Care for Adenium As a Houseplant


Adeniums, also called desert roses, originated in Africa, where they enjoyed rainy summers in perfectly well-drained soil and dry winters. A similar climate does not exist in the United States, so if you want to grow this plant it must be indoors (with some exceptions). Adeniums grow 4 to 6 feet tall in some cases, and each plant has a stem that can thicken to over a foot wide at its base. Knowledge of how to create the right environment for this plant will keep it thriving in your home.

Step 1

Obtain a clay or unglazed ceramic pot with good drainage for planting. These materials will allow the soil to dry completely between waterings. Use a pot slightly wider than normal to account for the expansion of the stem. Plant the Adenium in a cactus mix or other potting mix that drains well.

Step 2

Place the plant in a south-facing window. The desert rose needs full sun to thrive and bloom.

Step 3

Water deeply in the growing season, but allow the soil to dry completely in between waterings. Water only sparingly in the winter. During cooler months, this plant becomes susceptible to root rot if it gets too much moisture.

Step 4

Fertilize the Adenium once a week or once every other week with a liquid fertilizer marked 20-20-20. Apply at half strength during the growing season until the plant starts to flower. Stop fertilizing during the winter to allow the plant to go dormant.

Step 5

Transplant the desert rose when it starts to outgrow its current pot. Choose a pot about 2 inches larger in diameter and plant in the same potting mix at the same height. Water after transplanting to help the Adenium acclimate to its new environment.

Tips and Warnings

  • All parts of the Adenium plant are poisonous. Keep them away from children and pets.

Things You'll Need

  • Clay or unglazed ceramic pot
  • Cactus or potting mix
  • Water
  • Fertilizer
  • Larger pot


  • University of Florida Extension: The Desert Rose
  • Cal's Plant of the Week: Adenium obesum
  • Protobase Record: Adenium obesum
Keywords: watering adenium, fertilizing adenium, potted adenium care

About this Author

Sarah Morse recently graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English language and literature. She has been freelancing for three months and got her start writing for an environmental website.