Adenium obese, often known as the Desert rose plant, grows slowly, barely gaining 12 inches a year. Due to its substantial succulent trunk, thin, fragile leaves, and rich, deep pink trumpet-shaped flowers, desert rose is frequently employed as a bonsai plant. It is indigenous to Madagascar, the Middle East, and Africa. The only Adenium that has undergone considerable hybridization to produce various bloom hues is the desert rose shrub. Depending on where you live How to care for desert rose can be grown indoors or outdoors. It is a common ornamental outdoor plant in many tropical and warm areas (USDA zones 11 and 12), and it is grown indoors in cooler climates. It grows best in the spring and will perish if exposed to frost or extremely cold weather.

Desert Rose Care:

A Franciscan desert rose is easy to care for, although it does require some skill. It necessitates careful water management and lots of sunlight, just like other succulent plants. In many places of the United States (except from USDA zones 11 and 12), the plant is grown indoors because it too prefers consistently warm temperatures. Usually blooming in the summer, the plant bursts into blossom with vivid pink, rose, or red flowers and brilliant green leaves. It loses its flowers and leaves when it goes into dormancy for the winter.

i. Light:

The full sun environment is ideal for the desert rose. Select a location in your house where the plant will have access to plenty of light throughout the day, such as a bright windowsill with a southern exposure or a sunroom. The optimum location to plant the desert rose, if you live in a region where it can be grown successfully outdoors, is in a space that is not shadowed by taller plants but has some protection from high- midday sun, which can scorch the plant’s leaves.

ii. Soil:

The desert rose plant is used to naturally dry, desert-like environments, including well-draining sandy or gravelly cactus soil, as suggested by its name. The pH of the soil should be between neutral and acidic, ideally at around 6.0.

iii. Water:

Depending on the season and temperature, the Desert rose tree has different water needs. Maintain its soil at a constant moisture level during its growing season (late spring and summer). Check on the soil frequently, and wait until it is totally dry before watering. Additionally, be sure to place your desert rose in a container with lots of drainage holes. If the desert rose becomes too wet, it could rot (extra moisture can be wicked away with the aid of a clay or terra cotta container).Reduce moisture substantially and water the plant just sparingly once a month or so in the fall and winter (when it generally goes dormant in the wild). You can check the trunk of your plant to see if it is getting enough water during the growing season. A thick, swelling trunk that is proportionately larger than the rest of your plant is a clear sign that it is well-hydrated.

iv. Temperature and Humidity:

Maintain constant warmth for your plant; if exposed to sustained temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, it will perish soon. Temperatures between 65 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal for its growth. Your desert rose won’t likely survive any severe freeze if it was planted outside. The Desert rose academy does not care about humidity because it is used to a dry, hot atmosphere.

v. Fertilizer:

You can feed your desert rose with liquid fertilizer (diluted by half) once a month during its active growth season to give it an extra boost of nutrition (and perhaps additional blossoms). During the plant’s dormant stage, avoid fertilizing it.

vi. Pruning:

Use rubbing alcohol or a bleach solution to sanitize your pruning tools before pruning your desert rose plant. Re-sterilize as you go from one plant to the next. When fresh growth appears, remove cold-damaged growth right away. To proportionally balance the stem growth, trim long, lanky stems. Cut slightly above a leaf node or where the stem connects another stem to remove branches that rub or cross other branches.


Adenium comes in a variety of species. Adenium obesum is the most widely distributed and straightforward to locate. Other subspecies that exist are:

  • Adenium obesum subsp. oleifolium is a plant that is indigenous to South Africa and Botswana. It reaches a height of 16 inches and has a broad tuberous stem, narrow, blade-like leaves that are an olive green color, and tubular blooms that are salmon, pink, or pale pink with red stamens.
  • The largest of the species, Adenium obesum subsp. socotranum, grows to a height of 15 feet with an 8-foot diameter trunk on the island of Socotra in the Indian Ocean between Somalia and Yemen. When the plant has no leaves, pink flowers with a diameter of up to 5 inches bloom in the spring.
  • Adenium obesum subsp. somalense: This species is indigenous to Eastern Africa and has twisted branches and narrow blade-like leaves. With a swelling and frequently twisted trunk, it develops at a height of 16 feet. Flowers with a trumpet shape might be pink, white, or scarlet red.

Propagating a Desert Rose:

The desert rose can be cultivated from seeds and branch cuttings. The following plant may not have the same distinctive bulbous trunk if it is grown from a branch cutting rather than from seed. Follow these steps to grow plants from a stem cutting:

  • Garden gloves, sterilized pruners, rooting hormone, a clean pot, and a well-draining potting mix should all be on hand before you begin.
  • Wear gardening gloves to protect your skin from this plant’s poisonous sap. Take a 5- to 6-inch cutting from the branch tip using your pruning snips.
  • Give the cutting a day or two to dry out.
  • Dip the cut end in rooting hormone after wetting it.
  • Plant the cut end into a growing medium with good drainage, such as perlite or sand blended with potting soil.
  • Daily watering of the cutting is recommended, but make sure the water drains from the soil. Within two to six weeks, the cutting ought to start to grow.
  • You should see fresh growth after six weeks.

How to Grow Desert Rose From Seed:

The spring season is the ideal time to plant seeds for Desert rose seeds. Purchase perlite-containing potting soil or combine sand and soil. To rehydrate the seeds, you can soak them for a few hours or even a day beforehand. Then, scatter one seed per two inches onto the growing medium. Apply a small layer of soil mixture as a covering.

Keep the plants in a warm area and give them plenty of water. When the soil starts to dry out, water it only then. Avoid letting the soil become soggy by misting it or moistening the container from below. Move the container to a sunny location once the seedlings have sprouted, which typically takes a week to 10 days.

i. Potting and Repotting a Desert Rose:

When the roots completely encircle the pot and the plant becomes root-bound, repotting is frequently necessary. Either annually or every other year can be chosen. Keep your plant in its existing container if you don’t want it to get much bigger. A plant’s growth is slowed when it is kept rootbound. Repotting should be done in the late winter or early spring, ideally as soon as new growth begins to appear.
Spread the roots out as you repot the plant, then put it in its new container and cover it with potting soil. To lessen the shock to the plant, allow it to dry out for about a week.

ii. How to Get Desert Rose to Bloom:

Depending on the growing conditions, the desert rose will begin to blossom seven to eight months after it has been sown. Make sure your plant receives at least six hours of sunlight each day, and during the spring and summer, fertilize at least once a month to promote blooming. Your plant may be devoting more work to growing new roots than blossoms if it has recently been potted. Allow it some time to become used to its new growing conditions.

Common Problems with Desert Rose:

The desert rose is a plant that is largely free of pests and diseases. Overwatering is the main issue this plant is facing. A plant’s natural defenses are reduced when growing conditions are unfavorable, which allows pests or illnesses to spread.

i. Yellowing Leaves or Leaf Drop:

Desert rose color or an unexpected loss of foliage are typical symptoms of root rot. Root rot is caused by a fungus. You might be able to save the plant if you discover it in time. You must take out the root ball and any broken stems and leaves. If you spot any soggy, charred roots, trim them off with a sharp knife. Sterilize the knife in between cuts. Follow the directions on the fungicide’s packaging before applying it. Replant the remaining roots in a potting soil that drains properly.

ii. Spotting on Leaves:

On the leaves, stems, and buds, it may cause deformed growth and a material that resembles white powder. This spreads more frequently on cool, moist nights and hot days. Water does not like powdery mildew. In accordance with the directions on the package, mist the plant’s leaves and apply a fungicide. When stems and branches start to clump up, prune. Powdery mildew is less likely to develop when plants are spaced enough apart.

iii. Speckling of Lower Leaves:

The most frequent insect that harm desert rose plants are spider mites. They obtain their nutrition mostly through sucking sap from the underside of leaves. Leaf speckling causes total discoloration, which then results in leaf death. Shake the affected leaves over a sheet of white paper to find spider mites; they appear as tiny dots. Eggs and fine webbing can also be seen on the underside of the leaves. Use a strong water spray on the underside of each leaf to get rid of a tiny infestation. Do this many times a week. For mite management, you can also use neem oil or insecticidal soap. Make careful to cover all of the plant’s lower surfaces, including the underside of the leaves.

For any kind of consultation about desert rose cultivation you can contact with DUA Landscape.



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