The desert rose in full bloom
image by Travlinman43: Flickr.com
Adenium, also known as desert rose, is a subtropical plant that grows anywhere between 6 to 10 feet high and blooms with rich, vibrant flowers that range from pink to purple. The plants bloom throughout warm weather, which means they bloom from spring through fall and even winter, if you live in a hot climate. Aside from its gorgeous blooms, the plant's main characteristic is its odd base. Wide and thick, the base resembles an uprooted tree trunk that significantly slims down to make way for leaves and flowers. Adenium requires little care and is perfect for those with a black thumb.
Purchase a large container at your local garden center. Adenium must be grown in a container, as it will need to be moved indoors once the temperatures fall below 50 degrees. Your container should have at least one hole on the bottom for draining. Purchase a tray for the container to sit in as well.
Fill the container with compost or potting soil and two to three handfuls of sand. Adenium needs well-draining but water-retentive soil. The compost will retain water, and the sand will encourage it to drain. Layering gravel at the bottom of the container is also helpful.
Plant the adenium in the container. You need to plant it as deep as it was planted in the container and no deeper. Planting too deep will cause the plant to both lose its nutrients and gain nutrients from the soil.
Place the container outdoors in full sun. It may need to be brought in during the night when winter is near.
Water the plant thoroughly and daily in hot weather. Water it until the water flows from the bottom of the container and fills the tray, but never allow the plant to sit in a water-filled tray. It is best to water the adenium in the early morning so it will have water throughout the hot day. However, these plants can be overwatered; the classic sign is droopy leaves.
Reduce your watering as the temperatures drop. When winter comes, the plant's soil should be moist to slightly dry. Too much moisture in the winter can cause the roots to rot.
Add an organic slow-release fertilizer to the adenium once every spring. Water the plant before applying the fertilizer. Use a fertilizer high in phosphorus to produce more flowering and a thicker base.