The genus Adenium is composed of 15 species of shrubs in the family Apocynaceae originating in tropical areas of eastern and southern Africa and Arabia. The main species of the Desert Rose are: Adenium obesum, Adenium arabicum, Adenium speciosum, somalense Adenium, Adenium coetaneum.

It is commonly known by the names of Desert Rose, Adenio, Sabi or Kudu Star.

The Desert Rose is a very slow growing succulent perennial shrub that grows to just over 1.5 metres and just over half a metre in a pot. The leathery leaves are presented in spirals and are quite simple. Attractive pink or red flowers are tubular and with five petals about 5cm in diameter and resemble the Oleander (Nerium Oleander). Care must be taken with toxic sap of these plants.

The Desert Rose is often grown as a houseplant and as bonsai, although it is possible to grow them outdoors provided it is well protected because they do not like the temperature to fall below 10°C. They may lose leaves in winter but in spring they reoccur.

The Desert Rose needs full sun exposure outdoors and several hours of direct sunlight indoors. Keep in mind that it will not tolerate low temperatures.

The soil must be well drained and rich in organic matter. The plant needs very little watering, possibly every 15 days in spring, summer and autumn gradually reducing to almost no water in winter (period of rest). Just treat the plant a few times in summer with a special fertilizer for cacti and succulents.

The Desert Rose can be attacked by white fly and aphids, but most damage can be done with excess water and cold.

Cuttings can be taken from suckers produced by the plant itself (be careful when handling because of its toxic sap) or by seeds, but given its slow growth it is better to acquire new plants from garden centres and shops that sell plants.

By Jardineria El Milagro