Does Desert Rose Need Direct Sunlight?

Desert rose is a drought tolerant plant. It requires direct sunlight to bloom fully. Desert Rose can grow in the following conditions: Well-drained soil, while it has shallow roots, You should prepare well drained soil with rich organic material before you plant it, and make sure that you water it regularly.

Direct sunlight can be harsh on many popular indoor plants, many of which have evolved to prefer filtered and indirect sunlight from the ground of the tropical forest. However, the desert rose is happy to immerse itself in these intense rays!

Being native to Africa, it does exceptionally well in full sun. It may also survive with sunlight only in the morning or afternoon; however, it might not bloom as vigorously and vividly. But in warm conditions, such as in a greenhouse, the plant can stay active and bloom all year long.

For a desert rose plant indoors, position it near a window to get at least 6-8 hours of sun per day. South-facing windows can be a blessing but also a challenge. On one side, all this natural light is perfect for creating an inviting atmosphere in your home. But, be sure to rotate the container every few days; otherwise, the plant could lean toward sunlight on one side. 

Sunlight for Different Growth Stages

Desert Rose’s light requirements vary at every step. Let’s see how to give the right light at each developmental stage.

Desert Rose Seedlings

Freshly planted desert rose plants and fresh cuttings will require a great deal of extra attention if grown outdoors. They should be eased into the heat over time. If left too long in sweltering weather, they may burn and die quickly. Do not bring your desert rose plants into the sun in the first seven to ten days. Semi sun or partial shade is good for the seedlings.

A young desert rose.
Freshly planted desert rose plants should be eased into the heat over time.

One Month Old

When your plants are approximately one month old, gradually increase the sunlight to avoid burning the leaves. The best temperature range for your desert rose plant is 95F Maximal by day and 73F by night. In this range, the plants will sprout well.

Gradual Adjustment to Full Sun

Newly planted desert roses will need additional shade or protection to keep them calm as they begin to take root in the soil. However, when their roots are better established, they will be more likely to endure high temperatures. General steps include:

  1. Begin the plants outside, where they will be in the shade throughout the day for 4-7 days.
  2. Move to a partly sunny spot (about 4 hours of sunlight in the morning and light shade the rest of the day); give 4-7 extra days to adapt.
  3. Evaluate color change and gradually move plants to a more or less sunny location as required.

Bright light combined with high temperatures can be harsh. If you progressively introduce your desert rose in direct sunlight, it will tolerate full sunlight for most of the day. Alternatively, add a little shade fabric to protect against direct sunlight. While the outdoor temperature is consistently above 90, the desert rose plant area is much colder from the shade canvas.

In the absence of direct sunlight on plants, the leaves do not become as hot and are unlikely to burn or show signs of excessive heat. Another great option is to place your plants in an area that gets bright shade for most of the day. 

Ideally, they will be in a place with an hour or two of morning sunlight but then shady the rest of the day. Because temperatures are usually higher in the afternoon, direct sunlight can be a problem during this period. However, the morning sun is cooler and less likely to provoke sunburn.

One Month to One Year

The desert roses at this time are more robust and more ready to go outdoors or for more sun. Approximately six to eight hours of sunlight will be excellent for their growth.

One Year Old

The bigger the desert rose plant, the less likely it will be affected by hot weather. A large plant is much more robust, has a deeper root system, and has probably had time to adjust to warmer temperatures. 

A top view of desert rose.
Freshly planted desert rose plants should be eased into the heat over time.

Mature desert rose plants may experience sunburn (especially if they go from shade to sunlight), but this is not expected. Setting the desert roses in full sun at this stage will significantly assist their growth and flower formation.

Sunlight and Seasons

Although the bright sun stimulates flower production, the desert rose plant takes a break in the hottest and wettest months of the growing season. The result is two flowering seasons. The flowers will begin to bloom at the beginning of spring. With a good amount of light, your plant should bloom regularly until mid-summer.

At this point, flowering will stop for 6-8 weeks, only to start again at the beginning of the autumn months. When the weather gets cold (55 degrees Fahrenheit or less constantly), bring it into the house.

In a highly luminous and warm environment like a greenhouse, the desert rose plant can remain active throughout the winter. If you bring your plant into your home for the winter, it will probably stay in a semi-dormant condition until spring comes. In the meantime, store it in a warm room with indirect light.

Signs of Too Much Sun

It is not long before desert rose plants start to show if they are stressed by too much heat or direct sunlight. When your plant gets the right amount of sunshine, it will often “redden” or change color. 

Suppose they begin to get too much sunlight, although the leaves will burn. You may note white or pale spots on succulent leaves. Though the damages may be hard to reverse, you can try moving your plant to a place with less warmth, direct sunlight and expect new leaves to grow. If just one or two leaves are damaged, you may remove them, but this is unnecessary.

A dry leaf of a desert rose.
Once they begin to absorb too much sunlight, the leaves will burn and you may note white or pale spots on succulent leaves.

In some instances, the leaves dry out and blacken. Black begins on the outer edges of the leaves and will become dry and crispy. These will not heal but remain until the leaf dies completely and new leaves are formed. 

If the desert rose plant is in the shade but still experiences hot temperatures, you can notice a golden/yellow color starting to appear. The plant does not become entirely white with sunburns; instead, the colors tend to be hotter than usual. It usually disappears, or the rose desert plant will revert to its original color if moved into a cooler environment.

The Relationship Between Direct Sunlight and Desert Rose Plant

The correct amount of sunshine directly affects the color of the Desert Rose. Sunlight is a very influential factor as far as the color of your plant is concerned. Moderate, mild stress can lead to beautiful shades. However, if the lighting conditions are out of their preferred light range for an extended period, your plant will eventually die.

Most light issues can be resolved if detected early, but the initial signs of too much and too little light can be subtle. Desert Rose plants can recover entirely from most light problems if given 1-2 weeks to gradually pass into the proper amount of light. Solving light issues is as simple as relocating your plant. 

The key to a successful changeover of light conditions is time. Whether they show signs of too little or too much light, desert rose plants can regain bright colors if given 1-2 weeks to gradually shift to the right amount of light. The more significant the change in light levels, the longer your plant will need to transition.

The Best Location for Your Desert Rose Plant

You will be saved from unending troubleshooting when putting the desert rose plant in the right place. We recommend that you reference the recommended lighting conditions indicated on the label of your plant.

Indoor Light Requirements

Desert Rose plants may be difficult to care for indoors due to their lighting needs. Because our windows don’t have nearly the same light intensity as a plant outside, many succulent plants end up tense and struggling to survive.

When it comes to direct sunlight indoors, your desert rose plants can pretty much handle as much as you provide. You might have to acclimate if you have grown the plant in a weaker light before, but it will significantly enjoy the sun.

A desert rose in a clay pot.
Your plant will prosper when you place it in the brightest place.

When growing indoors, consider where your plants are located in your home. Your plant will prosper when you place it in the brightest place. Find a location that will give your plants sufficient light and constant light.

The plant should be near sunny, possibly windows facing south or west with bright and direct light throughout the day. The desert rose plant loves bright light, so a southern window display provides enough sunlight for it to bloom.

If your home lighting situation is not ideal, there are still ways to improve those conditions and help your plants get the best possible light for optimum growth. The immediate solution is artificial light.

Manufactured lights can supplement natural sunlight or be your plants’ only light source. If you use grow lamps all year for your desert rose plants, you may have to increase the light and duration during summer. Likewise, decrease the light and length during the winter months.

Outdoor Location

If you grow your desert rose plants outside, things change a little. Instead of putting your plants in the brightest place possible, you probably need to protect them a little. After all, most of them do not originate in complete desert conditions, and the excessive sun can permanently damage them.

Desert Rose outdoor.
Instead of putting your plants in the brightest place possible, you probably need to protect them a little.

Damage mainly occurs if you fail to acclimatize your plants properly. Desert Roses grow in full sun with no cover, though they may thirst quickly. In the garden, choose a sunny place that has some protection against the midday sun, as this can burn the leaves.

Bottom Line

The desert rose blooms well in the desert landscapes and will bloom wonderfully with full sun. They can also do well with the morning sun or light afternoon sun but cannot bloom as heavy. These plants may survive if kept in the shade but become leggy and weakly stalked.

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