Native to east Africa, the desert rose (Adenium obesum) is a tropical succulent plant that requires little care. Desert rose plants have fleshy stems that grow into fat, bulbous structures called caudexes at the plant’s base. The desert rose grows 4 to 5 feet tall and blooms in the warmer spring and summer months with numerous large, trumpet-shaped flowers that come in shades of white, pink or rose, depending on the cultivated variety. Belonging to the Apocynaceae (dogbane) family, the desert rose oozes a poisonous white sap when cut. Due to its tropical origins, the desert rose is most commonly grown indoors in containers.
Keep your desert rose in bright, direct sunlight, such as in a southern-exposure window, patio or porch. Desert rose plants need full sunlight all year long.
Maintain air temperatures around your desert roses of up to 90 degrees F and never colder than 40 degrees F. When temperatures drop below 80 degrees F with little to no sunlight, don’t water the desert rose plant.
Water your desert rose only when the soil dries out completely and during hot, prolonged dry weather. Provide water until it begins to drain from the bottom of the pot.
Feed your desert rose plant with a liquid 20-20-20 NPK fertilizer at half the normal dosage rate. Fertilize the desert rose only when it’s actively growing, feeding it once every two to four weeks.
Treat the desert rose for insect infestations by applying an approved insecticidal soap according to the instructions on the label. Desert rose plants are susceptible to infestations of scale insects, mealybugs, spider mites and occasionally oleander moth caterpillars.