By Laurelynn Martin and Byron Martin
Adeniums are well-loved for their gorgeous flowers and their bulbous, caudiciform trunks. They are highly sought after plants and can remain a manageable size for years making them valuable container plants.
Adeniums are arid land plants native to sub-Saharan Africa and although there are several species, Adenium obesum is the one that’s frequently grown as an ornamental. The common name is Desert Rose and when plants are in bloom, they create a spectacular floral display.
When grown from seed, the plant forms a caudex, or swollen base or trunk, and this adds to its ornamental beauty. In recent years, much hybridization has been done creating a diverse range of flower colors and interesting floral forms. In order to propagate these hybrids, the mother plant is grafted onto a seedling, thus giving the plant a full, attractive caudex as well as a wide array of flowers in various colors, sizes and shapes.
Because they can tolerate dry conditions, adeniums are well suited for the home environment being able to tolerate quite a bit of neglect. Keep temperatures high, preferably above 60˙F, although they can take it a bit cooler if grown very dry. Really the hotter, the better, so a 70˙F or higher air temperature is best.
In their native habitat, adeniums grow in full sun so they need good light to thrive. Direct sunlight is preferable, especially when they are in their active growth phase during the summer months.