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Desert Rose Care
It’s simple to take care of a desert rose plant, but it does take some finesse. Similar to other succulent plants, it needs careful water management and lots of sunlight.The plant also prefers consistently warm temperatures, which is why it is grown as an indoor plant in many parts of the United States (except for USDA zones 11 and 12). The plant typically blooms during the summer months, erupting with vibrant pink, rose, or red flowers and bright green leaves. When it goes dormant for the winter season, it drops its flowers and foliage.
The desert rose thrives in a full sun environment. Choose a spot in your home so that the plant receives ample light throughout the day, like a southern-facing bright windowsill or sunroom. If you live in an area where it can be grown successfully outdoors, the best place to plant the desert rose is in a spot that is not shaded by taller plants but has some protection from high-noon sun, which can scorch the plant’s leaves.
As its name implies, the desert rose plant is acclimated to naturally dry, desert-like conditions, meaning well-draining sandy or gravelly cactus soil. The soil should have a neutral to acidic pH, ideally hovering right around 6.0.
The desert rose plant has varying water requirements depending on the time of year and temperature. During its growing season (late spring and summer), keep its soil moist but never saturated. Check on the soil periodically and allow it to dry out completely before watering. Also, plant your desert rose in a container that has ample drainage holes. The desert rose can be susceptible to rot if it becomes too moist (a clay or terra cotta pot can also help with wicking away excess moisture).
In the fall and winter months (when the plant typically goes dormant in the wild); drastically reduce moisture, watering only minimally once a month or so. If you’re curious if your plant is receiving enough water during its growing season, you can look at its trunk for the answer. A swollen, thick trunk (in proportion to the size of your plant) is a great indication that your plant is well-hydrated.
Temperature and Humidity
Keep your plant in warm temperatures at all times—it will die quickly if exposed to prolonged temperatures cooler than 50 degrees Fahrenheit. It thrives best at temperatures between 65 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’ve planted your desert rose outdoors, it will not likely survive any prolonged frost. Humidity is not important to the desert rose because it is accustomed to a dry, hot climate.
For an added dose of nutrients (and potentially more flowers), you can feed your desert rose with liquid fertilizer (diluted by half) once a month during its active growth period. Do not fertilize the plant during its dormant period.
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