The desert rose, or Adenium obesum, is a popular and striking addition to gardens.
You can also find plants with orange, rose, yellow, pink, and red single or double blooms, and some have variegated foliage. It’s hardy, drought-tolerant, and adds a splash of color to any yard with bright green leaves and pink flowers.
While desert rose pests and diseases tend to be rare, aphids can be a persistent problem for the plant.
If you see yellow bugs on desert rose, isolate it until you can identify the problem. Mottled, curly, or deformed leaves or stems (growth that is not normal) can be symptoms, but they can also be the result of spider mites or other pests.
It’s a good idea for any gardener to know how to deal with aphids on all types of desert rose when an infestation arises.
What Are Aphids?
Aphids are a common garden pest that affects households nationwide. They are small enough to get into well-sealed homes and greenhouses.
Aphids can vary in color, but most often, they’re somewhere between light green and black in color. They rarely grow larger than ⅛” long. While some have wings, other species rely on hitchhiking or jumping to find a new home.
Your desert rose is most at risk of an aphid infestation in warm weather, as the pests tend to prefer summer months. It is possible to see aphids on your plants year-round, depending on where you live.
An aphid infestation can grow out of hand fast! It is important to tackle any aphid attack as early on as possible. Could check your plants for signs of aphids often.
Do not forget that you can often find colonies living on the undersides of leaves.
Although we can have powdery mildew, it is not as severe as it is in other places and it is mostly seen in spring before the desert heats up.
We do have aphids, spider mites, leafcutter bees, thrips, and our very own hoopla beetle, but on the other hand, we do not have Japanese beetles.
Ants can be found around aphids because they eat the waste aphids produce called “honeydew”. Ants then protect aphids against beneficial insects like ladybugs and this can cause infestations to get larger, quicker.
What Damage Do Aphids Cause on Desert Rose?
The desert rose is known for being a hardy plant. It’s popular because it’s easy to grow and resistant to many diseases and pests that plague other plants.
When problems arise with a desert rose plant, it’s often because of aphids.
These desert rose bugs can cause:
- Discoloration of the leaves
With advanced infestations, you’ll likely see live colonies roaming around the plant.
Aphids cause damage when they feed on plants. Using sharp mouthparts, they suck juices from tender areas such as leaves and young shoots. This not only damages the plant but opens it up to secondary infections.
What’s more, aphids excrete a substance called honeydew on plants as they eat.
It is sweet and sticky. They attract nearby ant colonies that can cause further damage to your desert rose.
How to Get Rid of Bugs on Desert Rose?
Aphids are most likely to attack plants that are already sick or dying.
As long as you provide proper care for your desert rose, you can keep its immune system working at peak capacity.
This will help it to ward off aphids using natural defenses.
Unfortunately, it is not always possible to protect your healthy desert rose. If you notice an aphid infestation taking hold, act immediately to save your plant.
Early on in an infestation, you may be able to pick off rogue aphids by hand. Go through the plant leaf by leaf and deposit any aphids that you find in a solution of soap and warm water to kill them.
You may have to get rid of some leaves entirely. In addition to maintaining their environment, you should follow proper fertilization and watering practices. Fertilize a newly sprouted plant throughout the growing seasons, spring and summer, with a 20-20-20 fertilizer.
If you don’t want to pick bugs off by hand, you can always blast them off using a garden hose. With a strong enough stream, you can break an adult aphid’s hold on your plant. Just be careful not to damage your plant in the process.
With larger infestations, you may have to bring in some outside help. There are several varieties of beneficial bugs that will kill aphids without damaging plants.
Buy natural predators such as ladybugs and aphid wasps online or at your local nursery.
If necessary, you can use natural insecticides to kill off an aphid infestation.
Diatomaceous earth is a powder safe for you and your plants. It kills small soft-bodied bugs by destroying their exoskeleton. Read more about Diatomaceous Earth for Aphids.
Neem oil is a popular all-natural compound used to kill aphids, mites, and other small bugs.
Neem is safe for humans. But, you should read the label carefully before using any insecticide.
Many gardeners choose to take a combination approach when treating desert rose aphids. They make a gentle mixture of natural dish soap and warm water to spray and kill off any aphids hanging around unnoticed.
Try to avoid using harsh chemicals when treating your desert rose for aphids.
Concentrated pesticides can end up doing more harm than good to your plant. What’s more, the chemicals can wash off into your soil and affect other nearby plants.
Lastly, make sure the plants are in full sun. Just a little shade can slow the fruiting of the best-looking plants. These plants thrive in bright sunlight, so make sure they receive at least six hours of direct sunlight each day.
Now you know what to do if you ever asked yourself “How do I get rid of bugs on my desert rose”?