Desert Rose is a favorite houseplant if you are looking for a low-attention plant for your garden or decorating your patio. This plant grows in arid locations like rocky outcrops or dry riverbeds, but they adapt well in tropical and sub-tropic environments.
Desert Rose has a short stem that forks into two at ground level, each branch bearing multiple leaves arranged spirally up its length.
When it reaches its blooming period, it produces flowers with shades of white or yellowish-white with a red spot on the lower lip; your home brightens up during this period.
How can I plant a Desert Rose?
You can propagate Desert Rose from cuttings or seeds. You can purchase Desert Rose seeds at specialty nurseries or online; however, make sure you’re getting a fresh seed. The fresher the seed, the greater your chances of getting a strong, healthy plant.
The resulting plant will typically lack a thick and fascinating root system above ground when propagating Desert Rose from a cutting. The caudex forms from a seed and is easily noticeable when it grows.
The main benefit of starting with a cutting is that you can perform all sorts of creative things, such as grafting cuttings with one flower color to plants with another. You may also join many distinct cuttings together to make an attractive arrangement.
Starting Desert Rose From Cuttings
Step 1: Make your cuttings
Identify a healthy mother plant to make your cuttings from. Ensure you have clean, sterilized gardening tools to create a cutting.
Cut healthy branches at least six inches which is ideal for rooting, and lay them on a paper towel or newspaper in a dry place away from sunlight. Allow the cuttings to dry before planting for at least 48 hours.
Step 2: Prepare Potting Mix
After two days, prepare a container or pot with a gravelly, well-drained potting mix. Alternatively, you may use a commercial mix designed for succulents and cacti or one made up of equal parts of potting soil, peat moss, coco coir, sand, and gravel.
Remember to line the pot’s bottom with a layer of coarse gravel for better drainage.
Step 3: Plant The Cuttings
Sprinkle the cut end with rooting powder to enhance rooting and poke it into the potting mix about two inches deep. Soak the planting mix thoroughly with a spray bottle and let it drain. Mist every few days to keep the soil wet but avoid getting it soggy.
Desert Rose dislikes it when the soil is soggy; if you allow its soil to become overly damp, the roots will rot.
Proceed to place the container in a warm, bright indirect light and still setting indoors or outside and monitor it closely.
If you’re growing it indoors and start growing leaves, turn it every day or two to ensure it gets equal light. It will bend toward the sun if you don’t do this.
How to Propagate Desert Rose from Seeds
To plant Desert Rose seeds, prepare your growing medium of 50% coco coir or peat moss and 50% perlite or sand. Place the mix in a tray or shallow pot, and ensure after planting the seeds, you place the pot in bright indirect light.
Another thing, you may provide a warming pad to create the perfect temperature for seed germination of between 80 to 85°F. Here is a quick fix to plant your seeds:
Step 1: Plant The Seeds
Place an equal amount of seeds in each container. Evenly sprinkle the seeds across the surface of the medium and just barely cover them with the planting mix.
Saturate the growth medium uniformly with water using a spray bottle. Repeat this procedure on alternate days until the seeds sprout.
Step 2: Care for The Seedlings
Once the seeds start sprouting in approximately three to seven days, continue to mist them once or twice a week to keep them moist without overwatering.
Seedlings should be large enough to be transplanted into individual containers in around a month.
When the plant sprouts new leaves, it’s time to move it to a sunnier location. Grown Desert Rose plants enjoy bright direct sunlight.
You can plant Desert Rose plants directly in the ground outdoors, but since they are not cold tolerant, growing them in containers for easy moving indoors during winter is preferable.
Winter makes the leaves droop and might kill the plant when exposed to cold for long.
How Can I make Desert Rose Grow Faster?
For your Desert Rose to grow faster, ensure you provide enough or sufficient of these conditions:
- Keep away pests and diseases
Your Desert Rose will grow to bloom if you get all these conditions correct and provide the right care. The blooms last long depending on your environment and are attractive to hummingbirds and pollinators like bees and butterflies.
How Often Should You Water Desert Rose?
The Desert Rose likes a warm, rainy season but cut back on watering at the onset of winter. Always check on the soil; once the soil is dry, water moderately for at least twice a week. Water it moderately in warm conditions and sparingly during winter.
Soak the soil, but never let it become wet. Wet soil will make the roots rot, killing your plant. You can plant your plant on an inclined landscape to encourage water drainage if grown outdoors.
Outdoor grown Desert Rose grow and become drought tolerant, making them need little watering once they mature. Water deeply during severe drought with a slow drip for some time during the coolest times of the day.
How Much Sunlight Does Desert Rose need?
The Desert Rose plant loves sunlight, and it will bloom to its full potential with direct, intense sunshine with temperatures between 70°F up to 100°F.
They may also flourish in the morning or afternoon sun, but they do not flower as frequently. These plants become lanky and weak-stemmed when kept under shade.
Too much sun may also affect them, especially the midday sun, which may cause a burning effect on its leaves. When the weather changes and temperatures fall to 55°F or below, it will go into a dormant phase. Prune the plant and bring it inside or provide a good shade with warm conditions.
Add Some Nutrients for the Plant Growth
You can give your plant a light feeding of water-soluble liquid fertilizer or slow-release fertilizer every few weeks during the growing season. You may use Epsom Salt to give lusher and greener foliage for a start.
Give your Desert Rose a diluted feeding once every two weeks in the spring as the plant gets up from its winter dormancy.
Reduce the frequency to once a month during the summer. As winter approaches, stop feeding the plant and let it wind down for dormancy.
If you bring your Desert Rose indoors for the winter, give it one moderate feed in mid-winter; however, this is not required because the plant will be in a state of semi-dormancy.
Which Pest and Problems Affect Desert Rose?
The most prevalent problem with Desert Rose is root rot. Over-watering is critical to note, as these plants have thick roots that retain water. These plants do not require or want to be in the water for long; therefore, you are causing harm rather than good by overwatering them.
Remember to water cautiously and ensure that your plant’s drainage system is functioning correctly.
Pests that may harm Desert Rose plants include:
- Spider mites
You can treat these pests using neem oil insecticides. For other pests such as caterpillars, handpick them from your plant. Always wear gloves when picking them, and later treat the plant using Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) as soon as possible.
The caterpillars can devour and reduce your Desert Rose plants to a stem very fast. Once they have defoliated your plant and you treated the plant, don’t despair. The plant will spring back new leaves.
Is Pruning Necessary for Desert Rose?
Because these plants can grow to be quite huge, frequent pruning and under-potting are required to keep them in check.
Constant pruning will keep your plant vigorous, fresh and well-groomed.
During the growing season, trim or cut back undesirable growth. Trim back excessive development before bringing the plant inside for winter to make the dormancy period more effective. Furthermore, it will be simple to maintain a smaller, more compact plant indoors throughout the winter months.
Prune your Desert Rose before placing the plant outside come spring. Remove any dead or damaged leaves and vegetation to allow low competition for nutrients. Reduce straggly branches to improve the form of the plant. These limbs may be used as cuttings to grow new plants.
Now you know all you need to do to make your Desert Rose grow faster. One cutting of this beautiful plant is enough to provide you with enough for your garden.
Furthermore, you can graft it with several plants like oleander and have it style your home when it blooms with unique flowers.
All these wonderful things make Desert Rose become part of the family. As you care for and enjoy this fascinating plant throughout the seasons and years, you’ll come to think of it as a valued friend.