Common Desert rose adenium problems and desert rose plant rot

With Fall just around the corner it is now time to check your Adenium obesum for problems before they go dormant for the winter. There is still some adenium growing time so take care of problems now. One of the most common problems is stem root and leaf disease.  Stem rot occurs on the tips of the adenium desert rose plants and progresses down the stem. Leaf rot occurs in adeniums when the leaf is continually wet.

Fist, leaf rot in adeniums is the easiest to treat. Just remove the effective leafs on he desert rose plant and move the location of the adenium so the leaves dry out. When you water try not to wet the leaves or if your plants are watered using sprinklers make sure you do it early in the day so the leaves have time to dry out quickly. Do not water adeniums in the evenings. If you are in the tropics or desert this is not usually a problem because even the nights are still warm enough to dry out the leaves of the adeniums fast.

Stem Roots Rot

Desert rose plant stem root is caused by a fungus. It’s the most common problem with adeniums. The adenium rot is either black, dark drown or yellow.  The actual desert rose rot part can be wet or dry and it processes down the stem of the adenium.  When we see this we do not wait for he plant to fight the problem we cut the effective part off the plant. When cutting off the stem make sure you look inside the stem and make sure the adenium plant cut is far enough down so you only see good tissue with discoloration. Adeniums may stop this rot by forming a abscission zone. This zone happens more in desert regains than in tropical, humid and cooler climates. One sure sign of stem rot on desert rose plants adenium obesum is when the leaves start to fall of on the tip and turn brown.

White leaf fungus on adeniums

There is one leaf disease reported that we have not seen yet. It’s a white fungal adenium disease that affects the leaf first and then kills the rest of the plant. The fungus will spread to other adeniums quickly so if you encounter this problem remove the infective desert rose plant to an insulation area.  If the problem gets to the stem then the plant usually dies. Since we have not encountered this problem we do not know if cutting off the infective stem will save the desert rose plant or not.  Again the main cause of this and other leaf problem is caused by too much water. It’s important that the leaf of the desert rose plants does not stay continually wet.

129 thoughts on “Common Desert rose adenium problems and desert rose plant rot

  1. I have a desert rose plant that has been doing really well for months. Because of the harsh winter climate we have here in Wisconsin, I brought it in before the really cold weather set in. It is under a a good growth light and appeared to be doing well for the past month. In the past couple of days, the leaves just began falling off. There is nothing I can see wrong with them. I don’t get it. What should I do with it at this point? I don’t want to lose it :-(

    Mike

    • Falling leaves are normal when the plant goes into dormancy. Do not worry. The same thing has happen at our nursery and every year they come back stronger. Once you start to see new leaf growth I would give the desert rose some time released fertilizer (no later than mid January). How many hours of light are you giving them and how powerful are your grow lights. remember they were growing outside so when you CHANGED their habitat they haev to get use to the environment again. I would give them approximately 6 hours of grow light a day and in February increase it January to 8 hours to give the adeniums plants time to get ready to flower.

  2. my desert rose had yellow worms on leaves and flowers. I pulled all off. I have yellow& brown leaves. Will my plant die.

  3. My Desert Rose plant has never bloomed, What am I doing wrong. I have brought it inside for the winter and it sits in front a window that gets light all day and direct sun light about 4 hours a day. I also noticed that the leaves were falling off a couple of days after I brought it inside. Also I have seen little white specks on the leaves, can this be a problem. Thanks.

    • The little white specks on the adenium plants could be spider mites or when you water do you wet the leaves? Now is the time adenium plants are in dormancy period of growth and they will loose their leaves. How old is your desert rose adenium plant? How long is your growing season? Adeniums not blooming may be due to age, nutrients in the soil and season of the year. Adeniums usually bloom in the Spring and in northern parts of the US in the summer as the days get longer. 5 hours of filtered sunlight (through the windows) is fine during the winter but to bloom they will need more light and warmth.

    • I need a bit more information on the seeds. Where did you get them? How old are they? When where they removed form the adenium plant? How old was the adenium plant? If they are rotting in the ground trying to get them to grow give me more details on the soil, light and heat of your desert rose seed growing condition. Sorry for not giving you a direct answer but there are many causes from adenium seeds not to grow.

  4. something is eating the trunk of my desert rose. from the base up. it is only eating the outer layer of the knotted trunk. WHAT IS IT!? how do I save my baby?!

    • I also have something eating at my desert rose. What is the answer?

      Answer: DO you have an image of the pest? Do you see yellow or orange butterflies around the plants? ABout the only thing we see eating our adeniums are caterpillars.

      • It could be snails. I had a great mystery about what chewed up the caudex and around branches of my adenium a couple years ago and I couldn’t figure out what it was. I have now just this year figured out it was snails! They eat the outer layer of caudex and branches as well as hang out chewing holes in leaves. I took action to rid my yard of them.

        • I have something that is eating the trunk and the branches but not the leaves. The branches get to thin that I can break them off and repot them. I haven’t seen any snails or caterpillars. Any thoughts?

          • Good Day: Not too sure to what eating your trunk. If you do not see anything during the day check at night because many insects attack at night not during the day. Do you see chew marks? If not it many not be an insect but the adenium plant not getting the right nutrients so the plant is dying back. Many people do not realize but most store purchased fertilizers are not very good because they are lacking vital macro and micro nutrients.Do you have images you can send??

  5. I just got a bare-root desert rose through mail order. Most of the leaves have Blackish brown spots on the backs of the leaves. Did I get a diseased plant? Should I return it?

    • Good Day: the majority of the plants shipped will arrive with either dried out leaves (during the summer) or dining leaves during the winter. Adeniums are very strong plants and survive trips of 2..3 in transit. Many growers cut the leaves totally off before shipping the desert rose adenium plants. In fact, all the adenium plants we receive from Thailand are total without leaves. Out normal shipment consist of 1000 desert rose plants of which we lose less than 1% of them to problems in the first two months. I would contact the seller and make sure they are know of the problem. If its a company then they will give you instructions. Usually, when we get emails concerning plants we tell the client to track the desert rose plant for a couple months to make sure they are ok. This is what I would do: (1) take off all the leaves of the adenium plant (2) Wait 2..3 days for plant to heal where you cut off the leaves (3) soak the roots in super thrive for 30 minutes, (4)plant it using the proper adenium soil, (5) water the adenium plant in 2 days after soaking it in the super thrive. (6) keep the desert rose plant in a warm sunny location.

  6. Thank god I found your website. I have desert rose for a number of years. The branches has gotten longer, more than a feet long. Nice leaves has grown on the branches, and flowered as well. However, the leaves has turned yellow recently and dropped. Now what’s left is empty branches and bare plant. What should I do? Prune and replant the branches into new plants? Any ideas? I need help! Thanks.

    • Good day: Without knowing what part of the country you are in it’s hard to say why you are dropping leaves. Adenium plant leaves start to drop in the fall and depending upon you climate you may loose all your leaves or just some of them. Its not a deciduous tree but it does go dormant during the winter. Now this winter has been a bit strange going from cold to warm to cold again so your adenium plant may be going dormant again. As long as you do not see root rot or black tip rot on your branches the adenium plants should start to come back in March. DO NOT prune your plant until it gets at least 5 leaves on the adenium plant so you know its out of dormancy!

  7. Thank you for your reply. I m in Malaysia whereby climate is mostly sunny and humid or heavy showers at times. I leave my desert rose out on the open where there is plenty sunlight. Does it give you more idea on the problem?

    • still the same answer. I’m in Miami Florida which is a tropical climate too. Our plants loose about 80% of their leaves in December and then start to grow them back this month. the winter is the dry season here so less water.

      • Thank you very much for the reply. Yes, recently the leaves start to grow on one of the branches. The leaves are big, green and round, looks healthy. However, it looks really odd, as the branch is bald, about 30 cm long and only the leaves are found at the end. If I may have your email, I can send a photo for you to illustrate it. Thank you again.

  8. My desert rose lost all its leaves around November. I live in central Florida so I thought that winter coming in it was going dormant. I only water about once a week (its in a large pot and gets about 3/4 cup of water). There are no leaves as of today, only stalks and the stalks have a white fuzz at the tip of them. Is the plant dead? or what.

    • Good Day: Your adenium plants should be starting to sprout new leaves very some (ours are here in Miami including many are starting to show flower buds). The description of the desert rose plant problem leads me to believe that you have spider mites on the tips. Are the branches of the desert rose plant soft or hard to touch? If the tips were black them it would be tip rot which you can just cut off the branches until you do not see any black or brown in the center of the branches (inside). Tip rot is caused by the leaves retaining moisture (on the leaves) for a prolong period of time and cause adenium plant decay.

      I would expect that your branches are firm and the problem is spider mites. If that is the case then cut off the tips, wait for the cut to heal and then treat the whole adenium plant with a soap based insecticide. Also, if you have other plants in the area treat them with the insecticide too because they pest travels and many times you do not see it until it becomes a problem because they usually attached themselves under the leaves where you do not look.

  9. I stay in Mumbai . Leaves of my plant have got some brown spots on it and gradually it becomes yellow. It’s summer time here. What is the problem ? How should I treat it ? It has affected other leaves of branches too..

    • Brown spots on adenium plant leaves are usually due to too much water staying on the leaves. Desert rose plants do best when you water the base of the plant but not the leaves. We have the same problem here in Miami due to our tropical climate during the summer the adenium plant leaves do get brown spots. We have too many plants to setup individual water taps for each pot (over 1,000 3yr old adenium plants and over 1200 seedlings). Our water system gets water from a well that we do check on a regular basis for problems. The other problem that can cause yellowing on the adenium plans are the lack of nutrients. The adenium desert rose plants are easy to grow but once a year (we do it twice do to too much rain) you should provide nutrients to your adenium plants.

  10. Q: Hello! I live in north central PA, and its mid March. Two weeks ago I bought a beautiful desert rose adenium plant, with a large round caudex, in flower. I kept it more or less dry, but then read I should water it when in flower. So I watered the adenium. Anyway, i noticed leaves turning yellow and dropping, along with flower buds. The nursery potted the desert rose plant in coconut hull fibers, inside a plastic “azalea” planter, which was sitting in a slightly larger clay pot. I lifted the plastic pot out of the clay pot, and checked the bottom. White mold (fungus?) was all over the bottom. I immediately started to keep the plastic pot outside the clay pot, to get better air flow. I put the plant on a warm air heat source at night, to dry it out. Yesterday, I watered it a little more, but then lifted the entire plant outside its plastic planter. The white fungus is growing throwout the side of the root-ball. I suppose this is from lack of proper drainage, and potting the Adenium in coconut hulls, without sand or perlite mixed in. Should I try to get as much of this coconut planting mix off the desert rose roots, then replant it in the clay azalea planter, but with some course sand in the bottom, and sand mixed into the coconut fibers? I also have a nice bonsai planter, I could use, not as deep but wider. Or is this white mold stuff normal on the roots? Is using pure coconut hulls for the potting soil, a major problem too? Thank you.

    • Good Morning:

      First take the adenium obesum plant totally out of the soil. You need to treat the fungus with a fungicide now! The fungus will keep growing as long as if has food (roots/water/moisture). The adenium plant will survive a couple of weeks without water or soil. Number two-get rid of the plastic pot all together. Just use the clay pot for the desert rose plant. Clay breathes and will soak up excess water from the surrounding soil. Yes, using pure coconut husk for the adenium plant is wrong. Yes, you do want some coconut husk but not more than 10% of the total soil mixture for your desert rose.

    • Good day:

      There can be several causes for adenium buds to turn brown and drop: 1: Fertilizing while budding or near budding. 2: too much or too little water, 3: a warm to cold to warm temperature change or 4: Just replotted the desert rose plant during or near blooming season. I need more information to better determine your cause. Usually this happens when the plant needs energy/resources to grow so it does not bloom. Another cause can micro-nutrients. maybe your plant needs more/proper micro-nutrients for the adenium plant. However, adding the micro-nutrients now will cause the plant to enter a grow spurt and cause any other buds to fall most of the time when growing adeniums. We use super-thrive when we transplant the adeniums and when we have a heavy raining season we give them with diluted super-thrive. Usually we do not like to use super-thrive more than 1..2 times a year but never in or near springtime when the adenium plants bloom.

  11. I live in Puerto Rico. Around a month ago I received 6 Adenium grafted plants from Thailand. Three out of six started to grow small leaves but the other three look to have stem rot in some of the grafted branches. I cut a portion of the branch but the problem is the grafted portion is not long enough to cut it until a clean portion is seen. If I have to cut it until a clean portion of the stem, the grafted portion might be eliminated. There are located in an area where the water and sunlight is controlled. What do you reccomend?

    • The problem with all grafted adeniums is the size of the graft. If you get tip rot on the adenium plant and the core is brown down to the graft you will loose the entire graft. If you do not remove all the dark areas including dark or brown areas in the core of the adenium stem then the complete desert rose plant will be lost.

      Sorry it sounds like you will need to cut below the graft to get rid of your desert rose plant problem. It does not matter if you grow the desert rose adenium plant in a controlled environment or not you need to get rid do the bad parts.

  12. I have a group of Adeniums in 10″ plastic containers that are over a year old. There are fewer and fewer leaves and the few leaves that are being produced are getting smaller and smaller. The plants have been fertized within the last month, but that didn’t seem to help. The plants are looking pretty sticklike these days with such little foliage. Like you, I’m in South Florida. We sprayed for mites a couple of weeks ago, but that didn’t seem to make much difference. There is some spotting on the leaves as well. Any ideas?

    • Good Morning:

      First thing s first. I highly recommend not use plastic pots for growing adenium plants. They do not allow air circulation, moisture removal and they will cause root rot if you do not use the right soil. You need a porous pot – clay not glazed pots work best. I need more information on fertilizer used and type of soil used to grow your desert rose plant. If you sprayed for mites using the proper insecticide it should not cause problems. Are you watering the adenium plant two times a week? Does it dry out between watering? Are you growing the desert rose plant outdoors or in doors? Please let me know.

  13. I have a Desert rose plant and I have noticed very tiny black bugs on it can u help me please? I live in East Texas.

    • Good day: I’m not sure what the bugs you have since I have not seen black bugs on our adenium plants. However, I would recommend that you spray the plants with an insecticide soap (not oil based!). We have used earth-tone with great success and other people have mentioned safer products for their adenium plants. Do the bugs haev some orange on them? Are they multi-part bugs sort of long an skinny?

  14. Hi. I recently bought a desert rose. While removing it from the plastic pot it came in, a large thick piece of a root snapped off. I put the broken piece in soil hoping for growth. Can you grow another plant from a root?

    • Do not replant the adenium desert rose plant until the root heals over. I would wait 7 days before planting it. No do not expect anything from the adenium plants root. You can grow cropped branches but not from roots.

  15. Just black very small, my 5 yr old grand daughter showed me. I didnt see them at first because they are so small. I am getting ready to repot it. I was going to spray it with a diluted solution of Dawn and water.

  16. I live in Houston Texas and have a 3 year old desert rose that has been doing great until recently when I repotted it. I have noticed that one of the tubular roots (about 3″ in diameter) going down into the soil is rotting. All of the branches above the root ball appear normal, and new leaves are sprouting all over What should I do? Do I see if the plant will heal iself? Do I need to take the adenium out of it’s pot to cut off the root, or can I cut it off without repotting? Please let me know my best coarse of action, thanks

    • The amount you need to cut off is determine by the coloration of the roots. You need to cut off all roots that have any trace of black or brown in the center of the adenium root stem. 95% of the time when the root has rot in a desert rose plant it will not heal itself. The adenium plant root rot will go up the plant and destroy it all. You can cut without re-potting if you can get too all the bad spots that need to be removed.

      • Thanks for the advice. I think I am going to have to pull the adenium out pof it’s pot just to make sure I get all the rot. My other question is I read in an above posting that you advised someone not to repot until the root heals over. Do I need to leave it out of the pot until that happens (and if so, leave it in sun/shade?), or can I repot right away after cutting out the rot?

        • You need to leave it out of the soil to prevent fungus and other problems. Protect the cut area from water and I would recommend fresh air but not out in the sun. We keep our plants cropped/or healing in a covered patio area out of rain and direct sun light.

  17. Hello
    I have bought some grafted adeniums a week ago. Today I noticed that one plant has yellow leaves and two others are yellowish and soggy at the root. Could you pls advise me as to how to treat my plants? Thanks

    • Soggy is not good. What type of soil are you using? You need to take the plant out of the pots to get the roots to dry out and prevent root rot if possible. If the roots are rotted you will need to cut of the rotted areas and then let the cut heal befor replanting.

  18. Hi,

    I think you may have answered this already but just in case…

    I have had my desert rose for several years now. I have overwatered in the past resulting in yellowing and lost leaves, but have since cut back an increased sunlight whenever possible and have had good success. Last year I even got some flowers! However today I noticed that the exposed root looked odd in one spot .. I went over to check and the entire base was mushy! Like the inside has just turned to mush:( Stranger still because the rest of the plant looks perfectly normal (hence not noticing it sooner). (Although the branches seem a tad floppy now that I’ve taken it out of the soil and tipped it this way and that.) I saw a crack in the root and began to investigate .. The insides appear rotted and soggy .. brown and slimy in places, moldy in others. It has reached *almost* up to the point where the branches begin splitting off from the base. I’m assuming if I am to save it at all I need to cut off the base immediately? Then can I place the rest in water and try to root it or would that not work? Thanks in advance!

    • Correct – you need to CUT away ALL soggy, brown or black root areas even if it means cutting away all the roots. Then let the adenium plant heal before replanting. Remember to use super thrive or other rooting hormone before re-potting the desert rose plant. DO not place the plant in water! Adenium plants do not root in water at all. They root in dry soil

  19. I live in Tampa. My desert rose is probably about 5 or 6 yrs. It has bloomed each year, but less and less. It is now coming out of dormancy and the leaves are curling at the edges. The leaves did this last year, as well. A couple of years ago I repotted because the soil didn’t seem to be draining well and I thought the pot was too shallow. I put it in a standard clay pot and added a lot of sand to the potting mix. Do you know what is causing the leaf curl? Thanks.

    • Good day: Do you fertilize using time release low nitrogen? This year has been a bit strange in getting the adeniums plants to bloom. 90% of ours have not bloomed yet. We get flower buds in January then another cold spells comes in early February and wipes them out. Then they bud again and another cold spells comes. Now the desert rose plants are budding again and I expect no more cold spells so we expect to see many flowers in a 2..3 weeks. Anyway curling leaves usually means they are lacking nutrients. Use a time replaces fertilizer and super thrive after they boom or now if you are not concern with blooms this year. Also, make sure the sand you used is not limestone based (90% of the sand sold in Florida is ground limestone! Limestone retains water, causes fungus and and causes other problems with adeniums.

  20. Hi, I recently planted some seeds using Cacti potting mix and placed them in my hot house in hteir trays. One tray started sprouting then within a day or two just stopped and hte other two have not sprouted at all. I am in Brisbane QLD and just wondering if it is getting too cold or what I may be doing wrong?

    • I assume you are referring to adenium plant seeds. Usually adeniums seeds take 5 to 10 days to sprout if they are good seeds. The problem is getting good seeds. May people sell seeds on line that are very old or bad. When haev purchased adeniums seeds from various sources and none of them are consistent in the quality of seeds. You need to keep them above 75 degrees so you may need a seed bead warming mat. Also, we used quad band led lights going 10 hours a day to grow our adenium desert rose plant seeds. You need to keep the temperature constant and the soil moist. Use use propagation soil mixture that contains core – do not use a peat based soil mixture to grow your desert rose seeds. Try seeds from a couple different sources. I hope this helps a bit.

  21. I have two Desert Rose Plants. I live in Dubai, and have lots of flowers on my plants. There is a black almost beetle like bug about 1cm in length appearing on my plants, they are eating the leaves and flowers, and black spots are all over the places where they are munching. How do I get rid of them and what are they?

    • They are root weevils. Most difficult to get rid of. I have the same infestation and for the last 4 months I am checking the adeniums at night by torchlight and hand picking them and squashing them to the floor. They make u shaped cuts on the edges of the leaves. Check the soil, maybe there are the larvae. I am against the use of chemical pesticides so it’s taking me ages to get rid of them. They hide somewhere in the plants during the day and come out at night. I live in Dubai too, in Jumeirah. Try and pick them out on a daily basis or else they will lay 100′s of eggs. Do those bugs have faint grey lines on their t bodies.

  22. my desert rose flowers seem to wilt and die in like a week after they open up….no noticeable pest lots of sun fair amount of rain. can i send you a pic so you can see ? thanks

    • I need more information. Have you recently fertilized the adenium plant? Has your weather gone from warm to cool back to warm? We have adenium buds 2..3 times this year and in between we had cool weather that caused them to drop the buds. Now that we are finally entering summer the plants are starting to bud again and we expect flowers on the desert roses soon!

  23. I have five (5) desert rose plants,some in plastic pots,one in clay pot. I live in N.C. moved from Florida, where plants were bought.This is my second yr. in N.C.and I have always kept them indoors in the winter. I recently moved them outside but, with the crazy weather 75-80 days 45-55 nights I think the nights were too cool. It seems two of the plants root balls seem to be mushy. I have done nothing to correct this problem, afraid I’d kill the plant. After reading your blog, I think they’re suffering from the cool/warm/cool situation.How can I fix this and when should they be repotted ? They have bloomed since my move but, not abundantly, can I use potting soil or should I use soil for succulents when I repot? These plants are
    about five years old. I want to take care of these because they’re fairly uncommon in this area,N.C., and are beautiful plants.

    • Good Day:

      I would first pull the plants out of all plastic pots especially in your location. Plastic retains water and does not allow the soil to breath. Desert rose plants are desert flowering succulents. Desert means low water with a perception of always being hot. Actually some deserts get down right cold (freezing at night). Anyway back to you questions. Mushy root balls are either not enough water so the adenium plant roots caudex has reduced in side (soft do to not enough water inside the plant) or too much water which means root rot. If you have root rot you need to remove all the rotted portions. Any part of the adenium root that is not white/green inside needs to be removed (brown or black remove it all!). Even a very small speck of black or brown rot will grow larger in the adenium desert rose plant. Sometimes we have to remove all the adenium caudex roots, let the plant heal for a week and then start growing the desert rose plant as if it was a cutting. DO not using POTTING SOIL! There are many soil mixture information on this blog for adeniums. Regular potting soil retains too much water for adenium desert rose plants.

      • I’m getting ready to repot my roses but I still have questions.
        I purchased cacti soil, rocks,super thrive,do I need to also add perlite? Four of the plants seem to be healthy and should be okay but, one, the largest, the caudex is mushy, yellowish and this seems to be going 4-5 inches up some of the stems. Should this be cut away or is this just from too dry or too wet? Should I also fertilize the repotted plants.These are on my deck and get full sun (80) until about 4-5 P.M.so should I bring them indoor for about a week after repotting?

        • Caudexes get soft for two reason: too much water causing root rot and too little water causing shrinkage. During our dry months if we do not water the plant enough the caudexes will get soft. However, once we start watering the adenium plants the caudexes of the adenium plants firm up. New adenium roots under the soil line tend to be a light cream/yellow color sometimes. Cut away a portion of the roots to see if brown or back inside. If you see any discoloration then you have root rot and all of the effective parts need to be removed.

          Also, when we receive plans from Thailand the caudexes tend to be soft due to not being watered for 2..3 weeks. 99% of the time the deser rose plants come back without any problems.

  24. My dessert rose have a white staff (fungus?) at the end of each branch and all the leaf fell. Help!!! What I can do?

    • The fungus needs to be cut off. It may not be a fungus – spider mites sometimes looks like a fungus. Either way you need to completely remove the effective part, let the branches heal for a few days out of the sun and then spray the branch just insects its insects not fungus.

  25. I purchased 2 desert roses last year. They have and still have been growing great. Pruned in spring. Lots of new growth. Live in zone 9 louisiana. Just noticed on 1 it has black stuff growing on the bottom stems and base of plant. It looks like spikes and when I lightly touched one of the spikes it was like powder. Have them in large clay pots. Water about twice a week. Can you help me identify what this is and how to treat it?

    • It sound like some type of micro insect. I have not seen what you are describing in our area. I would recommend treating as if the spikes are insects and use a soap based insecticide. Fungus does not grow in thin spikes as far as I know. I know spider mites look like white spikes sometime on the under side of leafs so maybe this is something like them.

    • This is a common problem this year. Did you recently fertilize the plant? Never fertilize the plant during blooming season. If the plant has experienced the cold weather turn warm and then col again it will cause bud loss (NY is still having it). Also, not enough water can cause the problem. Here in our area we experienced the cool to warm to coll to warm whihc resulted in lost buds. However, I glad to say the buds are back and starting to flower (Very late this year for our area).

  26. I need help with my mother’s desert rose. We live in AZ. Every year the plant is brought indoors when the temps drop down to the mid 50′s. Usually in March, it is brought back outdoors when the morning temps are in the 60′s. It has always done just fine. This year however, the plant remained inside until last week. It receives a few hours of morning sun, which I know is fine, but on the patio, it gets about 1.5 hours of evening sun. And it is hot. It has been reaching just over 100 daily. I’m not sure if the plant was put outdoors dry. Two days ago I noticed some of the leaves were limp and there were good size brown spots. Not just at the ends. More towards the center. I’m guessing the heat has taken a toll on the plant. So yesterday morning, I watered it and moved against the house. This way it remained in shade most of the day. My question is – should the plant be moved back indoors until the weather cools and should I water it a bit more to compensate for the limp leaves? The caudex is still firm, so there should be no damage to the root system. Any help would be appreciated.

    • Brown spots on the leaves (if the leaves are not dried out) usually means the leaves are getting wet and staying wet too long. Adeniums are desert plants. The heat will not hurt them as long as you water them on a regular basis the leaves will sprout. If you do not give it enough water the desert rose plant it will go dormant and loss the leaves.

  27. (Singapore)
    My dessert rose is flowering very well BUT theres very few leaves. Leaves turned yellow quite fast (before the leaves are fully matured)
    Its been like this for the past year.
    I do see some stems “rotting” but probably 3 times so far in a yr.i juz cut it off n that usually occur in small branches. I watered then once every 4 days n they r placed under full sun.
    Can anyone advise me? Tks.

    • Your climate is not to different than ours. I would recommend a time release fertilizer and possible re-pot with fresh mix including dipping in super thrive before re-potting. Yellow leaves are caused by a change in the climate (seasons), lack of nutrients, lack of water and not enough sun. You get enough sun in your area and watering twice a week should be fine.

      Desert rose plants stem rotting is a common problem in areas that get a lot of rain. Its caused by two factors: high humidity and water sitting on the leaves to long. We have this adenium plant problem in Miami, Florida due to our tropical climate. Make sure the plant is not having water drip on it and in the very rainy part of the year try to protect it from some of the rain. Tip rot you will loose all your leaves. Cut off all tip rot and then let the plant heal in a protected area so the cut part has a chance to heal.

  28. I have several Desert Rose plants, all in pots, all in the screened in pool area. East Florida climate. They are spread out in each corner of pool enclosure. Blooming and looking terrific. However my oldest one, about 3 feet tall, has always had problems with white fungus on the underside of the leaves, and right at the shaft of the flowers, with white specks on top of the leaves. Roots are fine. Has been flowering profusely in spite of this. I sprayed it with Daconil fungizide the other day , and it dropped all the leaves days after. A week later No sign of life… Really bumped out about that. Should I prune it way down, or is this a total loss?

    • I believe the fungus might have been spider mites that are so small they look life a fungus. Adeniums plants and fungicide do not mix well. I would think they will survive but it may take 2..3 weeks for new leaves. Do not prune the desert rose plants with no leaves unless the branches are soft and show signs of rot.

  29. I have a desert ros that was about 18 inches in height and had a fairly large bulb. It was growing well but a few days ago I noticed one of the stems started to rot so I cut it off and today the main stem/branch was completely bent over and at the base it appeared to be rotting. I cut it off and there is not much left now apart from the large bulb. I had it in a greenhouse as it is winter here so I moved it outside again but under cover. Can you make any suggestions or do you think I will lose this one? thankyou

    • Sorry about your problem.There is no great solutions to your rot problem. You need to cut it all out form the stems to the roots. If you leave any rot it will just continue to spread. The adenium plant may be a total loss based on your description.

  30. We live in mazatlan, mexico and have a four year old desert rose. In the last 24 hours the branches have started drooping and it is getting worse. What should we do? It is outside all the time, the leaves and buds are fine. In the evening and early morning before it gets too hot, we have noticed ants running the branches into the dirt. It is currently in a plastic pot and we’re not sure of drainage.

    • Check to see if the branches of the adenium plant are soft or soggy when you squeeze them. If they are you may have branch or root rot. You need to make sure you have good drainage. If you are using plastic pots you must have excellent drainage and the proper soil to prevent rot. We recommend non-glazed pots or similar pots that are porous with holes in the bottom to allow water to drain. I would remove the plant from the pot, wash the roots and check for rot. Then put the adenium plant in a cactus type soil mix (check this blog for adenium soil). If you see rot you need to remove all of it and cut the roots or branches back until you do not see any more rot.

  31. So glad i found your site. Very educational. I’m from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I’ve planted my adenium from seed for 8-10 years. They (About 10) have thich caudex and I frequently trim them. Always kept a lookout for tiny caterpillars. Malaysia is tropical, with occasional rain, so I leave them out in the open. Water them with a little water everyday. All is good. I have just discovered one particular plant, its caudex is turning a little soft when I squeeze on it. I cannot pin point a specific part of the root that has rot, just that it’s turning a little soft. I’m worried. I have removed it from the soil since yesterday and it’s lying flat. I’m thinking of letting it air dry before I put soil back on it.

    1. Is what I’m doing correct? How long should it be left without soil? Is there any thing else I can do to speed up the recovery? How can I save it for sure?

    2. It seems to be raining on and off these few days. I’ve been bringing them in under the shade when it rains, bringing them out to the open for sunlight again when it doesn’t rain. Is frequent re-locating OK for the plant? Is it recommended to be moved? I’m trying to prevent it from getting too much water from the rain.

    Really appreciate if I get advice from you to save it.

    Thanks in advance!!

    2.

  32. Yes removing the plant from the pot is the first step to determine if the problem is root rot or use a soft caudex. Are the caterpillars just eating the leaves of the desert rose plant? If yes then they are like the orange caterpillars we get here in south Florida. every year we get them during the summer and we let them have fun. They do not hurt the plant and after then are gone the plants bursts out with new leaves and sometimes new branches. Plus as an added bonus many times the plants blooms again!

  33. Hi, I live in Michigan and I’ve had my rose for about 6 months. It has lost several leaves, the tip gets a black spot and then the leaf turns yellow, dries up and falls off. I have been giving it a small maybe 1/8 cup of water roughly every three – four weeks, but I believe I am giving it too much water because this always happens within 3 days after watering. It is in a clay pot and gets indirect afternoon sun in my living room. It has been warm here upper 80′s during the day, 60′s at night.

      • watering every 3..4 weeks seems way too little during growing season. I think you are not giving them enough light. The temperatures outside are find for the adenium plants. BY watering too little you may be shocking the plant every time you give it water. Make sure you haev the right soil so you can water them at least once a week. An let them haev more light. The tip so you need the branch of the leaves? If its the leaves hen you haev black tip and you need to treat with fungicide and give it more light!

  34. I live in Oklahoma and I have a very healthy Desert Rose, but I notice there are 2 large stalks proturding off one of the limbs. They resemble the start of a flower getting ready to bud, but they are about 3 to 3 1/2 inches in length. What is it?

  35. Sounds like yuo have seed pods. When the pods open you will get a bunch of seeds with fibers sticking out of them to allow them to fly through the air. Before the pod opens put a plastic bag around it to capture the seeds before they fly away and then plant them. Search this blog for growing adeniums by seed

  36. I live in lower Fl. on coast, and have 2 very large desert roses in full sun on my patio. Unfortunately they also get full rain. I repotted both this spring, into large plastic pots that I can’t move easily. Used cactus soil with mixture of sand (don’t know if it had limestone). One rose has small curly leaves. The other has perfect leaves but I had a problem with rot. I’ve cut several branches down to correct level and most have healed, however, one got away from me and I had to cut a notch into the caudex to remove all rot. Should that plant be kept shaded & protected from rain til it heals? What kind of fertilizer to use on them and when should it be applied (they are both blooming)?

    Answer: Keep it in the shade until the cut heals. The desert rose plant with curly leaves give ti some super thrive and/or time release fertilizer of the proper type for adenium plants. I highly recommend not to use PLASTIC in Florida unless you are 100% absolutely sure of your soil. It sounds like you are not sure if you used limestone based sand which is whihc 99% of the people down here sell as sand (in Florida) because of all the quarries close by. If the sand said silica then its OK, otherwise I would not use it for he desert rose plants.
    Mike

  37. I received a desert rose back in May. I live in Richmond Va where the summer weather has vacillated between very hot and humid to cooler and humid.
    I re-potted it in Moisture Control Miracle Grow soil. It is blooming; but some of the leaves are turning yellow with big brown spots on it and some of the buds are turning brown and drying up.
    I am reading that I have over watered it and have sprayed the water on the leaves. I am doing everything wrong. I know I need to transplant it into a clay pot, when do I do this? What type of soil do I use? My desert rose gets full sun about 6-8 hours a day.

    • Sorry for the delay we had some problems with the blog where the answers were not posted. Anyway, the moisture control miracle grow is not the proper type of soil. It retinas water when adeniums like soil that does not retain water. Now is the wrong time for the adeniums to bloom. In your area and further north they will start to go into dormancy due to fewer hours of day light. Correct do not spray water on the leaves and would consider replacing the soil with soil designed for cactus type plants. You may even want to add 40% more perlite to most store bough cactus soil. The problem with store bough cactus soil is that they haev peat in them which retains water. We get rain ever day during the summer here and the soil we use has 70% perlite which allows AIR to circulate in the soil to prevent root rot. 6..8 hours of sun a day is great! As we get closer to Fall/Winter the plant will loose most if not all of its leaves in your area and you will need to bring it inside during the evenings when the temperature averages below 45 degrees. During dormancy reduce watering to once ever week.

  38. I recently purchased a desert rose plant from local building supply store here in Northeast PA. It is about 1′ tall and in a 1.25 qt.pot and indoors.It gets about 3 hours of direct sunlight through a eastern facing window. I watered it twice in a 1 month period. Last watering was about 4 days ago and now I notice black spots on the leaves with some slight yellowing. I need some advice on what to do. Thank you.

        • Reduce watering. If you have not already give it a bit of time released fertilizer (not liquid at this stage). Right before spring before you see any buds give the adenium desert rose plant liquid fertilizer for one month (2..3 watering) as a bloom boost (10-20-20 or 10-30-20). try to giev it sun light as much as possible. Even during dormancy it will grow.

  39. Our desert rose has grown many new branches and leaves and were very excited. That is till I noticed the leaves have something growing on them underneath and on the top. They are brown spots concentrated on the center of the leaves (the vein area on both sides top and bottom). At first I thought it was some type of egg but too many leaves have it. It can be removed with my fingernail. What can this be? What can I do for this?

    • It sounds like either a fungus or tip rot. I would cut off all leaves that have the black stuff under the leaves. Adenium plants leaves will get black spots do to water staying too long on the leaves but they do not rub off with a fingernail likes yours is doing. If you notice the black stuff on the branches of the desert rose plant you will need to trim them back too.

  40. I was given Dessert Rose for my 40th birthday and it was flowering beautifully with lots of foliage for over a year. A little while back, the leaves started to get brown spots on the bottom (which came off when wiped), and now the tip of the stalks (where the flowers are or where the new leaves start to grow) started getting white sticky stuff which seems to be preventing from the plant growing. Leaves are falling off and when new leaves start to grow, they become deformed as this sticky material prevents the leaves from expanding fully. We live in Northern Australia.

    • Good day: I would go ahead and crop/trim off the tops of the branches. At the same time remove all the leaves. It sounds like you haev a fungus or bug similar to spider mites. The brown spots under the leaves could be cause by too much moisture / humidity. But he white stuff on the tips is the main concern. Let the adenium plant heal over for 1 week in a dry location.

  41. I live in the northern part of Pennsylvania. My desert rose seems to be going into dormancy (losing leaves). Why do I do during this stage? Lighting? Watering? Trimming? Fertilizing?
    Thank you.

    • Its time to reduce watering to once a week making sure the desert rose plant dries out between watering. If you use artificial growing lamps you can extend the season. Many people use grow light up north to get the adenium plants out of dormancy early to get more flower periods. If you want to do this you will need to increase the light starting in late January to 6..8 hrs a day. Farmtek.com is a great source for plant grow lights that work and fit most regular lamps. Also, to induce blooming I would give it liquid fertilizer twice in the month of February. Use something like 20-30 -20 or 10-20-20

  42. I have a problem with my desert rose. I have had it for two years and it has done wonderful. This summer I re-potted it but I did it in regular potting soil and it did great all summer. Since I live in IL I had to bring my plant indoors. It was doing ok until the last two weeks now. The whole plant is soft, the leaves have fallen off, the skin is coming off and you can see white mold on it now. I have taken it out of the potting soil and let sit for two days and the base dried and started to become harder again. So yesterday I went and purchased miracle grow soil for cactus and a shallower pot and re-potted it. This morning the whole plant is limp and falling over and the stems are cracking. Please help me save this plant. It is very special to me because it was my Grandmothers and she loved it dearly. I really need to save it!!

    • Good Day: Well it sounds like root/stem rot to me and the only way to get rid of rot is to cut it all off. However, it sounds like it progressed to much to save the adenium plant. Soil it VERY important. We do not recommend many cactus soils due to the peat moss content which hold too much water for adeniums. If you use store bought cactus soil get a bag of perlite too and mix it with the soil 50/50 (50 of cactus soil and 50% perlite). Also, put rocks on top of the pot used for your desert rose plant to keep the perlite in the soil. Anyway, all soft tissue and bad color tissue needs to be removed, however, it sounds like most of your adenium plant it that way – sorry.

  43. My boyfriend got me my dessert rose four years ago when he asked me to be his girlfriend. We moved from Florida to Michigan this past year and the plant was doing fine inside in the window. Last weekend, though, it was 70 degrees, so I out it outside on the porch to get it more sunlight. I accidentally left it there overnight. It was in 30-40 degree temperatures for over 24 hours. The leaves turned brown but did not fall off. When I examined it today, I realized the branches seem almost empty and sort of wet, not the dry and hard texture I expected. The very base of the plant seems normal, but there seems to be some darker discoloration there too. Is the plant dead? Is there anything I can try to save it?

    • You will need to REMOVE all parts of the adenium plant that has discoloration (every LITTLE BIT!!) It may mean removing most of the desert rose plant branches and part of the trunk of the desert rose plant. Cut about 1″ off each branch that is soft on the adenium. Look at the inner color. If its not white (see any brown, black?) then cut more off until you get to a portion that is all normal color. Make sure you get all the rot off otherwise it will start up again and kill your whole plant.

  44. Hi ! We live in Clermont, Florida. Our desert rose is beginning to lose some leaves. They are turning yellow and dropping off. At the top if the leaf, next to the branch or stem there appears to be a black fungus. What treatment do you recommend?

  45. Good morning! We live in Oman and my desert rose have two different tipe of leaves, bottom leaves are long and very green and top leave are roundish and soft green! We’ve bough it already like that and it is around meter high It has a lot of leaves and is blooming fine! Looks like it is very old plant! Should I trim long leaves or is it fine like it is?
    As well when we bought this plant it had seeds which I collected and now have 4 small desert roses around 6 months old with very nice shiny green leaves but they are not blooming? Is there somthing I need to to do? They all are in clay pots! Thanks for advice!

    • You haev a grafted adenium plant. the plant type/flower type below the graft is different than the one above the desert rose graft. If you allow the branches to grow below the graft then you will haev two different flower types on one plant. However, it will take energy away form the grafted part. Only trim the branches if they are long and thin to force more branches on he adenium plant. The seedlings will not bloom until they are about 3 years old. 75% of the time the grow from seeds desert rose flowers will look like the non-grafted part of the adenium plant.

  46. Hello…so glad to find your site!
    I live on the west coast of Florida in Sarasota which is zone 10. I have two desert rose plants on my lanai. In the rare occasion that temps drop in the 40s the plants are moved inside…otherwise they are outside in shaded area except late afternoon which gets sun.
    My 3 year old plant is dropping leaves on a regular basis and neither plant has bloomed for over a year.
    I water on a weekly basis from top of plant and fertilize with a slow release about once a quarter.
    HELP!
    Thanks,
    Jim

    • Sarasota does get cooler weather than in Southeast Florida. The adenium plants will go into dormancy the first part of winter. They should show signs of new leaves in your area in late February. You may need to give them a bloom booster fertilizer which is usually liquid. You are using time release fertilizer but what is you n-p-k of the fertilizer?

  47. Sir. my rossy adeniums plants buds fall bown before it blooms .when i watch i saw white and green spider in my plants is it harmful to plants. also i want to know what will we do to controll spider mites. also i want to know whether i can purchase adenium to india online from thailand

    • Good day: We presently do not ship adenium desert rose plants out of the USA. the spider mites on the adeniums can be controlled by using earthtone brand soap based insecticide. The spider mites will cause tip rot and other problems if not controlled

      the caudex, exposed root system, of a desert rose plant can be treated as a bonsai. when your re-pot the plants spread out the roots before putting back in the soil. You can place a plastic object under the roots to force them to spread.

  48. Hello,
    I have a desert rose plant since November, thats 3 months now. I got it full of leaves, no flowers. I live in the middle east, gulf region, which is hot and humid, except for days like this when its very cold. In the beginning i used to water it everyday, till i read that i shouldn’t. Afterwards the leaves started to fall of after turning yellow and having parts of them eaten. Then, i brought it inside to avoid the cold air, when i noticed the upper portions of the branches turning green.
    Is it dying? I would really appreciate your advice.
    Yara

    • Goo Day: the adenium plants, also know as desert roses, do no bloom until spring to summer. it the branches are turning brown or black then yes its a problem. But if the are green towards the end then that’s fine – it means the branches are growing a bit.

  49. Hi. I bought my first desert rose in mid November full if leaves and flowers. I live in central California and had the plant indoor. There wasn’t much sun in the room where I had the plant. The leaves started falling so I moved to another part of the room. All of the leaves fell off so I thought it was going dormant. I moved the plant to a corner inside our home. I still water it once a week. Soil us pretty dry by the time I water it. Plant is about 1 feet high and the root is about 6 inches. I just noticed that my plant is really soft to the touch including the root. Plant feels like it has loose skin that you can peel off (I did not peel anything off). Reminds me of a baked potato. I left the plant outside for the past two days for some direct sunlight to see if that will help. Weather in California has been pretty weird. Not too cold lately. Is there any hope for my plant or is it too late?

    • Do you notice any discoloration of the roots or branches? The adenium plants go dormant and will loose some or all their leaves leaves during the winter months. Also, they may go a bit soft but still have a firm area under the softness. It sounds like you purchased a plant that was already in trouble but you just didn’t know it. Adeniums plants you see in bloom in October, November and other late fall and winters months are forced to bloom so they can sell them in box stores (Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, etc.). They are usually over watered for the time of year when the watering shoudl be reduced. Many times when an adenium plant is over watered you will not see the problems until 1..2 months afterwords because the problem starts below the soil line. If the desert rose plant is all soft it will be a total lose.

  50. Hi,
    I live in Hyderabad ,India.pls can you help me?
    I have repotted an adenium plant when it was flowering during winter.The buds have bloomed but later it had lost all its leaves.Its been a month since then.Now the climate is becoming a bit hotter here,the plant is also in full sun.I am watering it less frequently now.Can I fertilise it now when it is in a dormant stage ?What is the correct soil mix? Can I use coarse sand, red soil in equal ratio for repotting ? Can I use soil meant for bonsai plants for Adeniums?

    • You need to water the adeniums more during hot weather not less. Yes, since you lost the buds you can fertilize the desert rose plant now. Normal bonsai soil retains too much water and has too much organic material. is you are using silica sand then use it mixed with equal amounts of non-porous rocks to equal about 70% of the mix. Add in 10% potting soil and the rest coir.

  51. I recently received a desert rose from Thailand. When I opened it I noticed they cut the leaves off and it was black were it had been cut on both stems,and also the stems were soft. I cut one stem completely off and the next day I noticed a hole were I cut the stem. I also forgot tto mention it had a slight smell of roten potato smell when I first opened it. The roots look very healthy but the only two stems It has are soft. Please help I want to save this poor black bird desert rose.

    • Sorry for your problem. The problem with buying from Thailand is just what you described; a good percentage of them have problems and you need to know the time of year to purchase them. AdeniumRose Company have purchased several thousand adeniums over the last 2..3 years fom Thailand. We have tested several adenium plant growers and there are some good ones and some we would never consider again. Even know we haev three good suppliers (none are great) and we expect to lose 5% to 7% due to rot adnother prolbems with every shipment. You need to remove all parts that are soft and if all the graphs are soft you will lose the good adenium flower type and revert back to a standard adenium flower type.

  52. I purchased a desert rose that was tall and lanky. I cut it down, re potted it in fast drying soil and it started shooting new limbs with healthy leaves. Then it stopped. Leaves are still green and healthy but stopped growing. Now the caudex has turned soft and started shriveling. It’s getting softer and softer …. Leaves not dying . What’s going on? How can I fix the problem?

    • It sounds like root rot. Pull the plant out of the soil. We highly recommend waiting 2..3 months after you re-pot a plant before you crop any branches. The re-potting already shocks the plant and cutting/cropping branches at the same time make the plant more disease resistant. If you see any rot at all you will need to completely cut it off and let the adenium plant heal for 5 to 7 days before using Dyna-Grow K-L-N which is a rooting hormone with silica and other micro-nutrients which helps the plant to grow stronger faster.

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