How to Hand Pollinate Adenium

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Things You'll Need

  • Toothpick

  • Scissors

  • Adhesive tape

  • Magnifying lens

Adenium obesum is a flower of vibrant color from Arabia and Africa. The plant presents as both shrubs and trees. Cross-pollination of Adeniums is a common practice, since the flower has such showy colors that are a joy to mix through hybridization. Horticulturalists use multiple methods to cross-pollinate Adeniums. It's best to start off with a simple approach if you are a beginner.


Step 1

Cut open a flower that you want to pollinate from.

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Step 2

Locate the pollen in the tiny chamber immediately below the hairy filaments at the top of the central flower structure.

Step 3

Wet the tip of a toothpick with water and scoop off some pollen. You may need a magnifying glass to verify that you actually got some onto your toothpick.


Step 4

Cut the corolla of the receiving flower vertically from the circular edge at the top downward about three-quarters of an inch.

Step 5

Fold the corolla back and over on itself to expose the inner structure of the flower.


Step 6

Locate the "gel cap," which is a silvery pearl-like bead right under the pollen chamber.

Step 7

Tap the toothpick to knock pollen onto the surface just under the gel cap. This is called the "receptive surface" because it receives the pollen.


Step 8

Fold up the corolla again, join the severed sides where you cut it, and tape it shut with adhesive tape to reduce its trauma. In a week or two, you'll see seedpods growing in pairs out from the base of the flower like little horns.


According to Lap Huynh at, experts believe that you need two Adeniums to produce seedpods. So even if you aren’t interested in cross-pollinating, but just pollinating, this technique may be necessary without the help of pollinating insects.