Desert Rose Plant Info: Caring For Desert Rose Plants

By Bonnie L. Grant

Plant lovers are always looking for easy to grow, unique plants with a fun aspect. Adenium desert rose plants are perfect specimens for the intrepid or novice gardener. These East African and Arabian natives are wonderful in the interior container garden or as warm climate additions to the patio display. Caring for desert rose plants requires a full sun location and well-drained soil. Properly mimicking their native regional conditions will garner plenty of rose-like blooms on an architectural marvel of a plant.

Desert Rose Plant Info

Desert rose has become a popular ornamental garden plant in United States Department of Agriculture zones 10 to 11. The rest of us in cooler zones will have to resort to growing Adenium indoors, giving the plant a vacation in the summer on the patio or deck. Desert rose plant care can be difficult and requires some knowledge of the life cycle of the species.

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Follow some basic Adenium desert rose growing tips for healthy plants that won’t disappoint with full crowns of richly colored tubular flowers.

Adeniums are succulent, tropical plants. They are distinctive among the class because they develop a caudex, or swollen trunk. All succulent plants have some sort of water storage system, be it leaves, stems or roots. In desert rose, the trunk swells to conserve moisture for times of drought. A nice fat trunk is an indicator of plant health. A skinny stem can indicate that the plant requires more moisture.

An interesting bit of desert rose plant info is its natural resemblance to a bonsai plant, with a short stature when mature and tidy canopy perched atop the graduated stem. Many growers seem to have trouble caring for desert rose plants, but these can truly be easy to maintain if you keep in mind the water, temperature and lighting needs of Adenium.

Adenium Desert Rose Growing Tips

First, remember that Adenium plants are native to regions with poor, gritty soil and hot, sunny climates. You can’t expect the plant to thrive in overly moist soil, in a site with limited light. They are also not frost tolerant and will succumb to a freeze if exposed. The plant will not survive long if exposed to temperatures below 40 degrees F. (4 C.) but will thrive in temperatures reaching up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 C.).

Desert rose succulents like bright light, so a southern window exposure provides enough sun for the plants to flourish and bloom. In the garden, choose a sunny location that has some protection from noonday sun, as this can scorch the foliage.

Soil is very important and should have a mixture of cactus soil with gritty sand or lava rocks for good drainage.

Desert Rose Plant Care

The one thing that will kill these plants quickly is improper watering. They are succulents but are used to rainy periods during which they grow, followed by a dormant, dry period. Match your watering practices to these needs for best success. Keep soil moderately moist in spring and summer, but reduce watering in fall and especially winter when the plant is dormant.

Fertilize with a dilution by half of a 20-20-20 liquid plant food once per month when the plant is actively growing. Do not feed the desert rose during winter.

The most common pests are scalemealybugs and spider mites. Use cotton balls soaked in alcohol to wipe away these insect rogues.

Be cautious, as Adenium desert rose is in the Dogbane family, with all species bleeding a poisonous sap that can irritate skin and mucous membranes.

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