All about Adenium Desert Rose

Adenium is a species of flowering plants belonging to the Dogbane family also called an Apocynaceae family.

It is a small group of plants found during the dry climates of sub-Saharian Africa and in the southern part of the Arabian peninsula.

Adenium Obesum is the only species but under it, they are many wild subspecies or varieties.

adenium pink flowers

Most of them are distributed across the African region (Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan..etc) and Asian Region (Pakistan, India..etc).

Commonly it is referred to as Desert rose and the scientific name is Adenium Obesum.

It also has other names like Impala Lily, Sabi Star, Kudu Lily and many more. It is also called as “ornamental plant” in tropical countries.


The name desert rose contradicts the plant because the plant has no thorns and it is not related to the rose family.

The Desert rose is a shrub or small tree called bonsai having a peculiar shape with beautiful flowers in colors from deep red to pure white and having oval and spirally arranged leaves on it.

The bark is pale yellow in color initially and then it turns to grey and brown along with succulent stems.

Botanical features of Desert Rose:

The height of the Desert Rose is 3 to 9 feet and its spread is 3 to 5 feet.

The plant grows well in rocky and sandy soils. It requires complete sunlight and water sometimes.

The desert rose is poisonous to both humans and animals.

adenium plant
Adenium in Shallow, Wide pot

The Desert plant attracts hummingbirds and butterflies.

The unique feature of it is that desert rose grows in wild (outdoors) but it can also be cultivated indoors. It grows great in shallow containers with wide mouth. This pot stimulated bulb shape to the trunk of the plant for Bonsai like look.

How to Grow Desert Rose?

The desert rose blooms during summer and spring seasons.

The desert roses are propagated from seeds or stem cuttings. If grown from stem cutting it must be dried before planting it and expose them to sunlight before they start to grow.

adenium baby plants

During the summer season when the desert rose is growing it needs to be treated like a tropical plant that is, it must be exposed to complete sunlight and must be watered regularly. The temperature should be around 21 to 26 degrees Celsius.

During the winter season, the plant can be moved in (indoor) and need not be watered regularly. It can be watered once in 2 to 3 weeks. It is mostly treated like a cactus.

The Desert rose needs to be fertilized, trimmed or thinned once like cutting off the long branches once in a month or before the spring starts.

The desert rose needs to be repotted every one or two years and the size of the pot or container must be larger than the previous one.

Aphids, Mealybugs and spider mites may attack the desert roses of poor condition.

Medicinal use of Adenium:

Desert rose is a traditional medicinal remedy in African countries.

Research says that it contains different groups of chemical compounds such as carbohydrate, cardiac glycoside, flavonoid, prenylated flavonoid terpenoids, and pregnanes, etc.

It is a rare endemic medicinal plant in Oman. By pharmacological activities, these are considered to be antimicrobial, anticancer, antioxidant, antiviral.

It also treats venereal diseases, muscle pain, joint pain, heart problems and many more.

The lotion extracted from the roots and the bark when used alone or when combined or mixed with other plants is used externally for treating different skin diseases, ulcers, and to kill lice. The root decoction is used as nose drops for rhinitis.

The latex is used in order to prevent tooth decay or for healing the wounds.


The desert rose also called adenium in short form was commercialized in Brazil a few years ago in an unorganized or informal way where the people could buy it from small producers of flowering plants only. But, now it is available everywhere as the market has become organized, people could purchase it from flower shops and supermarkets at affordable prices. It is very common and easy to find out the flowering plants of two to three years but the older or traditional plants are also in common and can be found with some specialized florists these days

Can Adenium be Grown Indoors?

Yes, Adenium can be grown indoors or outdoors. It is also low maintenence plant that doesn’t require much watering.

How to take care of Adenium?

Most common reason Adenium go bad is due to over-watering. Remember this is a desert plant. Ensure that the soil is well draining and allow it to dry before rewatering.

How much Sunlight is good for Adenium?

Adenium loves soaking in the sun. 5 to 6 hours of bright sunlights results in healthy blooming of flowers. This plant grows fast if it keeps getting good amount of sunlight.