Adenia glauca is native to Botswana and Northern Provinces where the plant grows in rocky soils or on the northern slopes.
Adenia glauca is a wonderful caudiciform, very sought after succulent belonging to the Passifloraceae botanical family. The plant is shrub-like with climbing habit and can reach up to 3 m in height and 1 m in diameter. The trunk is erect, woody, thick, branched from the base, large at the base and tapered at the apex and the bark is greyish-green. The caudex is woody, thick, fleshy melon-shape, dark green and can reach up to 15 cm in depth and 60 cm in diameter. The plants that form the caudex use their subterranean tuber to store water and cope with long periods of drought and the native populations suck water from its interior to survive in the desert. The leaves are large, deeply lobed, pale grey-green to glaucous green with a long petiole. Blooming occurs from the early spring to the early summer and the blossoms are borne along the vines. The cymose inflorescences is made of 1-5 creamy white flowers depending on whether they are male or female individuals. The plant is dioecious so male e female flowers are borne on different plants. The flowers are creamy white, star-shaped with yellow stamens.
The plant has a slow growth rate but it easy to cultivate. The plant needs a full light sun exposure but is recommended to avoid direct sun-light in the hottest periods. The minimum temperatures that the plant can withstand are 10°C, below this temperature it begins to suffer so it needs to be placed indoors in the coldest periods. The soil should be mixed with pumice, clay and loam to allow the drainage and prevent the root rot, the plant is prone to it indeed. This plant grows better in a rather acidic soil. Using a perforating pot, you can drain excess water. Watering can be done regularly in Spring and Summer: during the vegetative period you can water the plant (every 7 days), checking that the soil is completely dry before watering again; in winter you should stop the watering to allow the plant to enter dormancy. About fertilization, for this plant is sufficient to fertilize moderately during the growing season with the specific fertilizers for succulents and stop fertilizing during the winter. If the pot starts to be too small for the plant you can repot the plant in a pot 2 cm wider. Repotting should be done early in the growing season with fresh new potting soil. Be careful to red spiders and mealy bugs. If the caudex is covered the growth will be lush and fast, although if the caudex is exposed to sunlight the vegetation will reduce in size.
Propagation can be done by cutting or by seed. By cutting you can make the cut during the spring and then let the cutting dry; after a few days the cut surface will dry and a callus will form, then place the cutting in a mixture of sand, soil and pumice. To increase the success of propagation you can make two or more cuttings at the same time. For cuttings it is recommended temperatures around 20 °C. By seed it is very simple to propagate the plant, it is enough to sow the seed in a sandy loam soil and keep it with a high level of humidity and at temperature of 14 C°.
Peter Forsskål, who first cataloged this genus, called him Adenia taking up the “aden” term, the Arabic name for these plants. They were used in traditional African medicine.
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