Green Thumbs

Passion for growing plants

   Mar 28

Adenium Obesum, Pretty in Pink Desert Rose

I didn’t get around to posting this piece until now, but the seedlings are already starting to branch out and the mature plant has been heavily pruned to correct uneven growth.
I haven’t posted anything about my Desert Roses, Adenium Obesum. Actually I have in my possession one mature plant and a couple of one-year-old seedlings. The old plant flowers in summer with large pretty pink flowers, the most prevalent colour in Adeniums. But the seedlings, they are going to be surprises! Apparently seedlings do not grow true to type; many times they revert back to pink, which is also nice, but not as exciting as some of the burgundy and double varieties I have seen.
Its native habitats are for example Somalia and the fascinating and isolated island of Socotra, located off the coast of Yemen at the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. Because of their desert like origins the Adeniums form a large swollen caudex to get them through life on scarce water resources. The caudex grows larger as the plan gets older and often takes interesting otherworldly forms.

Adenium 3

While other plants in more favorable conditions grow large and tall with age, the Adenium doesn’t get much taller than a dwarf tree. Instead it focuses on growing broad and round in order to tolerate the harsh sun, fierce winds and seasonal monsoon rains.
Desert Roses are very easy to grow, but they require a lot of water during spring and summer. To prevent root rot indoor gardeners and dark climates induce dormancy in the autumn by reducing water and letting the plant shed its leaves. If cared for like this and kept in a warm place the Desert Rose is an easy plant, even though it does look a bit odd with its bare branches in the winter.

Adenium 1
Last spring I ordered some Adenium Obesum seeds from the US. to try my hand at. They sprouted rapidly and had a fat caudex from the start. The purpose of growing Desert Roses from seed is to get some variation in the colour of the flowers, and the fact that seedlings often have a more pronounced caudex than cuttings. But oh, are they slow growers! Since sprouting last spring they currently struggle to reach even ten centimeters. This plant requires endless patience.
As of today when I’m writing this piece I pinched my seedlings just a few hours ago to encourage branching. This is important in cultivation to avoid a large caudex with one single spindly stem ending with a couple of sad leaves. Pinching should be done when the plants are in active growth. As I started to water again early February and we are currently fifteen days away from the vernal equinox I hope it’s the right time and not too early.

Adenium 2

It worked!
Some other plant related news; my Amaryllis ‘Aphrodite’ is in full swing right now! One open flower and a bud. I really like the delicate picotee and watercolour-like look of this frilly double. It looks like someone took a paint brush to the flower and gently brushed it with a watery raspberry red. I’m so grateful, my dear mother purchased her for me at the grocery store after I had spent two years looking for this specific bulb.
Also, my pot with two white ‘Jewel’ has started sending up stalks, I think I prefer spring flowering Amaryllises to the ones forced for Christmas. When the light returns the true colours and sparkle in the flowers are easier to see.

Last weekend I went to the garden fair at Älvsjö, this is something I normally look forward to all year but this time I was deeply disappointed. It was very scaled down and nothing was really exciting. Armies of NOID Phalaenopsis orchids stood like soldiers on rows upon rows on the shelves. The fair was littered with cheap garden ornaments and very few unusual or high quality plants, pots or tools. I got a nice pot apparently made in Crete, but that was it.

Vit Phal


Armies of NOID Phalaenopsis

The highlights were a little specialized orchid boutique, a stall with nice little old ladies selling seeds and the above mentioned Cretan terracotta pot. Let’s hope the next garden fair at Kista in late April is better!

Idéträdgård 3


Randig Phal

Idéträdgård 2 Idéträdgård 1

This is an idea of how a garden inspired by the tales of writer Astrid Lindren could look.




Helleborus blandade Gul Cymbidium Gul CattleyaHönapöna 1

Keeping hens has become popular!


At last, spring has finally sprung!

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One Comment

  1. lene starander says:

    It´s always nice to read your blog. It always sounds so easy when you describe it.

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