What Is The Best Desert Rose Soil?

So you want to know – What is the best Soil for growing Desert Rose plants?

The short answer is a well drained soil. Since the Desert Rose (Adenium obesum) is grown around the world you’ll find soil mixes made from all kinds of available soil components.  

beautiful desert rose flower growing in the right soilPin

The one quality every Adenium potting mix provides is it must be well drained. 

The Adenium is an interesting succulent plant hailing from the hot, dry deserts of Arabia and East Africa. The easy care desert rose Adenium obesum plant has an attractive structure and vegetation along with stunning, trumpet shaped flowers in brilliant shades of white, pink and rose. 

Although easy to care for, the Adenium Desert Rose does need exactly the right type of soil to keep it happy. In this article, we share advice to help you purchase or make the perfect substrate for your exotic plant. 

Mimic Natural Growing Conditions For Success

Desert Roses like bright, full sun and sharply well draining soil. But, this does not mean that you should pot these plants in sand or pebbles. A mixture containing a combination of:

  • Good inorganic matter (e.g. coarse sand, perlite, vermiculite, etc.) 
  • Quality organic matter (e.g. compost, potting soil, etc.) 
  • Organic peat and/or bark, (such as that used for potting orchids) 

…provides just the right substrate for your Adenium. [source]

The ideal is to strike a balance between quick, thorough drainage and just the right amount of water retention. Additionally, you want to create a planting mixture that is slightly acidic: 6.0 is ideal. There are some ready-made and homemade cactus mixes that provide all of this in a trouble-free way.

Along with a well draining potting medium, you’ll need a well draining pot. Choose a fairly substantial pot made of a natural material such as terra-cotta to provide good air circulation. Drainage holes in the bottom should be plentiful.

When you water the plant, allow the water to run freely through the substrate and out through the holes. This desert dweller should never stand in water or root rot can begin.

Do You know the answer? – What is the Best Desert Rose Fertilizer?

Can You Add to Commercial Soil Mix To Make Adenium Soil Better?

Yes, if you begin with a very high-quality potting mix, you need only add ingredients that will increase drainage capacities and improve the acidity levels to make the potting material suitable for your Adenium.

To make the soil mix more sharply draining, you can include a combination of coarse sand, perlite, pumice or vermiculite.

For increased acidity, you can use coconut coir or peat moss, which will also help improve water retention qualities. Of these two, peat moss has greater water retention capabilities.

A measure of fir bark does triple duty by lightening the soil mix:

  • Improving drainage
  • Better air circulation
  • Slightly increasing acidity

To combine these ingredients into a usable soil mix for your Desert Roses, follow these general guidelines:

  • 65% sharply draining material such as perlite
  • 10% coconut coir or peat moss
  • 10% coarse sand
  • 15% potting soil

It is important to note, however, that actual soil is not necessary for the Adenium. These plants really do quite well with a soilless substrate. 

Two Soilless Adenium Recipes

For a mature plant begin by making a base substrate of equal parts ground fir bark and peat moss (or coconut coir). This makes a good base for potting mixture for both tropical and desert cacti. This base is an important component of both of the recipes that follow.

Recipe #1 Well Draining

  • Two parts base substrate
  • One part coarse builders’ sand

Recipe #2 Sharply Draining

  • Two parts base substrate
  • One part pumice, vermiculite or perlite


Combine all of the chosen ingredients thoroughly. Be sure to break up any large chunks or clods to make a smooth mixture that is easy to work with.

Soak the potting substrate thoroughly before using it. Let it soak for at least an hour and then drain away any excess water. 

The mixture should feel moist, but you should not be able to squeeze any moisture out of it.

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