Desert Rose is renowned for its unusual form and growth habit. These small tree like plants belong to the cactus and succulent family, and produce beautiful flowers. The large swollen trunk rises to a few disproportionately large leaves near the top of the plant. Flowers are usually red or pink, and can be doubles with concentric sets of petals. These plants prefer lots of bright, direct light indoors through a western or southern window, or alternately can be placed outside in summer and brought in for the winter. Desert Rose looks like something from an alien planet or wonderland; these hardy plants are easy to take care of.
Growing Zone: 9-11
Mature Height: 24″ – 36″
Mature Width: 18″ – 24″
Classification: Prominent Flower
Sunlight: Bright, direct light
Habit: Tree form, clear trunk
Flower Color: Red or pink, sometimes double or bicolor
Foliage: Green, round
Soil Condition: Well draining, cactus or succulent mix (part sand)
Water Require: Likes to go dry
Uses: Excellent indoors as focal point or centerpiece
Does Not Ship To: AK, AZ, CA, HI, OR, WA
Native to Africa, Desert Roses have a large, swollen stem designed for storing water. This unusual plant produces large, trumpet shaped flowers usually in pink or red when grown under the right conditions. Desert Rose requires lots of bright, direct light and infrequent watering to stay happy and healthy. The plants can be placed outdoors in summer, but do not like temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The plants will flower indoors, especially when a bloom boosting fertilizer is used. Desert Rose makes a good specimen plant and is predisposed to becoming a bonsai.
Desert Roses start conversations because of their architectural marvel: the large, thick stump tapering to a small cylinder with some leaves and trumpets of flowers. These plants are incredibly easy to care for because they are in the cactus and succulent family which take a lot of light with infrequent water. A potting mix with sand that’s designed to drain quickly is the ideal mix to use for transplanting.
Light Requirement of Desert Rose:
Desert Roses loves bright, direct light when grown indoors. The plant prefers the most light you can give it to prevent leaf yellowing and dropping. Desert Rose needs light to produce flowers. For the summer, Desert Rose can be placed outside in full sun for a vacation.
Watering Desert Rose:
Desert Roses like to dry out almost completely between watering. It does not like to stay or sit in water. Plants that are watered too often will not survive. If unsure, do not water.
Fertilizing Desert Rose:
Any all purpose, foliage fertilizer will work for Desert Roses. Indoor houseplant fertilizers fall into two groups: water soluble, liquid quick release, and granular, slow release fertilizers. Jack’s Classic Indoor plant food works well as a powder, quick release fertilizer that is mixed with water to quickly provide nutrients to a plant that has been in a container for an extended time. On the other hand, Biotone Starter or Osmocote Indoor/Outdoor is an option as a granular, slow release fertilizer that can be applied while potting and planting. Any type of fertilizer offers nutrients that help plants with the transition to a new environment. We offer a one year warranty on our plants when you purchase Bio-tone at checkout and use it per label instructions. All of these fertilizers may be used when planting Desert Rose.
To encourage blooms on Desert Roses, a good replacement for regular fertilizer is Captain Jack’s Bloom Booster, which has the nutrients that plants need to encourage flowering.
Best Growing Soil for Desert Rose:
Desert Rose needs a very well draining soil, and prefer to have dry conditions. Regular potting mix with sand mixed in works well for plants potted in containers, otherwise a cactus potting mix would work. The cactus potting mix already has sand and other ingredients to encourage drainage. Desert Rose enthusiasts encourage up-potting of the caudex, or swollen stem to encourage a larger, rounder base. This means removing soil from some of the underground part of the stem and leaving it exposed above the soil level when transplanted. Enthusiasts believe the true value of Desert Rose is not in the beautiful, prolific flowers but in the girth and form of the caudex.
History and introduction of Desert Rose:
Native to Africa, Desert Rose does extremely well with minimal care. The plant produces beautiful, colorful flowers near the top of the stem. These flowers will produce a seed afterwards. Most Desert Rose are hybrids, however, and will not be true to seed. If you want to recreate the same flower color as the original plant, it’s better to propagate Desert Rose by taking cuttings or grafting. Unfortunately, grafted plants do not have the same swollen trunk as plants grown from seed.
Adenium obesum is the Latin name for Desert Rose. Adenium is a reference to Aden, the location in Arabia where the plant was first discovered and recorded. Obesum means fat or fleshy, referring to the large, swollen trunk.