A bit about Adeniums
An important thing to know is that Adeniums are related to Allamandas, Oleanders and Frangipanis and they’re toxic if consumed.
In some places in Africa, the sap is used in hunting big game.
Although the taste is bitter so it would be pretty hard to chow down on them, please be aware of planting them in areas where children and pets can access them.
Avoid sap contact with the skin and eyes and ALWAYS wash hands after handling these plants.
Gloves are always best, but that’s not always easy. So WASH YOUR HANDS.
Adeniums are commonly known as Desert Roses. Other names include Sabi star, kudu, mock azalea, and impala lilies.
They come from Africa and the Middle East, and they’re named for Aden – the former name for Yemen in the Middle East, where they were first noted and described.
Adeniums can grow to about 2 metres high, but are also popular for bonsai.
They love hot climates, both humid and dry.
Ideal growing conditions include full sun and rich, well-drained soil. They will do fine in poorer soils, but probably won’t flower so much.
Mix some perlite into some good quality potting mix to improve drainage.
Their fat and fleshy base (caudex) and roots don’t like to sit in water, and will rot if the soil’s soggy, specially if it’s cold.
A common misconception is that they don’t need much water or attention.
They’ll survive, but they thrive with regular watering in the hot growing season.
It really helps them stay green and push out flowers.
They also love a feed. Either a slow release fert or a regular diluted liquid fertiliser every 2-3 weeks.
Not too much nitrogen though, or you’ll end up with too much leaf and floppy branches.
Add some seeweed tonic or worm wee, and a splash of liquid potash regularly to keep them healthy and flowering too.
In cooler climates they’ll start dropping their leaves when temps drop in Autumn and head into winter dormancy.
Keep them in as warm a place as you can find for them through the winter, with as much sun as possible.
Keep them up off the ground where the cold air settles, and out of cold rain.
Cold and damp soil is a recipe for rot for these Desert beauties.
Even in the subtropics, rot can happen when temps drop below 10 degrees.
So keep ’em as warm as you can, and they’ll reward you with vigour and beauty for years to come.
The caterpillars of Common crow butterflies often like Desert Roses, so if you keep a close eye out (AND skip,
or minimise, the poisons in your garden) you might see the caterpillars and their beautiful Chrysalises.
I’ve rarely seen the insects at work, but apparently bees, butterflies, ants and moths at night are all pollinaters
of Desert Roses, and if you have lots of healthy insect life, chances are you’ll get lots of seed pods to make more :).