The desert rose is the sole species of the genus Adenium. All of the numerous subspecies and cultivars are considered to be A. obesum. The interesting bulbous roots and stems make them a popular indoor ornamental plant.
The desert rose is native to Yemen and sub-Saharan Africa from Sudan and Kenya to South Africa. They like hot dry climates with cool nights.
They are small succulent shrubs that are most noted for their bulbous lower trunk and roots that store water during the dormant season. They have oval glossy green leaves.
The flowers are tube shaped with flaring ends up to 3 inches wide. Colors range from purplish reds and pinks to white.
Supply good drainage with sandy soil that doesn't hold too much water.
During active growth, water frequently when the soil dries out. During dormancy, water sparingly only on warmer days like you would treat a cactus.
They like full sun and can be moved outdoors in cool climates as soon as the threat of frost is gone. Be sure to move them to a shady area first for a few weeks to acclimate them before moving them to full sun.
- University of Florida: The Desert Rose
- University of Wisconsin-Madison: Desert Rose - The Hot New Houseplant
- Wellesley College Botanic Gardens: Caudiciforms
Adenium obesum, caudiciform, succulent
About this Author
Brian Albert has been in the publishing industry since 1999. He is an expert in horticulture, with a focus on aquatics and tropical plants like orchids. He has successfully run an aquatic plant business for the last five years. Albert's writing experience includes the Greater Portland Aquarium Society newsletter and politics coverage for a variety of online journals.