Desert Rose (Adenium obesum)

When my greenhouse space increased, I decided to broaden my scope beyond orchids.  One of the plants that came to mind, was Adenium obesum, which I used to propagate for my dad more than 50 years ago.

Adenium obesum is a succulent related to Oleander (and thus has poisenous sap).  It grows in Ethiopia & Saudi Arabia, where it tolerates full sun and drought conditions.  Here, it should be watered & fertilized regularly during spring & summer; in the fall, scale back on watering, and during the winter water mature plants only once a month (otherwise it will rot).

50 years ago, I knew of only one color:  Pink shading towards white in the center of the flower (1st photo).  When I started to investigate this species last year, I discovered that many more colors are now available.  I purchased a number of plants for breeding; the addtional photos are from those that have bloomed so far this spring/summer.

What are its minimum light requirements?
Does it bloom once a year?
How long does a bloom typically last?

Do you mix up your own container soil?

It is a high light plant (full sun), which can be grown outdoors from late May through September here in NJ.

It blooms randomly throughout the active growth season.  I mix my own soil.  The last batch consisted of something like this:

  • 2 parts top soil
  • 1 part   composted manure
  • 2 parts sand
  • 1 part   perlite

In the future I will probably add 1 part ProMix, which is mostly peat.

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