Desert rose soil: What soil to use for growing adeniums

Growing adeniums desert rose plants verse seeds require different soil. In this article I will discuss growing in containers once the plants are four to five months old with a caudex of ½” of larger.  Once the adenium desert rose seedling gets to a size that allows you to put it in full summer heat and sun light out should replant into a soil mix that is designed fro a more nature plant. Adenium obesum, commonly known as the desert rose, is a flowering succulent native to the soil of sub-Saharan Africa and the Arabian peninsula First it must be course soil mix and drain fast!

The general adenium soil mix used in my are consists of perlite, sand, rock, top soil  and coir. Yes, you can use peat moss by remember peat moss retains more water plus moss peat moss is a wetting agent to allow it to re-capture moisture faster. Regular of the shelf cacti soil will work for adeniums but its not the best. If you plan to collect adenium plants, desert roses (common name) than you will want to create your own soil designed for your area. The basic mix is still the same but you may need to add more or less coir for moisture control.

When mixing soil for adeniums desert rose plants non-seedlings, use 65% perlite, 10 coir, 10% sand/rock and 15% organic material such as top soil. Add a bit of fertilizer you are ready to plant adeniums. If you are using store bought cacti add additional perlite and sand/rock to make the mix courser so water drains faster. Most cacti soils purchased in stores to much peat moss for your adeniums. The main problem with growing adeniums is root rot. You want to be able to water which means you need a soil for your desert rose that drain quickly. Once you have the correct soil 97% of all problems with growing desert roses adeniums plants are solved!

25 thoughts on “Desert rose soil: What soil to use for growing adeniums

  1. great issues altogether, you just received brand new reader. What could you recommend in regards to your post that you just made some days in the past? Any positive?

  2. Best stuff I’ve found for growing desert roses is $1 kitty litter from the dollar store which has been sifted over a window screen mesh to remove all the fine materials. The resulting material is a very coarse expanded ceramic which will hold some water and fertilizer (unlike perlite) but drains super fast and gives a well aerated media, which is very important for desert roses. And it is cheap!

    • vermiculite is more like a rock and less of a filler use to make space for air flow. Yes you can use more vermiculite or do what we do when planting adeniums – put a small layer of non-porous rocks on top to keep the soil down including the perlite. The purpose of the perlite in the adenium soil mix is to add something that does not adsorb water all all and allows air flow in the soil.

  3. Hello! I was wondering if it’s ok to use kanuma mixed with akadama for my desert rose? I bought one from a retail store but it’s on a plastic pot with potting mix which i need to change…

    • I’m not familiar with Kanuma mixed with akadama. I did a quick search and akadama is soil but really does not describe what’s in it. Kanuma is an azalea soil which is 100% wrong foe adeniums desert rose plants. Retains too much water!

      • Akadama is a granular clay-like mineral that its usually used for bonsai soil. Really??? I was planning on using akadama since it improves drainage by alot plus a little bit of kanuma to add a little moisture too the soil and make it more acidic.

  4. Hi, I want to repot my desert rose since the pot it’s in got broken and im thinking of using this mix: 70% vermiculite, 20% coir and 10% rocks, would it be good for my desert rose? since i live on a desert type climate…

  5. If shopping at walmart what soil should i pick up ore than likely i will use all purpose potting soil, i saw something about kitty litter could i mix that with potting soil and let sleeping dogs lie?

    • No kitty litter – it retains water which is the opposite of what you want to do! If you want to buy soil from Walmart you will need to buy two things: cactus soil and perlite. There cactus soil has peat moss which causes problems allowing are to get into the soil. Take the cactus soil and add 50% more perlite.

  6. Excellent information on potting mixes for adeniums . You have to adapt to your local conditions. I live on the east coast of South Africa with average summer temperatures of 28 degrees celcius and winter average of 12 degrees celcius. I use one third coir peat , one third bark and one third bark based potting soil. I use polystyrene balls at the base for air flow. Seems to work well over the last two years. Now trying some of the Siam Adeniums hybrids.

  7. I just repotted mine with 50% perlite and fast-draining potting soil. I also sprayed the roots with a water hose and wiggled the roots free while gently untangling them and jammed styrofoam pieces between the roots carefully bending and spreading them out for better aeration and to promote growth. However,I repotted in same pot for lack of a new one with 1/2 – 1 inch of roots exposed. I hope it doesn’t break the shallow clay pot. After poking the soil mixture down into all the empty spaces, I spread a layer of pea pebbles and pressed then down to retain the perlite as mentioned above. One question I have is about a root that has a large hole on one side which I discovered after peeling back a loose piece of skin. That same root below the soil line had a larger cavity. Is this root rot caused by excess water due to a water tray under the pot?
    Thanks for all this great information!

  8. This has been very informative. I live on the east coast of Australia and have struggled to grow this plant in the past.. Every one I’ve grown has ended up with root rot.
    Now I think I’m going to have another crack at them.

  9. I also live on the east coast of Australia. N.s.w I’m just about to makeup my own soil mixture as I’ve also been having trouble with root rot. You said be careful of certain pots as they cook the roots so can I have your suggestion of type of pots to use. And also thanks for all your info it’s been very helpful.

    • Terracotta pots with at least holes in the bottom – bonsai pots are the best. We have some glazed pots but the bottom are always un-glazed. At our nursery we have all types of pots (plastic, terracotta, etc.) and our environment is hot, extremely humid (85% to 99% 6 months of the year) and tons of rain. The right soil is critical to prevent rot. yes, the right pot is somewhat important (needs holes in the bottom) but not anywhere near as critical as the soil to prevent root rot.

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