Care of Desert Rose Flowers


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.

Step 1

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.

Step 2

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.

Step 3

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.

Step 4

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.

Step 5

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.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid over-watering your desert rose and always plant it in fast-draining soil. Desert rose plants are especially susceptible to root rot diseases when temperatures are cool and the soil is wet.

Things You'll Need

  • Liquid 20-20-20 NPK fertilizer
  • Insecticidal soap (optional)


  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: A Rose for the Ages

Who Can Help

  • Desert Rose (Adenium obesum) Propagation from Seeds
Keywords: desert rose flowers, grow Adenium obesum, desert rose care

About this Author

Sarah Terry brings 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters, and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.