Desert rose has become a popular ornamental garden plant in United States Department of Agriculture zones 10 to 11. The rest of us in cooler zones will have to resort to growing Adenium indoors, giving the plant a vacation in the summer on the patio or deck. Desert rose plant care can be difficult and requires some knowledge of the life cycle of the species.
Adenium obesum, also known as desert rose or mock azalea, is a succulent plant with red, pink and white flowers. Here's how to care for a desert rose.
The desert rose can't survive in cold temperatures. Therefore it's usually planted in pots so it can be moved indoors when the weather changes. For adequate drainage, plant your desert rose in one part potting soil mixed with one part perlite [source: Sidhe] or sand. A layer of gravel below the soil and another above it helps prevent stem rot [source: Plant Care].
The desert rose can be grown from seeds or from stem cuttings. Let the stem cuttings dry out before planting. Plant them in the springtime and keep them in filtered sunlight until they begin to grow.
The desert rose needs full sunlight and a temperature of 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (21.1 to 26.7 degrees Celsius). The temperature should never drop below 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15.6 degrees Celsius) [source: Plant Care].
The desert rose only needs watering when the soil feels dry. In the winter, it only needs water every three or four weeks. This lets it be dormant so it can bloom better in the springtime [source: Sidhe].
The desert rose can be fertilized once a month in the spring and summer. Water it lightly after fertilizing.
The desert rose should be pruned once in early spring, before it begins to bloom. Cutting off long, leggy branches encourage the growth of more flowers.
The desert rose should be repotted every year or two. The new vessel should be 1 or 2 inches (2.5 to 5 centimeters) larger than the previous one.