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Adenium obesum (Desert Rose)

Desert Rose, Desert Azalea, Impala Lily, Kudu Lily, Mock Azalea, Sabi Star, Adenium honghel, Adenium coetaneum, Adenium arabicum, Adenium obesum var. obesum

AGM Award
Desert Rose, Adenium obesum, Desert Azalea,

Adenium obesum is a striking and unique plant, valued for its beautiful flowers, intriguing growth habit, and low-maintenance requirements. It’s a popular choice among succulent enthusiasts and those looking to add an exotic touch to their gardens or indoor plant collections.

Adenium obesum: An In-depth Look

Adenium obesum is known for its distinctive, swollen stem base (caudex), glossy leaves, and vibrant flowers. It combines ornamental beauty with a sculptural form.

Native: It is native to parts of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, thriving in arid, desert-like environments.

Plant Type and Habit: This succulent is characterized by its slow-growing, bushy habit. The plant’s caudex, or thickened trunk, is particularly noteworthy and serves as a water reservoir.

Size: It typically grows to about 3-9 feet in height (90-270 cm) and 3-5 feet in spread (90-150 cm). It will grow much smaller in containers.

Flowers: Desert Rose produces striking, tubular flowers in shades of pink, red, or white. The flowers are showy and add significant ornamental value. The bloom time varies but generally occurs in the warmer months. It produces long, slender seed pods that split open when mature, releasing numerous seeds with tufted ends.

Foliage: The leaves are glossy, dark green, and arranged in a spiral pattern on the branches.

Bark: The bark is smooth and gray, becoming more textured with age. It is particularly thick and robust at the base.

Uses: Primarily grown as an ornamental plant, it’s popular in container gardens, rock gardens, and as a bonsai. It’s also used as an indoor plant.

Award: Recipient of the prestigious Award of Garden Merit of the Royal Horticultural Society.

Hardiness: It’s suited to USDA zones 11-12. Desert Rose is not frost-tolerant and requires protection in cooler climates.

Wildlife: It does not significantly attract wildlife but can be a source of nectar for some pollinators such as butterflies and hummingbirds.

Toxicity: All parts of the plant are toxic if ingested, due to the presence of cardiac glycosides. Caution should be exercised around pets and children. Wear gloves and other protective equipment when handling

Deer and Rabbit: It is generally resistant to deer and rabbits, likely due to its toxicity.

Drought: Highly drought-tolerant, reflecting its desert origins. It can survive long periods without water.

Invasiveness: Adenium obesum is not considered invasive in its native range or in most areas where it’s cultivated.

Benefits: Apart from its ornamental value, it’s a low-maintenance plant, requiring minimal care, and is an excellent choice for water-wise gardens.

Desert Rose Growing Tips

Light: Thrives in full sun. Bright, direct light is essential for flowering.

Soil: Prefers well-draining, sandy or gritty soil. Good aeration is crucial to avoid root rot.

Water: Water sparingly; allow soil to dry out between watering. Reduce watering in winter (dormant period).

Fertilizer: Use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer during the growing season (spring and summer).

Pruning: Minor pruning can be performed year-round to maintain the plant’s shape or to remove any diseased branches. Every 2-3 years, a more substantial pruning is recommended to trim back leggy branches. Trimming these branches near the caudex, the plant’s large root, will encourage a more robust and flourishing growth in your desert rose.

Propagation: Can be propagated from seeds or stem cuttings. Stem cuttings should be allowed to dry and callous before planting.

Pests and Diseases: Watch for pests like aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites. Susceptible to root rot; avoid overwatering and ensure good drainage.

Requirements

Hardiness 11 - 12
Plant Type Cactus & Succulents
Plant Family Apocynaceae
Common names Desert Rose
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Height 3' - 9'
(90cm - 270cm)
Spread 3' - 5'
(90cm - 150cm)
Spacing 36" - 60"
(90cm - 150cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Plant of Merit
Tolerance Drought, Dry Soil, Deer, Rabbit
Attracts Butterflies, Hummingbirds
Garden Uses Patio And Containers
Garden Styles Mediterranean Garden, Gravel and Rock Garden
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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Requirements

Hardiness 11 - 12
Plant Type Cactus & Succulents
Plant Family Apocynaceae
Common names Desert Rose
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Height 3' - 9'
(90cm - 270cm)
Spread 3' - 5'
(90cm - 150cm)
Spacing 36" - 60"
(90cm - 150cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Plant of Merit
Tolerance Drought, Dry Soil, Deer, Rabbit
Attracts Butterflies, Hummingbirds
Garden Uses Patio And Containers
Garden Styles Mediterranean Garden, Gravel and Rock Garden
How Many Plants
Do I Need?

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