Adenia ovata: Grow and Care

Adenia ovata is a suberect perennial plant, which grows from a rounded stem (caudex). 

The basal stem (caudex) grows up to 8 cm in diameter and 5 cm (sometimes 10 cm) high. 

This stem is used to store water for later use in times of drought.

The stems are annual or moderately perennial, about 1 to 3 cm long. 

The leaves are flattened and oval green. 

The petiole is 1 to 4 mm long, and the blade is 7 to 14 cm long and 5 to 12 cm wide. 

The stipules are 2 to 4 mm long.

The Adenia ovata has 1 to 10 flowers per inflorescence. These flowers can be both male, hermaphroditic and female.

The flowers are cream or pale yellow.

The peduncle (flower stalk) can be up to 4 mm long. But in hermaphroditic and female flowers, the pedicels are 2 to 5 mm long.

Hermaphroditic flowers are about 18-22 long and 4-7mm (sometimes 8mm) wide.

While the petals are between 7 to 9 mm long and 1 to 1.5 mm wide.

The female flowers measure between 17 to 19 in length and 4 to 6 mm in width. The petals are 5 to 6 mm long and 1–1.5 mm wide.

The shoots of male plants can reach up to 10 mm long.

The fruits of Adenia ovata are smooth, leathery, egg-shaped, and 15 to 25 mm long, and 10 mm wide.

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Adenia ovata Care

Follow these steps, and you won’t have any issue with the care of your succulent plant.

Substratum

A very porous substrate is needed; you can add a universal substrate: pumice, vulcanite, and perlite to improve drainage.

If you don’t want to get too complicated with the substrate, you can buy a substrate for cacti and succulents, as they do very well.

Temperature

These plants appreciate warm, sunny climates. 

They tolerate high temperatures quite well. 

The ideal temperature for this plant is approximately 70ºF (21ºC).

If you have your plant in a pot, it is best that you keep your Adenia ovata inside your home during the autumn and winter months, all with the purpose of protecting it from extreme cold.

If the temperature where you live is not lower than 60ºF (15ºC), you can have it outside, while if the temperature is below 44ºF (6ºC), it is best to have it inside.

Illumination

Adenia ovata can grow quite well in full sun or partial shade. 

Something curious about this plant is that the caudex likes to be in the shade, while the leaves like to be in the sun.

One recommendation is to protect your plant during the sunniest summer hours to prevent the leaves from burning.

Watering

This plant should be watered with some regularity in summer, while in winter, it is best to keep the soil dry as much as possible to prevent the plant from rotting easily.

 Also, this beautiful plant does not like to be watered a lot when it has no leaves.

Fertilization

You can fertilize your plant during the active growing season, that is, during spring and summer.

You only have to apply a specific fertilizer for cacti and succulents once every 2 to 3 weeks.

During the fall and winter, suspend fertilization; at this time, the plant does not need to be fertilized.

What you can do is add some fungicide during the winter (it can even be homemade) to prevent the appearance of fungi.

Pests or diseases

The main problem with adenia is root rot when overwatered.

During spring and summer, keep taking care of your plant to prevent it from getting sick from some very common pests at this time of year.

Pruning

You don’t have to prune Adenia ovata as regularly. 

You just have to remove those leaves that are already wilted, to give the plant a more beautiful appearance and maintain its health.

Toxicity

This plant’s sap is poisonous, so you should handle the plant with caution, especially when pruning or transplanting your Adenia ovata. 

You should also be careful with thorns, as they can be dangerous.

Transplant

If you have your plant in a pot, it is best to transplant it every two or three years. 

If you notice that the roots are coming out of the drainage hole, it is time to transplant.

Make sure that the new pot has a drainage hole; you can also take the opportunity to add some slow-release fertilizer to strengthen your plant.

Propagation

The best way to propagate your Adenia ovata is through seeds, since propagation by cuttings is possible, but usually, the plant does not produce a caudex.

If you want the plant to produce seeds, the best way to propagate them is from cuttings since they bloom more freely. 

But if you want the plant as decoration, it is best to grow them from seeds, since they develop a caudex.