Adenium obesum (Desert Rose)

Scientific Name

Adenium obesum (Forssk.) Roem. & Schult.

Common Names

Desert Rose, Mock Azalea, Impala Lily


Adenium coetaneum, Adenium honghel, Nerium obesum, Adenium arabicum, Adenium arboreum, Adenium micranthum, Adenium socotranum, Adenium somalense, Adenium speciosum, Adenium tricholepis, Cameraria obesa

Scientific Classification

Family: Apocynaceae
Subfamily: Apocynoideae
Tribe: Wrightieae
Genus: Adenium


Adenium obesum is an evergreen or drought-deciduous succulent shrub or small tree that grows up to 10 feet (3 m) tall. The stem base becomes 3.3 feet (1 m) or more in diameter with age and sometimes spreads over rocks. Leaves are spirally arranged, clustered toward the shoots' tips. They are leathery in texture, up to 6 inches (15 cm) long, and up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) wide. Flowers are tubular with five petals, red and pink, often with a whitish blush outward of the throat, up to 2 inches (5 cm) long, and up to 2.4 inches (6 cm) in diameter. The long, finger-like double fruits are grey to pale grey-brown and sometimes fringed with pink.

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USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

These are not difficult plants to grow well, provided they get enough sunlight and warmth. Like all succulents, they cannot tolerate sitting in water, and if you err, do it on the side of too little water. Use a specialized soil mix designed for cacti and succulents.

Repot as needed, preferably during the warm season. To repot a Desert Rose, make sure the soil is dry before repotting, then gently remove the plant from the pot. Knock away the old soil from the roots, making sure to remove any rotted or dead roots in the process. Treat any cuts with a fungicide and antibacterial solution. Place the plant in its new pot and backfill with potting soil, spreading the roots out as you repot. Leave the plant dry for a week or so, then begin to water lightly to reduce the risk of root rot.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for a Desert Rose (Adenium obesum).


Adenium obesum is native to the Sahel regions, south of the Sahara (from Mauritania and Senegal to Sudan) and tropical and subtropical eastern and southern Africa and Arabia.

Subspecies, Varieties, and Forms

  • Adenium obesum subsp. boehmianum
  • Adenium obesum subsp. oleifolium
  • Adenium obesum subsp. socotranum
  • Adenium obesum subsp. somalense
  • Adenium obesum subsp. swazicum
  • Adenium somalense var. crispum
  • Adenium arabicum


  • Back to genus Adenium
  • Succulentopedia: Browse succulents by Scientific Name, Common Name, Genus, Family, USDA Hardiness Zone, Origin, or cacti by Genus

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We are Thailand’s leading Adenium exporter, producing and distributing fresh Adenium seeds and seedlings to all over the world!

Because of attractive forms, various blooms and species, Adeniums or Desert Roses have become well-known and popular among plant lovers and collectors since 1990s. Recently, Thai breeders and growers can pollinate Adeniums’ flowers by hands, leading to a wide variety of hybrids.

We are one of the most successful Thai growers who can produce a high volume of quality seeds. We have our own nurseries and gardens where a wide range of Adenium species are carefully cultivated for export so that we can ensure high quality and the freshness of every seed we sell. Our customers are in many countries around the world such as The United States, France, Australia, and Indonesia.

Our web site is being developed to be an alternative online community for all adenium lovers regardless of skill and experience. This web site is also a new channel to meet our customers interested in our products. We are willing to support all adenium lovers with our experience and knowledge, hoping that growing Adenium could be an enjoyable experience for everyone.

Plants→Adeniums→Desert Rose (Adenium obesum)

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Shrub
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Water Preferences: Mesic
Dry Mesic
Plant Height : Up to 8 to 10 feet
Plant Spread : Up to 3 feet
Leaves: Semi-evergreen
Fruit: Dehiscent
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: Pink
Flower Time: Late winter or early spring
Late fall or early winter
Underground structures: Caudex
Suitable Locations: Xeriscapic
Resistances: Drought tolerant
Toxicity: Leaves are poisonous
Roots are poisonous
Fruit is poisonous
Propagation: Seeds: Provide light
Start indoors
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Stem
Other: Cuttings will root, but will rarely form a caudex
Containers: Suitable in 3 gallon or larger
Needs excellent drainage in pots
Miscellaneous: Goes Dormant

Although the Adenium ("Desert Rose") has all the looks of a succulent, with a water-reservoir trunk and root form, it is not grown the same way as a typical succulent.

The Desert Rose is a wonderful ornamental plant with its unusual bulbous, caudex base and beautiful blooms that come in shades of red, pink, and white. In nature, Adenium obesum reaches heights of 8 to 10 feet, but smaller specimens are grown as patio container plants or indoor houseplants and they are also popular trained as bonsai. Desert Rose is drought tolerant and prefers high light, doing best in full sun situations. It is considered evergreen but will lose its leaves during severe dry periods. The sap of Adenium obesum contains toxic glycosides, and care should be taken when pruning or handling the cut stems.

When re-potting, put this in a pot just slightly larger than its root system. Pot-bound plants can be watered frequently in hot weather. Otherwise, be careful about the watering regimen as these plants cannot tolerate sitting in water, especially in cool weather. Many of these plants lend themselves to "root spreading" at re-potting time. Whether the idea is to try to develop large roots or not, spreading the roots out during potting is recommended.

How to Grow Breathtaking Adenium Obesum (Rock Roses) at Home

The Adenium obesum is a deciduous, shrubby stem succulent within the Apocynaceae family. It’s native to Sachel regions south of the Sahara Desert, Eastern and Southern Africa, and Saudi Arabia. This frost-tender succulent has adapted to harsh, hot, dry deserts with limited water and nutrients.

These “rock roses” are closely related to the Oleander genus, and are quite easy to grow. They also have many points of interest for cacti and succulent collectors. Their unusual growth form, stunning tubular flowers, and glossy ovate leaves are particularly stunning.

They’re also used successfully in the fascinating art of bonsai growing around the globe.

Watch the video: Rose of the Desert Adenium Obesum of buten flower

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