About Adenium


Adenium is a genus of succulent plants. Succulent plants have evolved a unique thickened tissue that stores water in swollen leaves, stems or roots. It is an adaptation to dry environments. They can make the most of scarce moisture and live in places too dry for most other plants. Adenium obesum, or desert rose, is a popular species of these plants. From a horticulture viewpoint, each species is entirely different from the others.


The desert rose is a shrub with thick stems that gradually narrow toward the top. The leaves range from narrow to very wide and from a glossy light green to a dull green. The flowers can be a pale pink to a deep red on the outer petals but then fade to white near the center. The flowers are approximately 2 inches in diameter. How the plant blooms depends on the conditions it is grown under. Ideal conditions include heat and water in which the plant will flower for at least two to four months, if not longer. Most plants slow their growing and flowering if temperatures are above 100 degrees. Adenium produces fruit, which if split has seeds on one side. Seed production can be unreliable, and therefore pollination is not often a success. Planting a desert rose directly into a yard should only be considered if the conditions are ideal. The garden spot would need full sun, and the plant could not sit in wet spots in the landscape. The desert rose also makes great potted plants in ceramic pots.


Adeniums come from regions where light is intense. They can grow well in full sunlight if properly handled. Full exposure to afternoon summer sun, especially in the southwest, can be dangerous. Under partial shade, the leaves will be darker green, but flowering may decrease if kept in too much shade.


Adeniums can endure high temperatures, but in excessively high heat, take special care to avoid direct exposure to the sun, especially in the late afternoon. In addition, carefully control watering at these times.


Proper water is crucial to keeping a healthy plant. Every situation is unique, but there are some general guidelines to follow. The frequency of watering depends on the soil or the soil mixture of a container. Use a well-draining mixture and container to avoid too much water around the root. Plant location during the growing season is important too. Water plants in full sun and not much shade at least two to three times a week. During the hot growing season, apply enough water to saturate the soil. Ample water will also help avoid salt buildup and prevent peat-based mixes from developing dry spots. In addition, covering the soil mixture with mulch can help retain moisture. By early fall, watering should be slowly reduced and the soil allowed to dry in between. This helps the plant prepare for winter. During winter, watering should be intermittent and only the top of the soil should be moistened


Adeniums are succulent plants that are use to high temperatures. They come from sub-Saharan Africa and Arabia. They are found in the Sudan into Kenya, west to Senegal and south to Natal and Swaziland. There are a few found in the southwest corner of the Arabian peninsula or Yemen.

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About this Author

Sheri Engstrom has been writing for 15 years. She is currently a gardening writer for Demand Studios. Engstrom completed the master gardener program at the University of Minnesota Extension service. She is published in their book "The Best Plants for 30 Tough Sites." She is also the online education examiner Minneapolis for Examiner.com.