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Pachypodium & Adenium

A Home Gardeners Guide


These members of the Apocynaceae family originate from across Africa and also the island of Madagascar. Prized for their outstanding flower displays as well as their architectural features the popularity for these plants are growing even stronger.




Plant With spines in 2’s or 3’s

Plant unarmed

Flowers White, yellow, pale pink, dull purplish or bright red

Flowers Naturally tones of red, rarely white. New cultivars all tones and bicolour

Seeds With tuft of hair at one end only

Seeds With a tuft of hairs at both ends



In the home garden the most successful growth is to have a pot culture. Using this method a large number of habits and conditions can be controlled including the growth rate. This can be achieved in two ways:-

  1. Growth can be retarded with the use of small shallow pots and limited watering and fertilising so as to slow down the plant development
  2. this growth can be rapidly accelerated with an increase during the warmer months with water and nutrient applications.

The most important factor to remember is that during the cooler months, to reduce the application of water otherwise this will surely lead to plants completely rotting from the roots up.



A protected environment is necessary for the propagation of both types of plants. It can be as simple as a plastic bag supported over plastic pot, or as elaborate as a state of the art glasshouse.


Both types of plants can be easily propagated by sowing fresh seed in spring in a mixture of coarse sand, peat moss and perlite. Germination is rapid with most plants showing themselves within 2-3 weeks.


This method is not as successful as seed raising. Spring again is the best time to try this method allowing the material to dry and form callus prior to placing in a good free draining mix.


Some success has been achieved grafting Adenium spp. onto Nerium rootstock. This method can be used to overcome root rots which the Adeniums are susceptible to.

P. gcayi
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