Houseplant is a Desert Rose, a Type of Caudiciform

Hello Judy,

My friends bought a new house and upon move-in discovered that the previous owners had abandoned this houseplant. I adopted it, determined to keep it alive. Can you identify it so I can research what kind of watering/feeding/light it prefers?

Thank you.


Hi Adriana,

Your plant is a type of Caudiciform called a Desert Rose.  A Desert Rose is a unique looking succulent  with a thick bulbous  base.

A Desert Rose plant requires bright indirect lightVery few houseplants should be placed in direct sun. High light refers only to bright indirect light since direct sun often burns the leaves of indoor houseplants. An area that is too hot and dry encourages Spider Mites and causes blooms to quickly fade. A northern exposure really doesn't provide enough light for high light plants. These plants need to be placed directly in front of an east-facing window, within 1-3 feet of a west-facing window, and within 5 ft. of a south facing window. A high light area has over 300 ft. candles of light. but no direct sun.

The fat bulbous base of a Desert Rose stores water, so always allow the soil to just about dry out before watering. If the soil becomes excessively dry, the plant becomes dormant; once you give the plant a little water, it quickly starts growing again.

Feed a Desert Rose plant with a fertilizerPlants need fertilizer only when they are actively growing. Slow growing plants in low light require very little plant food. Too much fertilizer is worse than not enough. Most plants prefer a water soluble plant food at 1/2 the recommended strength. Plants that are in bloom or dormant should not be fertilized. Houseplant food contains nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). A fertilizer containing these elements in equal proportion is considered a balanced plant food. Nitrogen helps in photosynthesis and encourages the growth of leaves and stems. Potassium and phosphorus also help in photosynthesis and aid in root and flower development. Most fertilizers have trace elements of other minerals that are lacking in the soil but are necessary for good plant growth. Fertilizers have a high salt content. If a plant is not producing new leaves and doesn’t absorb the fertilizer, salts build up in the soil. These salts can burn the roots, discolor the leaves, and cause new growth to be small. for flowering plants. The plant food should be lower in nitrogen and higher in phosphorous (10/20/10). Feed monthly from late spring until early fall. Always dilute your plant food to one half the recommended strength.

You can read all my care tips in the Popular Houseplant section of the website.