into a container or pot filled with damp sharp sand. If you keep the sand just damp, and the whole thing in bright light but out of direct sun, they should root quite easily. They are just not quite as fast as the fleshier Sedum and Echeveria type of stems.

Beautiful Pachypodium, by the way,

TTFN, Kaelkitty.

Hammond, LA(Zone 8b)

Peeper, do you have any updated pictures?

Austin, TX

Peeperkeeper---did you know that the Austin, TX Cactus & Succulent Society has a show and sale over the Labor Day weekend??? It's at Zilker Botanical Garden.
There are 5-7 dealers there with an amazing array of plants---lots of caudiciforms.

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