Growing Desert Rose - Knowledgebase Question

Ft. Lauderdale, Fl
Question by janethepburn
January 26, 2010
I transplanted my desert rose to a larger pot and it stil not flowering. I've noticed some white spots in the leaves. what can I do?


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Answer from NGA
January 26, 2010

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The white spots can indicate a fungal infection or a population of mealybugs or scale insects. Fungal infections are common in areas with poor air circulation or even lack of sunshine; mealybugs and scale insects attack at will and can be controlled by dabbing each one with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol.

Adenium obesum is the Desert Rose. A native of East Africa, the desert rose will grow from 6 1/2 to 10 feet in the wild (much smaller in a container). It has fleshy leaves and beautiful 2-inch pink open-trumpet shaped flowers. It is a succulent, and forms more of a bush than a tree. It needs lots of light and fresh air, so keep it in a bright location in winter. In summer, if possible, move outdoors to a sunny or partly shaded location. I suspect your plant is trying to rest. Here are some general guidelines for keeping it healthy: The plant likes warmth (never below 54 degrees); however, in the winter, keeping it cool (between 54-61 degrees) gives the plant a needed rest. It needs little water during winter, especially when kept cool. Increase water during growing and blooming periods. The total watering needed is similar to crassula, portulaca and other succulents, and it will lose leaves if overwatered. Feed monthly during spring and summer with a liquid fertilizer. Fish emulsion is also reported to work well. Root prune and repot every two years, after the winter rest period, in a mix of 2 parts bonsai soil, 2 parts peat, and one part sand. It can tolerate being pot-bound. Do heavy pruning after the rest period, but new shoots can be pruned regularly. The sap is poisonous, so clean hands after pruning, and avoid getting sap into open wounds. I think by changing the growing conditions of your desert rose you can coax it into flowering. I hope so!

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