Adenium obesum is a succulent native to sub-Saharan Africa, according to information published by the University of Florida. Distinctive for its swollen stem that stores water, the plant is often called the "desert rose" for its brightly colored flowers, which bloom in colors of pink, deep red and cream. A. obesum can live for hundreds of years and is quite hardy. The desert rose is often grown as a container plant by home gardeners who live in climates outside of the recommended growing zone.
Adenium obesum can be grown outdoors by home gardeners who live in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) hardiness growing zones 10 and 11, which are subtropical and tropical areas. This includes the southern tip of Florida and parts of coastal Southern California. These succulents should not be planted in the ground in any climate where the temperatures drop below 35 degrees F, according to the University of Florida.
Adenium obesum needs plenty of bright light for optimum blooming, but the plant does not like direct sunlight, because the leaves can scorch if exposed for too long to the hot afternoon rays of the sun. Place the plant where it will receive at least six hours of sunlight. Morning sunlight is the least damaging. If you're growing it indoors, you can place it where it will receive dappled sunlight or filtered sunlight, such as by a south-facing window with an opaque curtain. Plants grown under too much shade may develop disease or appear leggy and weak, according to the University of Florida.
Soil and Water
Amend outdoor soil with small pieces of brick or with coarse sand before planting the desert rose, the University of Oklahoma recommends. Container-planted A. obesum should be placed in a cactus mix. Let the soil dry out completely between each watering.
The University of Florida recommends fertilizing your plant with a balanced (20-20-20), water-soluble fertilizer at half strength. Apply once every two weeks during the blooming season (spring through summer), and stop fertilizing when the plant goes into dormancy (often this is signified by the dropping of leaves).
All parts of A. obesum are poisonous, according to the University of Oklahoma, and care should be taken when handling this plant. Do not place or plant it where pets or children can access it. Watch for common insect pests such as spider mites and white flies, and treat with an insecticidal soap if needed.