Adeniums are a tough lot!

I was leaving for a 2 week vacation to go home to Kolkata. The big problem I had in my mind was, “What would I do with my plants?”. If the plants were not watered for 2 weeks then those would surely wither away. I would come back home from vacation to see dying plants in my balcony. That would not be a pretty sight and all my effort over the last 5-6 months would have gone down the drain.

Now I live in an apartment complex in Hyderabad and my neighbor was also going on holiday. That meant I could not leave my plants with my neighbor. As it is the middle of May the temperatures were always above 40℃ and the humidity was in the range of 30-35%. It was so dry that it took washed clothes just over an hour to get bone dry. To add to it, the sunlight was so harsh that even birds could be seen flying only post dawn and pre dusk.

Oleon suggested that I leave my plants with the gardener of the complex so that he keeps watering while we are gone. I was a little skeptical because I didn’t trust that guy with my plants. I have seen how he looks after the plants in the community garden and with my limited knowledge I was pretty sure that his lackadaisical attitude would not help.

I knew that Adeniums were semi desert plants and could live in drought conditions. So I thought this might be the best time to test this idea. So I thought of keeping my Adeniums on my balcony and the others with gardener for watering.

Pre vacation plan

I left the following with the gardener,

  1. Rosy periwinkle (Nayantara in Bengali)
  2. Areca palm
  3. Cabbage head

These I kept on my balcony

  1. Adenium
  2. Kalanchoe
  3. Donkey’s tail
  4. Aralia white

The Aralia white was anyways withering, for reasons unknown to me. I have been caring for this plant for some time now but it just keeps losing leaves and drying up. I will have to get a new one and try more carefully next time. The other plants were very healthy when I left those.

Before leaving on my vacation I only moved the Adeniums to a more shaded part of the balcony so that they don’t get scorched by the sun. This is how I arranged them before I left.

Plants kept on the balcony before vacation

Plants kept on the balcony before vacation

After vacation

After 2 weeks I came back from my vacation and I ran straight to the balcony right after opening the apartment door. I was praying to myself (Please don’t die, please don’t die, please don’t die…..). I opened the balcony door and here is what I found.

Plants kept on the balcony after vacation

Plants kept on the balcony after vacation

Lo and behold! The Adeniums were thriving! Impossible! I told myself, “2 weeks without water! This is not real! The plants do not have even the slightest sign of stress on their bodies!”

Watch the video on YouTube

To add to it, the hybrid that I had planted a few weeks ago was blooming. When I left I saw a couple leaves coming out and now it has about 5-6 large leaves. Here is a picture of the plant

Effect on the hybrid adenium after vacation

Effect on the hybrid adenium after vacation

The only effect of not getting water for 2 weeks was that the caudex of the plants had grown a little thin.

Highlighted cavity in soil

Highlighted cavity in soil

As you can see in the picture above the cavity in the soil shows how much the caudex has thinned during my vacation. This is because Adeniums being desert plants, store water in their caudex, similar to Cacti. When these plants did not get water from the environment, they used up their own reserve.

My experiment was successful. These plants are truly hardy and tough. I will get more of these and will let you know as I keep learning more about these beautiful things.

Effect on other plants

Oh, I did not forget the other plants I left in my apartment. The Kalanchoe and the donkey’s tail managed to survive but not as well as the adeniums. The Aralia withered and is dying. I would say that succulents passed this test.

Unfortunately, the gardener had done a lot of damage to the other plants (as I suspected). He is not getting this responsibility from the next time.

Epilogue:

After a week of daily watering the caudex of the plant thickened to its usual diameter. Here is a photo

After watering the adenium

After watering the adenium

I am impressed with this plant!

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