Adenium obesum

Adenium obesum
Adenium obesum

Adenium desert rose or Adenium obesum are heat tolerant succulents from Africa.

You will see them when in flower in the ‘Big Boxes’, however many of the select varieties are best sourced from online specialists.

The flowers are large for such a small plant, however it is the caudex that adds year round interest. Enthusiastic growers will actually ‘lift’ the plant every few years to expose more of the caudex.

Mostly grown as indoor plants and are an excellent flowering plant for growing in containers. If you live in a warmer climate then you could grow them outdoors in containers, or in the rock garden.

Red Flowering Adenium
Red Flowering Adenium

Flower colours vary, but the trumpet shaped flowers are most attractive usually in pink, red and white tones.

Although they will grow to over 6ft in the natural environment they tend to be much smaller in cultivation, often kept to less than 1m (3ft) especially if grown in containers.


Originally from Africa Adenium Obesum are really heat loving plants, so strictly indoors during the cooler months in all but the warmest climates.

Outdoors Zones 10 – 12.

We suggest growing in containers or pots that can easily be moved indoors or into a greenhouse.

These are a plant that is widely used in bonsai.

  • Winter dormant they will lose most of the foliage in cooler months, during this period refrain from watering.
  • Good sun with at least 6 – 7 hours a day from spring through summer.
  • As these plants grow they form a large caudex which in itself is a feature.
  • Flowering from spring through to fall, although if you are lucky enough to live in a warmer climate (Florida) then they may just flower whenever they feel like it.
  • A free draining potting mix is essential, a slow release fertiliser during spring seems to be adequate


Literally 100s of named cultivars are available. The variety is in the flower color and the flower form.

You may also be interested in

Containers, planters and garden pots
Aporophyllum (rats tail cactus)


The best method of propagation is from seeds, cuttings are also worth a try, why seeds ?

When you propagate from seeds you seem to get a better caudex (the fat or obese base that these plants are named after) and this is desirable.


  • Lack of flowers
    Usually caused by lack of light.
  • Leaf Drop
    Caused by cold temperatures
  • Yellow foliage
    Caused by cold temperatures or overwatering.
  • Mealybugs

Where to buy

Tropical plant nursery specializing in a wide variety of rare and unusual plants. Shipping is available to retail and wholesale customers nationwide. Our web site also contains lots of useful information on a variety of tropical plants (over 500 varieties) and a gardening guide.