Updated September, 2023.
With a swollen woody stem holding lush blossoms of vibrant pink, coral, and red hues, it’s easy to fall in love with the Adenium Obesum, or desert rose. If the Arabian Peninsula has also stolen your glance (like it has with ours), the Adenium Obesum is a must-have!
There is no denying that these indoor succulents are show stoppers when you compare them to other dramatic potted specimens. Whether you place them on your patio, in your den, or on your deck, the houseplants make an excellent warm-weather addition.
What makes this sun-loving plant even more interesting is the amount of care it takes for proper growth. The desert rose (Adenium Obesum) requires minimal care maintaining its trumpet-shaped, colorful flowers for long periods. As long as they’re kept at the right temperature, there’s no way you can go wrong growing these gorgeous succulents!
If this sounds convincing enough to bring this wonderful houseplant home, learning how to care for them is essential. Below are some tips for caring for your lovely desert rose.
What is Adenium Obesum Desert Rose Plant?
The desert rose plant comes in many varieties and grows throughout northeastern Africa and Arabian Peninsula. Like its home region’s cultural variety, the desert rose comes with many names, including the Impala Lily, Mock Azalea, Sabi Star, and Dwarf Bottle Tree.
Despite its name, the Adenium obesum isn’t a rose, nor is it a bonsai - it’s a deciduous plant. With five different varieties to grow, Adenium obesum has a massive gene pool with many variations and sub-species in the wild. According to scientists, these varieties may come from the plant’s environment.
Photo credit: Flickr.com
Adenium Obesum - the desert rose plant is an indoor succulent with a wide variety of 2 - 3 inch flowers. Easy-to-grow and an excellent choice for the intrepid gardener, this Arabian native is wonderful in warm climates or interior container gardens.
Although the desert rose plant is a carefree succulent, it won’t bloom unless you mimic its native region’s conditions. A desert rose blooms well in hot weather, it needs a break in the growing season. Thus, the desert rose has two different blooming periods. In early spring, the flowers bloom steadily when getting sufficient sunlight. The second phase begins in the early fall months when the temperature drops from 60 degrees Fahrenheit. It is at the time when you need to move the plant indoors for pruning.
As we said, the desert rose plant comes in five varieties, all of which are Arabian natives and grow into semi-arid climates. Despite its arid origin, the desert rose has an excellent adaptive quality to tropical settings. That means these desert dwellers can still grow steadily and beautifully if they receive an adequate amount of warmth and draining soil.
1. Soil Preference
The key to keeping your desert rose happy is to give it lots of drainage, using typical succulent potting soil with pumice or crushed granite provides plenty of space for water to drain. You can also put layers of gravel above and below the soil to prevent your succulent from rotting.
The key to keeping your desert rose happy is to give it lots of drainage with succulent potting soil.
In general, this potted specimen is a sun lover and blossoms in the prolific outdoors. It requires 70°F to 100° F to grow well, and like most succulents, cannot survive in cold temperatures. If you live somewhere that isn’t arid year-round, always move your desert rose inside when the climate changes.
There is no need to water your desert rose daily as it only needs it when the soil gets dry. That means you need to water the plant every two to three weeks, especially in winters. Moreover, make sure that the temperature where you keep succulents doesn’t drop below 60 degrees. This allows plants to bloom more vibrantly and healthily in springtime.
Adenium obesum plants require lots of nitrogen in their soil, so it’s best to apply a high-nitrogen fertilizer directly to the soil before each blooming period.
Photo credit: th.wikipedia.org
As mentioned earlier, the vibrant flowers are sun-lover and bloom beautifully in the bright sun. So, if you live in a place that has bright and sunny mornings and afternoons, Adenium Obseum is the perfect plant choice. However, keeping them in the shade can weaken their stems and make them leggy.
Desert rose plants do not need a lot of water to thrive in their growing environment. They will need water more during the summer and spring; and less in the winter, but keep hydrated enough to retain its leaves.
Potting and Repotting
When repotting your desert rose, always do so just before the growing season to ensure it has plenty of time to adjust to its new home. When choosing your pot, make sure that it is at least 10% larger than the previous pot or 10% larger than the size of the plant.
Check out our collection of beautiful pots with drainage holes for growing your succulents
Always repot your Desert Rose just before the growing season to ensure it has plenty of time to adjust to its new home.
You can propagate your Adenium Obesum with both the stem cuttings right at the start of the growing season. For the best results, you should take cuttings from plants that are well-established and at least 2 years old.
- Cut off a stem that is 6 to 8 inches long and make sure it has several leaves on it.
- Remove the leaves on the bottom portion of the cutting and dip it in the rooting hormone.
- Place the cutting in cactus potting soil mixed with sand. Use a pot having at least one drainage hole.
- Water it and place it in a sunny location indoors. Keep the soil moist and wait for roots to form. It may take up to 2 months for them to form.
- The plant will grow roots and new growth will appear. You can upsize the pot or plant it outside.
The desert rose is susceptible to common pests like mealybugs, spider mites, fungal gnats, and aphids like all succulents. Without proper drainage, the succulent is also vulnerable to root rot and decay. To ensure the best care for your desert rose, keep the soil well-drained and check for bugs on the underside of the leaves and flowers.
[FAQs]Frequently Asked Questions
1. How toxic is a Desert Rose? Is Desert Rose toxic to touch?
A: The desert rose is highly toxic to dogs, cats, horses, and humans, so it’s best kept away from pets and children. With enough toxins to kill an elephant, the ASPCA recommends keeping the plant away from all animals since its toxins can be ingested by licking the plant. If ingested, call 911 immediately.
2. Is Desert Rose a bonsai or a real rose?
A: Despite its name, the Adenium Obesum isn’t a rose, nor is it a bonsai. In fact, it’s a deciduous plant. With five different varieties to grow, Adenium Obesum has a massive gene pool with many variations and sub-species in the wild. According to scientists, these varieties may come from the plant’s environment.
In a nutshell, Adenium Obseum is not only a beautiful and colorful succulent but also a carefree plant. All it needs is the right temperature and little care to grow and bloom. Happy gardening!
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