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Adenium obesum subsp. swazicum (Summer Impala Lily)


Scientific Name

Adenium obesum subsp. swazicum (Stapf) G.D. Rowley

Common Names

Summer Impala Lily, Impala Lily, Swazi Lily, Desert Rose


Adenium swazicum (basionym), Adenium boehmianum var. swazicum

Scientific Classification

Family: Apocynaceae
Subfamily: Apocynoideae
Tribe: Wrightieae
Genus: Adenium


Adenium obesum subsp. swazicum, also known as Adenium swazicum, is a dwarf shrub, up to 28 inches (70 cm) tall, with an enlarged succulent stem with few branches, sometimes partly below ground that tend to droop or spread, especially in plants that are too shaded. Mature plants have massive roots and thick stems, but a caudex is evident only in young ones. The flowers are showy, pink or mauve to deep reddish-purple, usually darker in the throat. It blooms over a long season, usually in late summer and fall.

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USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

These are not difficult plants to grow well, provided they get enough sunlight and warmth. Like all succulents, they cannot tolerate sitting in water and if you err, do it on the side of too little water. Use a specialized soil mix designed for cacti and succulents.

Repot as needed, preferably during the warm season. To repot a Desert Rose, make sure the soil is dry before repotting, then gently remove the plant from the pot. Knock away the old soil from the roots, making sure to remove any rotted or dead roots in the process. Treat any cuts with a fungicide and antibacterial solution. Place the plant in its new pot and backfill with potting soil, spreading the roots out as you repot. Leave the plant dry for a week or so, then begin to water lightly to reduce the risk of root rot.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for a Desert Rose (Adenium obesum).


Adenium obesum subsp. swazicum is native to the lowveld of Swaziland and the Mpumalanga province of South Africa.


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