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Publication #ENH1238

Florida Foliage House Plant Care: Adenium swazicum1

R.J. Henny and J. Chen2

Introduction

Adenium swazicum is a species of desert rose whose gray-green leaves appear folded and are velvety to touch (Figure 1). It is sought after by collectors for its graceful, weeping branches and delicate flowers that occur in various shades of pink (Figure 1 and 2). Adenium swazicum is a smaller plant with weaker branches and stems compared to other Adenium species such as Adenium obesum or Adenium arabicum.

Common name

Desert rose

Scientific name

Adenium swazicum

Plant family

Apocynaceae (the dogbane family)

Figure 1. 

A dark pink flowering form of Adenium swazicum in a 10-inch pot.


Credit:

R. J. Henny


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Figure 2. 

A light pink flowering form of Adenium swazicum in a 10-inch pot.


Credit:

R. J. Henny


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Indoor/Home/Office Cultivation Information

Light requirement: Bright sunlight. Adenium will not flower under low light conditions.

Soil preference: Rich, organic peat or bark-based, bagged potting soil.

Water requirement: Do not allow soil to become waterlogged.

Drought tolerant: Yes.

Fertilizer requirements: Apply a low dose of liquid fertilizer each week during summer growing season. Follow fertilizer manufacturer label directions.

Salt tolerant: Some salt tolerance.

Temperature preference: Hot, tropical 75°F–95°F.

Chill tolerant (55°F to 35°F): Yes, but leaf yellowing and leaf drop may occur.

Freeze tolerant (below 32°F): No. During cold winter months withhold water from Adenium and let the plant rest for 3–4 months. All leaves and flowers will drop but that is part of their natural cycle. Do not let them freeze. When temperatures warm again in spring, water and fertilize Adenium. Flowers and foliage will soon reappear.

Pests: Mealybugs—Take samples to your local UF/IFAS Extension agent to confirm identification and receive treatment instructions.

Outdoor Cultivation Information

Outdoor year-round planting OK for USDA Hardiness Zone 10B–12

Light requirement: Bright sunlight for maximum flowering.

Soil preference: Well-drained.

Water requirement: Irrigate regularly, but provide drainage.

Drought tolerant: Yes.

Fertilizer requirements: Apply a well-balanced, slow-release pelletized fertilizer according to manufacturer recommendations during the summer.

Salt tolerant: Some salt tolerance.

Temperature preference: Hot, tropical 75°F–95°F.

Chill tolerant (55°F to 35°F): Yes, but leaf yellowing and leaf drop may occur.

Freeze tolerant (below 32°F): No. See overwintering instructions above.

Pests: Mites, aphids—Take samples to your local Extension agent to confirm identification and receive treatment instructions.

Additional Resources

Dimmit, M., G. Joseph, and D. Palzkill. 2009. Adenium: Sculptural Elegance, Floral Extravagance, Tucson, AZ, Scathingly Brilliant Idea Publishing. 152 pp.

Footnotes

1.

This document is ENH1238, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date April 2014. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

R.J. Henny, professor; and J. Chen, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Mid-Florida Research and Education Center, Apopka, FL 32703


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.