Adenia Primer
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Adenia Primer
Introduction to Adenia Plants

Introduction to Adenia Plants

Adenia pechuelii

Adenia plants have some very interesting characteristics. They are excellent members of the caudiciform succulent family and some species can attain a base of more than two meters (6 feet) wide. Most Adenias are vine growers and form a large canopy of heart shaped leaves that shade the base. Most Adenias have green trunks and branches. Some species have overlaid reds, browns, or purples that add to the beauty of the caudex. Adenias typically flower in the spring before the leaves appear. Novice growers of Adenias need only remember a few key points to be successful.

  1. Adenias are summer growers and can be watered and fed  regularly if planted in fast draining soil. Let the soil dry between watering if you are in a humid climate. Most of your growth will be during the warm season and the plant will have the most leaves. The plant will also grow best with the leaves exposed to bright light, but the caudex shaded. We keep them growing outside in full summer heat under 50% shade cover hear in Las Vegas.
  2. During the cool months protect the plant from frost to keep it alive. The plant normally rests during this period and water should be kept to a minimum. However, you can keep the plant active, if you can keep it above 50 degrees F.

Here are a few Adenia species to try. They are listed in order of availabilty. The most common ones are listed first.

Adenia Gauca

Adenia Gauca

Adenia Gauca

Adenia glauca is a very attractive caudiciform succulent plant. It starts forming a fat trunk almost from seed germination and keeps getting fatter as it grows. It will attain a base that is one meter wide with vine that can run for several meters. Trim the vines to keep the plant looking neat and from over-running your other plants. It has an attractive green trunk, the color stops just an inch or so above the soil. Although Adenia glauca was very uncommon in the market place prior to 2005, it has become almost as common as an average cactus. However, it has not been offered by big box retailers yet. It can mostly be found at independent nurseries and on the Internet.

Adenia glauca

Yes, A. glauca and A. spinosa do look very similar when young. A. spinosa tends to have more of a purple skin, but it can be green also. Just the opposite is true for A. glauca, which tends to have a green exterior, but sometimes can be purple. They both grow summer season vines, with three lobed leaves, that drop off in late fall. A. spinosa tends to grow vines that stay relatively thin, whereas, A. glauca vines become thick near the main trunk. You may also notice differences in the flower. A. glauca flowers are light yellow, and A. spinosa flowers are more white.

Adenia spinosa

Adenia spinosa

Adenia spinosa

Adenia spinosa is a very attractive caudiciform succulent plant. It starts forming a fat trunk almost from seed germination and keeps getting fatter as it grows. It is very similar to A. glauca and can onlt be distinguished by its deeply lopbed leaves. It will attain a base that is one meter wide with vine that can run for several meters. Trim the vines to keep the plant looking neat and from over-running your other plants. It has an attractive green trunk, the color stops just an inch or so above the soil. Adenia spinosa is almost as common as A. glauca, not not as easy to find.

Adenia spinosa

Yes, A. glauca and A. spinosa do look very similar when young. A. spinosa tends to have more of a purple skin, but it can be green also. Just the opposite is true for A. glauca, which tends to have a green exterior, but sometimes can be purple. They both grow summer season vines, with three lobed leaves, that drop off in late fall. A. spinosa tends to grow vines that stay relatively thin, whereas, A. glauca vines become thick near the main trunk. You may also notice differences in the flower. A. glauca flowers are light yellow, and A. spinosa flowers are more white.

Adenia fruticosa

Adenia fruticosa

Adenia fruticosa

Adenia fruticosa is one of the more rare species of Adenia. This South African plant grows vines during it's active season and exposes a highly textured green caudex when the plant drops the leaves during dormancy. Plant it in fast draining soil, water during the warm months when in leaf, and keep on the dry side when leafless.

Adenia fruticosa

Adenia goetzei

Adenia goetzei

Adenia goetzei

Adenia goetzei is from south east Africa that forms a large tuber underground. It has large non-succulent leaves and flowers are yellow green in the spring and summer. Protect from frost. Limit water when not in leaf. This species is rarely found in the trade.

Adenia goetzei

Adenia goetzei

Adenia goetzei

Adenia pechuelii

Adenia pechuelii

Adenia pechuelii

Adenia pechuelii is a very rare south east African caudex forming succulent as those growing in habitat are protected by local law. Adenia pechuelii develops a very large round shaped caudex, topped with tufts of pointy stems. It has the common name Elephant's Foot. The flowers are either male or female and appear in the summer after 30 years of plant growth.

Adenia pechuelii