Desert Rose Lateral Root Training December 2019
Lateral Root Training Update
I purchased this desert rose from the local Home Depot about six months ago. At first, I planned just to expose the caudex as I normally do with most of my adeniums; however, this one happened to look like a large potato. I'll leave it up to to figure out which one I'm talking about in the picture below. Not surprising for a desert rose from a big box supplier as the large growers are not able to curate the caudexes at mass scale.
I decided to give lateral root training a shot. I had seen so many pictures and videos online of the folks over in Thailand creating absolutely beautiful specimens. From what I can tell, most of them start off looking quite similar, and with the proper training, grow into intricate geometric roots.
I made a hard prune through the center of the caudex. Then carved a beveled edge as the surface for the new roots to grow. I coated the edge with rooting hormone and dusted the bottom with cinnamon, and hung it to dry for a few days in the garage. The trunk shriveled up a bit and felt soft when I when to pot it.
I used a rectangular bonsai pot, which in hindsight was probably not the best idea. In the future, I will definitely be using a round pot to allow for even growth space around the caudex. I placed the plant on top of a circular plastic cutout to help prevent roots from growing on the bottom and then positioned it in the pot. I chose tropical bonsai soil consisting largely of lava rock as the soil media for the experiment. My thought was that the rocky coarse soil would force the plant to grow thicker roots. And yeah...I tied it down with speaker wire.
Here is the plant at the start of the unpotting. I had no idea what to expect, and was very surprised at how firmly the planted had rooted itself in the rectangular bonsai pot.