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Adenium Plant

Adenium Plant Care and Grow: Everything You Need to Know

You must have seen Adenium and marvelled at their bright flowers in shades of red, pink, and deep purple blooming on small stems. Do you want to plant them in your house but are struggling to understand how to take care of them?  Don’t worry! We got your back.

Although the plant doesn’t require strict supervision, there are certain things about adenium bonsai plant care you need to keep in mind. 

Before jumping on to adenium plant care, check out some exciting facts about Adenium Plant.

Adenium Plant Facts

  • Botanical Name: Adenium obesum
  • Common Name: Desert rose, Sabi Star, desert azalea, and Japanese frangipani
  • Plant Type: Succulent tree
  • Mature Size: Up to 9 feet high and 4 feet wide outdoors; 2 feet tall indoors
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Type: Sandy, free-draining soil
  • Soil pH: 6.0
  • Toxicity: Toxic to humans, dogs, and cats
  • Bloom time: Summer
  • Flower color: Pink, red, rose

Let us cover these things in detail.

Facts regarding its structure

The desert rose is another name for adenium. It’s a breathtakingly lovely plant. The colors of this shrub’s blossoms are highly appealing. Adenium comes in various colors, including white, pink, and red.

The stem of the adenium bush is sturdy with succulent branches. The leaves of adenium plants are oval in shape with a width ranging between 2 to 7 inches. The size of an adenium plant is determined by its maturity and where it is planted. These adenium plants can be used both indoors and outdoors and adenium plant care is quite easy.

Growth and nutrition facts

Drought-deciduous evergreen Adenium obesum can lose its leaves during severe cold spells. It features a bulbous trunk and mushy, succulent leaves.

The plant also likes stable warm temperatures, which is why it is widely grown as an indoor plant in India. 

It is straightforward to care for a desert rose plant, although it does require some finesse. Like other succulent plants, it requires careful watering and plenty of sunlight.

You should take care of the sap of the adenium plant with extreme caution. It is poisonous; thus, pets and children should be kept away from it.

New growth should be trimmed and shaped as soon as possible. The Adenium can be easily developed if you do so throughout the spring and summer seasons when it is at its most active growth.

Desert Rose Types

Adenium comes in a variety of forms. Adenium obesum, on the other hand, is the most common and easiest to find. The following are some of the other subspecies:

  1. Adenium obesum subsp. oleifolium: This species grows upto 16 inches in height with a broad tube stem, narrow olive green blade-like leaves, pink, tubular blooms native to South Africa and Botswana.
  1. Adenium obesum subsp. socotranum is the largest species, growing upto 15 feet in height with an eight-foot diameter trunk and being native to Socotra, an Indian Ocean island between Somalia and Yemen. In spring, pink flowers with a diameter of up to five inches can bloom when the shrub is leafless.
  1. Adenium obesum subsp. somalense: It is native to Eastern Africa and has narrow blade-like leaves and twisting branches. It reaches a mature height of 16 feet and has a bulging, twisted trunk—pink, white, or scarlet red trumpet-shaped blooms.
  1. Adenium obesum subsp. swazicum: Summer Impala Lily is the popular name. It is a dwarf plant that rarely grows above two feet height and is native to Swaziland and South Africa. The showy flowers range in color from pink to deep reddish-pink.
  2. Adenium arabicum: The Adenium arabicum originated from Saudi Arabia and Yemen is one of the most common Adenium varieties utilized for bonsai practice. It has large leathery leaves, and the plant itself is fairly wide in size. These features make it an ideal shrub and tree to grow. There isn’t a considerable contrast between the trunk and branches; it often appears stocky and wide. Arabicum originates from the Arabian Peninsula. 

Now that we have covered the facts of the adenium plant, let’s get into why people are head over heels for this beautiful plant. What makes this plant so charismatic? Is it flowers, or its easy adenium plant care?

What makes the Adenium Plant (desert rose) special? 

Other than its beautiful and appealing flowers, Adenium Plant (desert rose) is special in many ways:

Temperature & Sunlight: Adenium Obesum grows wild in Africa’s arid subtropics. This region’s climate has warm winters with an average temperature of +12°C, and hot summers with plenty of sunshine. In India, we get plenty of sunlight in most regions, making it ideal for your home.

Ease of Growing: It is simple to grow the plant from seed and flower. You can create suitable conditions for your Desert Rose isn’t tricky. You can plant parents easily with this handy plant. It won’t cause you much trouble as adenium plant care is super friendly.

Adenium Plant Care Guide

Although you may not need to supervise it daily, you should know some basic adenium bonsai plant care rules. We will list down essential directions on how to care for adenium plant. Let’s dive into it.

Adenium Plant Lighting

When growing Adenium indoors, keep in mind that it requires a lot of light. As a result, the Adenium plant requires it to be placed in a south-facing window.

You can also plant your desert rose plant outdoors. Pick an ideal location in your garden that is not covered by taller plants but provides some protection from the scorching sun during midday.

They become skinny if they are in the shadow or don’t get enough sunshine resulting in less bright blooms.

Note for Adenium plant care: If the leaves on your desert rose to start to turn consistently yellow, it could be an indication that it’s stressed from too much heat or sun. Adenium plant care demands that you remove the plant from the light source or relocate it to a sunny position that receives afternoon shade.

Adenium Plant Temperature Tolerance

When growing Adenium at home, maintain an indoor air temperature of +25°C in the winter and +30°C in the summer. Adenium bonsai plant care instructs putting Adenium outside during the summer, preferably at a location with sufficient rain protection. Because the adenium bonsai plant is adapted to a dry, hot climate, humidity is insignificant in adenium plant care.

In the winter, the air temperature in the room where the flower is kept should not be below 10°C with a temperature range of +12°C to +15°C feeling ideal at this time. Ensure the roots aren’t overheated; otherwise, the bush may perish.

Note for Adenium plant care

If your desert rose loses its leaves in the winter, don’t be frightened; this is a normal occurrence in adenium bonsai plant care. When the plant emerges from dormancy in the spring, it will regrow.

Adenium Plant Watering

Because the adenium bonsai plant is a succulent plant, it doesn’t require a lot of water. Adenium plant care requires that it is only watered every 7 to 10 days on an average, and it’s crucial to let the soil dry out.

The water requirements of the desert rose plant vary based on the season and temperature. Keep the soil wet but not waterlogged during the adenium plant‘s growing period (late spring and summer). Check on the soil regularly and let it dry fully before watering. Also, make sure your desert rose is in a container with plenty of drainage holes.

The essential part of Adenium bonsai plant care is that plants need to be hydrated with a sprayer during the season of intensive growth (spring and summer). Spray the plant gently once it begins to flower; the water should not fall on the flowers’ surface.

Watering should be sparse and infrequent during the winter. Water the Adenium only once the substrate has dried out if it is kept at a temperature of +15°C to +20°C during the winter. If the plant is kept in a cooler location throughout the winter, water it just occasionally or not at all.

Fertilize For Adenium Plant

It is sufficient to feed your bonsai once a month during the summer. Your desert rose bonsai should be treated every few weeks with a diluted balanced fertilizer such as 1:1:1 while actively growing.

Unless the tree is actively generating new shoots, it does not need to be nourished in the winter. Instead of liquid fertilizer, solid and organic fertilizer can be used when the plants are kept outside.

Ideal feed for Adenium Plant Care

If you’re growing adenium in a pot, you must fertilize it once in 4 weeks as the plant is growing in a small container. NPK 19:19:19 is the best balanced fertilizer.

You can get NPK 19:19:19 here.

How to use NPK?

Add half tea spoon (3-5gms) in 1 litre of water and pour the solution in the soil of two plants. Repeat this every 15-20 days.

Adenium Plant Pruning

You can prune the Adenium Bonsai all year. Blooms appear on fresh shoots, so prune at the suitable moment. Pruning encourages ramification, which leads to the growth of more flower buds. Make clean cuts above a leaf node or junction to trim back lengthy shoots and chop off defective sections.

When working on the plant, wear gloves to avoid the deadly milk sap! Pruning in adenium plant care guide can be challenging, but the end effect will be spectacular if you do everything perfectly.

Note for Adenium Bonsai Plant Care: Many plants have several growths, and if you cut one-off, don’t throw it away; transplanting them will result in many new plants.

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Grafting is the process of uniting plant tissues to continue to grow together.

(One of the plants is given a wound, and the other is placed into it so that the tissues of both plants can grow together. You should protect the injury to prevent pests from entering the graft until it heals.)

Regardless of how much you seed, you’ll always get a new variety, not a clone of the previous one. Grafts are commonly utilized to retain all of the features of the Adenium variety. Adenium grafting also aids in the formation of the desired crown shape.

Adenium Plant Repotting

In the spring, young Adeniums should be repotted, while adult plants should only be repotted if necessary. Repot with root pruning every two or three years in late spring. Adenium should be planted in a light-colored pot to prevent a scorching root system. 

Excess wetness will destroy the Desert Rose, so a well-draining soil mix is required. You should allow the soil of the adenium plant to dry out a little before repotting, and don’t water for a few days afterward, as with other succulents. 

A substantial amount of sod soil and broken bricks should be used in the soil mixture for repotting a mature plant. Your bottom of the pot should have an adequate drainage layer.

Note for adenium plant care: You should water the adenium plant after 4–6 days following repotting.


As mentioned earlier, the Adenium plant, also known as desert rose, is toxic to children and pests. As adenium contains deadly sap, properly wash your hands with soap after working with it. You should place the flower in an area out of reach of animals and children. If you decide to use Adenium to decorate your home, you must avoid poisoning.

You need to be careful as both cats and dogs can be poisoned by adenium. Ensure your dogs and cats are not in the reach of the adenium plants and do not chew the plant’s leaves. It can cause indigestion, vomiting, and weakness. Bring your pet to a veterinarian to see signs of poisoning. Your attention should be equally towards your pets and adenium plant care.

Adenium Diseases and Pests

Aphids, spider mites (tetranychus urticae), mealybugs, and scales are all common pests of desert rose.

Whenever you notice any signs of infestation, ensure to spray your desert rose plant with neem oil insecticide. It is particularly advised in adenium bonsai plant care.

Adenium bonsai plant care also involves wiping away the pests if they are visible with a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol, then thoroughly spraying the leaves in the sink or shower to eradicate any lingering pests.

Winter protection: 

Adenium plants can’t endure winter or freezing temperatures for a longer period. Once the temperature touches the 50 degrees Fahrenheit mark, it will trigger its slowed dormant phase and will indicate it through leaf drop. 

To save your plant from winter and keep it alive, carry the plant indoors, refrain from watering it, and put it someplace it will not freeze, you can choose places like in a garage or basement where the temperature stays above freezing. It will not require any care or sunlight until the spring. Once the temperature turns warmer, slowly nourish the plant with water, set it in a window or near a window with a bright light exposure, and slowly reintroduce your plant to outdoor living. 

Other Problems in Adenium plant care:

Rotting of the root

These succulents are prone to difficulties if they are overwatered, as they are succulents. Reduce watering immediately if you observe the plant’s leaves are yellowing from the outside and small spots are appearing on the caudex. In such conditions, adenium plant care becomes necessary. Allow the soil to dry fully. Once the soil of the plant has dried out, resume watering, and make sure the pot has lots of drainage holes to keep excess water from soaking the roots.

As you have learnt the basics of how to care for Adenium plant, now is the time to know some important aspects of growing the desert rose plant.

Yellowing leaves and leaf drop:

A common sign of overwatering is yellowing leaves and leaf drops. These signs are early signs of root rot as well.  You will be required to extract the affected and injured leaves and stems and probably unpot the root ball. If you see any darkened, mushy roots, cut out the injured roots with a sharp knife. Between each cut, sterilize the blade. Use a fungicide, according to the packet instructions. Transplant the rest of the healthy plant roots in a well-draining soil mix.

Leaf spot:

Powdery mildew leaves white cotton-like coating marks on the upper side of the leaf surfaces. It can lead to malformed development along with a white powdery-looking substance on the leaves, stems, and twigs (basically all over the tree). This tends to extend more frequently during chilly, humid nights and warm days. Powdery mildew spreads ideally humidity. Mist the plant leaves and use a fungicide, study the instructions on the package, and use the dose accordingly. Trim when stems and branches cluster up. Good spacing between plants lowers the risk of powdery mildew.

How to grow Adenium Plant

You can either buy the adenium plant online or grow from the seeds or propagate them. 

First, we will cover growing the adenium plant from the seeds.

Growing from the seeds

Always begin by deciding on a location for the plant. It should be sunny to guarantee the optimal Adenium plant care. 

The spring season is the optimum time in the year to plant adenium plants seeds for them to thrive. 

  • Use a sand and soil mix and a well-draining potting mix. 
  • To rehydrate the seeds, you should immerse them in water for several hours or at least up to a day.
  • Place one seed every two inches on the growing pot. 
  • You should apply a thin coating of soil mix to the top.
  • Keep the adenium plant well-watered and in a warm environment. 
  • Later, water the soil only when it starts to dry out. 
  • You can also sprinkle the soil or water the container underneath, but be careful not to get the soil wet. 
  • Move the container to a bright position once the seedlings have sprouted, which should take seven to ten days.

Note for Adenium bonsai plant care: You can use regular soil, but a cactus soil mix with coarse grit, perlite, sand, and gravel is recommended for adenium bonsai plant care.

Propagating a desert rose plant.

Branch cuttings and seeds can be used to grow beautiful adenium plants. If you replicate the plant from a branch cutting rather than a seed, the new plant may not have the same bulbous trunk as the original.

Things you need before you begin:

Garden gloves, sterilized pruners, a clean pot, and a potting mix

The following are the steps for propagating a stem cutting:

  • Put on garden gloves since the sap of this plant is poisonous. Take a 5 to 6 inch cut from the tip of a branch using your pruning snips.
  • Allow a day or two for the cutting to dry.
  • Dip the cut end in rooting hormone after wetting it.
  • Plant the cut end in perlite or sand mixed with potting soil in a well-draining growing medium.
  • Water the cuttings daily, but make sure that the water drains away from the soil. In two to six weeks, the cutting should take root.
  • You should see fresh growth after six weeks, or if you gently tug at the stem, it should feel anchored in place.

Though, adenium plant care is easy. You should be attentive when the plant isn’t flourishing well.

At last, we will cover some of the frequently asked questions related to adenium bonsai plant care.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What Is the Growth Rate of Desert Rose Bonsai?

Ans. Despite being a slow-growing species, desert rose bonsai plants can grow up to 1 foot per year with regular fertilization and lots of sunlight. This species tends to cease growing if the pot size is too small, so move yours to a larger container until it reaches the desired height.

Q. Is it possible to grow a Desert Rose Bonsai indoors?

Ans. Under favourable conditions, desert rose bonsai can thrive indoors. Because this species needs bright, direct light, place it in a location that gets plenty of it, such as a south-facing window. It is required to keep your plant healthy, make sure the temperature does not dip below 40℃ at night as it is ideal for adenium bonsai plant care.

Q. What is the growth rate of Desert Rose bonsai?

Ans. Desert Rose bonsai can grow up to 1 foot per year with regular adenium plant care, fertilization, and lots of sunlight, despite being a slow-growing species. This species has a tendency to cease growing if the pot size is too small; therefore, move yours to a larger container until it reaches the desired height.

Q. How Do I Make a Desert Rose Bloom?

Ans. Depending on the cultural circumstances, the desert rose will blossom 7-8 months after sowing. Adenium bonsai plant care involves getting at least 6 hours of sunlight each day. Ensure to fertilize your adenium bonsai plant at least once a month during the spring and summer to increase blooming. If you just repotted your plant, it might be concentrating its efforts on growing new roots rather than blossoms. Allow it to adapt to its new growth environment over time.


The desert rose bonsai is a wonderful little tree that, with a little care, will provide you with years of enjoyment. It will repay you with a profusion of huge pink blooms twice a year if you protect it from cold.

We have discussed how to care for adenium plant. For proper Adenium bonsai plant care, keep it in full sunlight during the spring and summer, water it little, fertilize it even less, and bring it inside when it gets cold. It’s as easy as it gets. 

The natural similarity of the desert rose plant to a bonsai plant, with a low height when mature and a clean canopy sitting atop the graded stem, is an interesting bit of desert rose plant information. Many gardeners seem to struggle with desert rose bushes, but adenium plant care is relatively simple if you bear in mind Adenium’s water, temperature, and lighting requirements.

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One comment

  1. Eva Pires

    Read your article it was really helpful.
    I wanted to know what is that thick horizontal growth on the adenium plant . Is it natural to have it growing on the plant. If not how do I get rid of it.
    I would like to share the picture of it .

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