How to Cut Adenium Caudex: A Step-by-Step Guide

Cutting an Adenium caudex, also known as Desert Rose, can be done to propagate new plants or to shape and rejuvenate an existing plant. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to cut an Adenium caudex.
A adenium caudex in a small pot.

Adenium Caudex, also known as the Desert Rose, has been capturing the hearts of gardeners worldwide. With its unique swollen trunk-like structure, colorful flowers, and ability to thrive in harsh conditions, this charismatic succulent has become a staple in home gardens, balconies, and indoor spaces. What truly distinguishes Adenium caudex is its regenerative capabilities, allowing it to propagate from cuttings quite easily. However, mastering the art of cutting Adenium caudex is challenging for many gardeners. That is why we are here to help you master the skill of cutting your Desert Rose.

So, how do you cut Adenium caudex? Gather the necessary tools and materials, such as sharp pruning shears, a clean cutting board, rooting hormone, and well-draining soil. Next, select a caudex that is healthy, mature, and ready for cutting. Before taking the plunge, it is crucial to prepare the plant by removing excess leaves and branches, ensuring a clean canvas for the cutting process. Place the sharp pruning shears at a 45-degree angle, making a clean cut through the caudex, about 1 inch deep. Take care not to damage any nearby nodes or vital structures. Place the cutting in well-draining soil, ensuring it receives enough sunlight and water. Maintain a warm and humid environment to encourage root development.

This blog post outlines the basics of cutting Adenium caudex, equipping you with the confidence to tackle the challenge yourself. Read on to learn more.

Why Is Cutting Adenium Caudex Important?

Adenium caudex tends to grow tall even though its overall growth rate is a bit slow. The branches of this succulent usually become thin and leggy if left unpruned for a long time. This can have a devastating impact on the blooming cycle and the health of flowers.

Therefore, it is crucial to cut off some branches of the succulent regularly to encourage blooming.

Regular pruning also plays a critical role in restricting the plant’s overall height, which is crucial if you are growing it as a houseplant.

A desert rose flower stem.
Adenium caudex tends to grow tall even though its overall growth rate is a bit slow.

Even without the leggy branches, you should consider cutting your Adenium caudex occasionally to maintain its health.

Pruning helps you get rid of damaged leaves, pests, and mold. Cutting the infected parts prevents the damage from spreading further.

Overall, regular cutting of Adenium caudex maintains the plant’s clean and neat appearance. You don’t have to worry about an overgrown parts spreading to spaces where they are not wanted.

When Is the Best Time to Prune Adenium Caudex?

While it is important to prune your Adenium caudex regularly, it is important to do so at the right time.

You can prune the leaves and branches of your succulent lightly at any time of the year, especially if you notice infected, damaged, or dead leaves.

Ideally, you should perform light pruning of your Adenium caudex annually well in advance of the flowering season so that you don’t interfere with the health of the flowers. Aim to finish the light pruning by late winter or early spring.

However, you should avoid any form of trimming or pruning during late autumn because this may lead to new growth that may become over-sensitive to the effects of winter, such as cold temperatures and frost.

Desert rose in a pot.
Aim to finish the light pruning by late winter or early spring.

Hard pruning should be done every two years or so. The best time for hard pruning is during the active growth period, usually in spring or early summer.

This gives the plant ample time to recover and heal before entering a period of reduced growth in winter.

What Should I Do Before Cutting Adenium Caudex?

You need to do a few things before cutting your Adenium caudex. The first thing you need to do is cut the water intake a few days before cutting. Consider cutting water intake three or four days before pruning.

This will help your plant cope well after cutting since it is now weakened and cannot absorb too much water. Sticking to the usual watering schedule before and after cutting can lead to irreversible root rot.

It is also important to monitor the temperature while cutting your Adenium caudex. It should be warm enough for your plant to heal quickly after cutting because high temperatures stimulate growth and counteract shock on your plant.

How to Cut Adenium Caudex: Step-By-Step Guide

Now that you know the basics of cutting Adenium caudex, it’s time to dive deeper into the step-by-step guide. Follow these steps to prune your Desert Rose correctly:

Step 1: Gather Necessary Tools and Supplies

Gather the necessary tools and materials, such as sharp pruning shears, a clean cutting board, rooting hormone, and well-draining soil.

Having sharp and clean cutting tools is essential for making clean and precise cuts. Pruning shears or a sharp knife are suitable for cutting through the branches or stems of the succulent.

Cutting a crassula ovata.
Having sharp and clean cutting tools is essential for making clean and precise cuts.

Blunt tools can crush the plant tissue, leading to slower healing and an increased risk of infection.

If you plan to propagate the cuttings from your Adenium caudex, consider having a rooting hormone to increase the chances of successful rooting and new growth.

Rooting hormone contains growth-promoting substances that encourage root development. It is available in powder, gel, or liquid form.

While it is optional, using rooting hormone can speed up the process of establishing new plants from cuttings.

Step 2: Select the Right Caudex

Look for a caudex that is healthy, mature, and ready to be cut. Your first target should be leaves and branches infected with pests or diseases.

This is a very important step because you want to avoid spreading the damage from infected parts of the plant to uninfected ones. So, take your time to inspect the stem carefully before proceeding with the cutting process.

Once you have identified all infected, damaged, and dead leaves, get rid of them before you identify healthy parts of the plant that can be cut for propagation.

The sections you choose for propagation must be healthy and free of damage or infection.

Step 3: Prepare the Plant for Cutting

Before taking the plunge, it is important to prepare the plant by removing excess leaves and branches, ensuring a clean canvas for the cutting process. This will help you make precise cuts without damaging vital structures.

A young desert rose.
it is important to prepare the plant by removing excess leaves and branches.

Trimming off excessive foliage also reduces the chances of transplant shock and infection.

Step 4: Sterilize the Cutting Tools

Before you begin cutting, it’s crucial to sterilize your pruning shears or knife to minimize the risk of introducing pathogens or diseases to the plant.

You can do this by wiping the blades of your tools with rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. This step helps prevent the spread of potential infections to the plant and reduces the chances of causing harm during the pruning process.

Alternatively, dip the blades in boiling water for a few minutes. This will help kill germs or bacteria on the cutting tools.

Step 5: Make Clean Cuts

Now that you have identified the parts for cutting, gently place your pruning shears at a 45-degree angle to ensure a clean cut.

Don’t press too hard because it may damage the nodes or other vital structures in the stem.

If you plan to propagate the cuttings, make sure each cutting has at least two nodes to root successfully.

Step 6: Apply Rooting Hormone (Optional)

If you have chosen to use rooting hormone, dip your prepared cuttings in the hormone solution or powder and tap off any excess.

This encourages the development of healthy and strong roots in the new plants. Remember to wear gloves when handling the rooting hormone because direct contact with skin can be harmful.

Step 7: Planting Cuttings

Once you are done making all your cuts, it is time to plant them in well-draining soil. Ensure the stem is securely planted in the soil up to the first node.

Keep the cuttings in a warm and moist environment and water them lightly every few days. In a few weeks, your cuttings should root properly.

Once they have rooted, you can transfer them into bigger pots or containers with well-draining soil.

Step 8: Provide Proper Care

Place the potted cuttings in a bright, indirect light location.

Avoid exposing them to direct sunlight because it can stress the young plants. Keep the soil lightly moist because overwatering can lead to root rot.

If necessary, create a humid environment around the cuttings to prevent excessive moisture loss.

As the cuttings establish roots and show signs of new growth, gradually acclimate them to normal conditions.

Step 9: Monitor and Maintain

Keep an eye on the cuttings for signs of growth and root development.

Once the cuttings have rooted and established themselves, you can gradually transition them to more typical care routines for Adenium caudex plants.

Adesert rose seedlings outdoors.
Keep an eye on the cuttings for signs of growth and root development.

Remember that every plant is unique, and some variations in care may be required based on individual circumstances.

Patience and observation are key to successfully propagating and maintaining Adenium caudex plants.


Pruning Adenium caudex is an important part of keeping it healthy and beautiful.

With the right tools and knowledge, you can easily prune it for propagation or to simply maintain its overall appearance.

The key is to make your cuts cleanly and efficiently while leaving behind no stray wounds that could lead to infections or disease.

Last update on 2023-09-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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