Prepare the right soil for adeniums

My adeniums came from the nursery potted in black soil. I wasn’t too happy with the plants after a period of time. The nurseries would pot the plant in potting mix so the plants sustain a few weeks without care. But that is not the best soil for these plants. So what is the right soil for my adeniums?

From what I read on the web, adeniums need fast draining soil. So I decided to look around for the proper potting medium. I realized that there were a lot of building construction going on in the neighborhood. The builders get a lot of sand for construction and they sieve the sand and keep only the fine sand for construction work and reject the thick coarse grained sand. They made mounds of coarse grained sand and I thought that it would be the right medium to pot the adeniums. I walked down and filled in 2 shopping bags full of that sand. I also bought some potting mix containing coco peat, perlite, manure.

Mix I

I made my own adenium soil of 50% sand and 50% potting mix to pot the adeniums. I prepared 2 large pots, 13” wide, 7” tall and bowl shaped, with my adenium soil mix and potted both adeniums.

Sandy soil mix - small .jpg

Sandy soil mix

Adenium sandy soil mix
Coarse sand 50%
Potting mix/soil/compost

  • Coco peat
  • Perlite
  • Manure

The 2nd adenium shed all its leaves after repotting and started growing new leaves wheras the tall adenium kept on growing.

After some days I realized that the adenium soil mix I had prepared using 50% coarse sand and 50% potting mix had some inherent problems.

1. The sand/soil line kept shifting every time I watered the plants. This caused the caudex to be more exposed and I had reset the soil line by hand.

2. The sandy soil’s moisture retaining ability is low. This soil dries up very fast

3. I was worried that the adenium root grip will not be strong enough and plant growth could be affected.

I decided to try out a new soil mix.


Mix II

100% potting mix did not help because the potting mix was could not keep the plant in place as it was very soft. I had to look for a better medium to mix the potting soil. After some time I realized that the basic soil composition of Hyderabad is red and very coarse and I could see that the local flora suffer because of this composition as this soil is unable to hold water.

Eureka! This was the answer. I went down to the field next to our building and filled 2 bags of the local red soil to make my own adenium soil mix. I prepared a new mix. 40% red soil + 10% coarse sand + 50% potting mix.

Gravel soil mix - small.jpg

Gravel soil mix

Adenium gravel soil mix
Gravel soil 40%
Sand 10%
Potting mix/soil/compost

  • Coco peat
  • Perlite
  • Manure

I repotted the slanted adenium with this new mix and saw that the soil was hard and water was flowing through it smoothly and the plants were also looking strong.

Yay! Chalk one more for me. I’ll be using this mix for all the desert roses I get, but I will keep one adenium in Mix 1 for further experimentation.

Check out my video on YouTube. It shows the entire mixing process.

I hope you now have a good idea what soil you want to prepare for your adeniums. Good luck.

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