Adenium obesum (Chocolate Desert Rose Plant)

Adenium obesum

Last updated on August 16th, 2022 at 04:47 am

Adenium obesum, also known as the chocolate desert rose plant, adenium rose, chocolate adenium, or just desert rose, makes an attractive indoor plant that can brighten up any home or office space. However, it also comes with some unique needs that you might not expect from a common houseplant.

Chocolate desert rose plant (Adenium obesum) can be grown indoors as long as the plant gets plenty of sunlight and stays warm. They are heavy feeders, so fertilize often during spring and summer to encourage new growth and blooms.

Make sure the soil does not dry out between waterings, which can cause Adenium obesum rose plants to drop their leaves and stop growing altogether.

If your adenium obesum begins growing two leaves per stem instead of one, you may have fertilized too much or let the soil stay too wet, both of which may stunt its growth over time.

The chocolate desert rose plant has dark green leaves that give the plant its name, it’s typically the same color as chocolate (hence, chocolate desert rose plant). The bark of the tree is brownish-red and has raised lines that run vertically along it, giving it an appearance similar to that of a cactus.

Origin and distribution

Adenium obesum was first discovered growing wild in arid regions of southern Kenya and northern Tanzania. Once introduced to European botanical gardens, it quickly became a popular houseplant and is now commonly grown throughout Europe, North America, and Australia.

It has even been introduced to parts of India where it grows naturally in dry areas. The climate must be arid or dry for these plants to flourish. In fact, one of their common names is desert rose. This plant needs very little water.

When you do water it, let all of the water drains out of its pot before you put it back on its tray. If you don’t allow all of that excess water to drain out, your plant will suffer from root rot.

Adenium obesum propagation

Adenium obesum

Many chocolate adenium plants are actually propagated through grafting, while others are produced through cuttings. It’s a good idea to check with your local nursery before purchasing your plant; once you know how it was propagated, you can determine whether or not it’s necessary to repot your new addition.

If you have a grafted plant, repotting is necessary and will help ensure your plant thrives in its new pot. However, if you purchased a cutting from a nursery that specializes in propagating their own stock, your cutting might already be rooted and ready for transplantation into an appropriate container.

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In either case, it’s important to use high-quality soil that drains well but retains moisture, you don’t want soggy roots! Depending on where you live, temperatures should remain between 55°F and 85°F during the summer months.

Make sure your newly planted chocolate adenium has adequate drainage by placing small rocks around its base. Also, consider watering deeply every few days rather than regularly; water deep enough so that water pools at least two inches below the surface of the soil. While there are plenty of hardy varieties available, chocolate adenium plants aren’t necessarily low maintenance.

Adenium obesum care information

Adenium obesum

Adenium obesum are desert plants, so their care is a little different than your typical houseplant. If you don’t live in a warm area or plan to put it outside during the summer months, give it as much sunlight as possible.

During cooler months, keep your plant out of drafts and away from heat sources like radiators. Water only when soil is dry. To repot an adenium, do so in late winter or early spring while the plant is still dormant.

Light requirement

The adenium rose does best in moderate light conditions. Direct sunlight can lead to leaf drops and sunburns on your flowers; however, placing them in complete shade will keep it from blooming or putting out a significant amount of leaves.

It’s best to place your plant under fluorescent lighting or near a large window with indirect sunlight.

Soil/potting mix

The most common soil mix for these plants is 1 part of coarse sand, 1 part peat moss, and 1 part perlite. Also, it’s recommended to use a water-soluble fertilizer containing macronutrients once a month during the blooming season.

An all-purpose fertilizer can be used during times when flowers are not being produced.


Because Adenium obesum are succulents, they require very little in terms of watering. Try to water them once every two weeks at most. What you want to avoid is letting them sit in water; because they’re succulent, it’s hard for them to dry out completely, so don’t worry about completely drenching their soil.

If you notice that your plant’s leaves start to droop or get wrinkly, that means it needs more water. If that happens, give it a good drink and make sure there aren’t any pockets of trapped moisture in its pot. Then put it back where it was and wait another week before checking on its status again.


It’s been a few years since your adenium rose was last fertilized. It is important to start fertilizing again. A desert rose will thrive in most environments, but to produce spectacular blooms, it needs proper care. A standard fertilizer should be used once every month for optimum results.

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If you live in an area with heavy rainfall, or if you have over-fertilized your plant before, consider using a half-strength mixture of fertilizer instead.

This will help reduce any chance of burning and give your plant time to recover from any damage that may have occurred as a result of too much fertilizer at one time.


You should keep your Adenium obesum in a sunny spot, but not in direct sunlight. It needs to be protected from any intense heat. For example, you can’t put it near a radiator or in front of an open window on a very hot day.

On average, you should maintain daytime temperatures between 64-75 degrees Fahrenheit during spring through fall and 55-64 degrees Fahrenheit during winter.


Adenium obesum is a species that needs moderate humidity levels. If you live in an area where humidity is high and temperatures are warm, it’s okay to leave your adenium out for 24 hours without water. You should reduce watering in dry winter months as well. Just give it enough water to keep it from shriveling up or becoming dangerously dehydrated.

The ideal humidity range is between 40% and 60%. You can measure it with a hygrometer. If your home has dry air, you can increase humidity by using a humidifier or placing your plant on a tray of wet pebbles. Don’t put it in water, though; instead, keep it on top of pebbles that are kept constantly moist.


The great thing about pruning desert rose plants is that you can do so at any time. When you prune them, make sure to remove any damaged or diseased branches and pinch off any new growth tips. These new growth tips are there to help a plant propagate itself, so if you prune these away, your plant will not be able to make more of itself.

This means that by keeping your plants well-pruned, they will continue to grow and look attractive in your home for many years. If you want to get rid of an entire branch, use a sharp pair of shears or scissors to cut it right above where it meets another branch.

To maintain symmetry, cut on either side. If you want to get rid of an entire branch but don’t want to damage its neighbors, try using clippers instead; these work best when used from above rather than below.

When to repot

Adenium obesum plants are slow-growing but very rewarding and long-lived. They don’t need to be repotted regularly, but you should move them into larger pots every few years. As a general rule, if your plant has more than 10 leaves in its rosette, it’s time to repot.

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This can be done at any time of year; remember that adenium rest in winter and so won’t require water for several months after repotting. You can also divide plants when they get too big for their pots.

The best time to do this is in spring or summer. If you want to grow an adenium from seed, sow indoors about 6 weeks before your last frost date and keep warm until germination occurs.

Transplant seedlings outdoors when they have 2 sets of true leaves, which will usually happen around late spring or early summer. You may want to pinch off their first pair of leaves because these tend not to look as good as later ones.

Dormancy/Winter rest

There are many ways to make your Adenium obesum go dormant. The most popular way is to simply leave it alone until it naturally drops its leaves and goes dormant on its own. If you want to speed up dormancy, you can bury your Adenium in a bucket of dry soil and let it sit for as long as 6 months. This can be done indoors or outdoors.

Once they’ve gone dormant, they will need to stay dry and cool during their winter rest period. Watering should only occur once every few weeks at most. It’s also important that they don’t get too cold; if you live in an area where temperatures regularly drop below freezing, consider moving your plant inside for winter rest.

Adenium obesum flower & fragrance

Adenium obesum

The Adenium Obesum has both flowers and fragrances. The flowers are usually fragrant and range in color from red-white to pink, with light red and dark burgundy being common as well.

Their fragrance is stronger at night or in dry weather than during rainy days or after it rains. What’s more amazing is that they get to bloom even if they are cut off from direct sunlight. The blooming period lasts up to several months.

Growth rate

Adenium obesum grows relatively slowly, so you should not worry too much about over-watering. Under ideal conditions, it can grow up to 1 foot per year. However, in general, expect new growth of just 2 inches per year.

Due to their slow growth and proper care from home gardeners around the world, these plants can live for several decades. The record age for an adenium is 26 years!

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Adenium obesum is toxic, and ingestion of any part of it should be avoided. Symptoms of poisoning are not easily identified with certainty since they mimic those of other medical conditions but may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and increased thirst.

Many references say that ingestion can cause mild gastrointestinal distress but that it is otherwise non-toxic. I have been unable to locate any additional evidence to corroborate these claims.

USDA hardiness zones

Adenium obesum thrives best in USDA hardiness zones 10b through 11. In colder climates, it will require protection from freezing temperatures. The ideal soil for an adenium obesum is well-drained and sandy or loamy, with a pH level between 6.0 and 7.5.

Although Adenium obesum plants are drought-tolerant plants, they perform better when given ample water. The plant prefers full sun but can tolerate partial shade conditions if necessary.

Pests and diseases

Adenium obesum desert rose plants are naturally pest-resistant. They can grow up to a height of 4 feet, but because they grow in arid climates, it’s important to keep them watered in order to prevent drying out.

While they may look a bit fragile at first glance, it is easy to transplant them and more difficult for pests and diseases to develop within its soil. Chocolate desert rose plants do well in indoor environments if there is plenty of light as well as water available.

They are affected by a few pests, but these can be prevented. Aphids, spider mites, and mealybugs can all affect your plants if you don’t keep an eye out for them.

In addition to regular inspection and maintenance, you can use horticultural oils or insecticidal soaps to kill off any pests that may infest your plants. You also need to watch out for crown rot, root rot, and stem rot.


Adenium obesum is a great addition to any household, so long as you have enough space for it to grow. It requires a little extra work when it comes to trimming and watering, but it’s worth every minute.

These plants are gorgeous! If you are looking for an indoor plant that will really make your home pop with beautiful shades of red, purple, and green then look no further than these amazing chocolate desert roses. The chocolate desert rose plant is without a doubt one of my favorite plants.