Desert Rose

Desert rose is a low-maintenance succulent that produces dozens of trumpet-shaped flowers in shades of pink, rose, or white in the summer. Like many succulents, it needs conditions that are bright, warm, and dry.

Desert rose (Adenium obesum) and its many hybrids are often seen in retail garden centers. Flowers average 2–3 inches in diameter and may be single, double, or even triple. To maintain the profuse flowering, the plants must six hours or more of bright light each day.

Desert rose makes a dramatic specimen for a deck or patio but since it’s sensitive to temperatures below 40 degrees, it’s usually grown in containers that can be brought inside for winter. South Florida gardeners can grow this as a small shrub.

Take care not to overwater, since too much can lead to root rot. Over time, your desert rose can reach four or five feet tall and the lower portion of the trunk, called the caudex, will widen and swell.

Desert rose can have issues with scale; keep a look out for these tiny pests so that should your plant start to suffer, you can address the situation quickly. As a member of the same family as Oleander, desert rose is susceptible to being munched on by oleander caterpillars. Plants may naturally droop a bit during winter, but they will re-leaf after the cold season has passed.

UF/IFAS Publications


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