Sunday, 29 September 2013


My garden consists of a few pot plants on the verandah, including some adenium. Its real name is Adenium obesum and it is from the desert regions of Africa. We call them Desert Rose around here, although the real desert rose is the floral emblem of the Northern Territory and looks nothing like adenium. Other names for this plant are mock azalea and impala lily.

If you travel through Indonesia you will see this plant in many formal settings. It prefers bright light and very little water so is well suited to business premises. It is common in gardens here in Darwin in spite of our Wet Season, and is especially popular as a pot plant around cafes and restaurants.

The weather is just right lately and the flowers are gorgeous.

I started with just one, a gift from a great-niece, and I have struck quite a few cuttings over the years. Mine have been invaded by a few pests over the years, mostly aphids, hence the pruning and striking from cuttings. Adenium can be grown from seed although I have never done that. The seed pods are black and about 8 cm long. The seeds are black and about half the size of a peppercorn. If you grow the plant from seed it develops a swollen bulbous trunk (caudex). If you grow it from a cutting this will not happen.

The sap is white and sticky and is poisonous. Apparently in parts of Africa the sap was used on arrow tips for killing game. This might possibly be from a different variety or species, but I am not going to lick this sap off my finger or scratch my eye!!!

Here is a link so you can read more, this time from a botanist. Click through the photos of the plants in the wild.


  1. my first one was a reddish pink, and just recently a friend gave me a white one, which is sending out pods a the moment. I was thinking i might try and propogate the seeds, as the white ones are more sought after. When I originally got mine it has not been pruned at all so had two long branches, I cut one off and it branched nicely so now am gathering the courage to cut the other long branch!

  2. I am sure you will get those seeds to grow. You seem to be gifted at gardening. I have not noticed any white adenium plants here. With the pruning, many people here have about ten small trunks in one large pot. They keep them short, to about 50cm, and when the flowers appear the pot looks fabulous.


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