Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Adenium Growing

Adeniums have been, till recently, comparatively rare and high value succulents. In part this was because they are somewhat difficult and slow under cool conditions and in part due to the need for cross pollination to set seed. The rather complex floral structure means than hand pollination technique is not obvious.

Thus, in the Western countries, where multiple clones were available, slow growth and closed greenhouses meant little seed set while in tropical Asia, where seed set would have been possible, there was, for a long time there was only one clone- "Singapore"; it set no seed and was propagated by cuttings (I believe this clone is male sterile) with its primary use being in landscaping., there was, for a long time only one clone and so no seed set- the cultivar "Singapore" which was propagated by cuttings.

Adenium seed from the wild is usually of poor quality due to pests, poor harvest timing and inadequate processing. Something changed in the late 70's- a little seed became available in Asia; hand pollination techniques were described in several articles (though in that pre-internet age, I had a tough time getting copies even in the 80's).

In the 80's, several growers in India (Mr.Mukundan in Madras and I in Bombay) & Thailand (notably Mr. Vitoon Techacharoensukchera) were producing and selling Adenium seeds. Over the last two decade we probably sold several million seeds between us.

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