Adenium is an attractive ornamental succulent. Popularly grown in Taiwan, rare cultivars can cost as much as $1,000 and are often given as wedding gifts or as good luck charms. In the United States, these unique plants are often raised as attractive houseplants. Enthusiasts enjoy crossing compatible species to create more colorful and showier blooms. But to pollinate adenium, you need to know a little bit about flower parts. If you don’t remember much from your middle school natural science course, check out the Resources section for a refresher on the location of adenium flower parts.
Pick a flower that has been open for three to four days. Then use a knife to cut it in half vertically.
Collect the pollen. First, locate the chamber that holds the pollen (yellow grains). It is inside the cone, just below the hairy filaments. Then wet the tip of a toothpick and collect pollen grains. You may need to look through your magnifying glass to make sure you've been successful.
Cut open (do not remove) the receiving flower on the second plant. Make a 3/4-inch vertical slit in the petal of the adenium from the rim of the petal downward. Then carefully fold the petal down over on itself to expose the flower's reproductive structure.
Slice off the anther to expose the interior of the cone.
Pollinate the flower. First, locate the gel cap. It is rounded, shiny and silvery and located just below the pollen chamber. On the underside of the gel cap is the "receptive surface," which receives the pollen. Place your toothpick near the receptive surface and tap it to drop pollen directly onto it.
Unfold the flower petal and join the cut sides with a small piece of tape. If your hand pollination was successful, you will see seedpods growing out of the base in as little as two weeks or as long as a few months.