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Desert rose plantThe Desert rose plant, Adenium obesum obesum: nursery production. Perhaps because of the common name, many nurserymen and gardeners think desert rose is difficult to grow in a warm, wet climate like that of South Florida. Desert rose is, however, quite commonly cultivated in humid, tropical areas like India, The Philippines, and Thailand. If a few simple precautions are taken, desert rose grows into a spectacular low maintenance shrub, contributing both its distinctive form and an abundance of exceptionally showy flowers.
Thank you for : University of Florida
Desert rose requires excellent drainage; if it is not provided, the roots rot, resulting in poor growth or death of the plant. Therefore, all steps necessary to provide good drainage should be completed before plants are installed. These steps include: 1) Construct a raised bed in areas that are likely to flood, or where drainage is slow. Use a soil mix that drains freely. 2) Choose a site in full sun and with good air circulation. 3) Avoid areas where automatic sprinklers are used.
To construct a raised bed, you can use crushed rock or debris from holes dug for other plants to build up a berm (mound with a flat top) 12 – 18” above the surrounding area. Cover with a 2-3” layer of a 3:1 mix of sand:top soil, soak well with water, and allow the mound to settle for a few days. Install the plants no deeper than they were growing in their containers. The backfill must drain freely.
During the first 2–3 yrs young plants make rapid growth if provided with adequate fertilizer, then growth slows down as they mature. Give young plants a full strength complete liquid fertilizer every 2 wks during Spring, then a slow release palm special fertilizer in early Summer and again in early Fall. Liquid fertilizer can be used during the dry Winter months when temperatures stay above 80ºF (don’t fertilize below 80ºF). For more mature plants, reduce or eliminate the liquid fertilizer, but continue the slow release fertilizer.
A. obesum is found in sub-Saharan Africa from The Sudan into Kenya and westward to Senegal, and south to Natal and Swaziland. A few occur in Yemen, on the SW corner of the Arabian peninsular. In their native environment the plants are variable in appearance and floral display, but are usually slow growing and long lived, surviving for hundreds of years. In areas where they are indigenous, Winters are dry and cold enough to induce a dormant period including an associated loss of foliage.
STEMS AND LEAVES. Adeniums are pachycaul (with thickened stems), succulent shrubs or trees, with a distinct swollen base (often called a caudex), much of which can be underground. Above ground the caudex can be almost globose to conical, narrowing before dividing into numerous irregularly spaced branches. (In mature specimens, a definite caudex is often no longer discernible.) Branches are smooth, grayish-green to brown, with small, terminal, spirally-arranged, glossy green leaves. In South Florida, plants tend to lose many (but not all) of their leaves in Winter, especially during extended dry, cool weather, but they never go completely dormant.
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