Good news from Mexico: Desert Rose is in bloom

With so much bad news coming out of Mexico these days, blogger David Tarrant thinks it's high time we all saw something bright and cheery... like the Desert Rose.

Credit: David Tarrant

Since there is so much bad news coming out of Mexico these days, I thought it was high time we all saw something bright.

As you know, I am still new at gardening in this high desert climate, however last year I bought three plants of Adenium obesum (commonly called Desert Rose) in the local Candelaria Spring Plant Sale.

For the first season they didn’t look very happy, but this year they are flourishing—as you can see. Adenium obesum is classified as a succulent due to the fact that the swollen caudex (stem) acts as a moisture reservoir. Several smaller branches near the tip produce corymbs of white to rose-pink blossoms throughout spring and summer.

At first glance, the flowers look a little like those of the plumeria, which is no surprise, as they are members of the same family.

Native to eastern and southwestern Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, they can tolerate drought, which is the case here right now with daytime temperatures of 35° C. They also prefer alkaline soil conditions with some added humus. They tolerated winter nighttime temperatures of 0° C this past winter, but I’m not sure how well they’d fare at temperatures lower than that.

In Canada they make good xeric house plants, growing happily with other cacti and succulents.

Desert Rose (Adenium obesum)