This beautiful plant goes by many names, including impala lily, mock azalea and desert rose. Its unusual shape, vibrant flowers and hardiness that make this a favorite for plant enthusiasts. Adenium is a fast-growing perennial that can live for years in the same container without the need for re-potting.
Adenium originally hails from sub-Saharan Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, but they are a popular plant in the United States and worldwide. Although this plant is sometimes referred to as desert rose, it is not a rose at all. It has no thorns and looks nothing like a rose. In fact, Adenium is in the apocynaceae family of periwinkles, Madagascar palm, oleander and plumeria. It is not known exactly how many species of Adenium exist in the wild, but scientists broadly accept that there is only one main species and a few subspecies.
Adenium has a thick, glossy trunk and beautiful flowers that sprout from the upper tips of the plant stems and range in color from brilliant white to dark red. There is no exact prototype of this plant and it varies widely depending on its location. The visual characteristics of Adenium can vary from small shrubbery with huge roots to a small topiary type plant. A common characteristic of all Adeniums is their existence in mostly dry climates. Since they come from areas with extended dry seasons and periods of drought, they have the natural ability to store water in their roots and stems.
Consider the Adenium a plant with split personalities. During the summer months, this plant is tropical and should be watered lavishly and often. It should also be fertilized with a liquid fertilizer in the spring and a slow-release fertilizer during the summer. Any houseplant fertilizer will do the trick, but remember to fertilize at only half of the product label rate. During the winter months, Adenium should be treated like a cactus, with little watering. Winter watering is required occasionally on warm, sunny days when the balmy temperatures can aid the plant in absorbing the water. Pot Adenium in a well-drained potting soil mixed with gravel. This will prevent root rot, which can kill the entire plant. Adenium boasts huge root structures, so pot this plant in a shallow container to allow room for the roots to expand and dry after watering. Adeniums require warmth and bright light, so place the plant in a sunny location with temperatures hovering around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Adeniums are hardy plants that are generally pest resistant. Mealy bugs and spider mites are the most common pests, so treat Adenium with the appropriate insecticide when necessary. Follow the insecticide manufacturer's directions when treating the plant. During the winter months when Adeniums are typically dormant, simply place your plant indoors and water every one to two weeks.