KTSTP
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Joined: Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:26 pm

Watering Desert Rose

This is my first plant ever so please bear with me..My desert rose had green leaves, about 5 flowers and several buds ready to bloom. It gets plenty of full sun. We've been having 90+ degree weather here for the last month and I was watering about once week. About two weeks ago 4 of the 5 flowers had become "soft" and fallen off, followed by all of the buds. Several leaves had turned brown and fallen off as well. I thought maybe I wasn't watering enough so increased to twice a week. The condition of the plant pretty much continued the same. Since I didn't see any change I went back to watering once a week. Now you can see in the pictures that one flower has bloomed along with a lot of growth..buds and new leaves coming in. Some of the leaves coming in are yellow and a lot of the bigger leaves are still turning brown and falling off. Luckily all the new buds are still hanging in there. What could I be doing wrong? There were several more leaves a month ago and it looked much healthier. Do I need to water even less? The soil feels very dry after a few days in this HOT weather.
Image
Image
Image

baileysup
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Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2010 4:04 pm
Location: NE-PA(Zone 6a-5b)

Re: Watering Desert Rose

This is a tough one for me to comment on, because I have zero experience with this plant. How big is the pot that it's in? If it's in a larger pot it COULD be too much water, but not necessarily. It could just be the hot temps all of a sudden. Maybe that's how it's reacting to the hotter temps. If it gets rid of this leaf and maybe that leaf, it will be able to direct more water to the buds? That's just a guess though and could be totally wrong. You're gonna need someone else to chime in, because I've never owned a Desert Rose, so I'm not sure how they like it. Anyways, good luck with it, and keep us posted after you get more answers. Sorry I couldn't be of more assistance.

baileysup
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Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2010 4:04 pm
Location: NE-PA(Zone 6a-5b)

Re: Watering Desert Rose

Wait a second. Is it natural for this plant to shed it's lower leaves? Is that what it's doing? It kinda looks like it with all those new buds coming in there. It could be normal for the lower leaves to turn yellow and fall off. That's what my Dragon Tree does, and it is 100% healthy. Other than a couple of yellow leaves, you plant appears to be quite healthy in the pics. As far as the flowers go, most flowers don't last very long, so the fact that some fell off was probably natural as well. It's a very nice specimen. Good looking Desert Rose you have there :)

KTSTP
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Re: Watering Desert Rose

The pot is about 6" tall. From what I've read online it will drop its leaves when it goes dormant for the winter. In any case I don't think it should be dropping as much as it has. Some of the young leaves coming in are also yellow (I'm not sure if I caught them in the pictures). It was a LOT fuller just a month ago so compared to then it looks kind of spindly to me, but maybe I'm just too worried lol. I read on another forum that people would stop watering until they see new growth coming in. Maybe this plant is a lot more drought tolerant than I thought. I'll try watering even less and see how it goes. I do still think it looks great and with the new buds coming in I have a lot of hope. I've had an interest in this plant for years because the flowers are just gorgeous and a nice splash of color.
Thanks for your input and the kind words :D

I don't know if it matters but when the leaves turn yellow and drop they are very soft and spongy. The dried leaves you see in the pot have been sitting there for a day or two. Every day I go out and gently touch the yellow leaves to see how strong or weak they feel. Usually I'll get at least one or two that fall off by the slightest touch. The others I leave on there. Maybe I should remove all the yellow ones?

estergoede
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Joined: Wed Jun 26, 2013 12:53 pm

Re: Watering Desert Rose

Hi

I'm from South Africa and I've seen the desert rose or Adenium multiflorum in its natural habitat several times. It grows in extremely hot, inhospitable conditions in the northeast of SA. It has a tuberous underground stem in which it stores water, so I don't think it will ever die of thirst! It is deciduous and does shed its leaves after flowering, in fact it is often seen without any leaves whatsoever in full flower, quite a spectacular site. The plant is often without any leaves and any flowers whatsoever. The leaves are crowded at the edges of branches and this plant is never really looking lush and covered in leaves. If the leaves turn yellow, it is a sign that the plant is going dormant; stop watering when this happens. In SA the plant is also called the impala lily, the impala being a common antelope species in game parks over here. The plant is toxic and the sap is used as arrow poison, and despite this, it is often browsed by game. I don't think you can really kill this plant, except by kindness and cold.

Ester

KTSTP
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Joined: Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:26 pm

Re: Watering Desert Rose

Thanks for the great info! I'll cut down on watering and keep everyone updated on the progress

imafan26
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Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Watering Desert Rose

Desert rose does not need much water. It is designed with a bulbous base that stores water. Once a week should be plenty. It looks like your soil is well drained.

For myself, I live in a wet area, so I treat Adeniums like orchids. I don't over pot them. I only leave an inch or two of space in the pot for growth max. When it rains for days, or weeks in the rainy season, I have to move them under cover. They lose their leaves and look dead, but they grow back again once they are back out in the sun again.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

KTSTP
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Joined: Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:26 pm

Re: Watering Desert Rose

UPDATE!
Thanks to everyone for your input. Just wanted to give an update in case anyone was interested.

About a month after my initial post I had reduced watering to once a month in mid-high 90 degree weather. The flowers and leaves stopped dropping and I was already very happy with the outcome: Image

Two months after my initial post I maintained monthly watering in low 100 degree weather and I am amazed at how well it's grown. I love all the bright pink blooms: Image

So, I've found that the desert rose really does take neglect lol.

baileysup
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Posts: 437
Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2010 4:04 pm
Location: NE-PA(Zone 6a-5b)

Re: Watering Desert Rose

WOW! Looks great! SO many nice blooms there, and the color is amazing! I want one.

Miami_Sunshine
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Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Apr 19, 2017 1:46 am

Re: Watering Desert Rose

Thank you for posting the before and after pictures as well as the updates. My desert rose looks just like the one on your first post and I was having exactly the same concerns. Now I know to water it once a month. Hopefully I'll have the same result.

Yacovmord
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Joined: Fri Jul 19, 2019 4:51 pm

Re: Watering Desert Rose

Thanks for the Once a month watering tip.
The Desert Rose likes dry soil.
I live in Houston. Sun at least 7 hours a day.
the Desert Rose loves the sun and little water. Its Amazing.
Beautiful flowers. very little watering is the key to sucess.

imafan26
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Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Watering Desert Rose

Remember not to over pot. A tight pot with loose well drained soil works best. I use cinder and rocks and terra cotta pots. If I use plastic pots, I have additional holes in them. Young adeniums that have not developed their bulbous stems need a little more water, but once the stems bulge, they need very little water. Usually they will drop all their leaves in winter or if they are moved to a shadier location.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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