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Desert Rose

Adenium obesum

Desert Rose Plant Features

Looking for a dramatic low-water succulent plant? Try desert rose! This sun-loving plant is perfect for you if you don't want to water a lot and want a variety that looks different than the typical spiky, spiny succulents. 

Desert rose looks like a bonsai; it has a thick, swollen truck (that holds water during times of drought) and shiny, dark green leaves. But the real appeal comes from its showy, trumpet-shaped flowers that appear in festive shades of pink, white, purple, and red. Look around and you can often find bicolor varieties, types with double flowers, or those with variegated foliage. 

Desert rose looks beautiful when planted in the landscape as an annual (in the North) or perennial (in frost-free regions), but is also an excellent tropical plant for container gardens. No matter where you grow desert rose, it's a perfect companion for cacti and other succulents. Because it is a tropical plant, it doesn't survive frost (temperatures of 32F or 0C). 

Desert Rose Questions?
Send us an email and one of our succulent plant experts will get back to you! Or sign up for our free our monthly email newsletter. We share fresh tips on growing plants like desert rose indoors and out.

Get more tips for growing and decorating with desert rose in our new free cacti and succulent guide!

Desert Rose Growing Instructions

Desert rose is a sun-loving plant, so grow it in the brightest spot you have. It's equally outstanding grown in landscape beds or borders as it is in containers and planters on decks, patios, and other outdoor spaces.

Water desert rose regularly for best results. The plant tolerates low-water conditions, but if it dries out too much, it will lose some or all of its leaves. (Don't worry if this happens; your desert rose will grow new leaves when it starts to get enough water again.)  

Fertilize desert rose in spring and summer, if you wish, with a general-purpose fertilizer. Take care to follow the directions on the fertilizer packaging. 

Because desert rose is a slow-growing plant, pruning is not necessary.

Note: Desert rose is not meant for human or animal consumption. All parts of this plant are considered poisonous. 


  • Light

    Outside: Sun

  • Colors

    Pink, Purple, Red, Variegated, White

  • Water

    Low water needs, Medium water needs

  • Special Features

    Attracts butterflies
    Deer/rabbit resistant
    Super-easy to grow


Complement your Desert Rose with these varieties:
Succulents
Desert rose offers beautiful flowers that accent virtually any succulents.

Cactus
Desert rose is a natural companion for cactus.


Question
Q: Why are my desert rose plant leaves turning yellow and falling off?

Several factors can make desert rose develop yellow leaves that fall off the plant. First off, make sure your plant is getting enough water. While it tolerates minimal watering, it does best when watered -- and fertilized -- regularly in spring and summer. 

If you've just purchased your desert rose, it may be stress. Like many plants, desert rose will react to stress by dropping some leaves. Once it adapts to its new home, it should recover and put out fresh new foliage. 

Also be sure your desert rose is getting enough light. The plant can lose foliage when it's grown in too much shade, especially if it is overwatered and in shade. 


Varieties: Our Favorites

Adenium obesum Double Desert rose

Adenium obesum

Double desert roses have two or three times the typical number of petals and their flowers look more like roses than trumpets.

Desert Escape
Adenium obesum Picotee Desert Rose

Adenium obesum

Pictoee-type desert roses have flowers edged in a contrasting color. They're often white, with red or pink rims.

Desert Escape
Adenium obesum Purple Desert Rose

Adenium obesum

Purple desert roses have blooms in shades of purple and lavender.

Desert Escape
Adenium obesum Red Desert Rose

Adenium obesum

Red desert roses have scarlet, red, or maroon flowers. They're dramatic tropical plants!

Desert Escape
Adenium obesum Striped Desert Rose

Adenium obesum

Striped desert roses have streaks and stripes of a contrasting color up their petals.

Desert Escape
Adenium obesum Variegated Desert Rose

Adenium obesum

Variegated desert roses have foliage edged or streaked in cream, white, or yellow, making them just as interesting even when they're not in bloom.

Desert Escape
Adenium obesum White Desert Rose

Adenium obesum

White desert roses have pure white flowers. They can be single or double.

Desert Escape