Rosa del deserto (Italian)
Origin and Habitat
Saudi Arabia and Yemen
USDA Hardiness Zone
10a to 12: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
Height: 2-5 m / Spread: 1-2m
Needs to be repotted every 2 years, pots should have generous drainage holes. Vining branches die back in the winter and should be cut back to encourage new branching and to maintain an attractive shape and to ensure caudex habit. To be safe keep it over 50 °F (+10 °C). Can be grown outdoors in frost-free areas. Poisonous.
Expected germination rate
Easy to Medium
Light shade for caudex, while leaves need some sun, avoid direct blazing sun in summer, needs bright light if grown indoors, but you should remember that caudex is very susceptible to sun scalding. But the plant becomes leggy in the shade and flowering is reduced too.
Frequent watering during active growing season, never allow plants to dry too often as this can cause them to go into early dormancy. but should keep dry or water sparingly in the winter
Soil type and pH
Very porous potting medium, the plant adapts to a wide range of drained soils when grown outdoors.
A native to Saudi Arabia and Yemen, A. arabicum is a beautiful succulent plant with large, shiny leaves and pink to reddish pink flowers. Flowers are tubular and appear for 2-3 days and may appear before the leaves. Due to its bizarrely swollen trunk, it’s popular among ‘fat plant’ collectors. There is no much differentiation between the trunk and branches. The trunk and short-naked branches are somewhat more colored in purple to dark brown. The large thick leaves are shiny on the upper and lower surface.
Adenium arabicum is an extremely drought-tolerant plant.
Flowers resemble in many ways to frangipani, and range in color from pink to red and sparkle in sunlight.
The plant is monoecious and self-sterile. Most cultivated plants are hybrids, yet only a few cultivar names have a valid description. Plants grown from seed form the most fantastic shapes of caudex in just 10 years.
Leaves are spirally arranged in terminal rosette on the tips of the branches and fall during the dry season. They are fleshy, leathery, hairless and shiny dark green to bluish green above, paler green to dull below, 5-12 (to 17) cm long and 2-6 (to 8) cm broad. Their apex is rounded.
Flowers are bisexual, regular and appear in multiples in short-stalked, terminal inflorescences. Flowers are tubular with flared tips 2-5 cm long, with the outer portion 4-6 cm in diameter, have 5 petals with crinkled or wavy margins. Their color ranges from carmine-red to pinkish usually with a whitish blush outward.
Fruit of A. arbacium is a twin follicle, that are united at the base, around 10-22 cm long and look like the horns of a steer. It is narrowly oblong, slightly recurved, color ranges from pale grey-green to grey-brown and is tapering at both ends. When matures, the follicles dehisce (split) along one side and the fruit releases hundreds of seeds that are narrow cylindrical, 10-14 mm long, brown, slightly scabrid and have long silky dirty-white to golden-brown hairy tuft (pappus) at each end. They blow along the ground like an axle with two wheels because of the pappus.
This plant benefits from a fertilizer rich in phosphorus, potassium and micronutrients, without too high nitrogen content. It needs regular fertilization during the growing period.
If provided ideal conditions, A. arabicum can live for hundreds of years.
NOTE: All parts of the A. arabicum are potentially toxic and you should keep pets and children away from it and should handle it with care. You should wear gloves or plastic bags to avoid direct contact.