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Desert Rose Breaking Dormancy

Adenium Obesum Breaking Dormancy(Desert Rose (Adenium Obesum) breaking dormancy)

This fall I let my Adeniums go dormant and they all lost their leaves when the weather became cooler. Since being in the house for the winter one of them has been prompted to break dormancy by the warm temperature we keep the house at. At this point I have two options; I can continue to allow it to grow during the winter and treat it as a houseplant or I can place it somewhere cooler and see if it goes back into dormancy.

With the changes in season comes lower light levels and if I allow it to continue growing during the winter indoors I can probably extend the growing season and finally get mine to boom. The problem with this is that Adenium Obesum loves sunlight and indoors this winter there won't be much available. I could add a couple of indoor grow lights to help it along until spring arrives but I would like to keep the leaves and growth nice and compact and I don't think that grow lights will give it enough light.

My other two Desert Roses are shorter than the Adenium pictured above and they are showing signs of caudex shrinking. I'm not too worried because these succulents can survive without much water and watering too much leads to rotting roots. I may move those to a cooler window and hold off on the watering for a couple of weeks because any water I give these Adeniums now will surely bring them out of dormancy too.

If you're interested I've written about my experiences growing Adenium Obesum before.

Propagating Adenium Obesum By Cuttings. A post about taking cuttings.
Adenium Obesum Care- was about my experiences growing these exotic looking succulents indoors and in the midwest.
Adenium Obesum Fertilizer Damage-was a post about how I damaged the tip of one of my plants. If you look at the image above the tallest stem is the same stem that was burned by the fertilizer in the fertilizer link.
Adenium Obesum seedlings-I think this was my first post on Adenium Obesum. Before I ever purchased an Adenium Obesum I received some seeds from a generous cacti and succulent grower but didn't find much information on sowing Adenium Obesum seeds on the internet. Read that post and see if it helps you any. If I ever come across more seeds I'll probably rewrite that entry.

Many people come across this blog searching for places to buy Adenium Obesum, especially in Chicago, and to be honest I've purchased all of my Adeniums at big box stores. Seeing how popular these plants are and how inexpensive my Adeniums were (2-3 dollars) I should have bought them all when I saw them. Finally, if you have questions or comments feel free to leave them especially if you have a blog or website about growing Adenium Obesum.


  1. Sorry about the content scrapers. Guess that just goes to show they see value in your blog because it's so wonderful!

    I've always admired Desert Rose plants, and never knew you could get them for a few dollars!

    Thanks for the useful post.

  2. I have two feet tall Adenium arabicum ‘Shada’ which never goes dormant. It has never bloomed either. I always kept it in light shade, and when I checked with the grower I bought it from, he told me to put it in full sun if I wanted flowers. I did that and it soon lost all its beautiful leaves. Leaves quickly grew back and were very small, but still no flowers. I've decided to just keep it in light shade--at least the foliage is gorgeous that way!
    I find Adeniums too temperamental to get any more of them.

  3. Hey, I saw you registered a domain url in your username. Pretty neat!

  4. I admit I would take the easiest way out (putting it somewhere cooler?). As you say added light isn't enough eventhough it makes a difference.

    Congrats on your new domain!

  5. I love this plant; here it is an outside plant and right now mine is blooming and lovely.

  6. Katie,

    Thanks for the compliment and sorry if the shortened feed is an inconvenience. Yes, you can get the pretty cheap. When I bought mine it was around this time and I got them at Home Depot and Wal-Mart. I forgot to name the stores and time of year I got them.


    I know what you mean about them being tempermental. if you see the first pic I ever posted on them and then see the pic in the fertilizer damage link you'll see a big difference in leaf size. The more sun I gave them the smaller and more compact the leaves became.

    Also I've been reading that stressing the plant by withholding water may cause it to bloom. I'll make a new post to go further into it later...but I grow mine more for the caudex than the flowers.


    I registered the MrBrownThumb one a while back and someone else registered my Garden Hacker one. I don't mind about them doing the GH blog but I wanted to be able to save this name for myself. I'll make a post about it too. Maybe later today.


    See the reply to Aiyana above about the effect of light on the leaves. Yes putting it somewhere cooler would slow it down and maybe keep them dormant if you don't want them to grow during the winter.


    I hope you've taken pics because I'd love to see them.

  7. I have taken pictures of it blooming at various times, the last time was yesterday, Dec. 6th/07, just do a search on my blog for "desert rose".
    My blog is here:

  8. TraLa2:36 PM

    Hello there. I'm new to the Adenium Obesum care. But have admired them for years. One was given to me a few months ago. Currently, it has thick 2-3 inch leaves. I love it! My concern is that the taller stems droop. Almost as if the leaves near the ends are too heavy. I haven't read anything that addresses this issue. Can you help me? Currently, not blooming but new leaves are forming.

  9. TraLa,

    Nothing wrong with the leaves if they droop or anything like that. Only be concerned if they start to fall or the tips turn brown or black.

  10. Anonymous12:51 PM

    New to the Desert Rose, i just bought one a few weeks ago and I have it in a terra cotta pot, watered sparingly. It's getting cooler here in AZ and I'm wanting to make sure this beautiful baby is well taken care of for the winter. It's dropping it's leaves, they turned slightly yellow first, but it's still blooming big and beautiful. I'm watching the temps so when it starts to get near 40 degrees at night, I will bring it in and let it "winter" in the laundry room where it won't be heated but will be warmer than outside. Any tips? It's in cactus/succulent mix currently.

  11. Anonymous,

    Looks like you have everything under control from the comment you left. The only thing I can advise is that if you see some shrinking of the plant's caudex (trunk) when it is dormant you don't have to give it water right away. I've let mine shrink severely to see how it would react and it was ok.

  12. TerraNova11:11 AM


    Hi there, I know this is an older post but hoping to get some help! I live in Chandler, AZ & I received a desert rose for my birthday, 8/30/10 & she had 3 flowers. The 3 flowers all fell within 3 days of getting her. No biggie yet. I didn't know anything about her so I kept her on my kitchen table, which gets low light. Within the next few weeks her leaves just started dropping. Perfect green leaves, no yellowing, just falling, now Im concerned. 90% are gone now, only the small leaves at the tips remain. We keep our house between 77-81 degress during this time. Could she be going dormant? If so, I fear I caused this prematurely & wonder how long can they be dormant for as "fall" has just arrived & winter is right around the corner??? Should I put her outside & try to spark her back up you think?

    Has anyone in AZ had these plants? I know they say full sun but in many cases that does not mean full Arizona sun, especially mid-summer. Does anyone keep theirs in full AZ sun or even outside for that matter in mid-summer? I will appreciate ANY response. I really don't want to lose her!

  13. @TerraNova,

    It sounds like your Adenium is losing leaves and flowers because it suffered from shock. It was probably accustomed to growing wherever it was and when it was moved to your house it didn't like it. Plants will regularly drop leaves, flowers and buds when they're moved to new conditions.

    As long as you have green tips on your plant it should still be ok. Also, you don't have to let your Adenium go dormant, if you take it outside and it starts to grow leaves again, that would be perfectly fine. Although, once it is "happy" outside and you bring it indoors when it gets too cold outside, it will probably drop all of the leaves again. :0) It is annoying, but it happens.

    Good luck with your plant. Sorry for the delay in replying.

  14. This reply is for TerraNova, hopefully it will help her.
    I live in Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico which is just a hop, skip and jump away from you. Our summers are just as hot or even hotter than yours except that we have added humidity which may change your results.
    We keep our Desert Rose plants out all year round here. Our winter lows are around 48-50 F. and they are fine. In the summer it loves full sun even here, I tried putting it in partial shade this summer as it was so hot here; but it became infested with bugs, time after time. I would spray it with soapy water and kill them and then spray them again a few days later to kill whatever emerged from eggs. I think I treated it about 6 times before I moved it to full sun. Since then no bugs and it is doing fine.
    The flowers are short lived but it flowers generously. If it is under stress, such as not enough water it will drop the blooms and leaves also.
    They seem to also drop all their leaves here when stressed or sometimes for no visible reason and in 2 weeks or so are full of them again, so maybe it is just a life cycle thing. I wouldn't worry about it, they seem hard to kill. They grow here in business parking lots, etc. where they get very little care and they still bloom.
    Hope that helps a bit, climate wise

  15. Brenda, Thanks for pitching in with your comment and tips for TerraNova.

  16. TerraNova10:19 AM

    Thank you both, Mr BrownThumb & Brenda,

    I feel much better about her now. So,I put her outside, first on my shaded patio & now into full sun & her leaves are GROWING!!! WooHOO!!! Im so excited! Thanks again! Oh & Brenda, I was looking at your photos of Mexico & I am SO jealous! Its so pretty there :)

  17. Anonymous4:14 PM

    My adenium have done very well here in central Texas outdoors but it has been the hottest summer ever! So they were watered fairly often, 2x a week or so. They look great but a bit leggy and I'm not sure what to do next with them. Should I prune and how? I'm willing to read in depth if necessary but I just can't seem to find the information that I need. Direction please! (welcome from anyone!)



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