Adenium (genus). Common Varieties: Obesum / Arabicum / Multiflorum / Somalense / Crispum / Arizona

If you’re a plant lover seeking something special to bring a little colour to your indoor garden, look no further. A little fussier than some popular houseplants, Desert Roses are still easy to grow and offer many unique looks and varieties to choose from. 

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Where Does It Come From? 

These exotic flowering plants are native to the dry climates of Africa and the Arabian peninsula. Specifically, these plants tend to thrive in regions with poor, gritty, sandy soil and extremely hot daytime temperatures. 

Why Should I Get One? 

  • Different varieties offer lots of choice in terms of colours and shapes. 
  • These plants can tolerate strong-sun locations where other plants (tropical forest species) would suffer from wilting and scorching. This makes them perfect for inclusion in cactus gardens and for sunny windowsills. 
  • If you are able to create a good environment for the plants, they will reward your hard work with stunning blooms in the summer. 

How Big Can It Grow? 

Due to the nature of the UK’s temperate climate, even grown indoors, a Desert Rose tends to remain pretty small. These are wonderful plants to grow in miniature or for a larger, free standing pot. In fact, their diminutive stature and architectural complexity often leads them to being confused with bonsai plants. 

Where Should I Keep It? 

Hailing from the desert means that these sun-worshippers require a full sun positioning where they are likely to be able to soak up hours of strong sunlight per day. They thrive on brightness and heat, so warm south-facing windows tend to work extremely well. Well-drained soil is also a necessity and these plants prefer being potted in a loose, sandy mixture rather than anything rich in peat and organics. These plants need to be kept warm: frosts or cold air will send them to the plant graveyard pretty quickly. Their desert habitat also means they prefer drier air and excessive humidity can lead to problems with pests and disease. 

How Often Should I Water It? 

Like most succulent species, the Desert Rose has a built-in system for surviving periods of drought: in this case a chubby central stem. These succulents are used to heavy rainy periods followed by a dormant, dry period. If you can mimic these conditions with your watering schedule, you will set yourself up for successful growth. In spring and summer when the plant is growing, keep the soil moderately moist – watering lightly twice a week. Reduce the watering in the autumn and winter when the plants go dormant. Diluted fertiliser in the spring and summer can be beneficial once per month. Feeding during the winter can lead to mineral overload and cause the plant damage. 

A little more challenging than some houseplant species, these plants do require a tad more know how and research to master. That being said, if you are persistent and able to closely replicate the plant’s natural conditions, you will be treated to the most spectacular flowerings of rose-like blooms. A botanical marvel, these stunning plants are high-risk, but very high reward. 


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