Desert Rose adenium bonsai plants growing

desret rose plant adenium bonsai technique

How to Bonsai an adenium plant

Adeniums are not your fast growing plants unless you are in the proper growing zone where you can expect noticeable caudex and branch growth over a couple month period. when using bonsai techniques on your desert rose plant (adenium) you need to take extra care to prevent branch breakage and wrapping wire too tight around the trunk and branches.  If you bonsai wire wrap the branches too tight without allowing for adenium plant growth you will get indentations on the trunks.

Adenium can be bonsai into canopy type plants over the years. the image on this post is an example of a 8 year old bonsai adenium desert rose plant with a canopy (expanded top) growing style.  Yes, it took time and extermination with wire wrapping methods to produce this result. However, it was worth the effort in learning how to bonsai adeniums in a different style than wind swept type you see all the time. The adenium bonsai has a caudex width of 10″ and dept of 8″. The canopy of the bonsai is 23″ round.  Notice most of the left growth is towards the end of the branches. This is normal with an adenium bonsai. Now I plant to work on adding branches more evenly on the canopy. It will take a couple years to achieve this on this adenium desert rose plant bonsai.


26 thoughts on “Desert Rose adenium bonsai plants growing

    • No. In fact, the adenium plant roots are what make the adenium great. The desert rose plants roots will naturally grow with a bonsai look. The exposed roots “caudex” will grow over time and get bigger/fatter. 90% of the adeniums we grow are not worked other than using pot leaning to make wind swept styles or topping off the upper branches to form a canopy over time. Yes, on some I do trim the roots and do more branch shaping with wire (such as spread out the branches for a more even canopy). When I trim the adenium plant roots, I look at the overall look of the caudex. I trim the roots that are new or do not connect to the main roots.

  1. If I get a bonsai do I have to cut roots & all of that hard stuff I don’t know about I’m just a beginner I’m getting 2 plants at once, but not bonsais So I will deffinatly need help Or I could get a nice size regular one! So please get back to me asap & If your going to put any regular ones on. For some reason bonsai scares me. I had pine tree bonsais & had no luck at all , so thats why I’m Afraid of bonsai. I can’t afford to lose the money If something were to happen. SCARED IN NY PLUS I’ll pay right away & be waiting for the plants! I’m a disabled VIETNAM VET. YOUR FRIEND! SCOTT W.

    • The adenium plants have a natural bonsai look even if you do nothing. The advantage to the adenium, desert rose plants, is that they are easy to shape as they grow and if you make a mistake it does not take years to fix the problem. If you go to our website and select some plants – send me a note an I will make sure you get an adenium plant that is already had some bonsai work completed. I do bonsai other plants over the years but not for resale. Also, adeniums are very easy to grow and only have problems if you over water which is the opposite than to most other bonsai plants. haev fun – Mike

    • Dear Scott,

      First of all, thank you for your service to our Country.

      I began with bonsai work, long ago. I suggest, the next time you go to a garden center, look at Junipers. These are the easiest plants to begin the bonsai technique. Look at all of the Junipers for sale, from all sides of the plant. You will find a natural configuration of the Juniper, which will make a beautiful bonsai.
      The Juniper is hardy, and can be trimmed every year, by taking the Juniper out of the bonsai pot. Also using color low gauge wires, you can slowly bend the branches to you own liking. Make sure the wires are coated with a protected, flexible rubber, thus the wires will not cause the branches to be etched by the wires. Change these wires frequently, and more loose as your branch begins to take shape. Another lovely addition to the bonsai plant, is finding beautiful moss and using the moss to look as if it is grass at the base of the wood “tree”. Also, after removing the Juniper from the Bonsai planter and trimming the roots. It is best to use a simple wire at the base, so your Bonsai stands in the exact place you wish to present it. This “grounding wire” remains hidden. Water at least once a week, because the roots are shorter, the bonsai planters are smaller.

      Good luck to you.

  2. I have one of these plants that i got seeds from. I planted them in a pot all bunched up together thinking that they wouldnt grow, but they grew so i changed it into a bigger pot. Once i changed them they all started to wither and die out. What is the problem? Is there too much water and not enough sunlight or is there too much sunlight and not enough water. I water them quite a bit every day and i left it in the sun, where they started to wither so i moved it into the shade but nothing has happened. Help!

    • I will need a little more information. We have at any one time 800 to 1000 plants we are growing from seeds. Last year we planted 1200 adenium seeds of various. I start all seeds using a core based propagation mix and keep them moist until the seedlings are 1 to 1.5 months old. We always loose about 20% to problems. Not all seeds grow good adenium plants due to various issues. I used 4 supplies last year for the seeds and one of the suppliers gave us nothing but bad seeds or seeds that produced very poor seedlings that died so it may not be your fault that your plants died.

      Did you plant the seeds in a group pot? We used LED growing panels for the first 3 months before we expose the desert rose plants to direct sunlight in steps. If you transplanted the adenium seedlings too young they have a poor chance to survive. Once you transplant them you should treat them as regular adenium plants. I always federalize the plants about 2 weeks after I transplant the adeniums. I always use root hormone when I plant the desert rose plants.

      How big where the plants when you transplanted them? What type of soil did you use? In relation to sunlight – you can never give them too much sun light. They LOVE sunlight.

      • Ahhhh well I’m not an expert at growing them. I think the problem is that I transplanted them too early. They were all about maybe 1inch? I had to move them because i placed them all in the same area on the first pot, and they were all bunched up together and I thought there would be a lot of competition so i separated them. Most of them had 2 leaves, and some had 4 leaves but that was as big as they got. As for the soil im not too sure as I just finished the packet and didnt buy the same brand next time around.

        • Sounds like you transplanted them too early. I usually wait for at least 4 leaves and until trunk is stating to turn a brown color. If the trunks are green wait. These plants do not mine being bunched up a bit. If the soil has more than 10% then add some perlite. I use a mixture of 70 perlite, 10 soil, 10 coir and and very small course rock. You can use sand instead of rock but make sure its not limestone sand for your adeniums. Limestone retains water and tends to be a source for fungus growth.

          • Well the bigger ones were brown, and they seem to be surviving. I’ll be sure to add some perlite, Thanks for your help!

  3. Hi,
    I have a adeniun plant which is about a feet tall..but it has got only one stem/branch and the caudex is also not thick..and its growing upwards very fast.
    I was just amazed by the Adenium bonsais of yours.
    So what should i do to make a proper bonsai. Please help..

    Kolkata, India

    • HI Kolkata:

      Making an adenium plant into an bonsai takes time and small steps. I have desert rose plants, adenium, that are over 20 years old with great canopy type flow, wind swept style and more. I start most of mine when they are 2..3yrs old and by time they are 4..5 years old they are already true bonsai adenium plants. The best way to start is to determine if you want to create a canopy or wind swept(branches slanted to the side). I would keep the adenium plant root bound and crop off the top 6 to 8″ of the adenium plant now since it the start of the growing season. You want the desert rose plant to create 2 to 3 new branches. Once the new branches are 2″ to 3″ long start wiring to force them to grow parallel to the base of the adenium plant. Once those get 6″ to 8″ long crop them back to create even more branches. By keeping the branches short it will force the adenium plant to grow a larger caudex. when you wire wrap the branches to force them to grow a certain direction make sure you do not wire them too tight. Also, use bonsai wire that is soft and easy to bend (NOT COPPER!!!).

      If you have some images as you work on the adenium plant bonsai I could make additional suggestions.

      • Thanks for your suggestions..
        Yesterday, a friend of mine suggested to cut the main root of the adenium plant,which I did.
        Have I made a mistake? He told me that cutting the main root will lead to thickening of the caudex and will lead to lesser growth of main branch.
        Kindly comment..

        • We do trim roots but not the main one to limit roots that are not helping the bonsai of the caudex. In our experience the more roots the faster and healthier the growth. If you trim the roots of the adenium you need to give them time out of soil to heal before you replant. Cropping the trunk will thicken the caudex to force lower growth not cutting the roots. Cutting the roots puts stain on the adenium plant and deter growth. It takes several months for root cropped desert roses plants to recover fully. Therefore, unless you need to cut the to shape the caudex of the adenium the way you want the caudex to grow we do not recommend cutting them.

          • thanks yet again for your suggestion!
            Now my adenium plant is about 40 cm in height and leaves are present to 15 cm from at what height should I prune it? And should I prune in such a way that there are no leaves present?
            Kindly comment..

          • When I prune the adeniums I do not worry about the leaves. If its getting plenty of light new branches with leaves will sprout right below the pruned area of the desert rose plant. Just make sure you let the cut heal for 4..5 days before placing the adenium plant out in the open exposed to water. Yes, you can water the plant but keep the cut dry on the adenium plant. How high is the caudex? Its hard to say where to prune without images of the desert rose plant. If the caudex is less than 15cm high then cut about the top 20cm off the adenium so you leave some trunk left above the caudex of the adenium plant.

            This assumes you do not have any major branches above the cut area. If you have trunk that splits into several then you will adjust you pruning of the adenium to a few CM above where the trunk slits if possible unless the branching is near the top of the plant. Remember you can plant the cuttings. Let the cuttings heal, soak in rooting hormones and plant the adenium cuttings!

  4. Hello, I started a plant from a cutting about a year and a half ago. It has done well but has just grown straight up no branches. How do I prune to train it to branch out?? It looks funny growing straight up…it is almost 2 feet tall & leaning over. I could probably prune & start another plant. Thank you for any advise 🙂

    • Good Day: When to prune depends upon your growing environment. Most adeniums are in their dormancy period now depending upon your light and temperature conditions. If you live in the south parts of the USA where it does not freeze you can crop the desert rose plants now and the plant should show signs of new branches in 2..3 weeks. If you live further north above Florida, Northern Texas, Northern Arizona) then wait until the spring to crop the plant unless you are growing them in a climate controlled area where they are warmer than 60 on the average and get 8 hours of light good per day. If you do crop eh desert rose plants now make sure you keep the cropped parts of the adenium plants dry for 2..3 weeks to prevent tip rot.

  5. Hi,

    I have an adenium and wanted to grow it into bonsai. So I potted it in a shallow pot of about 2″ deep and 1′ wide. Instead of cutting roots I put some stone pebbles around the pot so that I widen up. Did I do right? My plant is around a year old and have been watering it on regular intervals. Recently i noticed that it has some white powdery patches. is it harmful and how should i protect my plants. I need help in terms of the fertiliser names that I can use to improve its health and also my plant is not flowering. Please help.


    • Good Day:

      It sounds like you are using the right depth of a pot for the adenium plants. The white powdery areas sounds like spider mites on your adenium plants. Use a soap based insecticide and spray all the leaves especially under the leaves. Yours does not sound like a young adenium seedling which will take 1.5 to 2 years flower. Older desert rose plants need a good time released fertilizer for the desert rose plant. We use a 7-7-10 fertilizer as a general one for all our adenium plants. Also, when we pot the adenium desert rose plants we soak the roots in suprthrive for a couple minutes before adding the dirt. Flowering requires 5..7 hours of good sunlight. If you live in the northern states you may want to use grow lights (LED grow lights work great) starting in early January until its ok to bring the desert rose pans outside.

      Cutting roots for Bonsai adenium plant
      When training them as a bonsai plant you will need to trim the roots to force most of the growth to the main larger roots. When reporting you may want to place a cut in half ping pong ball ball under the center to of plant to force the roots outwards

  6. Hi,
    I have a few D.R. stem cuttings growing (about 6″ tall), that have a few leaves on them. How long does it usually take for them to start flowering? Thanks.

    • I’m assuming that you rooted the stems already and it growing. If the parent desert rose plant was already blooming size the cutting of the adenium plant usually take about 1 to 2 years to bloom. It’s not seed grow adenium plant which usually take 2..3 years to bloom. I would work on growing the caudex size and not to concentrate on the bloom for a couple years. Adenium plants grown from cuttings tend to grow with skinny caudex unless you crop it frequently. I would crop the adenium plant grown from a cutting after it well established (about a year from rooting).

  7. I have a desert rose that I got at home depot several years ago. I’ve been training it as a bonsai since then. I have pictures but don’t know how to post them on here.

  8. I have 5 years old Adeniums. I am very fond of bonsai. But I don’t know how? Please tell me whole method. I will be highly obliged.

    • Thank you for the questions however I would need to spend any weeks to explain everything know about bonsai. The best thing to start with is to use very thick flexible bonsai grade wire for adeniums and do NOT wrap them tightly. Typical bonsai plants limbs do not contract and expand as adeniums do so the wire need to be loose. Next when you wrap the branches use care not to break them. Its better to start shaping the branch direction when they are about 3″ long. Start out by making a canopy or wind swept style (all branches in a position as if the wind is blowing) on your first adenium desert rose plant bonsai. There are tons of YouTube videos of bonsai wire wrapping. Also, make sure you use a bonsai style pot to force the growth of a wider caudex.

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