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Durham Botanicals                          http://www.durhambotanicals.com                        How to Water AdeniumsThe...
Durham Botanicals                           http://www.durhambotanicals.comlarge particles (greater than 1/8 inch). A good...
Durham Botanicals                          http://www.durhambotanicals.comoverwater when their plants when this happens an...
Durham Botanicals                          http://www.durhambotanicals.comwater for about two minutes a couple times a day...
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How to Water Adeniums

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How to Water Adeniums

  1. 1. Durham Botanicals http://www.durhambotanicals.com How to Water AdeniumsThere are several methods to determine whether your Adenium needs to bewatered. Here are a few common methods. The method I typical use involvesjust picking up a few pots. It takes some experience to develop a sense for the‘feel’ of a dry Adenium, but it’s a very effective technique once mastered. It’samazing how much heavier a pot feels when it has the right amount of water.Since approximately 25% of the volume of a proper soil mix is water at thesaturation point, a person only needs to pick a pot when it’s wet and then againwhen it’s dry soon you will start getting a ‘feel’ for the difference. Naturally,you can only do this with smaller Adeniums. Another method involves pushinga chopstick into the potting mix, like using a toothpick when baking a cake. Ifyou pull the chopstick out and it is nearly dry then it’s time to water. A thirdmethod, and possibly the commonly used, is to dig a couple inches under the surface of the potting mix with your finger. If it is dry at that depth, it may be time to water. This last method requires you to have personal knowledge of your Adeniums and how they perform in your mix. There are several interrelated factors that affect ‘drying time.’ For example, under perfect conditions some plants can tolerate denser potting mix because they grow so fast that the roots soon colonize it. This rapid growth quickly leaches the soil of moisture.The following are some of the factors I have found which influence drying time: Potting MixtureThe main components that retain water are organic and inorganic fines (verysmall particles), peat moss, coir, and rice hulls. If you increase the amount ofany of these components you will reduce the drainage (aeration) and increase thewater holding capacity of your mix. Doing so can lengthen the time betweenwaterings. This can be convenient but it is unadvisable to add so much of theseelements that your potting mix will hold more than 25% of its volume as water.If the ratio is more than this you may start having problems with root rot due topoor drainage.Conversely, if you want to increase the drainage (aeration) and reduce howmuch water the plant will hold you can add inorganic and some organic (bark)http://www.durhambotanicals.com Page 1
  2. 2. Durham Botanicals http://www.durhambotanicals.comlarge particles (greater than 1/8 inch). A good example of these large particlesare lava rock, coarse silica sand, turface, perlite, other stable fired clay products. Plant Size and PruningAdeniums that have healthy root colonization in a pot need water morefrequently. As the top grows they need even more water. When an Adenium ispruned transpiration is decreased so it will need less water, less frequently. It isvery important to pay close attention to this issue.Adeniums with a lot of leaves tend to grow quickly and colonize very fast whichdries out the soil. This is actually great for the plants provided you can wateroften them often enough. Extra water drains from the pot every time you wateras this happens new air comes into the root zone. As the potting mix dries outfresh air is pulled into the root zone again. FertilizingSince fertilizer generally makes Adeniums grow more quickly, it will alsoaccelerate drying time. Fertilizer may also increase the decomposition of theorganic portions of the potting mix, causing premature collapse. This will slowgrowth and increase drying times. People often forget that this breakdown willaffect plant growth and watering intervals. Composted wood and fiber products,other than bark, decompose rapidly and aren’t typically the best choice forpotting mixes used for Adeniums. The cypress products commonly used in thesouthern states of the USA are an exception to this rule and can be excellentpotting mix components. Garden, or other compost may also cause problemsand are best avoided, especially by beginning Adenium growers. You can avoidmany of the problems caused by potting mix breakdown by using moreinorganic materials and high quality organic materials like coconut chips, pine,and fir bark. DiseaseRoot rot will make it harder for Adeniums to take up water and will slow dryingtimes. Sometimes it’s hard to accurately diagnose root damage. There are anumber of diseases that lead to the blockage of the plants vascular system,preventing it from taking up water. When an Adenium gets one of these diseasesthe first signs you are likely to see is welting of the leaves. It’s a naturalresponse to want to water the plant but this does not help. The problem is thatthe roots can’t properly take up the water that’s already present. People oftenhttp://www.durhambotanicals.com Page 2
  3. 3. Durham Botanicals http://www.durhambotanicals.comoverwater when their plants when this happens and it exacerbates the problem.The best remedy is to let the plant dry out instead of watering it. If yourAdenium’s leaves ever start to wilt it’s important for you to make sure that thepotting mix is actually dry before you water it. If it’s not dry you may have aproblem involving the roots. Appropriate action must be quickly taken topreserve the plant. WindAn increase of wind activity will increase transpiration, prompting the need towater your Adeniums more frequently. Even in moderate temperatures a strongwind can dry plants out quickly. Some varieties of Adeniums are quitevulnerable to this. The first step to correct this involves relocating yourAdeniums to a place that does not frequently gets a lot of wind if you have achoice. SunlightEveryone knows sunlight will heat your plants and pots increasing bothtranspiration and evaporation. This means that you must water your plants moreoften. If you’re growing your Adeniums in a hot dry area try to put them wherethey will get morning sun and afternoon shade. Adeniums grow best with brightlight and moderate temperatures. You won’t lose much growth if you put themin some shade during the afternoon heat. Keeping the light levels ideal willmake your plants grow the fastest, increase foliage and decrease drying time.This may involve mean adding some shade cloth to cover your Adeniums duringsummer in some areas. High TemperatureEven without sunlight when it is hot transpiration will increase and drying timewill decrease. If you are growing your Adeniums in a place with moderate tolow humidity, temperatures over 80F and morning to full sunlight then mostestablished Adeniums in containers will need to be watered at least twice a week. High HumidityWhere it’s very humid and relatively hot transpiration decreases and drying timewill increase. If you are growing your Adeniums in a hot dry climate increasinghumidity can be a great way to extend the time between watering. When thetemperatures remain over 100F Adenium plants may benefit from a fine spray ofhttp://www.durhambotanicals.com Page 3
  4. 4. Durham Botanicals http://www.durhambotanicals.comwater for about two minutes a couple times a day. Adding sprinklers or mistersunder your growing tables can also be helpful in dry hot climate areas. Pot SizeThe more mix your pots contain the greater the reservoir of water will be sodrying times will increase. It’s important to remember this and check carefullybefore you water Adeniums in large pots. The pots generally do not dry nearly asquickly as small pots. This is something to give careful consideration to beforeattempting to plant Adeniums in larger than ideal size pots. In ClosingLearning when and how to water your Adeniums are easily mastered skills thatwill pay more dividends than any other aspect of their care. Properly wateredAdeniums are incredibly rewarding plants that will give you years of virtuallytrouble-free pleasure.http://www.durhambotanicals.com Page 4

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