Desert Rose not blooming

roses4krisSeptember 17, 2008

I have a small (15" tall) desert rose that produced several blooms last summer. I repotted it in the spring, using cactus soil mix. The foliage is glossy and dark green and it has grown a couple of inches but hasn't bloomed. I'm wondering if the cactus mix was the wrong choice. I'd also appreciate any feeding advice. Thanks.

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You repotted the plant......why!
The cactus soil is the right soil to use and like cactus, the Desert Rose (adenium) likes its environment very dry so careful attention must be made to its watering.

Anytime you re-pot a plant you can expect some reaction.
The soil is changed from what it has got used to, its need to send its roots out into the strange soil may cause it to slow down, reject or stop taking up nutrition.
If you went up more than one size of pot, the roots may reject so much food being offered.
It may just put up a fuss for a short time and maybe bloom the next cycle.

This plant exudes a very toxic sap. Where it is naturally grown, the natives use the sap to poison the tips of their arrows when hunting.

MMmmm, ungawa...much heapum poison.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 5:08PM
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Actually, I'm going to have to disagree with the above post. Sorry. As long as you put your desert roses (adeniums) outside in the summer they can take A LOT of water. I up-pot mine a ton in the spring and summer, also. They bloom fine. As they get a lot of water in the summer, they also get a lot of fertilizer. I use fish emulsion. I hate the smell, but the plants love it! If they are totally house plants...they will probably not bloom all that well even with southern exposure.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 8:09PM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)

I agree with Kelly...I live in FL, I have mine outdoors in full sun and I water it often in the summer time. It is also our rainy season, so it gets our thunder showers. I let mine dry out then water it thoroughly. I fertilize mine with all purpose or Foliage pro every 2-3 weeks at half strenght. Mine flowers from April through Oct. May having the most blooms. I also up-potted mine twice a year, and I go a size bigger at least once a year. It was in a one gallon pot when I bought it 4 years ago, now it is in a 16" pot. This is my experience with my DR. Others grow it differently, but this has worked for me...

My guess is it needs several hours of direct sun to get it to bloom...if you can place it in direct sun, fertilize and hopefully you will see some blooms. Good Luck!

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 9:02PM
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ttkidd(Toronto ON)

I'm guessing the lack of flowering is due to the repotting. The plant is concentrating on growing its roots now instead of propagation. There's nothing wrong with this, it's just adapting to its new environment. You'll just have to wait a while before it blooms again.

As for the watering comments, they're all right depending on what conditions you're growing in. When the plant is in active growth it can take a lot of water and should be treated like any other tropical houseplant. When it's dormant or not actively growing, watering should be cut back until growth resumes. The cactus mix you've planted it in is likely fine, as long as you're willing to water that much more often while it's growing. During the summer months, when it should be growing, it will tell you it's getting enough water by putting out lots of healthy new leaves. If you don't give it enough water the leaves will drop.

puglvr1 - that's a gorgeous plant. I wish I lived in an area where I could keep it outdoors all year long. Mine grows so much slower this far north.


    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 9:45PM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)

Thanks Tyler, I really appreciate it :o)
I know I'm lucky to live in FL when it comes to growing tropicals...unfortunately, as in most cases, we have our share of bad weather issues too, hurricanes, heat/humidity for extended months, LOL...I guess nowhere is perfect, although IMHO parts of CA probably comes close (weather wise).Thanks again!!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 9:56AM
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Thanks, everyone, for the input. I had repotted the desert rose because it had become too large for the small plastic pot it came in. It's been living on my screened porch this summer, same as last year. I wasn't even aware I could put it out in full sun. Does it need any sort of pruning? I had never seen one of these till I was given this one so I'm pretty clueless! I suppose it may be leggy from low light. And one last question: when (temp.-wise) should I bring it indoors for the winter? Thanks again for the help and to puglvr1 for the gorgeous picture.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 5:34PM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)


I do trim mine, once or twice a year, I prefer the bushier,wider look as opposed to tall and lanky, but that's me...I have a tendency to over-protect mine. I bring mine in or cover it with a thick blanket when the temps dip below 50. But have heard of others that leave it out in colder temps. I just never want to take a chance ever since I left mine out once when it got down below 40 and all the leaves fell off shorty took a few months to recover. Thanks for the nice compliment...

Here is a link that someone posted on the Cacti/Succulent forum...its a great article

Here is a link that might be useful: Adenium Culture

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 6:02PM
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Puglvr1--Thanks so much for the link. It's a very informative article. I do have one other question about pruning, if you don't mind. Would this be an appropriate time to prune or should I wait till spring? (Oops--two questions...) When I prune a stem, will it branch out from that point, making a Y? Do you seal or treat cuts as the article mentions? (Okay, three questions!) I have just one stem that's somewhat disproportionately long. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 2:36PM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)


Remember I live in FL...don't see where you live? If your weather is warm and will stay warm for several more weeks(6-8)weeks like here, I would go ahead and prune. If you are just starting to enter fall weather, I would wait till spring. It will put out new growth just below the cut, sometimes a few new growths on one stem, depending on plant. I do not seal any of my cuts, but take precaution as the sap can be toxic, some are allergic to the sap. Use gloves if you have to...

Here is a pic below of what my plant looked like a few weeks after I pruned some of the branches(new growths have appeared...) Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 3:41PM
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Pug, your Adenium is the most beautiful Desert Rose I'd ever seen..OMG!!! My guys are shameful compared to yours.
YOU have two green thumbs, girl.

Chris, your Desert Rose, most likely refrained from blooming because it was repotted. Like you said, it has grown, but hasn't flowered. Seems they do best when potbound and get plenty of sun. Direct sun.
Growth is possibly focusing on roots..ever notice when mature specimens are sold, they're underpotted?
I'm not agreeing or disagreeing with those who water a lot in depends on soil, pot size, and light.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 7:02PM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)

Thanks are so NICE to say that :o). I think I am just lucky most of the times, believe me I have killed my share of plants, LOL...

    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 8:49PM
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Pug, nice or not, your Adenium is really something. My eyes bulged when getting to your post. It's truly magnificant. Do you cut it back every year? Toni

    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 9:31PM
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That is truly magnificent.

I started some from seed about 3 years ago and they are interesting looking but have not yet bloomed (I started them in Winnipeg, where there is lots of sun but not much time when they can go out, and they are now in Montreal and in for the winter). I appreciate the culture info, especially for northern climes where they can't spend much time outdoors.

Pug can you use the pieces you prune for new plants? Joe

    Bookmark   September 20, 2008 at 9:12AM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)

Hey Toni,

I actually do trim mine at least once a year. In the first year or two, I have trimmed it twice to get it more fuller/bushier. I also Up-potted it once or twice a year(Raised the Caudex). I took this pic today, its been a little over three months since I pruned 60% of the branch tips and root pruned 1/4 of roots in(early June).

Winnnjoe, Thanks!...I have only done this once, tried rooting the cuttings, but for some reason didn't have much luck(it rotted), I haven't tried it again since...

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   September 20, 2008 at 10:16AM
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See the other post, for similar information. Hate to repeat everything! I know they will end up top together.

Don't trim until new growth starts after dormant period.
You can always trim down then, and the new growth will pop right out pushing out new stuff when coming out of dormancy.

I've only gotten blooms on a purchased plant this year. Pretty stuff, but the ends of the branches are long and lanky, doomed to the chopping block next spring!

I also have to disagree on the careful watering admonishment at the beginning but do have to agree that watering MUST be timed with active growing periods. I did make 'mush soup' earlier this year, so careful watering during certain times of year is Very Wise. My oldest adenium was a timed experiment by my local Cactus & Succulent Society; they provided adenium starts in three inch pots to all who wished to participate in a one year study as to whom could increase the size the most. Our current president of the C&S Society won that contest handily, starting out with a three inch potted specimen and ending with something bulging the sides of a one gallon pot in less than 11 months. That only happens with LOTS of Water!

The short, stumpy adenium (with five branches) in the other post is my specimen from that experiment. This next year I have plenty of courage to expand my skills and it's diameter!

Good luck with Your experiment!

    Bookmark   September 25, 2008 at 1:09AM
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I have a couple of desert roses growing in a bonsai style. One I purchased at the Home Depot. I find that DR are the easiest plants to care for. Mine bloom perfusely in the summer. There're several things I do: In the pring I spinkle a slow relase fertilizer. I use a well drain bonsai soil. I put them in a sunny spot. I never water them. In the winter I bring them in when the temperature drops. My DR bloom all summer long and I live in Chicago... Buurrrr!

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 9:16AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

You never water them? That doesn't make sense at all.


    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 11:51AM
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Maybe he means no supplemental watering outside. Only rain. I almost give my DRs no water when they are dormant. The full sun recommendation is one that I have a hard time with. Even when I try to slowly move my DR into the sun I lose all my leaves to burn. Just like my Broms, I always burn them too.

Maybe this year will be different. Cena, the experiment/contest sounds fun.


    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 12:15PM
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George, you never water your DR? Or are you saying they don't get a drink during winter months?
According to your email name, I'm assuming you live east. Brrrr is right.. :)

David. You water once during dormancy? Do all leaves drop in winter?
Another thing. Since leaves are burning, you probably need to move plants in brighter light at a slower pace.
Are you growing baby (offshoots) or mature plants? Mature Broms don't need full sun. Once they flower, although it's a slow process, they're actually dying a little each day. When sideshoots form, removed and potted, bright light is needed. My offshoots were never placed in direct sun. A year after removing from mom, a beautiful, pink/blue flower grew from the urn. Grown in a shady south from the time it was removed from mom. A. fasciata.

DR's are another thing. They need direct sun. If they're in low light for long periods, acclimating gradually will prevent leaf burn.

Hey there, Josh.... Toni

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 8:03PM
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David, forgot to mention...
Cena posted Sept 25, 2008. I haven't seen her on GW at least a year. No experiment/

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 10:09PM
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Ottawa, Ontario. CA my plant keeps sprouting leaves at tips but once fully out the ends start to go brown and ultimately dieand fall off I have tried southern and northern windows in doors the same result

    Bookmark   February 13, 2014 at 12:41PM
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