In the garden: Impala lily (Adenium Multiflorum)

Moderator: lion queen

User avatar
Guinea Pig
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Posts: 1847
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2005 12:52 pm
Location: Parys (Free State)

Impala Lily (Adenium multiflorum)

Unread post by Guinea Pig »

Last edited by Elsa on Tue Sep 08, 2015 4:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Posts: 2163
Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2005 5:57 pm

Unread post by gwendolen »

Hi snoobab,

I googled this info: Adenium multiflorum
User avatar
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Posts: 492
Joined: Thu May 26, 2005 12:00 pm
Location: At work longing for the outdoors!

Re: Impala Lily

Unread post by Jakkalsbessie »

Snoobab wrote:Can anyone help with this plant. I have heard it is poisonous and that you should not grow it in you garden. No one can tell me what is poisonous about it, e.g. will it kill plants planted near it?, will it make you sick if you eat it? etc.
I think it is a really stunning looking plant and would love to add it to my succulant garden bed but I can't find them anywhere as people say they are poisonous.
Where can I buy some and what is poisonous about it??

PS Those of you who don't know what the plant looks like, it almost looks like a tiny Baobab with pink flowers. If you are in Shingwedzi camp have a look out for it they are everywhere.


The poison is from watery latex in the bark and fleshy parts of the trunk. Leaves and flowers are poisonous to goats and cattle, but the plants are sometimes heavily browsed (baboons etc like the roots) cand are not considered to be of much toxicological significance. Despite the toxicity, it is used in medicinal applications.

We had one in our garden in Pta 1 stage (bought it at nursery in Skukuza, but think other nurseries would maybe also have some), and none of the other plants around it died.
Ours however did not like the climate (maybe too cold :? and never flowered :cry: died some years later (think from frost).
Be more concerned with your character than your reputation. Your character is what you really are while your reputation is merely what others think you are.
Please help save Mapungubwe NP - Facebook page
User avatar
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
Posts: 368
Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2005 2:28 pm
Location: JHB

Unread post by Snoobab »

The one article I read says that they grow quite easily from seeds but it can take up to 5 yrs before they flower and that the first 5 yrs are the years it needs the most protection. Once established they are quite resiliant. We can only see.
User avatar
Honorary Virtual Ranger
Honorary Virtual Ranger
Posts: 14519
Joined: Fri Jan 14, 2005 5:42 pm
Location: Red sand, why do I keep thinking of red sand?

Unread post by DuQues »

Did a bit of a Google, and here's what I found:

Adenium obesum
Family: Apocynaceae
Desert Rose, Impala Lily

Adenium is not generally grown in moist tropical gardens but is often seen as a decorative pot plant; it may also be used in rock gardens. It needs full sun and a well-drained potting mixture.

Good drainage is essential, as are two to three hours of direct morning sun. The plant should be drenched with water and fed a diluted 20-20-20 fertilizer, but only infrequently. Neglect is preferred. Many caudiciforms with unusual forms are good candidates for bonsai.

Challenges: Few -- but if bugs appear, a pyrethrum-based insecticide is recommended.

This species thrives in full, all-day sun but will tolerate lower light conditions; it can be grown as an indoor bonsai if excellent indoor light is provided.

Adeniums need bright light if they are to flower. Most hybrids and species start blooming in the spring when the conditions are warm and days start to increase its length. Many continue blooming through the fall and winter (in warmer climate zones). Light quality is very important. Bright filtered light is best. In areas of too high light intensities, more shade may be necessary, but in areas where light is not as burning, plants may be kept outdoors unprotected. Please note that the caudex (the swollen base trunk) is very susceptable to sun scalding. Protection by a smaller shrubby succulent growing at the base of the pots will help shade the trunk.

Water moderately from spring to autumn. Compost must dry out before watering. Water sparingly in winter. Misting is necessary. In winter it should not be exposed to temperatures beneath 15 °C.
User avatar
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 1227
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 11:41 pm
Location: Gauties .

Unread post by bucky »

I have about 5 of them , 2 planted close to a north facing wall in a well drained rockery , with my succulents .
The biggest problem is that we get to much rain in gauteng , and they rot , so I barely water this bed .

The best is to plant them in containers , with a mix of coarse sand compost and soil .
Water sparingly , to little is better than to much .
No water during winter , and keep them on a north facing patio .

They grow VERY slowly , so buy the biggest 1 you can find , the base must be nice and thick .
If you look in my report in this forum section under "indiginous plants in the highveld" for some names of nurserys that stock these .

Mine do flower here :D

They are winter flowering , as with most succulents .

Some pics , taken in Shingwedzi - June .


User avatar
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 2222
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2005 9:33 pm
Location: South Africa

Unread post by Muhammad »

@ Olifants Camp 2006

User avatar
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 1227
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 11:41 pm
Location: Gauties .

In the garden: Impala lily (Adenium Multiflorum)

Unread post by bucky »

Impala lily - Adenium Multiflorum .

Description -
Small to medium sized succulent shrub , up to 3x3 m in ideal conditions , but around 50cm to 1m elsewhere .
Deciduous during winter , when it flowers .
Hardy to drought and heat , but not a high moisture content in the soil or cold .
Extremely slow growing , around 10-20cm per year .

Choosing a specimen -
These plants grow very very slowly , sometimes looking as if there is no growth for the first 2 years etc , so try buy the biggest you can transport , and the pocket can handle .
A single stemmed lily of about 30-40 cm high will not grow upwards initially , but will sprout numerous small stems at the base and grow in this manner .
If you can get a slightly bigger plant with many stems , then even better .

Use in the garden -
Pot plant with stunning flowers in winter , and the occasional surprise flowering in summer .

Natural habitat -
Lowveld and Nothern Kwazulu .

Planting in the garden , in areas other than there Natural distribution -
Plant along a north or west facing wall in a succulents rockery that gets afternoon sun in winter .
Build a drainage system into the rockery by creating a hole/pot above ground level formed by rocks .
Fill the base of this with coarse river sand to create a drainage medium .
Plant the impala lily above this , using a combination of compost , soil and river sand .
Plant at the same level as it was in the bag , or if you are not sure make sure the thickest part of the bulge is level with the ground .
Make sure that the rocks are still higher than the base of the plant , all around it ,to give it warmth and protection during winter .
I have planted 3 Impala lillys this way , and they have survived 2 winters , I do not water this during winter , and will water once a week if there is no rainfall during the hotter months .

Planting in a pot -
This is the most successful method to keep impala lillys , as you can move the plant into suitable areas as the seasons change .
Find a suitable size container , that is possibly twice the size of the bag the plant comes in , remember that the root system has a thick bulb like shape to store water that is the widest part of the plant , so a pot that bulges at the center is ideal .
The pot must have drainage holes at the bottom , this is essential .
Plant using a mixture of 1/3 coarse river sand , 1/3 compost , and 1/3 garden soil .
Do not use fertilizers in the planting mix , even organics . remember that this plant thrives in poor soils , so fertilizing at this stage will burn the roots .
After planting , the leaves often fall from the plant so don't panic , as you will soon see new buds (In summer).

Summer care -
The most important rule is not to over water this plant as to much water will kill it quicker than anything else .
Leave the plant in a position to get sun for about half the day at first , and also where it can receive natural rainfall as they prefer rain water over tap water .
After it has grown a new set of leaves , you can add a little water based fertilizer every few months , but not when the leaves are starting to fall in late summer .
Never dig about in the pot , or add granular fertiliser , just leave the soil as is .
During periods where there is a lot of rain , you need to keep an eye that the plant is not starting to rot , and if possible move it into a rain free area , next to the house under the eaves for instance .
You will see this if it looks/feels as if any part of the stems have gone soft , or if it looks as if the inner part of the stem has dissapeared , often at the thinner stems first .
At the first sign of this , move the plant into a position where it can get sunlight , and NO rain or water , leave the plant here until the thick part of the stem starts to shrink , when you can allow it to have water again .
The part that has gone soft will often shrivel up , and you will loose that stem .
The biggest hassle with the plant rotting , is that it starts at the inside , so you only see you have a problem once the rot shows on the outer stem , and by then there is nothing you can do to save the stem , and in some cases the whole plant .
Do not prune the plant , leave it to grow as it wishes .

Winter care -
The most important thing is to keep the plant protected from frost or cold winds , I will bring mine indoors overnight if there is severe frost or freezing night temps expected in mid winter .
Do not water when the plant is leafless , unless the base becomes very thin , you will see this as gaps start to appear between the base of the plant and the soil .
You should water it again once spring is in full swing and night temperatures are nowhere near freezing , but only sparingly until it comes into leaf .
Leave the plant in a sunny position under a veranda ,but do not bring it indoors as it will not flower in the shade .
The plant can flower any time from Late summer to spring , with a peak in late winter .

Transporting -
The best is to transport it in its bag , and transplanted into the pot without disturbing this soil .
The plant can also be transported with bare roots , the main thing is to prevent any root damage by placing it in a suitable cardboard box .
To remove it from a planted bag , run water into the soil , and tear away the sides allowing the soil to wash out from the roots .
Do not dig the soil away , as the roots are thick and succulent , so take a long time to regrow if they are broken .

The above methods , especially those in the pots should work for most areas if you feel you can meet the criteria .
The same methods as above can be applied to kudu lilies also .

It would be great if people who have experience growing these (Especially in other areas) can add there thoughts
Last edited by bucky on Wed Apr 18, 2007 8:34 am, edited 4 times in total.
User avatar
Posts: 298
Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2005 9:21 pm
Location: Port Elizabeth

Implala Lily in garden

Unread post by carolynn »

I have tried, unsuccessfully, to reproduce a bit of the Kruger via this beautiful plant in my garden in PE. No luck, but have had slightly better luck with the Kudu Lily - at least it has survived, but not grown much and never flowered! Thanks so much for this info regarding the the Impala Lily - I shall certainly try and get a plant from one of the surrounding nurseries when we go up later this year - booked for July- and then follow your instructions to the letter. Hopefully with better results!
User avatar
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 1227
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 11:41 pm
Location: Gauties .

Unread post by bucky »

Carolyn , it sounds as if your plants roots where damaged , or else it was trying to recover from a case of rot inside the stem , so you where doomed from the start .

Freda , I killed my first 2 in the same way , these plants hate water :lol: , luckily I have 4 healthy plants that I have had for a few years , and all are :thumbs_up:
The kudu lily's are far more tolerant .

Arks , hopefully this can at least steer a few people to plant more indigenous or even endemic plants in there garden after buying these plants at Skukuza nursery .
I hope the mods can give it a nod , considering it is perhaps not truly parks related , although is worthwhile in the greater conservation sense .
I feel very passionate about indigenous gardening , as it is a very proactive way of "grass roots" conservation .
Hopefully I can share some of the knowledge I have gained through trial and error , and also loads of reading up on suitable garden plants with the other forumites.
Its a real thrill when you plant something that is supposed to attract cuckoos or sunbirds to the garden for example , and you walk out one day and you see this happening , knowing that you are providing it with its natural and preferred food source .
That is not to mention the saving to ground water and so on due to suitable water wise plants , plus numerous other ecological benefits .
User avatar
Meandering Mouse
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Posts: 32860
Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2005 8:47 pm
Location: meandering between senility and menopause

Unread post by Meandering Mouse »

Bucky, I have a small atrium where I am considering placing an Impala Lily.
I have a few suculents there at the moment and they have thrived on a bit of benevolent neglect.
It is protected from the cold in winter and completely wind free.
I summer the area can get hellishly hot, which is why I have, until now, only considered suculents.
What concerns me a bit is the winter sun. It is limited to a few hours a day. I think its only from 10 to 2.

Do you think an Impala and Kudu Lily would survive with this limited sun?
The bird doesn't sing because it has answers, it sings because it has a song.
User avatar
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 1227
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 11:41 pm
Location: Gauties .

Unread post by bucky »

I am sure it would , its actually better not to get full sun on a frost sensitive plant first thing in the morning .

4 Hours sun in mid day should allow the plants to flower , the biggest thing is not so much that they wont survive on limited sun , as that they wont flower which makes it pointless to keep impala lillys .
User avatar
Johan van Rensburg
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Posts: 3031
Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2006 3:33 pm
Location: Jam Street

Unread post by Johan van Rensburg »

I bought four young plants at Skukuza nursary and I am nursing them through the next three weeks until I can get an opportunity to take them to our holiday home in St Lucia. I intend planting them into the garden - not potting them. The soils here drain extremely well. But on the other hand the rainfall is also much greater than advocated to be the optimum. Do you think that balance would see them survive, bucky?

As a matter of intrest - I read somewhere that some people repot their plants every now-and-then so that the bulbous root system sits on top of the soil... this treatment causes the plant to extend its root system and the result is quite an interesting looking lower trunk!

I posted more info on the Impala lily here
759 2022 lifers: Senegal Coucal, Wood Warbler and Madagascar Cuckoo.
User avatar
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 1227
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 11:41 pm
Location: Gauties .

Unread post by bucky »

The natural home range of Impala lillys is the lowveld and Zululand , so I am sure it will grow ok there .

Try plant them in a north or west facing position .

You can dig a large hole , and then fill it with the same mix I spec'd for pot plants , and plant it in there to be on the safe side and prevent root rot .
User avatar
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Aug 29, 2007 11:56 pm

Unread post by Marloti »

Impala lilies must be the most popular plant sold at Skukuza Nursery!

I must just ad a short warning: They do not like wet feet! Ensure that they are well drained, and not watered too often. They do tend to rot when wet for too long. :wink:
If not, why not?