Adenium, or desert rose, is becoming increasingly popular as Asian and American growers have developed ways to cultivate the plant for wholesale distribution. These succulent plants tolerate neglect very well and reward owners with a long season of delicate red, pink or white flowers at the end of wooded stalks.
Watering Desert Rose
Desert rose plants prefer little water during the winter, when the plants hibernate. In the summer, when the growth is vigorous, the plants can be watered every day. The soil must drain well and not retain moisture. A mixture of 1/2 sand and 1/2 potting soil works well. Avoid getting the leaves wet.
Fertilizing Desert Rose
Desert rose tolerates a liquid fertilizer during the warmer months when the plant is growing aggressively, but the fertilizer must be applied correctly. Water the plant first, then fertilize. Make sure that both the water and the fertilizer are able to drain completely. Fertilizing without first watering can burn the roots.
Place desert rose in a sunny window. These plants grow well outdoors as long as the nighttime temperatures don't get below freezing. In colder climates, bring the plants inside during the evenings and in the winter, or keep them indoors where they can get year-round sunshine.
Pruning Desert Rose
Since the flowers grow from the tips of the stalks, regularly trimming the plants to encourage more stalks to grow is the best way to get more flowers. Cut off the tip of each stalk just after the flower dies. Wear heavy latex or rubber gloves--the sap is poisonous and easily absorbed into the skin.