Desert rose Adenium plants care, watering and fertilizer

To water or not to water?  I have some adeniums over 15 years old. I always wondered why they did not grow into the huge desert roses grow in Thailand and India that are only a few years old.  One of the biggest misconceptions if show much to water the desert rose adenium plants. First, Thailand is a tropical area not a desert. They get tons of rain and so do their adeniums – the common name desert rose. So why do people have problems and the mis-conception that desert roses need to be treated as cactus?

Yes, adeniums are succulents, but succulents are found in all climates from the tropical areas to the frozen north. They have adapted and survived.  Case in point is that prickly pear cacti that thrive in the deserts and in Canada. Yes, the climate of where you are growing your adeniums is the key to how much water. If you grow then in a tropical environment or a greenhouse setup with a tropical climate then with the proper soil you can deeply water your desert rose’s everyday during the growing season!  If you live in the north you may want to consider prolonging the growing season for you desert roses by providing supplemental light as the days get shorter for your adeniums if you have a green house.

Beyond watering adeniums during the hot season you need to make sure the plant experiences a dormancy cycle. I live in Florida so the dormancy may only be a month or two but it is critical fro you adeniums. Also, do fertilize and use time released on your desert roses. I haev used various cacti adenium fertilizers over the years and found 20-20-20 works, 10-20-20 and others well here during growing season of the desert rose. Yes, may people say to use 7-10-10 or even 5-10-10.  You will need to experiment in your area when growing your adeniums desert rose plants. Presently,  I’m using 14-14-14.

11 thoughts on “Desert rose Adenium plants care, watering and fertilizer

  1. This is really interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger. I’ve joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of your great post. Also, I’ve shared your website in my social networks!

  2. Hey

    This info is sooo helpful, and exactly what I was looking for. But I just wanted a little extra info on one point. If I live in a tropical climate, what kind of soil mix would I use so that my adeniums dry out enough during the rainy season, but has enough water retention during the dry season. Or would I have to use a different mix for each season?

    • Tropical climates, such as ours, present a problem due to constant rain every day. In south Florida, we received over 80 inches of rain during the summer and it rained everyday on the adenium plants. Just when you think the soil will dry out it rains again on the desert rose plants. Our soil mix contains 70 to 75% perlite, 15%-20% coir and 10 percent soil/rocks. Did the soil completely dry out during the summer months – no. However the roots were not sitting in water and due to the 75% or more of perlite/rocks the roots had air so they did not develop root rot. Yes, we lost a few adenium plants (less than 2%). When you use rocks in you mix make sure that you do not use porous rocks!

  3. I Don’t know how far my post would be helpful to you guys, but nonetheless would like to share my experience.I am into greenscape with soft corner towards the ever beautiful Adenium Obesum, I am from Goa (India), which is pretty much humid almost like Thailand, almost year round, I don’t hold much experience except for growing my Adeniums (98 plants) for 2 years, grown from seeds. I use a general NPK 19:19:19 fertilizer twice a month diluted double plus I do like to introduce micronutrients mix with bio stimulant and bio activator twice annually ,my potting mix is 3/4th sand coarse and 1/4th homemade compost. Since Goa receives a lot of rainfall I do have to keep desert rose plants protected from the heavy pour so I cover them from above with a transparent polymer sheet during monsoons. Adeniums love bright Light (Though I disagree with full scorching sunlight as others suggest, some show burns in my case) Being from the tropics I also have to water them twice a week. I Occasionally cut banana skin into small pieces compost adenium plants and push it into the soil along the edges of my pot, helps in adenium flowering and its free. I love Adeniums.

  4. Thanks for the info in desert rose plants; we currently have 4 healthy, flowering beauties….live in South Florida and they love the sunshine and the rain….they grow so fast that we have to keep transplanting them! Was unsure of fertilizer, so your info is a BIG help; we’ll start with the 14-14-14 and see how that works for us.

  5. Hi! I brought a desert rose home from Florida and am now in Dallas Texas for winter. My rose dropped all of its leaves when it was outside before it got too cold. Thought it was fine because it was going dorment, plus it was getting a lot of water. It is in a half cactus soil half orchid soil mix which promotes fast drainage. I brought it inside 2 weeks ago. Watered it once last week, and was going to cut down to once every two or three weeks to let it go through its dormancy period. Well now it has all kinds of new growth on every branch already! Is that normal!? How long does dormancy last? And what do I do now? Start watering more often again!? Every website I’ve looked at has contradicting theories! Please share your knowledge with me! I am so lost! And I’ve been carrying this baby all over the country!!! It’s like my youngin.

  6. I live in Missouri and have several Adendiums. Some grown from seed purchased from Thailand and some from Lowe’s. I have had great success with them as our summers are hot and usually rainfall that is spaced out. I believe the timed released fertilizer is best also. I use 1/2 sand and the other half garden soil. My plants are very independent in that some varieties go dormant fast in the early fall and other choose not to for a while. I had two plants that were blooming at Christmas this year. I keep them in an upstairs window where it is sunny and warm. Those plants which bloomed late took about a four week rest and are now starting to grow again. I have a small greenhouse which I start heating in March so the plants will be moved there until warm weather where they are on our patio wall with full summer sun. I have had no problem in periods of extended rain with rot as long as they are in fully exposed to wind, etc that comes with our rain. I fine these plant to be very interesting and hope to hybridize some. I am currently getting to plant seeds from my plants that were harvested after they were brought into the house. I am interested in finding a source of dominant and recessive gene lists. I’m sure that pink is the dominant color but hope to find more information. I have one large plant that blooms a very nice double pink edged in darker pink that would be a good plant for cross pollinations. I search for more and more information and other than general care information, have trouble finding information as most of the work is being done in India and Thialand. Thanks for this information.

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