How to Grow Adenium From Seed


Adenium, more commonly known as "desert rose," has sturdy, gray-green stems and large blooms in colors ranging from white to dark reddish-purple. Adenium is a resilient plant that can grow to be more than 100 years old. Although the easiest way to propagate adenium is by taking a stem cutting from an existing plant, it can also successfully be grown by seed. Starting with fresh seeds is one of the keys to success.

Step 1

Fill a planting tray with a mixture of 2/3 potting soil and 1/3 perlite. Set the tray in a pan of water and leave it until the water has wicked to moisten the soil clear through.

Step 2

Scatter the adenium seeds on the surface of the soil and sprinkle a thin layer of soil over the seeds. Set the tray on a heating mat and maintain the temperature between 80 and 85 degrees.

Step 3

Water the soil by setting the tray in a pan of water every day, and mist the soil twice a week until the adenium seedlings emerge. The soil should be evenly damp, but never water to the point that the soil is dripping. Continue to water the soil daily, but don't mist the seedlings.

Step 4

Move the seedlings to individual 3-inch pots when they're about 2 inches tall. Continue to keep the soil damp. They won't need to be on the heat mat at this point.

Step 5

Plant the seedlings outdoors when they're about 4 to 5 inches tall. Choose a place in full sun, and work a shovelful of compost into the soil before planting. Water the adenium during hot, dry weather only, and allow the soil to dry out between each watering. Don't water at all when the temperature drops below 80 degrees.

Tips and Warnings

  • Handle adenium plants with care, because the sap is poisonous. Wear gloves when transplanting or pruning adenium, and be careful not to touch your eyes. Wash any sap from your skin immediately.

Things You'll Need

  • Planting tray
  • Potting soil
  • Perlite
  • Adenium seeds
  • Heating mat
  • Pan
  • Spray bottle
  • 3-inch pots
  • Compost


  • Desert Rose Propagation -- Starting Adenium Seeds Or Cuttings
  • Adenium obesum - Desert Rose Apocynaceae

Who Can Help

  • The Desert Rose (Adenium obesum)
Keywords: desert rose, adenium, potting soil

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.