A Desert Rose

Adenium! Another beautiful plant. This is a Semi Evergreen succulent (NOT a rose) that is often used in bonsai, and it took me so long to get my hands on one.

One of the problems with living in Reno is that there is not a whole lot of options on where to get strange and interesting plants. The Adenium obesum is definitely one of them, let me tell you a little bit about it.IMG_0894Here it was around mid 2015. It looked a little ugly, I know, But I had never had one of these before and I was trying to take it slow until I could figure how the little fella works.

Turns out they really hate water.

They really love sun.

They take their sweet time growing.

That about sums it up. By the time I realized this though it was a bit too late, I set the poor thing back a while. I only got one flower from it in the winter, that’s another bad sign because its growing habits were all GOOFY!

IMG_1051So this little guy if found in the Middle East in places like Yemen and Oman and also in some countries in Africa. Needless to say, the environment is harsh and that’s why it hates water. See that bulbous trunk? The Desert Rose stores water in its tuberous root system to survive long periods of drought, at this time they also lose their leaves. They can also lose their leaves if exposed to cold or sometimes right after a repot.


Now that really makes me happy.

I thought it wasn’t too happy in that pot, its the one it came in.

Turns out I was wrong though.

I sometimes go to the Sacramento reptile show to look for rare plants I can not find in Reno. The guy I bought this from grows all of his plants from seed, in case you were wondering, this plant was germinated in 2009.


BIG REVEAL! This is the reason we keep this plant. Those flowers are even more brilliant in real life, believe me. IMG_1033Also, I found some kind of tiny wasp inside the flower! I tried to get better picture to identify it but it flew away.

Moving on,

The whole reason this post exists today isn’t JUST to show off . Its also to teach, so that more of you can be happy like me!IMG_1386Here it is today, Nov 7 2017.

It still looks ugly to me. One big problem is that it has next to no taper, no form, no PIZZAZZ it looks like a twiggy loser. We can fix that though.

It ain’t gonna be pretty

IMG_1048Enter: medieval torturers kit, What to use…

IMG_1390 Aha! I’ll use the Concave cutters!

IMG_1392Next its time to heat it up. This is important to do to every tool you want to use. It prevents the spread of dangerous diseases from one plant to another.

Imagine if the Dr. that’s going to amputate your arm walks into the room with a giant pair of scissors all bloodied up from the poor Bastard next door who just got his arm cut off.

It’s literally the same thing except you aren’t a Dr.

Just some scrub who likes to be untidy .

IMG_1393Pay attention because I’ll only say this once!

(In this post)

Cut that at a 45 degree angle and leave the cutting to dry for a few days. IMG_1394After the wound callouses over, you can put it into soil and grow it as a clone of the mother plant. IMG_1395The top branch will now become the new trunk.

The way its facing will make the new trunk grow in an odd direction and in a few years time will give it a magnificent taper!

IMG_1396Be warned!

This plant is Deadly Poisonous!

The toxin Ouabain is found in the sap and pollen in the flowers and is used by tribesmen to poison arrow heads for hunting. That is why you are supposed to wear gloves at all times while working with this plant.

Poisoning symptoms occur anywhere between 12-36 hours and include dizziness, nausea, malaise, twitching of the neck and chest, vomiting, respiratory problems, irregular heartbeat, convulsions, wheezing and eventually death is caused by cardiac arrest. If any of these happen to you after working on the plant immediately contact poison control and tell them you’ve been exposed to Ouabain.




Author: garesgarden

ISA Certified Arborist, Amateur Botanist, and future Agricultural Engineer.

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