Desert Rose Succulent (Adenium obesum) Care Guide

Unique plants that are easy to grow and have fun with are widely popular amongst plant lovers. If you are a novice or an intrepid planter, Desert Rose is a perfect plant to start with. 

They look great inside the interior container garden or when used as a patio display. Two essential care considerations for desert rose succulent include a location that gets full sunlight and well-drained soil. 

Keep reading to learn more about desert rose plant and how to care for it.

What is Desert Rose Succulent?

Desert Rose Succulent, also called adenium obesum, it’s a striking plant with deep red flowers and succulent stems.

Desert Rose grows slowly, approximately only 12 inches each year. The thick succulent trunk coupled with Lucious and deep pink trumpeting flowers makes it a popular bonsai plant. Leaves are delicate. 

As each part is unique, appropriate care is needed. Characterized by swollen stems resembling the bonsai tree, the plant offers bright flowers. Yet to bloom flowers feature tight clusters of narrow green leaves. 

When growing inside your house, you have to be careful if you have pets and children. The sap is poisonous, and it’s strictly recommended to wash your hands immediately if you touch it when handling the plant. 

Desert Rose Succulent (Adenium obesum)

Some interesting and important facts about the plant are highlighted below:

Basis Table 

Common NameSabi star, Impala lily, Desert Rose, & Mock Azalea
Botanical NameAdenium Obesum 
Plant TypeSucculent 
Mature SizeHeight: 3.9 ft Width: 3.5 ft.
Sun ExposureAbundant Sunlight For Most Parts of the day is required
Soil TypeWell-drained and Sandy
Soil pHAcidic
Bloom SeasonSummers
Flower ColorRed, Pink, Rose
Hardiness Zones11 & 12 
Native RegionMadagascar, Middle East and Africa.
ToxicityToxic to both humans and pets

How to Care For Desert Rose Succulent?

Although tending is quite simple, you need to take adequate care of the plant. Proper water management and abundant sunlight are two most essential requirements. One reason it’s a popular plant grown indoors is that desert rose requires consistent warm temperatures. 

In the blooming season i.e., the summer months, it is full of vibrant red, rose and pink flowers. Adding elegance to it are the bright green leaves. It becomes dormant in winters and drops its foliage and flowers. 

Pot & Soil

Acclimated to dry and desert-like conditions, the desert rose plant requires a well-draining gravelly cactus or sandy soil. Preferably you should opt for a soil with a neutral to acidic pH value of around 6.0. 

Light & Temperature 

As the plant requires abundant sunlight for most parts of the day, you must place it in a corner that receives ample sunlight for a considerable day’s duration. A window or patio in the southern part of your house is ideal. For people living in suitable conditions to grow the plant outdoors, placing it in a garden where taller plants don’t shade is the best spot. However, some protection from the scorching noon heat is also required. 

Hence, ideally, a spot that remains warm for the entire day is a perfect growing condition for your plant. Technically speaking, exposure to cooler temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit isn’t good for desert rose plants to grow. Temperatures ranging between 65 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit provides the best thriving conditions. You need not worry about the humidity in warm conditions as desert rose is accustomed to the hot and dry climate. 


Depending on weather conditions, temperature, and the season, the watering requirements vary. In the growing season, i.e. summer and spring, you need to keep the soil moist and not saturated. Periodic checks and allowing it to dry are entirely necessary before rewatering. 

The container used for planting should have ample drainage holes as desert rose is susceptible to rot in moist conditions. In dormant stages, i.e. fall or winter, moisture levels reduce drastically and require minimal watering. By checking its trunk, you can ascertain if the plant receives enough water in the growing season. Suppose you observe a swollen, thick truck, it’s an indication that the plant is well-hydrated. 


To increase the nutrient dosage, you must feed the desert rose plant with liquid fertilizers. You should do this once every month during the growing season. Refrain from using fertilizers in the dormant period. 

How To Propagate A Desert Rose Succulent?

You can grow a desert rose from seeds and branch cuttings. When growing from the branch cutting results in a bulbous trunk plant. Below we have a step-by-step guide for propagating the plant. 

  1. You need garden gloves, rooting hormone, sterilized pruners, well-draining potting mix and a clean pot before starting. 
  2. As saplings are toxic, wear garden gloves and use pruning snips to cut 5 to 6-inches from the tip of the branch. 
  3. Let the cutting dry out for a couple of days. 
  4. Now pour some water on the cut ends and dip it in the rooting hormone. 
  5. Plant this cut end inside a well-draining growing medium such as perlite or sand mixed with potting soil. 
  6. Pour water on the cutting daily but ensure the water drains out of the soil. It takes about 2-6 weeks for the cutting to take root. 
  7. Later, you would notice new growth after six weeks have passed. Test by tugging the stem gently, and you will feel it is deep rooted inside. 

Potting and Repotting a Desert Rose

After the roots fill the container, the plant becomes root bound and repotting is required. You might need to do this every year, but you may keep it in the current container if you don’t want it to grow further. The growth of desert rose slows down if it’s kept rootbound—late winters or before the new growing season is perfect for repotting.  

While repotting the succulent, the soil should be arid before gently removing the plant. Remove old soil from the roots along with dead or rotted roots. If you notice bruises or cuts, you may apply an antibacterial or fungicide solution. Place the entire plant inside the new pot and backfill with a potting mix. Spread the roots while you repot. Allow it to dry for a week and reduce the shock to the plant. Later, water it and ensure that water drains out thoroughly. 


Plants are in the best pots for cactus

Some common questions might come to your mind while you have gone through our article. We have answered some below:

Does Desert Rose Like Full Sun?

Growing in the wild, Desert Rose is commonly found in areas that receive full sunlight. Hence, direct sunlight is preferable, especially during the active growth phase. 

Is Desert Rose An Indoor Plant?

Desert Rose is a common plant grown indoors if provided with ideal growing conditions. 

Is Desert Rose Poisonous To Touch?

The sap of the plant is poisonous, and never let your pets or children come in contact with it. Wash your hands immediately if you or others touch them with bare hands. 

Final Thoughts

Desert Rose has grown in popularity for its attractive tree and bonsai shapes. It grows into a beautiful plant and has excellent adaptability features. It features a long-flowering period; it is drought tolerant, requires minimal watering, and remains colorful. 

Being a bonsai plant, it also comes with several medicinal benefits, such as its used to treat wounds and soles of the feet, take care of your skin, relieve pain, treat toothaches, and treat ulcers. 

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