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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Wednesday - July 30, 2008

From: Port Charlotte, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives, Planting, Shrubs
Title: Will desert rose (Rosa stellata) survive in south Florida
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I have a mature desert rose and I wanted to plant it in the ground. I live in southwest Florida.I want to know will it survive and should I wait to plant it next year?


Mr. Smarty Plants suspects you are talking about Adenium obesum (desert rose), a native of Africa and Arabia. Our focus and expertise here at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center are with plants native to North America, so this plant doesn't really fall under our purview. We did find, however, that the University of Florida Extension has a pamphlet devoted to the cultivation of A. obesum (desert rose) in Florida—so, Mr. SP supposes it will survive although Mr. SP still thinks, since it is a desert plant, it may have difficulty with the Florida rainfall and high humidity. Please read the pamphlet for details. You can also find more instructions for care by Googling the scientific name.

There is a remote possibility that you are talking about Rosa stellata (desert rose) which is native to North America and grows in dry mountain areas from western Texas to Arizona. Since it, too, is a desert plant, it probably would have difficulty with the high amount of rainfall and humidity in South Florida. However, if you planted it in full sun and in an area with good drainage, you might get it to survive.



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