What is this flowering plant? Desert Rose

I was given this plant, and I don’t know how to properly care for it. It did flower one time and then lost its leaves. Leaves have grown again, they eventually get brown spots. How should I care for it correctly? Thank you for any advice you can give me.

Hi Kim,

Your plant is called a Desert Rose, Adenium obesum. It’s often called a “Fat Plant” because of it base. Here is a fantastic looking Desert Rose Plant.

Pink Desert Rose plant with fat buibous base

Desert Rose Plant
Fat Plant

A Desert Rose plant is a unique looking succulent plant.  This plant is a type of caudiciform or “fat plant” because it has a thick bulbous base. When grown indoors, a Desert Rose grows 2ft-5ft in height and 1ft-3 ft in width. Desert Rose plants have beautiful flowers and sparse small leaves. The 1″-2″ saucer shaped blooms are quite a conversation piece and can be red, pink, or white. The fat, bulbous trunk of a Desert Rose Plant is usually partially or completely buried in the soil. This is one of my favorite indoor flowering plants because it is so unusual and thrives on neglect.

It may be getting black leaf edges for one or more of these reasons: too much plant food, (always dilute your 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.   to 1/2 the recommended strength), temperature too cold (keep temperature above 60 degrees), water has too much salt, fluorine, or chlorine in it (never use water that has passed through a softener & if the water has a lot of chemicals in it, allow it to sit out over night before using it.

You can read all of my tips on how to grow a Desert Rose plant in the Popular Houseplant section of the website.


These plants are considered poisonous and should be kept away from pets and children. Read more about common houseplants that are poisonous in Don’t Feed Me To Your Cat! A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants