Desert roses are flourishing

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Adenium multiflorum flowers have yellow throats.
Plants are spectacular right now.


Adeniums, or desert roses, have fat caudices and weird, elongated branches, but they produce beautiful flowers. Adenium multiflorum has been quite the star for the last few weeks, blooming in front of the Gallery building. It is an African species, ranging from KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa to Zambia in the west of Africa.  This slow-growing relative of the oleander does well in South Florida,

Striped throat on this hybrid.

providing it has excellent drainage. The leaves are somewhat bunched at the ends of the tentacle-like branches. Its close relative, Adenium obesum, is found from Ethiopia and the Arabian Peninsula to Tanzania. As its name suggests, it gets a really paunchy base.

Much hybridizing of adeniums has been done in Thailand and Vietnam, and several of our cultivars at home have come from there. We have flowers with stripes, white tinged pink, double forms, and deep red flowers. There are white

A deep red flower is striking.

and peach flowers as well, but they’re not in our collection yet.

For plants in containers, I use a light sprinkling of controlled-release fertilizer. I grow several in a bed planted with cycads and pachypodiums, all of which like the same hostile environment of sand and fill covered with a leafy mulch. These plants hate to be over-watered in winter.

This double form is one of the Thai hybrids.