The desert rose (Adenium obesum) is a slow-growing plant, only growing about 12 inches a year. The desert rose is often used as a bonsai plant thanks to its thick, succulent stem, thin and delicate leaves, and lush, deep pink trumpet flowers. It is native to Africa, the Middle East and Madagascar.
The desert rose plant is the only adenium plant that has been extensively crossed to produce different flower colors. Desert rose is an indoor or outdoor plant, depending on the location. It is a common outdoor ornamental plant in many tropical and warmer climates (USDA zones 11 and 12), and is grown indoors in cooler zones. It is best planted in spring, and will die if exposed to frost and freezing temperatures. A member of the dogbane family, the sap of the desert rose plant is toxic to humans1 and pets.2
Care of the desert rose
Caring for a desert rose plant is easy, but it requires some finesse. Much like other succulents, it needs careful water management and plenty of sunlight.
The plant also prefers consistently warm temperatures, which is why it is grown as a houseplant in many parts of the United States (excluding USDA zones 11 and 12). The plant usually blooms during the summer months, bursting out with bright pink, pink, or red flowers and bright green leaves. When dormant for the winter season, it sheds its flowers and leaves.
The desert rose thrives in a full sun environment. Choose a spot in your home where the plant will receive adequate light throughout the day, such as B. a south-facing bright window sill or a conservatory. If you live in an area where it can be successfully grown outdoors, the best spot to plant the desert rose is in a spot that isn’t shaded by taller plants but offers some protection from the midday sun that can damage the foliage the plant can scorch.
As the name suggests, the desert rose plant is used to naturally dry, desert-like conditions, which means well-drained sandy or gritty cactus soil. Soil pH should be neutral to acidic, ideally around 6.0.
The desert rose plant has different water needs depending on the season and temperature. During the growing season (late spring and summer), keep the soil moist but never saturated. Check the soil regularly and allow it to dry out completely before watering. Also, plant your desert rose in a container with ample drainage holes. The desert rose can be prone to rot if it gets too damp (an earthenware or terracotta pot can also help drain excess moisture).
During the fall and winter months (when the plant is usually dormant in the wild); Drastically reduce humidity and only water minimally once a month or so. If you’re curious as to whether your plant is getting enough water during its growing season, you can look at its stem to find the answer. A swollen, thick stem (relative to the size of your plant) is a good indication that your plant is well hydrated.
temperature and humidity
Always keep your plant in warm temperatures – it will die quickly if exposed to prolonged temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. It thrives best in temperatures between 65 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. If you planted your desert rose outdoors, it probably won’t survive a prolonged frost. Moisture is not important to the desert rose as it is used to a dry, hot climate.
For an extra dose of nutrients (and potentially more blooms), you can feed your desert rose with liquid fertilizer (diluted in half) once a month during its active growth phase. Do not fertilize the plant during its dormant period.