The Desert Rose plant have acquired a reputation for being slow growing, but they are in fact fast growing and easy to grow when given proper care.
One common myth is they can't tolerate regular watering. I have had seedlings that have gone soft at the base because I didn't water them enough. Once this occurs it is hard to correct. They grow like a tropical plant, except when they are in dormancy (which is around winter). Dormancy is caused when night temps start getting around 15 degrees. This is the time to reduce watering and feeding. Dormancy is often signaled by sudden yellowing and dropping of most or all of the leaves in the colder months. I have also seen this happen if plants are too dry or a change in weather, but plants usually recover quickly.
If you want a display around the outside of the house I find they grow well in clay, stone or concrete pots with slow release fertilizer mixed in the soil and you can add some organic fertilizer with it also. Maybe these types of pots keep them warm in the cooler months.
Potting mixes are a hot topic among growers and are subject to a lot of debate, but if you stick to a well drained and aerated mix for your plants they should grow fine. Some people suggest sand, volcanic rock, crusher dust etc but there is no set rule from my experience, just regular watering and feeding in the hotter months and a well drained mix. Full sun is the best to grow in my experience but adenium can also grow well in at least half a day sun like up against a house or on a patio. In extreme parts of Australia plants can get burnt on the extreme hot days but is usually more of a problem in younger plants.
You can also graft them to produce a plant with different colours. I find the v graft the easiest but remember to sterilize the knife!
Root rot can be a problem if plants are too wet but this is normally not a problem if you have a well drained and aerated mix. If you have an issue with this treat plant with fungicide and there is a chance you could save it.
Pests are mainly mealy bugs, spider mites and stink bugs (orange with black spots). In my location spider mites are the most common pests.
Remember this is my adenium growing guide and different methods will work in different locations in Australia. Contact our garden nursery if you want to purchase these versatile drought hardy plants.
If you want more information on pests and diseases visit the link.
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