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How to Care for a Desert Rose Plant

The desert rose is a succulent plant that is native to East Africa where it grows 6 to 10 feet tall in the wild. The plant produces 2-inch, pink, trumpet-shaped flowers and fleshy green foliage. The flowers appear in late winter to early summer, depending on the area. Desert rose plants form a bush shape and are grown indoors except for warm, tropical climates.

Desert Rose Care

Plant the desert rose is an even mixture of cactus potting soil and course sand. Add a slow release fertilizer to the soil at planting.

Place the plant in a location that offers full sunlight and air circulation, preferably fresh air. Keep the plant at a temperature that is no less than 54 degrees F during the growing and blooming season. The plant can tolerate temperatures of 54 to 61 degrees F during the winter resting season.

Water desert rose regularly to keep the soil moist during blooming, but not wet. Provide less water during the winter months as the air is dry and cooler. You are over-watering if the plant starts to lose leaves.

Fertilize the desert rose every month with a liquid bonsai fertilizer during the spring and summer seasons.

Prune desert rose plants during the winter months while the plant is resting. Clip small amounts at a time as the plant will bleed sap profusely.

Repot the desert rose plant every 2 years following the winter season. The plant can tolerate being root bound in the pot, however repotting will promote additional growth.

Propagate the desert rose by purchasing seeds to germinate or taking cuttings. Dry the cutting for 3 to 4 days. Dip the cut end in a rooting hormone and place in rooting medium that is kept watered. Place the cutting in an area that is enclosed and has a high humidity level.


The desert rose flowers and sap are poisonous. Do not ingest and wash hands after working with the plant.

Desert rose plants can be placed outdoors in warm climates as long as the evening temperatures do not drop below 54 degrees F. Make sure the plant receives plenty of sunshine and is in an area where the air circulates.

Desert rose plants can be trained to grow as a bonsai plant.

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