Growing Desert Rose Plants


The desert rose (Adenium obesum) is a shrub or small tree native to Africa. The swollen and gnarly trunk lends an almost other-world feel to the plant while the pretty pale-pink to deep-red flowers provide its beauty. The desert rose plant cannot tolerate temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit and gardening experts recommend to grow in containers in cooler climates so that they can be protected in the winter.

Step 1

Grow your desert rose, in desert regions, in an area that will provide the plant with morning sun and light shade in the afternoon. If you live in an area that is cool, cloudy or humid in the summer, provide the desert rose with full sun, all day.

Step 2

Create a watering solution by dissolving 2 cups of 20-20-20 fertilizer in 1 gallon of warm water. Water the desert rose, each time during the growing season, with diluted watering solution (2 tbsp. solution to 1 gallon of water).

Step 3

Water the desert rose with the watering solution, enough to keep the soil consistently moist during hot weather. According to Mark Dimmit, of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, the desert rose should be treated as a tropical plant while it is actively growing. Allow the soil to dry completely prior to watering in the winter.

Step 4

Watch the desert rose plant for signs of dormancy. These include the sudden yellowing and dropping of leaves. Cut back on watering at this point. When temperatures drop to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, place the desert rose in a cool, dry area (light is unimportant during dormancy) and water it once a month with plain water. Wait until you see new growth in the spring prior to resumption of the growth-period watering schedule.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not rotate the potted desert rose during the summer or fall as the previously shaded leaves may become scorched.

Things You'll Need

  • Fertilizer
  • 1-gallon container
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons


  • An Adenium Website: Adenium Culture: Producing Large Specimens Quickly
  • ‭"‬California Master Gardener Handbook";‭ ‬Dennis R.‭ ‬Pittenger‭; ‬2002
Keywords: grow desert rose, grow adenium, desert rose care

About this Author

Victoria Hunter, a former broadcaster and real estate agent, has provided audio and written services to both small businesses and large corporations, worldwide. Hunter is a freelance writer specializing in the real estate industry. She devotes her spare time to her other passions: gardening and cooking. Hunter holds a Bachelor of Arts in English/creative writing.