The Adenium plant, commonly referred to as the desert rose, is one of the most prolific flowering succulents native to parts of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. The plant adapts well to many climatic conditions and is mainly cultivated as an indoor houseplant in many homes. While there are many things you need to do to keep an indoor adenium happy and healthy, the most critical aspect of its routine care is watering. Generally, the plant needs to be watered sparingly and only when necessary. Keeping it waterlogged can lead to a wide range of issues, including root rot that can lead to its death.
So, what are some of the golden rules for watering adenium plants? Generally, the watering needs for this succulent largely depend on the time of the year and the climate of the area where you live. To keep your adenium plant happy, keep it moist but not soggy. Check the potting mix regularly and only water when the top two inches of the soil feel dry. In summer, you may want to water it at least once every week but cut it back to once per month in winter. When watering, use the “soak and dry” method and stick to using rainfall or distilled water. Avoid using tap water unless you have no other option.
This blog post discusses some of the essential desert rose watering tips to keep your plant happy and healthy. Read on to learn more!
1. Use Growing Pots with Plenty of Drainage Holes
The #1 adenium watering tip you need to know is this succulent hate being waterlogged. Therefore, the type of container you use will significantly impact your watering regime.
If you are a beginner, we recommend using a growing container with plenty of drainage holes to evade the risk of causing root rot due to waterlogging.
It will also take a lot of time, effort, and experimentation to monitor the water requirements for your plant, depending on the climatic conditions of where you stay. However, once you strike a balance, it becomes relatively easy to keep your plant in great shape and healthy.
If you have already purchased a container without drainage holes, don’t panic because you can easily add drainage holes to any type of container with a diamond tip drill bit.
For glass containers that can’t be drilled, feel free to add a layer of charcoal and pebble to encourage good drainage.
The material of your growing pot is also critical in keeping your adenium plant happy. Generally, growing pots made of porous materials such as ceramic and terracotta allow water to evaporate relatively faster than glass and plastic containers.
Ensure you understand the advantages and disadvantages of different container materials before choosing one for your succulents.
2. Always Check the Potting Mix Before Watering
The truth is that adenium requires slightly more water than other succulent species to thrive. An underwatered adenium will have wrinkled and drooping leaves. But it doesn’t mean that you should water the succulent too often.
A good rule of thumb is to check the top two inches of the potting mix and ensure it feels completely dry before watering. When watering your adenium plant, soak the soil thoroughly and give it some time to dry out before taking your plant back to its usual position.
Once you have done so, don’t water it again until the potting mix becomes completely dry. Remember that it is always better to underwater your succulents than overwatering them.
For beginners, consider watering your adenium plant once per week during summer and once per month during the cold winter months. Observe your plant’s reaction after every watering session and use the feedback you collect to adjust your watering schedule accordingly.
Learning to tell if your adenium plant is underwatered or overwatered might seem a little bit daunting, but it is doable.
3. Location and Lighting May Influence Watering
Typically, the adenium thrives best in a full sun environment. Exposure to full sunlight has helped the plant to develop survival mechanisms that can influence the watering schedule in a home environment.
When picking a growing location in your home, it is good to choose a spot that receives plenty of bright sunlight throughout the day. This could be east or south-facing windowsill.
If you want to grow the plant in your outdoor garden, be sure to select a spot that is not sheltered by taller plants. While partial shade can offer protection from intense sunlight, the succulent can’t survive in a full shade.
So, if you live in an area that receives plenty of sunlight most parts of the year and you have positioned your plant in a sunny spot, you may be required to water regularly – up to two or three times a week depending on the intensity of sunlight in your area.
This is especially true during the spring and summer seasons when the plant is actively growing. You are even allowed to keep your plant moist but not waterlogged.
During fall and winter, adenium slides into dormancy and stops growing. In most cases, it will also be raining during this time of the year. Therefore, you need to cut back on your watering and give your plant enough time to rest.
Watering it only once per month is enough to keep it happy. In areas that experience extreme weather conditions, the adenium plant may survive the entire winter without the need for watering.
4. Use “Soak and Dry” Watering Method
One of the best ways to water the adenium plant is using the “soak and dry” method. This relatively simple technique involves soaking the completely dry potting mix in a water bowl and then allowing it to dry out before watering again.
To avoid causing harm to your succulent, make sure the growing container has plenty of drainage holes to allow the excess water to drain out as quickly as possible.
For indoor adenium plants, it is generally good if water doesn’t get to the top of the leaves. If water sits on the leaves for too long, it can cause rot. Use a small spout watering can or multi-purpose squeeze bottle to accomplish the mission.
However, water sitting on the plant’s leaves isn’t an issue for outdoor plants because there is massive airflow, and the water will dry out pretty quickly.
If possible, just pour water on the soil around the adenium plant until it is completely soaked. You will know that the plant is completely soaked when water starts to drain out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the container.
This watering method works best because desert roses are native to areas where the soil drains pretty quickly after rainfall. The rainfall is also infrequent.
The deep watering technique allows the plant to access plenty of water just as it would in its natural habitat whenever it rains. During the “drought” season, in between the watering sessions, your plant starts to develop new roots in search of more water.
In the end, the “soak and dry” technique allows your plant to develop a robust and healthy root system which enables it to withstand relatively long periods of drought.
Avoid using a spray bottle for watering your plant because it leads to the development of a weak root system that can’t withstand drought.
5. Keep a Record of Your Watering
This one might sound strange, but it is absolutely critical. Keeping a record of your watering schedule is one of the easiest ways of figuring out your plant’s water requirements.
Knowing when you have watered your plant and having notes on how it reacted to the watering will help answer a lot of questions, including whether you are underwatering or overwatering.
Fortunately, there are lots of great ways to keep track of this – you can use pen and pare, notes on your smartphone, a succulent tracker app, or even an excel sheet on your computer.
The primary objective is to record each time you water your adenium and what you observed about the plant a few days later – was everything normal, or did it display some unusual characteristics?
Keeping track of your watering schedule provides you with a comprehensive history for your adenium plant.
It reminds you when it is time to water and even allows you to keep a photo gallery of the different transformations your plant undergoes.
6. Use Rainwater
The best type of water to use for most succulents is rainwater or distilled water. It is not advisable to use tap water because it contains a lot of mineral substances such as calcium or magnesium that can easily build up in the soil or appear on the leaves of your adenium as white spots.
Be sure to collect plenty of rainwater during the rainy season and store it safely for use throughout the year. If you cannot access rainwater, be sure to visit your local plant store and purchase distilled water.
That is it about watering your adenium plant and ensuring it remains healthy. As long as you do everything right, your plant will thrive and make you a happy gardener. Remember to be flexible in your approach depending on the climate, soil, and adenium species you have.
At first, you may be forced to deal with a lot of guesswork, but everything becomes pretty easy and straightforward once you understand your plant’s unique water requirements. Have fun growing the adenium plant, and enjoy the process!