Desert Rose Plant Care

Botanical Name: Adenium obesum

Desert rose plant is so easy to care for, it's a wonder why we don't see these beautiful succulents more often in nurseries and florist's shops.


Desert rose branches naturally, creating an attractive treelike house plant. Its succulent stems are covered top to bottom with long, evergreen leaves.

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The desert rose flower is a sight to behold, and you'll enjoy them in abundance each summer. Clusters of gorgeous pink or red flowers grow at the tips of the stems, with a succession of blooms that last for months.

Put this desert beauty in a sunny window year-round and pot it in a sandy, well-draining mix (cactus potting mix is ideal). It doesn't take much attention to keep desert rose plant happy and blooming.


Watering tip: This flowering succulent stores water in its swollen base, so it doesn't need watered often. Take care to water the potting medium only. Don't get water on the base of the plant because it will rot and may not recover.

Dropped leaves. This succulent shrub may drop its leaves and go dormant in the winter. Lack of light, dry soil or cold temperatures will often cause dormancy. Don't worry -- it'll regrow leaves when it gets what it wants.

Don't overpot your plant. It flowers best when slightly pot-bound. It's slow-growing and rarely needs repotted anyway.

Handle desert rose with care -- its sap is toxic. Keep it away from children and pets.

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Desert Rose Plant Care Tips

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Origin: East Africa

Height: 3 ft (90 cm); desert rose bonsai grows to 1 ft (30 cm)

Light: Direct sunlight

Water: Aim to keep the medium only lightly moist -- this plant won't tolerate overwatering.

Humidity: Average humidity.

Temperature: Average room temperatures 60-75°F, 16-24°C

Soil: Fast-draining mix, such as cactus potting mix. Or, mix equal parts peat moss and sharp sand.

Fertilizer: Feed every 2 weeks spring through fall with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted by half.

Propagation: Seeds


Green Thumb Tip

Give your desert rose as much light as you can.

You can move it out to the patio for the summer, if you want. It can take the summer sun and heat. Just be sure to bring it in before the temperature drops to 50°F/10°C.

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Buying Tip

Many beautiful hybrids are available to choose from. Desert rose flowers range from soft pink to deep red or white, or a variety of combinations.

Did you know...

Obesum means "fat" referring to the swollen trunk of this succulent plant.

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