Adenium obesum dormancy

February 7, 2008

I have had my desert rose in dormancy since about November now in a cool dark basement which gets about 12 - 15 degrees Celsius (54 - 59 Fahrenheit).

I have not watered it since I put in dormancy and as expected the leaves turned brown and eventually withered away.

But what I did not expect was that the caudex started to get soft and a bit wrinkly. I was expecting it to remain hard. It is not mushy, just starting to get wrinkly and a bit shrunken.

Is this normal, or is the plant toast. If it is normal, how do I awaken it from dormancy and rewater to plump it back up (most likely in about a month or so).

Comments (22)

  • xerophyte NYC

    It is normal for the caudex to soften a little.

    There is a good chance that roots die back in the winter, so be extremely careful with the first few waterings or else the soil remains wet and will lead to rot. It is generally safer to not water at all until new leaves are clearly visible and even to wait until they grow about an inch or so -

  • preciousjoy

    I have never had my caudex soften ? Is there sign of rot ? Is your plant in good draining soil ? I use Jungle Growth mixed with 50 percent Perlite.
    When dormant you can just about let them go dry. They still need good air circulation.
    I keep mine in sunny windows with over head grow lights during cold months even here in Florida as I like blooms year round ! Even with my plants blooming and growing in winter months they only need watering every couple weeks. When out side in hot summer I must run the hose in their pots daily until it flows out the bottom .
    How are you doing now ? Need anymore help.

  • stanofh 10a Hayward,Ca S.F. bay area

    That's not good..very bad in fact. Give it warm and dry and hope the rot-and thats what it is- will not spread. I have found with Adeniums that rot in the branches is not the caudex itself? bad prognosis.
    A.obesum may not be ultra tropical-but close.50's is ten degrees to low for more than the shortest time.

  • rjj1

    I don't know where stanofh gets his info, but it's not accurate. I have wintered hundreds of Adeniums in my greenhouse with winter night temps in the high 30's for over ten years.

    Cold, wet, and soft is death. Soft caudex on a bone dry plant does not mean rot. Nothing a lot of sunshine and warm temps won't fix.

    I kept about 100 Adeniums indoors bone dry and warm this winter to see how they would do. Quite a few of them softened. They actually didn't winter as well as the ones in the cold greenhouse.

    Crap like this makes me hate this site. Don't know why I still come here.

    Glutton for punishment I guess.

  • stanofh 10a Hayward,Ca S.F. bay area

    Really rj? you must be the luckiest man in the world to keep A.obesum in the upper 30's and have success. Dry or not,for months at a time. And why change your method with warm?
    Good thing you don't have to prove it huh?.

  • stanofh 10a Hayward,Ca S.F. bay area

    Just wanted to add that-lol.

  • rjj1

    You have the freedom to call me a liar. Guess I have the freedom to call you an ill informed clown. :-)

    In the future share your experience with people about what has worked for you. Don't spout nonsense that is not factual.

    It would be a safe bet that the hundred I grew in the house is probably 99 more than what you own.


  • rjj1

    Just wanted to add it's not necessary to prove anything to an ill informed clown. lol

  • stanofh 10a Hayward,Ca S.F. bay area

    Maybe a fool like you should stick to your thought of keeping your superior knowledge to yourself and not communicate to us mortals,mr."King of all Adeniums".

  • stanofh 10a Hayward,Ca S.F. bay area

    And i guess you tell people who you sell to that softened caudex's' are "ok"..remind me not buy from you!-hee

  • rjj1

    I will type very slowly so you will understand my point. I'm using one finger now. :-)

    Find in my post where I said a soft caudex is alright. I said it not a just a sign of rot. It is also a sign of a very dry plant.

    You implied it's rot. Let me quote, "Give it warm and dry and hope the rot-and thats what it is- will not spread" unquote.

    That is utter nonsense. If there is a fear of rot, immediately pull the plant out of the pot and look. Putting your head in the dirt and crossing your fingers is not a wise choice. If by freak chance you were right, you condemned them to a dead plant. That's irresponsible. That irritated me.

    Let me quote you again, "A.obesum may not be ultra tropical-but close.50's is ten degrees to low for more than the shortest time". This is nonsense in the worst degree.

    You are saying there will be bad consequences if an Adenium is exposed to temps below 60 degrees. This shows you know nothing about this species in habitat. You really think that along the South Sahara Desert it never goes below 60 degrees at night?

    I originally called you on facts and stuck to those facts. I did not make a personal insult until you insinuated I was lying. I responded calling you an ill informed clown. And encouraged to stick to the facts.

    You now imply that I sell plants and that I sell plants not in top health. This is merely another childish attack instead of sticking to the facts and debating your point. You show shallow character and lack of common courtesy.

    I encourage you to save the schoolyard antics for your fellow classmates. I've had my say. Have your fun. I actually feel bad for those that might possibly live in the same household. Must be entertaining to say the least. :-)


  • stanofh 10a Hayward,Ca S.F. bay area

    You re-read everything Randy but your first post that was so full of yourself and a slap to everybody else. Wasn't it?
    Maybe you had a bad day.

  • xerophyte NYC

    My 2 cents:

    I overwinter Adeniums that regularly see temps in the upper 30's. They are not "bone dry". Bone dry means root death. With dead roots, any plant is much more likely to rot in the spring because it cannot deal with the sudden moisture.

    This is probably a common scenario among amateur growers, and we end up blaming temperatures and plants not being cold hardy enough.

    Use a sensible substrate to avoid dessication, and automatically any plant is healthier and able to cope with dormancy.

    I don't have 100 Adenium. I have about 7 or 8 adult plants and about 20 seedlings/ young plants. So my sample size is not great, but enough for me. I haven't put my socotranums out into the same cold though because I'm not sure they can take it. And A somalense are also not as tolerant of cold temps. But A obesum are pretty tough plants.

    Incidentally, some of them maintain a firm caudex, and some don't. I think it may depend on the individual plant's genetics, just like flower color can be different.

    Nobody here is, or claims to be, an expert. This forum is for sharing info. If someone disagrees with someone else, then go ahead and offer your opinion and experience. There's nothing wrong with that. There's no need for huffing and puffing.

    It's just a gardening forum for god's sake.

  • rjj1

    Dry, bone dry, guess there probably is a difference. Not being watered after the plant dropped all of it's leaves around the end of December would be more accurate. I've watered some plants this spring. Others need to green up a little more on the tips.

    I also kept my soco's under warmer temps. They were some of the the ones in the house. I've found some named crosses of somalense and obesum to be pretty tough.

    It may be a garden forum, but I don't like being called a liar. He never seemed interested in offering experiences, just insults. Don't think you would care for that either.


  • xerophyte NYC

    My 2 socos both started to leaf out last month, which is contrary to what I've read about them growing in late summer and fall only. Interesting how different conditions cause plants to respond.

  • stanofh 10a Hayward,Ca S.F. bay area

    You came in loud,obnoxious, and swinging Randy.So why complain? Like you said-why do you bother with garden web?ehem,again,Did you read your opening post Randy?

    I've kept obesum seedlings to big golden trunked plants. Tried them outdoors,in tropical greenhouses,houseplants.
    It's never good to have shriveled trunks.That they can recover is true of any plant not thriving. But i wouldnt put one through that every winter.If you do-good for ya. I didnt say to give up or toss it out,but if it crosses a threshold they can collapse fast.
    I have found the new hybrids to be much more easy to care for..maybe you can treat them as potatoes. I wouldnt.

  • rjj1


    It's amazing how temps, sun, and fertilizer can effect bloom shape and color.

    I think this is about the latest I've ever waited to water my Adeniums. I'm ready for the growing season to kick in. We will probably have a hard freeze here Sunday. Should be the last and hopefully get to move my stuff outdoors in a week.


  • fmbutt

    One question after all this discourse: can an adenium be overwintered like a plumeria (i.e. with NO water and NO light in above freezing, dark space) ? I overwintered one last year in the house and only watered it about twice all winter. I was wondering if even that was necessary?

  • halocline



  • laticauda

    From what I've gathered here, if you have a garage in about zone 7, you can probably keep your dormant Adenium in the dark garage without watering all winter so long as when you do water, you introduce small amounts at first to help the roots form where they died off over the winter.

    I know sometimes it gets cold enough in my garage to freeze rabbit water bottles (and even that doesn't happen often/for very long), but I keep the door open for ventilation so a closed garage may offer enough protrction.

  • halocline

    Can you just keep them inside at room temperature ? 78 Degrees


  • laticauda

    At that temperature, they need light and water. I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure what makes dormany possible is the slow down of metabolism from the cold,

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