How to Maintain a Desert Rose Plant

Overview

The desert rose isn't a rose, and isn't related to the rose family in any way. However, this oddly shaped succulent with a thick trunk and plump branches produces delicate blooms that can rival the beauty of the rose. Although the desert rose can be grown outdoors in warm climates, it does very well as a low-maintenance houseplant, and is sturdy enough to survive occasional neglect.

Step 1

Plant desert rose in soil that drains freely, because like all succulents, desert rose is susceptible to root rot. A mixture of half cactus potting soil and half sand or perlite works very well.

Step 2

Place desert rose in bright light, otherwise it will develop a leggy, unnatural shape, and will be more susceptible to disease. In addition, without several hours of light every day, desert rose won't produce blooms. The plant will enter dormancy during the winter months, and at that time indirect light will be adequate.

Step 3

Water desert rose whenever the soil feels dry to the touch, and then water it deeply. Be sure the planting container has good drainage, and never allow the plant to sit in water. Cut back on watering during the winter months, when desert rose only needs to be watered occasionally. Once every week or two is enough.

Step 4

Feed desert rose a good quality all-purpose houseplant fertilizer every other week. Use the fertilizer at half strength, according to the instructions on the label. Cut back fertilizing to once a month in autumn, and don't fertilize during the winter months.

Step 5

Keep desert rose in warm temperatures, especially if you have an outdoor container. If the temperature falls below 40 degrees, bring the plant indoors.

Tips and Warnings

  • The sap of the desert rose is toxic. Wear gloves when working with the plant, and don't touch your eyes. If the sap comes in contact with your skin, wash your hands immediately.

Things You'll Need

  • Cactus potting soil
  • Sand or perlite
  • All-purpose houseplant fertilizer

References

  • Desert Rose - The New Houseplant
  • The Desert Rose, Adenium oObesum
  • How to Care For and Grow a Desert Rose
Keywords: desert rose, growing desert rose, fertilizing desert rose

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.