Make sure you keep pruning knife or shears clean and disinfected with alcohol, bleach or flame.
When pruning several plants, wipe clean and disinfect tools before proceeding to next plant.
Start styling the plant when young by pruning the new shoots regularly to encourage multi-branching. More branches mean more flowers! Do this by either removing the smallest two leaves at the tip or cut an inch or more from the tip of the stem. To maintain its attractiveness, best to also prune off any small roots emerging from the caudex region but not those fine feeder roots below the caudex.
Many adeniums branch rather sparsely and, even when grown hard, can look leggy after time. Judicious pruning will result in better branching and a fuller-looking plant. Because the flowers are developed at the ends of the stems, a more fully-branched plant will also produce more flowers.
All adeniums have highly toxic sap. In Africa the sap has been used to make poison arrows for hunting game. Use care when handling and pruning plants. If you get sap on your skin, wash promptly. If you get sap in your eyes, which should never happen, go to the hospital immediately.
If pruning any relatively thick branches, spray the pruned spot with water to rinse off the sap and set the scar.
The main thing to remember about pruning roots is to let the roots ‘scar over’ for a couple of days before returning the plant to the soil. Otherwise, they could rot and spread to the rest of the plant.
Propagation by Seed
Because Adeniums are usually not self-fertile, hand pollination using male/female compatible plants is necessary to ensure the production of viable seed. They appear in the fruit of the Adenium, which is classified as a follicle, and looks like a long bean pod. When your seed pod is fully ripe on the plant, it will split open revealing seeds with beautiful "wings" or pappus, so that seeds will quickly blow away
Germination rates are high with fresh, viable seed, as long as it is planted promptly. Simply remove the pappus, dust the seeds in fungicide, and sow in a sterile, sandy, free-draining soil mix. Germination occurs within a week at high temperatures, and after a month seedlings should have at least 6 true leaves and be ready for transplanting. Seed grown plants will often flower the same year, and should be watered as needed and given regular applications of fertilizer.
Seed-grown plants will easily develop the characteristic fat swollen trunks that cutting-grown plants rarely will achieve.
Desert Rose plants from seed develop vastly the best character with no two plants alike in shape.
Propagation by Cuttings
Adenium cuttings can be rooted to get hybrids that are true to their name. Cut them about five inches from the top of the limb, dip in a fungicide/rooting hormone, and place in a 75/25 mix of Perlite and damp Peat Moss. Rooting can be speeded up with misting and bottom heat. Inspect cuttings for new leaves and discard any that exhibit signs of wilting. It is unlikely that Adeniums propagated by cutting will develop a nice Caudex.
Propagation by Grafting
Numerous hybrids are propagated by grafting onto seedling rootstock.
Cleft grafting requires somewhat more skill, but is preferable for valuable hybrid varieties. Rootstock and scion should be matched for size, with the rootstock being pruned about 3 inches above the caudex. Cut an inch from either side of the severed end of the scion to form a wedge, the cut a vertical incision across the cut surface of the rootstock. Insert the trimmed scion so that the cambial layers of cutting and rootstock are in contact. Use grafting tape to wrap the joint.
Propagation by Air Layering
Air layering has been used to propagate desert rose to a limited extent, and if successful, roots will form in 6-8 weeks. Success is more likely during hot, humid weather.