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ADENIUM obesum

Image of Adenium obesum

James H. Schutte

Family

Apocynaceae

Botanical Name

ADENIUM obesum

Plant Common Name

Desert Rose

General Description

Desert rose is a heat-loving beauty with swollen “feet” or trunk flare. It is native to sub-Saharan Africa and Arabia and is a large perennial shrub to small tree with a wide swollen base which is sometimes buried underground. The ovate leaves are clustered on the ends of many twisted branches, most with no petiole. It is usually leafless during the cooler winter dry season. Grown for spectacular bell-shaped flowers with colors ranging from deep rose/red to pale pink which appear in summer in mass and few scattered throughout the year.

Desert rose is very cold sensitive and will not tolerate cold soil, air or frost. Grow it in containers in cool to cold climates, outside only in frost-free locations. Desert rose must have well-drained soil that is ideally on the alkaline side. It relishes full sun, but will benefit from a bit of shade in the hottest part of the afternoon. Desert rose grows where dry winters and wet summers mimic its native habitat. Water and fertilizer freely during a growth cycle in spring and summer and withhold it during dormancy. Use desert rose on hot patios, to accent a western exposure, water conservation plantings or in desert gardens.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 10

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    10 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H2, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Cactus or Succulent

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    3'-15' / 0.9m - 4.6m

  • Width

    3'-5' / 0.9m - 1.5m

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer, Late Summer, Early Fall, Fall

  • Native To

    Eastern Africa, Southern Africa

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Soil Compaction

  • Growth Rate

    Very Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Xeric/Desert, Drought Tolerant

  • Habit

    Twisted/Contorted

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Red, Pink

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Bicolor

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Gray Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Gray Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Gray Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Gray Green, Dark Green

  • Bark Color

    Sandy Brown, Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Semi-Evergreen

  • Showy Bark

    Yes

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Container, Feature Plant, Houseplant, Rock Garden / Wall, Topiary / Bonsai / Espalier, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Hummingbirds, Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    No