Thursday, August 14, 2014

My favorite plant this week: Adenium obesum

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My favorite plant this week, Adenium obesum, was given to me as a birthday present a few months ago.  Although I'd seen it at succulent shows, I had no personal experience growing it.  It was in bloom when I received it and, although it lost those blooms after I transplanted it, it quickly produced new buds and has bloomed continuously ever since.  In fact, at the moment, it's one of the few plants in bloom in my garden.




According to Wikipedia, Adenium obesum is native to the tropical and subtropical areas of eastern and southern Africa and Arabia.  It goes by a variety of common names, including mock azalea and impala lily, but it's most frequently called a desert rose.   Mine is the first desert rose I've seen with double flowers.




It's an evergreen succulent shrub but it will lose its leaves in response to drought.  The leaves are less like the fleshy succulent foliage I'm used to and more like leaves you'd find on a tree.




It's most distinctive feature is its trunk and swollen basal caudex, which always makes me think of a fat-bellied alien.




It can reportedly grow 4-6 feet (1.2-1.8 meters) tall.  It needs full sun and is suited to USDA zones 10a-11.  On-line sources suggest regular watering during its growing season in summer and protection from temperatures below 50F (10C).  It's said to be bothered by mites and mealy bugs but mine appears to be bothered by nothing at the moment.

Adenium obesum is my contribution to Loree's favorite plants meme at danger garden this week.  Visit her blog to see her favorite this week and to find links to other gardeners' selections.


All material © 2012-2014 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

11 comments:

  1. It was a nice birthday present!
    Mariana

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  2. That's a nice present! This plant also reminds me of a miniature plumeria for some reason, perhaps because of the leaves...

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    1. Coincidentally, the same friend gave me a Plumeria once but I'm afraid I managed to kill it.

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  3. Oh my! what a fantastic gift. I love this plant. beauteous

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    1. The flowers are surprisingly large given the size of the plant.

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  4. What a fascinating looking plant. I can see how the foliage might lead to the name of 'mock azalea.' A living plant is a wonderful gift. -Jean

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    1. The plant is often used as a bonsai subject, probably at least in part because of its unusual trunk.

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  5. It's a beauty! I first appreciated the desert rose at a nursery in Tucson and they had a few approaching that mature size that you mention. What a sight!

    (btw your posts appear to be gone from T.O.)

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    1. I was surprised to find they get that big. All those I've seen at shows have been bonsai subjects. Re TO, I sent another letter to the host's legal reps yesterday morning.

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  6. Haha "fat alien"! I really like this. I've seen them for sale here but have not yet acquired one. Next time!

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