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Learn from a master gardener to create amazing multi-colored desert roses

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.

Known locally as rosa del desierto, or desert rose, adeniums are one of Yucatán’s most popular decorative flowering plants. 

Because of the relatively little care they require, adeniums are used as decorative plants even in heavily transited public spaces. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

This popularity stems at least in part due to the fact that the Peninsula’s hot and humid weather makes them easier to grow than in other regions. 

The morphology of the adenium is quite unique given its particularly long stem. Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

Because adeniums have evolved to require very little water and are extremely resilient to large amounts of heat and sunlight, it’s more common for things to go wrong from over-watering rather than the opposite. 

Adeniums’ resistance to the heat and need for little water makes sense considering they are endemic to Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Photo: Courtesy Vivero Colli

Another attractive feature of the adenium is the fact that different plants can be grafted together to create some truly amazing multi-colored combinations. 

The tools needed to graft adeniums are fairly simple and include garden pliers, a box cutter, string, and electrical tape. Photo: Vivero Colli

Grafting is a horticultural technique used to join parts from two or more plants so that they grow as a single plant, mixing characteristics such as color. 

A hybrid multi-color adenium results from the grafting of three separate plants. Photo: Courtesy Vivero Colli

One of Yucatán’s best-known experts when it comes to adeniums is Guadalupe Colli, of the greenhouse Vivero Colli, on the highway connecting Valladolid with Chichén Itzá. 

At Guadalupe Colli’s greenhouse one can a mind-boggling variety of plants for sale, as well as many an animal friend. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

“The process of grafting separate adenium plans to create new colors is not exactly difficult, but rather tricky if you don’t know exactly what you are doing,” says Guadalupe Colli. 

A few years ago Vivero Colli launched its YouTube channel and made Guadalupe Colli a local celebrity, with his tutorial video on how to graft adeniums quickly surpassing over one million views. 

Guadalupe Colli’s video tutorial on grafting adeniums (in Spanish, auto-translated English captions available)

Because not everyone has a thumb quite as green as Guadalupe Colli, the process outlined in the video may not sound quite as simple to some of us. 

For that reason, Vivero Colli has decided to offer an “adenium grafting master class,” featuring Guadalupe Colli this coming Saturday, May 7 at 10 a.m. The cost of the class is 350 pesos per participant. 

Like a proud father, Guadalupe Colli inspects the progress of his plants. Photo: Vivero Colli

The masterclass will be offered at Vivero Colli will be offered in Spanish, but interpreters will be on hand to assist English speakers. 

Sometimes, instead of producing several different colored flowers on a single plant, grafting results in stunning multicolored flowers. Photo: Vivero Colli

For more information, message Vivero Colli on Facebook or call 985-129-8456.

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