I know I have shared this adenium with you before, but this year has been an exceptional year of blooming, so of course, I have to show it to you again!
Adenium obeseum is native to Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, and in its natural habitat grows to be tree size with giant caudexes, the fat trunks that store its water. In the wild they grow slowly, taking hundreds of years to get that big, but as potted specimens out of their homeland, they tend to stay pot-size, albeit a giant pot in some cases! And no doubt by the time they could grow to tree-size, those of us who grow them in pots have been long gone!
This is what they grow up to look like in their native lands, like this Adenium obesum sokotranum photographed by Woody Minnich on a trip to the island of Socotra in the Arabian Sea. I have one of these, but it’s just a baby, so I’ll have to wait a while to see it bloom.
Photo courtesy of Woody Minnich
Here is that baby. It was about six inches taller until the hail broke it off last year in one of our hail storms that also broke some windows in the house. If you look closely, you can see where three tiny crowns are trying to come out, and if you really look, you can see a fourth one peaking up on the back. But those little starts have been sitting there for about five months without getting any bigger, a testament to the plant’s slow-growing tendencies. But once it warms up and it gets outside, I expect it to put on a growth spurt.
The big one that is blooming so beautifully now is an Adenium obseum that I have had since 2009. I bring it in for the winter, of course, and every year it loses its leaves as it gets cold outside. Then around the first of January, buds start to form. The first bloom opened this year on January 19.
Blooms continued to open and by February 2 the plant was getting full of flowers.
And by now, February 28, the whole plant is covered. Some of the early blooms have fallen off, but it is amazing how long they are staying with me. I have really enjoyed them.
After the blooms are spent, then the leaves come out. I don’t think other adeniums do it this way, but this one always has. To the right of the big one in the picture above, you see a small A. arabicum that has kept its leaves in the winter. I have had it since 2018, and it is not old enough to bloom yet, so I don’t know if it will lose leaves before blooming or not. My big one may just be eccentric.
Talk about a desert rose!