Newly Registered
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2014 2:46 pm

Help! Desert Rose doing poorly!

HELP! This is my first post and I hope I am in the correct forum. I've owned this DR for about 7 years. I've had trouble in the past with over watering because of the amount of rainfall we receive in the Summer in Florida...I've since learned not to water her so much as I had previously been doing. But this Summer she grew leaves early on and then lost them all. I thought the stems were looking a bit flimsy, so I cut them back a bit to make sure they looked ok inside and they did...She started to grow new leaves in a few places but they started to brown and never matured. I see a few new sprouts but am not confident they are going to mature either. I am now concerned because her base has some discoloration. It isn't squishy or soft to the touch and I haven't been able to find anything posted anywhere about trunk discoloration. I have only repotted her once a couple of years ago....I feel like this is a root problem or maybe even fungus? But am not sure and need to know what to do to improve her health. Should I remove her from the pot and look at the roots? Any help is most appreciated. I have another one I bought this summer and have been taking the same care with both of them but this one is not doing well at all.
desert rose.jpg
desert rose 2.jpg

Greener Thumb
Posts: 1335
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2012 6:25 am
Location: ranches in sierra nevada mountains California & Navada high desert

Re: Help! Desert Rose doing poorly!

Hi zensol, Well, I see you live in Florida, Desert Rose doesn't like cold, you didn't get a dip in temperature into the low 60s or lower I hope, they can survive a bit of a drop in temp but can show signs when subjected to a sudden deep drop.

From what I've read, you did right cutting back, it may just need time.

They need Phosphorus and potassium but not too much, you've done so well with it, having it for 7 years, I'm thinking you didn't over fertilize. People who have them that I know of repot every three or four years.

Keep it in direct light it may surprise you.

Let's see if we can get help from a someone here who has a bit closer knowledge on them.


imafan knows a bit more about the Desert Rose, he may have an idea to share.

Posts: 11337
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Help! Desert Rose doing poorly!

The desert rose can be a fussy plant
Does not like too much water, especially after its' belly swells
Did the lighting change?

When it rains a lot, I have to bring the larger desert roses in under cover or the rain may kill it. When I bring it under the roof, the leaves fall off and go dormant until the season is over and I bring it back out to light again. It really doesn't have much to do with temperature as my winter temperature rarely goes lower than the low 50's. If I have a relatively dry winter as we have been having for the last three or four years and I keep the desert roses on their bench, the leaves will stay on through the cooler months.

I pot my desert rose in concrete and clay pots and I have a media that has cinder in it. Cinder is relatively easy to find here and it drains well. I also select a pot that just barely fits the roots. If my pot is too big, I have a greater chance of over watering it.

Are the leaves staying wet overnight?

Adeniums can get stem rot which is caused by a fungus and the rot starts at the leaf tips. The leaves will turn yellow, then brown and finally fall off. The tip of the stem will be brown and if left unchecked it will travel down the stem to the mainstem. It is one of the more common problems with adenium. If the tips are rotting, you can use a sterile pruner and cut back the tips until you get to healthy tissue. The ends need to callus off, so try to keep it from getting wet until then. The tip won't grow, but side branches will come out. I sometimes put wettable sulfur on the tips when I cut them. It is getting harder to find wettable sulfur now, but dithane is still available although mostly from agricultural suppliers.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

Newly Registered
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Aug 17, 2014 11:39 am
Location: Astatula, Fl

Re: Help! Desert Rose doing poorly!

Your adenium has a very good form. have you had it in the same planter for the seven years you had it? If so, then it may need repotting into a slightly bigger planter.

Return to “Cactus Forum - Cacti Including all Succulent Plants”