How to Prune Adenium Obesum Caudex

Updated February 21, 2017

The Adenium obesum caudex plant, which is more commonly referred to as the desert rose, is a succulent that consists mostly of water. The plant has a distinctive treelike form, with leaves only at the end of each branch. In the spring, medium-size pink flowers form along side the leaves. Pruning the Adenium obesum caudex is similar to pruning other plants, but caution must be used because the sap is poisonous.

Put on disposable gloves before beginning to prune the Adenium obesum caudex.

Examine the branches and look for any that are thin and longer than the others. Prune these as close to the main vertical boot as possible to encourage new, healthy limb development.

Feel each of the remaining branches with your fingers to ensure they are rigid and do not bend. Prune any soft or flexible stems near the trunk using the hand pruners. Soft stems are indicative of disease.

Cut the tips off of remaining limbs to prune the Adenium obesum caudex into the desired shape. Trace the tips back to the location where you want blooms to appear and cut the stems off with the hand pruners using a straight cut. New blooms will always appear just below the cuts.

Remove your gloves and place them in the trash. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water and then dry them on a towel.


The Adenium obesum caudex will exude a lot of sap from each of the cut areas. This is no cause for concern. The sap will naturally stop flowing within one to two days. You should prune the Adenium obesum caudex only every two years.


Because the Adenium obesum caudex is poisonous, it must be kept away from children and pets.

Things You'll Need

  • Disposable gloves
  • Hand pruners
  • Soap
  • Water
  • Towel
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About the Author

Kimberly Johnson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in various online publications including eHow, Suite101 and Examiner. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and began writing professionally in 2001.