Hoya plant, wax plants, propagating

Recently several clients received wax plants (hoya plants) with very long vines.  One of the best ways to propagate wax plants is from a growing vine without cutting the vine first.  It’s the dip the vine in dirt method which is easy and usually 100% successful.  This method of propagate is for wax plants  you already own.  Yes, you can air layer long hoya plant vines too, however, it takes longer and you need to make sure the area stays moist.  We use three methods of propagation of hoya plants:  air layer, vine dipping and cuttings planting.  By far the best way is to use wax plant vine dipping.

The only problem with vine dipping is that you need room in the same pot as the parent plant.  Yes, you can stretch the wax plant vine into another pot, however, now you have two pots to water.

How to Propagate Wax plants From Vines

How to do it step by step:  1) Get a piece of wire about 6..8 inches long an bend into a U-shape to hold the vine in the soil or a rock with enough weight to  keep the vine in contact with the soil, 2) Select a vine section with at least 3..4″ of length beyond where you want to create the new plant.   3) Place/dip the wax plant vine in or on top of the soil in the same pot as the parent plant. Do not cut the vine! 4) Use the wire or rock to hold down the hoya plant vine and 5) wait a couple months for roots to grow.

It’s simple and easy.  Plus, its 100% successful as long as your main plant is healthy.  The actual time it takes the hoya plant to grow roots will depending upon the season and size of the parent plant.  Consider using fertilizer, such as, Dyna-Gro Gro and even use Dyna-Gro K-L-N the first month.

Spider mites on adeniums plants plant problems

Adenium spider mites problem

Q:   I have a question about spider mites. I have about 50 desert roses some I received from you and some from other growers. They are all dropping leaves and I can’t figure it out. At first I thought maybe it was because I wintered them in my plant house with a constant 70 degree temperature and they are now shedding their leaves. But I’m noticing that even the new leaves coming out are turning yellow and dropping off. I’ve pulled several out of their pots to check for rot rot, but all looks good. I pay special attention to how much water they get and check them weekly. I’ve had an issue with keeping spider mites off them (which is a constant challenge). I know that they can cause leaf drop. Is there a soil drench that can be used to help with that? What do you use? So, with this information, what do you suppose is going on? Thanks


Problem resolution

A:   We rarely have problems at our AdeniumRose Company nursery with spider mites on the adeniums.  Usually leaf drop off is due to watering and/or nutrient problems in the soil.  Mites will suck nutrients out of the adenium leaves and cause drop. We use Bryer and Nutra products on the desert roses when we see a problem.

If you suspect mites to be a problem I would remove all dirt and leaves to start fresh on all plants. Use a paint brush or similar brush to remove dirt from the adeniums roots. Spry them (roots and all) with Bryer for 3 days before potting.  Then give them a boost using Dyna-Gro K-L-N at time of potting (dip them for 30 minutes) and then add K-L-N to the water for the adeniums 2 weeks once potted.  Also, spray the desert roses branches and trunk with the Bryer once every 5 days for 3 weeks to make sure no eggs hatch or get laid down.  Remember spider mites travel so you may get rid of them on the adeniums but what about other plants in the area? 30 days after re-potting start them on Dyna-gro Grow once a month.

Spider mites are hard to get rid of unless you start fresh because the eggs are microscopic.

Adenium plant growing seedlings status and images

desert rose plant seedlings
Wide striped adenium flower from seedling

The adenium plant seedlings are doing great. The desert rose plant in the image to the left is 6 to 8 months old and grown from seeds.   Presently, we have 3..4 different flower types available as seedlings from AdeniumRose Company.   Many of these adenium plants are blooming.   We use Dyna-Gro Bloom to get them to bloom earlier than normal to make sure the flower type on these seedlings are correct. There are some minor difference from plant to plant such as the stripe being wider on some (see next image).

Seedlings Flower Consistency

The Pico desert rose seedling are 98% constant and the red to violet edge ones are 97% consistent. These plants are the same ones sold to a TV shopping network show. The shopping network orders thousands of seedlings each year but charge a bunch more. The striped adeniums are 93% consistent and the white adeniums are 98%.

The desert rose plants seedlings are from the same grower for the TV network received earlier this  year.  AdeniumRose company staff is in the process of transplanting some of the desert rose plants into larger 3″ pots to fatten up the caudex to be offered as individual larger plants in the future.

desert rose plant obesum seedlings
Variation of the stripe desert rose plant seedlings

The remaining fat adenium seedlings not transplanted will left in their current growing trays for the next month to keep the costs lower and value high for AdeniumRose Company clients.

    Adenium Variations

The image to the left is an example of the stripe adenium seedling but with a bit thinner stripe. Also, the petal shape is a bit different.  On the average only 20% of hybrid adeniums plants grown from seeds will produce flowers exactly like the parent plant. There are always variations.

Adeniums in their natural environment do not offer a wide range of colors as in the hybrid desert roses. These are about as consistent as they get except if you are growing non-hybrid adeniums.


desert rose plant seeldings
Adenium seedling Pico hybrid

Now is the time to get the seedlings while you still have several months of the growing season left.  If you are an experienced grower with the right setup or if you live in the Southern most states (South Florida, South Arizona, South Texas,..)  then you can grow adeniums just about year round.


The non-transplanted adenium seedlings receive  80% sun strength at the AdeniumRose Company nursery and the desert rose transplanted are 100% out side without any cover.  Once young adenium plants reach the 3″ pot size they can handle full sun.

Adenium bonsai plant canopy style AdeniumRose Company

When creating an adenium bonsai plant in a particular style you need to have a plan of attack and patience. Desert rose plants are not fast growing plants, however, they are very forgiving when creating an adenium bonsai.  Do you need formal bonsai training or special tools? No – just follow a few simple steps.  If you like the shape of the plant as-is (natural adenium bonsai)  then just do nothing like many collectors. However, if you want to create a windswept look, canopy or other bonsai style then you will need to do a few things including wiring branches.

Shaping Adenium Bonsai Plant Canopy Style
desert rose plant bonsai
Adenium Bonsai plant desert rose canopy style

Adenium branches are soft and easy to break so you must wait for the branches to thicken up a bit before wiring.  If the branches get too long crop (trim) them back to force thickening of the main branches.  If you are creating a canopy style adenium bonsai then wiring is not needed.  See the image to the right with many branches. This adenium plant was trimmed/cropped/pruned (whatever word you want to use) to force more branches to grow.  We wanted three or more branches to come out for each main branch cropped. The thicker the main branch the more branches will pop out of the side below the cut.

This adenium bonsai branches were cropped three times before 3 or more branches developed for each branch cropped.   Look at the thick branches of this desert rose bonsai. There are four main branches and each has several smaller new branches coming out. The over-all height of the total plant above the soil line is below 12″.  The caudex is 5″ across and 5″ deep (5 yr old plant).  This adenium Bonsai we just listed and sold today (less than 3 hours on the AdeniumRose website).  AdeniumRose Company plans to create bonsai started plants  and listed them as Adenium Bonsai on the website. Due to the nature of creating a bonsai I do not have a time frame of when ones will be listed.

More Adenium Branches = Larger Caudex

Once each of the new branches thickens up we will crop them. The whole idea is to have a wide canopy with tons of short thick branches. The great part about making a canopy type adenium bonsai is the more branches you have to fatter the caudex will become!  Keep the plant short and remember to arrange the root system to spread out (see previous article).

Do not worry about flowers are this time. Your main goal is to create a bunch of branches with leaves.  If the plant flowers it take energy away form the branch and leaf growing process.  The leaves need nutrients so use the proper fertilizer on a bi-weekly basis during growing season.

caudex how to grow wide- adenium plant exposed root system

Several people have requested more information on how to grow wider caudex which is the exposed root system that makes adenium plants special.   There are several steps and methods to create wider caudexes and create great desert rose plants.  First, you need to use the right type of pot, soil and provide the proper nutrients for your adenium plant.

The Pot and soil

There are several articles in this blog concerning the soil.  Instead of rewriting articles for the correct desert rose soil please use the top search and insert the keyword soil.  Needless to say, if you do not use the right soil and nutrients, the adenium plant will suffer.  Make sure you fertilize on a regular basis to prevent shock.

In order to grow your adenium caudex wide you need to use a shallow pot if at all possible. If your pot is deep you can fill the bottom of the pot with rocks except for the top 3…5 inches depending upon the size of your adenium plant.  Our jumbo plants are grown in 12” to 18” wide pots that are 5” to 8” deep.  In the deeper pots we fill the first 3 inches with rocks and then put weed block/Gardner cloth above the rocks.   Then we plant the adenium above the cloth. The cloth helps retain the soil. If you use this method you will need to repot every year because the cloth will decompose.

Wide caudex – Spread out the roots

When you pot your desert rose plant spread out the roots. Yes you can use bonsai wire to assist.  Be careful not break the roots. If you do break roots or cut the roots let the plant set out for 7 days before planting for the cuts to heal. If you have a nice ball of roots put a large rock or ball (ping pong ball?) in the pot and then arrange the adenium plant roots around the ball to force the roots outwards.

Nonporous rocks work great too.  In 6 months repot the desert rose plant and use a larger rock or ball.  The advantage to using rocks it that you can find different shapes to sculpture the roots in particular arrangement. Remember the roots below the soil now will be exposed to the air in the future as you grow your caudex larger.

Hoya plants growing and propagation of wax plants

It’s almost spring (in South Florida it’s already spring) which is a perfect time to start planning plant propagation.  Hoya plants, also known as wax plants, are veining flowering succulent like plants which are mostly propagated through cuttings.  Unlike many succulents  hoya plants will tolerate more water and less sunlight.

hoy plant wax plant
Neo Ebudica Hoya plant

In fact, most varieties of hoya plants the prefer 60-70% sunlight.  AdeniumRose Company propagates hoyas year-round due to our mild weather (the low today in my area was 71% – 2/7/2017).  Not all hoyas are easy to propagate which is way some are more costly (rare).  Rare hoyas tend to be the ones that grow slower and hard to propagate unless under the ideal conditions.

Propagation by Cuttings

If you are a beginner I would recommend starting propagating fast growing hoyas such as publicayx (red button or splash), the Australia ssp tenipes or sp pola from the ones available on the Adeniumrose company website.  Wait until your parent plant (the one you plan to get cuttings) has several vines before taking hoya cuttings.


Take hoya cuttings from the end of the vines that will yield 6″..7″ and several leaves. If you  notice some roots already on the vine so clip below them.  Once clipped wait about 20 minutes before applying any rooting hormone treatment to give time for the hoya plant sap to stop running from the cutting.  No you do not need to apply anything to the end of the cutting on the mother plant. Hoyas are resilient and the parent plant does not need any treatment when cut.

Rooting Hormone

Currently, we are using rooting hormone on all our plants. Prior to soaking the plant in the K-L-N we clip off the two lower leaves

We mix 2 table spoons of the liquid with 1 gallon of water and then let the plant soak (whole plant) in the water before planting for 30 minutes.  We tried powders but the Dyna-Gro K-L-N produced better results for us.

Now plant the hoya cutting in cactus type soil covering the cut leaf area (about 2″ of the plant). Do not water the wax plant until the next day to prevent washing off the rooting hormone. Once you start watering keep the soil slightly moist. Do not let it dry out for more than 1 day when propagating hoya plants. give the plant 5.. hours of 60 to 70% sunlight and within a few weeks the hoya plant will be well established with small roots.

Fragrance of Hoya plants – wax plant scents and environment

hoya wax plant sigillatis fragrance
Hoya sigillatis flowering wax plant with sweet fragrance

We received several questions concerning the scents or fragrance of hoya plant flowers. Hoya plants produce a very wide variety of fragrances. The hoya plants flower scent strength varies depending upon your growing environment and other factors.

Collectors use terms such as chocolate, citrus, vanilla, orange, lemon and other terms to describe the scents of the wax plants. Hoya Publicayx red button has been described with a strong lemony citrus with a hint of vanilla fragrance. However, smell is a personal thing and your growing environment is a factor.

Growing Environment

The scene of the hoyas varies depending upon your growing area. AdeniumRose Company, located in Southeast Florida, is always hot/warm and humid so the fragrance is never strong due to too much moisture in the air.  Its like a fir Christmas tree: when its cold and dry you smell it more than when its warm and humid.

Our publicalyx parent plants (the ones we use to propagate new plants) had tons of flower clusters earlier this year. However,  due to our very humid warm to hot climate we do not notice the hoya plants fragrance as much as somebody would in the northern areas that are either cooler or less humid. Yes, if we put our nose close to the flower we do smell a fragrance.

Nutrients Fragrance Factor

The other factor in the scent of a hoya plant beyond the growing environment is the nutrients in your soil. What nutrients are in the soil can cause some changes in the scent produced. If you have too much phosphate, iron, nitrogen and other nutrients the plant needs to grow then the scent may get strong or lighter.  I’m not an expert on nutrients and smell of plants but there are many articles on how a sent of a flower or plant changes depending what nutrients you feed it.

Do you grow wax plants – hoyas? Do you notice any scent whether strong or slight? What is your growing environment for the hoya plant?  What variety of wax plants are you growing? Please post a comment about hoya plant scent here. It simple to write a comment and it will help others.


Adenium plant cropping to grow caudex

Q:  Pruning and cropping is the same thing right? When you have a adenium plant that’s a little leggy and the graft lines are high, how do you prune them to let the trunk catch up.  Thank you for your help

bonsai desert rose plant cropping
Cropping adenium plant to achieve larger caudex

Answer: Pruning or cropping adenium plant branches is need to grow fatter plants. Adenium plant leaf and branch growth mostly occurs are the end of the branches. Sometimes you may get a stray branch that pops out on an older branch below the current leaves but not often.  More branches/leaves means faster growth. Faster adenium plant growth requires more roots to grow which results in a larger caudex on the desert rose plant.

Here are the general rules we use to force the desert rose plant caudex to grow wider and to grow more branches:

  1. Use a bonsai pot so the roots do not grow deep but wide
  2. After each growing season repot the plant (use same post if wide enough) but expose a bit more of the roots/caudex.  Do the repotting when you still have at least 30 days of your growing season let and after you see new branches below the cropping on your desert rose plant.
  3. Do not crop until the plant is in a new growing season and once you see new growth. Many types of plants you can crop while they are dormant, however, cropping an adenium plant produces the best results (not rot, no branch die back) during the spring  after you already notices some growth.
  4. Crop above the graft about 2″ to 3″.
  5. Once your crop / prune the adenium plant you must let it heal over for 5 to 10 days depending upon your growing environment.

There are several other articles on this blog about cropping your adenium plant.  make sure you are using the correct soil, proving enough sunlight and use a root growth hormone such as Dyna-gro K-L-N each time you re-pot the plant.  These are the procedures AdeniumRose Company uses on the plants at their nursery.


Adenium bonsai plant – how to create a desert rose bonsai

Adenium bonsai starter plant project

Several clients requested a sequence of steps in creating a bonsai adenium plant from a standard size 4.5” pot size desert rose plant. The first step is to following the instruction received with the adenium plants and soak them in a rooting hormone like the one we use Dyna-Grow K-L-N. After soaking the desert rose plant for 30 minutes do not water it for 2 days. Now to creating a bonsai starter plant.

adenium bonsai plant
Adenium bonsai starter pot

The adenium plants from the AdeniumRose nursery can all be made into classic bonsai plants. First you need to select a bonsai pot based on the plants style. In our example, I’m using a standard 4” x 6” x 2” bonsai starter pot with plenty of drainage. You can select a round one, an square, oval or other type of bonsai pot – just make sure the pot is less than 3” deep and gives you around 1.5” all around the root system for 1 year of growth. Do not select an oversize pot which will actually slow the growth of the root system.

The soil we use is “soil-less” which basically means it contains no dirt which is offered on our website designed for cactus, succulents and other water thrifty plants. It’s a fast draining non-binding (does not form a top crust or clumps). The bottom holes of the bonsai pot are covered with screen material to prevent the loss of soil during watering.

desert rose bonsai creationg
final plant orientation for a bonsai adenium plant

Adenium Bonsai Orientation

Now I orient the adenium bonsai starter plant in the pot to see how I want it to be placed in the pot. Since the branches of the plant has a natural up curve I will use that as the focus of the design. The last 6 months I placed the plant on an un-leveled surface to force the branches to grow at an angle towards the sun to give it a curve. This is a common way to change the growth direction of branches when they are too young to wire.

Now put ½ your soil into the pot and then the plant. If the adenium bonsai plant does not stand properly on its own get something to support the plant as we are doing here with a wedged shaped rock.

desert rose bonsai rock
Wedge shape rock to support bonsai desert rose plant

Bonsai Adenium materials

All the rocks we use are non-porous so fungus will not grow on it. Now put in the remaining soil around the desert rose plant leaving some room for decoration rock on top.

The decorative rock on top is not just for looks. The rocks hold down the soil so the perlite does not float to the top. The perlite in the soil gives room for air flow in the soil. Air flow is important to prevent rot root with succulent plants.


small adenium bonsai plant
Final bonsai adenium plant with support rock

This adenium plant will grow in this port for approximately 1 year. I may wire the branches when they get thick. The plant used is a variegated sapphire adenium plant.  The main appeal to this desert rose plant is it unusual leaf type.  As this desert rose plant grows we will start to wire the branches them towards the left to give the appearance of wind blowing.

Growing adenium plants : Desert rose plant Soil & watering

Adenium Plants growing questions

We received a couple questions about growing adenium plants just received or recently received. The adenium plants from AdeniumRose Company are growing in southeast Florida which is a tropical environment unlike any other areas of the USA.  It’s hot, extremely humid (90 to 100% everyday), very long hours of sunlight (10+)  plus we get many inches of rain every week during the summer. All of our plants are grown in the open in plastic nursery pots – no cover, no screen, nothing. The soil never dies up during the summer months.  The soil is critical here to prevent root rot and we have to fertilize every week since the nutrients in the adenium plants soil is leached out due to the rain. Yes, we do lose a percentage of plants to due root rot (about 2%) or other issues. We would lose many more if our soil was not correct.

Question from a client:

Just a quick question. I bought 4 jumbos last July and up to now they have no leaves but there are couple flower buds on two of them. I only water them little ( just enough to wet the caudex)  once every two days since I planted them in a pot. the weather in San Diego has been 75F during the day and around 60F at night. Most of my adenium has very little leaves. Is it because I gave them not enough water? I’m so afraid of root rot.


If you are using the right soil you should not get root rot – use plenty of perlite (75% of mixture). Perlite gives the soil space to allow air flow which is critical to prevent rot root. The roots need water and nutrients. Water transport the nutrients to the roots so if you do not have enough nutrients or water the plant will grow slower. Use coir instead of dirt soil. Do not use moss in the mixture. In this blog there are many articles on soil. Use the search feature (top of blog) and put in the word “soil”.


Question from another client:

I received my order few weeks back. I checked my order and one plant that is 3 in 1 has all of its leaves are dry up. I was thinking when I plant it down new leaves will come out. Typically the leaves turned yellow and new ones come out. This plant came with leaves wilted. I planted in a pot with new soil for about 2 weeks now. As of today, no new leave comes out or any new development.


Adeniums are desert plants. The majority of the time we cut off all leaves prior to shipping because the plants go into water conservation mode (leaves dry up and drop along with any buds). If you planted it per the instruction in the packing slip (right soil, root hormone, etc) the plant will recover faster. New leaf growth depends upon nutrients in the soil, amount of sun and hours of sunlight.  When we receive plants from Thailand (no leaves) it takes 4..6 weeks for the plants to recover (start to grow leaves). We are located in Southeast Florida so the plants get 9..10 hours of 100% unfiltered sun with temps at night between 78-83 degrees and day 88-95 degrees everyday during the summer (which here is late April through October). This is optimal for succulent type plants. If you lived in our area you know summer does not start on June 1st.

It is normal for the adenium plants to produce flowers first and then leaves.  Several of the just released jumbo size (releases this week) and standard size adenium plants bloom before we saw any new leaves. They were received in June and we started to see buds late in July (6 weeks later) and then leaves.