Desert Rose

Q: I have a Desert Rose plant that has flowered and made a seed pod! It looks sort of like a pea pod with little wispy seed. How do I plant them?

A: Sometimes I am completely overwhelmed by the number of plants unrelated to the real rose which have “rose” in their name. We have Confederate Rose (Hibiscus mutabilis), Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus), Moss Rose (Portulaca grandiflora), Rose Verbena (Verbena canadensis) and a multitude of others.

Add to the list your Desert Rose (Adenium obesum) and tears come to my eyes.

Fortunately, my high school Latin teacher, Mrs. Inez Hames, made sure I would never be intimidated by Latin plant names. I was able to identify your plant through an Internet search and was then able to turn the question of propagation over to Dr. Paul Thomas, Extension horticulturist.

Paul says that when the seeds are mature (pod is yellowish brown), they can be planted just on the surface of good greenhouse potting soil. Put the container in a sunny window and cover the soil surface with clear plastic kitchen wrap. When the seeds germinate, remove the plastic and keep them in the window until the sprouts are an inch tall. Transplant each one into an individual small pot and raise them to full size.

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