Ultimate Guide: How to Care for Adenium Plant

Adenium plants are extremely beautiful, durable and easy to care for. These plants contain many kinds of flowers and can be used both as indoor houseplant and outdoor landscaping plant.
A desert rose flower stem.

Do you like dramatically gorgeous flowering succulents that are relatively easy to maintain? If so, you need to try out the Adenium Obesum, commonly referred to as the Desert Rose plant. The succulent is native to Sub-Saharan Africa, where it is grown as ornamental. It is an evergreen plant adapted to resisting sweltering weather conditions. The succulent can grow to a height of up to three meters and produce tabular flowers approximately 2-5 cm long. The flowers are multicolored, making them even more beautiful.

So, how do you care for the Adenium Obesum plant? For best results, you should grow the plant in potting soil with good drainage and only water it during spring or summer when it is actively growing. During winter, keep the potting mix moist since the plant slides into a period of dormancy. Keep the plant in bright light for at least six hours a day and fertilize only once per month with half-strength 20-20-20 fertilizer. Don’t feed it during the cold winter months.

The desert rose plant makes an excellent indoor/outdoor plant if you take good care of it. This blog post discusses everything you need to know about growing and taking care of Adenium Obesum. Read on to learn more.

Adenium Obesum: Why Is It Not a Rose?

While many people refer to it as a rose, the truth is that Adenium Obesum is not a rose flower but a deciduous succulent plant. It has been nicknamed the desert rose flower because of its multi-color flowers that never fail to appear during the flowering season.

There are many variations of this succulent, and most of them grow freely throughout northeastern and eastern Africa. Some scientists believe that the main species (Adenium Obesum) is divided into at least five subspecies that vary in appearance.

A desert rose flower.
The truth is that Adenium Obesum is not a rose flower but a deciduous succulent plant.

The succulent’s blooming period is relatively lengthy, and it can still bloom during the cold winter months if you keep it in a relatively warm spot and provide it with sufficient lighting.

Its flowers are trumpet-shaped and vary in size and color depending on the care and environment. Typically, the flowers are approximately two inches long and come in different colors, including red, pink, and white.

Unlike a true rose flower plant, the Adenium Obesum is highly drought resistant because it stores a lot of water in its thick roots and fat base trunk. In its native areas, rains only come during summer; it is totally dry during the winter months.

These succulents make excellent potted plants and even outdoor plants grown in the ground, depending on the amount of sunlight, soil conditions, and water you provide.

Depending on the amount of care you provide, the succulent can grow into a relatively short plump tree or a tall leggy plant.

Adenium Plant Care Tips

There are up to five different varieties of the Adenium plant, but all of them are native to arid and semi-arid climates. They also tend to adapt well to the semi-tropical and tropical climate.

These succulents will typically survive in almost any setting as long as there is plenty of sunlight and well-draining soil.

Here are some of the critical requirements you need to pay close attention to if you want to keep your Adenium plant happy and healthy.

1. Soil Preference

The key to keeping your desert rose plant happy is to ensure you give it a good potting mix with enough drainage. A standard succulent soil with crushed granite or pumice to provide plenty of room for the water to drain will do.

A desert rose directly planted on the ground.
A standard succulent soil with crushed granite or pumice to provide plenty of room for the water to drain will do.

You can also add layers of gravel above and below the potting mix to prevent root rot. You can either prepare your own succulent soil at home or purchase already prepared soil from your local plant store.

2. Watering Requirements

The amount of soil moisture is a critical consideration when it comes to growing an Adenium plant. These plants have developed unique features that allow them to thrive with less water. They can also tolerate a relatively high amount of moisture without suffering damage.

As a general rule, be sure to let the soil dry completely before watering your plant. When the soil is completely dry, saturate the potting mix and let the excess water drain away before putting the plant back to its spot.

A freshly watered desert rose.
They can also tolerate a relatively high amount of moisture without suffering damage.

Don’t water Adenium when it is in its period of dormancy because it can result in root rot issues. During winter, only keep the soil moist (not wet). If you are unsure about the level of moistness required, err on the dry side because it is easier to revive an underwatered Adenium than an overwatered one.

When spring or summer kicks in and new growth is visible on your plant, consider increasing the watering frequency slightly. Increased watering and fertilization will stimulate new growth and blooming.

The desert rose plant usually sheds its leaves when it isn’t receiving the right amount of water required to sustain its needs. Although the sight of a defoliated Adenium isn’t so good, the process doesn’t harm your plant in any way.

When you notice signs of leaf shading, all you need to do is start watering your plant frequently, and everything will be back to normal in no time. Always keep in mind that when your plant is exposed to slightly higher temperatures and full sunlight, it requires frequent watering.

3. Light Requirements

The desert rose plant is a sun-loving succulent. It thrives in desert settings and will bloom beautifully when exposed to as much light as possible. Don’t be afraid to expose your plant to direct sunlight because it cannot suffer sunburns like other succulents.

In fact, if you keep your plant in the shade, it will most likely become leggy and weak-stemmed. Exposure to full bright sunlight stimulates blossom production. The plant usually takes a break during the hottest and coldest months of the season, resulting in two flowering seasons a year.

Desert rose outdoor.
It thrives in desert settings and will bloom beautifully when exposed to as much light as possible.

The first flowering season starts early spring if the amount of light is right. From there, your plant should bloom steadily until mid-summer.

At this point, your plant will cease blooming for approximately six to eight weeks, only to resume in the early autumn months for the second blooming season. When temperatures start to drop, make sure you prune your plant and take it indoors to avoid frost damage.

If you are using artificial grow lights inside the house, ensure you leave them on for at least 12 hours a day. That will ensure your plant absorbs the required amount of light.

4. Temperature and Humidity

It is highly recommended you keep your plant in warm temperatures at all times. Ensure the temperature never falls to below 50oF. To achieve better results, maintain the temperature between 65oF and 90oF.

If you have planted your Adenium plant outdoors, you may be forced to cover it during the cold winter months. Otherwise, it won’t survive the frost damage. Humidity isn’t crucial to the succulent because it is accustomed to a relatively dry and hot climate.

5. Fertilization

Adenium plants should only be fertilized when actively growing during spring and summer. Use a half-strength fertilizer with a slightly higher amount of phosphorous to aid in flower formation.

Keep in mind that there is a critical balance between too much fertilizer and too little fertilizer because these succulents are highly sensitive to extreme amounts of fertilizer salts in the potting mix.

One of the common signs that you are applying an excessive amount of fertilizer to your plant is the browning of leaf edges.

Keep in mind that when you are watering your plant, the succulent soil will ensure excess water drains away immediately. Therefore, there is a minimum amount of water circulating through the soil to dilute the fertilizer salts.

Continued application of excess fertilizer can lead to a high buildup of toxic elements in the soil, which isn’t good for your plant.

6. Pruning

You should only prune your desert rose plant when it is necessary. Pruning must be done strictly in spring. To form a tree, shorten the side branches by 1/3 of their length. To form a bush, you need to go a little bit down.

The formation of a tree or bush can take some time, but if you do everything right, the results will be quite impressive.

A desert rose on the pot.
You should only prune your desert rose plant when it is necessary.

Desert rose plant pruning can be intimidating since not everyone knows how to do it right. To be on the safe side, use a pair of sharp scissors for pruning.

You can also use sterilized shears because they limit the possibility of spreading disease from one branch to another. Just make sure you use sharp blades to acquire clean cuts.

Don’t throw away the cuttings from pruning. Instead, use them to start new plants so that you can have lots of new plants. The only thing you need to know is how to transplant them.


Adenium plant is a widely loved succulent because it has attractive shapes and blooms for a prolonged time. It is also drought-resistant and can thrive with minimal care.

We hope you have learned a few tricks to keep your plant happy. As long as you provide your plant with the right conditions, you will surely come to love it as your best friend.

Last update on 2023-10-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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