In the Garden

Michael Miyashiro

Desert Rose

Michael Miyashiro of Rainforest at Ward Warehouse tends to a Desert Rose plant at his shop.

Latin name: Adenium Obesum

The Desert Rose has taken off to quite a popular start in Hawaii. Once rare and difficult to find, this plant has become so popular that even orchid growers are growing and selling them alongside their flowering orchids. The ease and floriferous qualities of these succulents have won the hearts of many local plant people.

Description: This is on the Board of Water Supply's list of recommended xeriscape ornamentals. Often confused with plumeria, its five-petaled flower is almost tubular and has an azalea-like appearance. This hardy plant is fairly low maintenance because its swollen trunk serves as a reservoir. It grows as a shrub but can also be cultivated as a stunted potted plant. As a potted plant it can flourish to at least 6 feet high and wide with the right growing conditions. They do well equally in pots or in the ground.

Distribution: As the name implies, these plants thrive and bloom best in hot, sunny locations. More of these plants are becoming visible in landscapes where heat is a problem.

Landscape use and care: When growing these plants, make sure the soil is fast- draining and does not collect at the bottom. Although they are desert plants, they do require water to grow into fully branching shrubs. After they have attained some mass they can be neglected and still reward you with branches of blooms.

Plant show

The Desert Rose plant show 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. tomorrow at the Ward Warehouse Amphitheater gives plant lovers a chance to show how well their plants have grown. The event will showcase newer varieties, including the coveted white rose.

The free show, sponsored by the Cactus and Succulent Society of Hawaii, offers workshops from 10 a.m., and experts will be on hand to answer questions about cultivating this beautiful plant.

Michael Miyashiro, flower connoisseur and owner of Rainforest at Ward Warehouse, is a graduate of the University of Hawaii horticulture program who has been in business since 1985. He can be reached at 591-9999 or at

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