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Desert Rose

SCENTIFIC NAME: Adenium obesum

KNOWN AS: Sabi Star, Kudu, Mock Azalea, Impala Lily

CLIMATE (LOCATION): Sub-Saharan Africa | Tropical & Subtropical

DESCRIPTION: This plant has a lot of flowers. It is unusual because it has a plump swollen stem and green leaves. The pink blooms come out in the spring and summer.

Moderate difficulty & pet toxic

Desert Rose Plant Care


Light Requirement: Full Sun (Bright Direct Light) & High Light (Bright Indirect Light)

Desert rose plants thrive in bright, direct sunlight. Ideally, they should receive at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. They also appreciate some shade during the hottest parts of the day, as they can become overheated and sunburnt. If you're growing a desert rose plant indoors, place it near a south or west-facing window where it can receive plenty of sunlight. If you notice that the leaves are starting to turn yellow or brown, it may be an indication that the plant is getting too much direct sunlight, and you should move it to a spot with slightly less light.


Quick Tip: Water until water comes out of drainage holes. Allow top 2 inches of soil to completely dry between waterings.

Desert rose plants require a more tailored balance of watering to thrive indoors. These plants are adapted to arid conditions and prefer well-drained soil that is allowed to dry out slightly between waterings. It's important to water your desert rose thoroughly when watering but be sure to not water too often, as overwatering can cause root rot and other problems. Water your desert rose deeply once every one to two weeks during the growing season, and reduce watering in the winter months when the plant is dormant. Allow the soil to dry out completely before watering again, and avoid getting water on the leaves or flowers, as this can lead to fungal diseases on the leaves.


Preferred Temperature: 65º - 80º

Desert rose plants prefer warm, wet environments, with an ideal range of 65-80°F (18-27°C) during the day and 50-65°F (10-18°C) at night. They can tolerate slightly cooler temperatures during the winter months but should not be exposed to temperatures below 40°F (4°C) for prolonged periods, this is a desert plant! It is important to keep desert rose plants away from cold drafts of air, such as those from windows or air conditioning units. Too much airflow might dry out the desert rose too fast and cause damage and cracking. Additionally, desert rose plants require a high level of humidity, so it is important to keep them in a location with moderate to low humidity levels, such as a bathroom or kitchen.


Preferred Humidity: 40 - 60%; Moderate Humidity

Humidity is an important factor in the growth and care of desert rose plants. These plants require moderate to low levels of humidity, but excessive moisture can lead to fungal and bacterial infections. You can increase the humidity around the plant by misting it with water, placing a tray of water near the plant, or using a humidifier in the room. However, it is important to avoid getting the leaves wet while misting, as this can lead to water spots or damage to the plant. You also need to avoid locations with too high humidity, such as a bathroom or kitchen, as this can lead to problems with mold and mildew. The desert rose requires a delicate balance to thrive. In addition, it is important to monitor the humidity levels during different seasons. In dry winter months, you may need to increase the humidity around the plant by using a humidifier, while in humid summer months, you may need to reduce the humidity by using a dehumidifier or air conditioning. By maintaining proper humidity levels, you can ensure the health and growth of your desert rose plant.

Additional Plant Care

Desert Rose plants can be propagated through stem cuttings or by planting seeds. For stem cuttings, select a healthy stem with several leaves and cut it just below a node. Allow the cutting to dry for a few days, then plant it in well-draining soil or water. Water the cutting sparingly until it establishes roots. For seed propagation, plant the seeds in well-draining soil and water lightly. Keep the soil moist and place the pot in a warm and bright location until the seeds germinate. Once the seedlings have developed several leaves, they can be repotted into their own pots with fresh soil. Desert Rose plants prefer bright sunlight and warm temperatures, and they should be watered sparingly to avoid root rot.
Desert rose is toxic. All parts of the plant contain a poisonous sap that can cause skin irritation, eye irritation, and gastrointestinal distress if ingested. The sap can also cause a burning sensation in the mouth and throat if it comes into contact with them. Ingesting large quantities of the plant can lead to more serious symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and even heart and respiratory problems. Therefore, it is important to handle desert rose plants with care and keep them away from children and pets at all times.
Desert rose plants should be repotted once every two to three years, or when they outgrow their current container. The best time to repot is in the spring when the plant is actively growing. Choose a container that is slightly larger than the current one, with drainage holes to prevent water from accumulating and causing root rot. Fill the bottom of the container with fresh potting soil, and gently remove the plant from its current container, taking care not to damage the roots. Remove any dead or damaged roots and loosen the root ball slightly. Place the plant in the new container and fill it with fresh potting soil, pressing it gently to remove any air pockets. Water the plant thoroughly and allow it to drain before placing it in its new location. After repotting, keep the plant in a shaded area for a few days to allow it to adjust to its new container and avoid direct sunlight.
Pruning a desert rose plant is essential for maintaining its health and shape, you're going for a compact and robust look here. It is best to prune the plant in late winter or early spring before new growth appears. Start by using sharp, clean pruning shears to remove any dead or damaged branches, stems, or leaves. Cut the stem or branch just above the healthy growth or the point where it connects to the main stem. You can also prune to shape the plant, but be careful not to remove too much foliage as it can cause stress to the plant. If you want to encourage bushier growth, pinch back the tips of the branches or stems. After pruning, make sure to water the plant thoroughly and keep it in a warm, bright location to encourage new growth.
Desert rose plants need a balanced fertilizer that contains equal parts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, like most plants. The best way to fertilize a desert rose plant is to use a slow-release fertilizer formulated specifically for cacti and succulents. During the growing season, which typically occurs (spring and summer), you should fertilize your desert rose plant once a month. However, during the dormant period in winter, you should not fertilize the plant at all, if you do this could cause burning. Over-fertilizing can also cause the plant to become weak and prone to pests and diseases, so it's important to follow the recommended dosage on the fertilizer package. Additionally, you should always water the plant thoroughly before and after fertilizing to prevent root burn.
Desert rose plants prefer well-draining soil with a slightly acidic pH level between 6.0 to 7.0. A combination of sandy loam, perlite, and peat moss is a great choice for their soil mix. This type of soil allows water to drain freely and helps prevent the roots from rotting, which is a common issue with desert rose plants. Adding some organic matter like compost or aged manure to the soil mix can help provide nutrients for the plant, plants always need organic matter to grow! It is essential to avoid using heavy clay soils or soils with poor drainage as it can lead to root rot and other issues.

Hanging Heights

Desert Rose Lighting Requirements: Full Sun (Bright Direct Light) & High Light (Bright Indirect Light)

Similar Lighting Requirements