Tips On Desert Rose Watering

Desert rose are succulent plants, deciduous shrubs, and a small tree growing 4′ and 6′ feet tall. Botanically known as Adenium obesum, it belongs to the genera Apocynaceae. It’s native to Africa, the Middle East, and Madagascar.

Adenium desert rose in flower with water on blooms and leaves
Adenium plant in bloom with water on flowers and leaves | luknaja-DepositPhotos

It’s a popular ornamental plant in tropical and warmer climates (USDA zones 10 to 11).

Adenium plants have a wide base or swollen stem and rich trumpet-shaped flowers in a variety of colors, making them widely loved container plants and outdoor plants in the tropics. The bulbous base of the Adenium makes them attractive as bonsai plants.

The desert rose also has a reputation for being tough to maintain. With proper watering, lighting, and temperatures, these slow-growing plants are easy to maintain.

Desert Rose Plant Care: Watering Adenium

Improper watering is a significant problem to growing desert rose.

This plant thrives during the rainy periods with good drainage. But need watering during their dormant drier periods.

To maintain its blooming beauty the potting soil needs to have adequate moisture. This includes during the inactive drier fall and winter periods.

When To Water a Desert Rose Plant?

Desert rose plants do not need a lot of water to thrive in their growing environment.

Does Soil Influence When to Water?

Soil does influence watering. The desert rose plant requires a naturally dry and desert-like gritty soil to thrive. The plant needs warm temperatures and a well-drained soil mix needs to drain well.

These types of soil ease the watering process because they reduce the need to focus on draining.

Read our article on: Soil For Desert Rose

Does Location or Lighting Influence When to Water?

This plant thrives best in a full sun environment. The light exposure obesum plants get can influence how well water drains from the soil.

When picking a growing location it’s best to choose an area with lots of bright light throughout the day.

Select a location in your garden not sheltered by taller plants.

Partial shade can offer protection from the high-noon sun. The blazing heat can scorch the plant’s leaves, especially at its tender stage.

Frequency and Water Quantity

As its name implies, the desert rose is a desert-like plant that doesn’t need extra water. It has varying water needs through different seasons.

During the late spring and summer months, its growing season, keep the soil moist. A periodic check on plants before watering will give you an idea of when to water or not.

The plants need to dry out before watering again.

When potting a desert rose, it needs to be in a pot (like Terracotta or clay) that allows for draining. A container without adequate drainage holes shows up as root rot fast.

During the fall and winter months when the plant becomes dormant reduce the watering frequency.

Desert roses will survive during fall and winter with once a month watering.

These drought-tolerant plants store water during the rainy season in their thick, bulbous roots and fat base trunk.

A perfect indicator of an adequate moisture level is the trunk of the plant. A swollen, thick trunk in proportion to your plant’s size, signifies a well-hydrated plant.

How To Water a Desert Rose Plant

The plant has no need for a large scale irrigation process.

Water From Below with a Watering Can

During the growing season, check the soil every few days. When the plant is completely dry, place the pot in a plastic saucer and water slowly from below and carefully.

There’s no need for standing water. Once the soil absorbs all the water and appears moist, it’s enough to last for a couple of days.

In times of extreme drought, water plants planted in the landscape deeply. Do this with a slow drip for several hours during the coolest part of the day.

What Happens if Desert Rose is Under-Watered?

As drought-tolerant plants, under-watering may not take its toll on the plants until after a long time, especially if it’s in the dormant period.

You spot a moisture problem from the plants’ trunk or leaf loss. If it’s thinner when compared to the expected proportion, then it’s an indicator.

Water immediately.

What Happens if Desert Rose is Overwatered?

Overwatering is the biggest issue for desert roses. A desert rose that’s overwatered will rot quicker than similar plants.

When you begin to notice, immediately reduce the amount of water. Then, put the plant in place with more sunlight to use up the water stored inside.

Does Desert Rose Plant Have Special Water “Type” Needs?

Rarely do desert rose plants have special water type needs. Almost any regular type of water works fine.

JOIN Our FREE Plant Care Newsletter 

By entering your email address you agree to receive a daily email newsletter from Plant Care Today. We'll respect your privacy and unsubscribe at any time.