Desert Rose Plant Care

I have read that desert rose plants are good for beginning gardeners, but that’s only true if you can provide for them the environment that they need. They are often sold as indoor houseplants, but it can be difficult to provide them with what they need indoors. I have three of them. One is doing great, but the other two are barely making it. They prefer extremely hot weather, and full sun. I find it very frustrating that I recently bought one that did not bloom, and when I called about it, then I was told about the need for full sun. One of my plants that is doing well has adapted to the conditions that I can provide, but many desert rose plants will not be able to adapt to the conditions that you have, so getting one for your home is kind of a gamble because you never know if it’s going to do well or not.

Desert rose plants are succulents. What makes them distinctive is that they develop a caudex, or swollen trunk.  All succulents have some kind of water storage system. In desert rose plants, the trunk swells to conserve moisture for times of drought. A thick trunk is an indicator of a healthy plant. A skinny one can indicate that the plant requires more moisture.

Desert rose plants are native to regions with poor, gritty soil, and a hot sunny climate. The plant will not grow well in soil that is too wet. If they are exposed to frost, they will not survive. The plant will not survive long in temperatures below 40°F, but will do well in temperatures up to 90°F. The key to getting them to flower is to provide enough sun. A window with the southern exposure will provide enough sun for some plants to flourish, and bloom, but in my experience, even such a window does not always work for such plants.

Desert rose plants grow best in dry conditions so you want a sandy, gritty potting mix that drains very fast. There are some good commercial brands available, designed especially for cacti and other succulents. Whitney Farms, and Nature’s are two of the brands that I read on the Internet are very good.

Overwatering will kill a desert rose plant quickly. Therefore, it is very important not to overwater them.   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 scale, mealybugs and spider mites. Use cotton balls soaked in alcohol to wipe away these insects.

Be careful, as desert rose plants are in the Dogbane family, with all species producing a poisonous sap that can irritate skin and mucous membranes. If you need to prune them, be sure to wear protective gloves.

I got the information above from the website below.

Desert Rose Plant Info: Caring For Desert Rose Plants

Michael Landau