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Sowing Adenium Obesum

Growing Adenium Obesum from seed is relatively easy. There are a lot of guides and video’s on the internet, personally I like to do the folowing;

  1. Soak your seeds in luke warm water over night.
  2. Prepare a container for the seeds. You can best use a well-draining growing medium. I like to use a mixture of cactus compost (60%) and perlite (40%).
  3. Place the seeds in the growing medium in horizontal position and cover them with a very thin layer of the growing medium.
  4. Water your Adenium seeds well to increase contact with soil.
  5. Place the container on a heating pad and keep the temperature of the growing medium between 27 – 29°C. If you don’t have a heating pad you could place them on a radiator or a sunny window sill. (I’ve even seen people placing seeds on a pc!)
  6. Gently water them once every three days (when it begins to dry out) until the seedlings appear. Do not let the medium dry out and do not let the mixture become water logged. It helps to place the container in a plastic bag to retain moisture. Make sure to open it regularly.
  7. Seeds should germinate in 1 week. It may take longer if the growing conditions are suboptimal. I’ve had seeds germinate a month later than their sibbelings that were planted on the same date.
  8. When the seedlings are about a month old, they will be large enough to transplant to a permanent container.


It’s quite easy to take care of a Desert Rose. As long a you can provide lots of (sun)light and don’t over water it.

Adenium Obesum thrives in a full sun environment. Pick a nice sunny spot in your home (southern-facing window) so that the plant receives sunlight throughout the day. In the summer it is possible to move your plant outdoors for an extra boost. Make sure the plant has time to adjust to the higher light levels outside. Some protection (shade) from high-noon sun is requiered, which can burn the leaves.

The desert rose plant has varying water requirements depending on the time of year and temperature. During its growing season (late spring and summer), keep its soil moist but never saturated. Check on the soil periodically and allow it to dry out completely before watering. Also, plant your desert rose in a container that has ample drainage holes. The desert rose can be susceptible to rot if it becomes too moist (a clay or terra cotta pot can also help with wicking away excess moisture).

In the fall and winter months (when the plant typically goes dormant in the wild); drastically reduce moisture, watering only minimally once a month or so. If you’re curious if your plant is receiving enough water during its growing season, you can look at its trunk for the answer. A swollen, thick trunk (in proportion to the size of your plant) is a great indication that your plant is well-hydrated.

As its name implies, the desert rose plant is acclimated to naturally dry, desert-like conditions, meaning well-draining sandy or gravelly cactus soil. The soil should have a neutral to acidic pH, ideally hovering right around 6.0. Unlike most cacti they do require quite a bit of fertilizer to bloom well!

Temperature and humidity
Adenium Obesum thrives in warm temperature. The ideal temperature is between 18-32°C. The plant will not survive long with temperatures below 10°C. Because the plant is used to dry dessert climates, humidity is not that important.

For an added dose of nutrients (and potentially more flowers!), you can feed your desert rose with liquid fertilizer (diluted by half) once a month during its active growth period. Do not fertilize the plant during its dormant period. I start fertilization in early spring when I see the first signs of the new growth usually in march.

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