My desert rose lost all its leaves! What do I do?

lula8September 15, 2008

This little plant was so cute when I bought it but it lost a bunch of leaves as it got acclimated to it's first window in my old house, but then it grew some new leaves. Then, I moved and it wasn't happy and now it has lost every single leaf.

Should I cut the stalks down? I want it to be bushy, rather than tall and spindly (if it ever grows new leaves).

Help!

From Assorted

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ttkidd(Toronto ON)

This is one of the most finicky plants I own. It seems to drop it's leaves at the slightest change in light level. Even turning the plant in it's current position has caused leaf drop for me. That said, I've had it for several years now and it's dropped all it's leaves on many occasions and it's still alive.

The only thing you can do to keep it from getting tall and spindly is to give it as much light as you possibly can. Cutting it back will help to grow the caudex, but new leaf/stem growth will still end up spindly without enough light. I moved mine under lights where I grow my orchids, and it's much happier there.

This time of year though days are getting shorter and light levels are getting lower. It's perfectly natural to have it drop it's leaves. Cut back on watering a bit until you seen new leaf growth.

Tyler

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 8:28AM
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lula8

Thank you! This looks like the most tragic little plant right now. At least there's hope.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 11:12AM
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nanw_4wi(4/SW WI)

I completely agree with Tyler's advice regarding the lighting.
If it were mine, however, I would cut back on watering *A LOT* until new growth appears, or you risk the caudex rotting.
It is pretty normal for these to begin a dormant period this time of year when grown indoors, though some people are able to keep them growing with abundant light.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 11:49AM
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ttkidd(Toronto ON)

Agreed about the watering :) When the plant has no leaves, I generally don't water it until the soil is completely dry and the caudex goes slightly soft.

Tyler

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 12:23PM
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birdsnblooms

Aside from reducing water, don't add any fertilizer until spring. Toni

    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 7:22PM
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cena60

Leave it dry and protected from cold and excess water. Once you see some new growth popping out, you can start watering. You can also trim back but you must INCREASE THE LIGHT. If you trim back and grow in the same conditions, it will continue to look the same at the end of next year. These will take full sun every day in So Cal. I've kept one alive through four Winters (see 'don't water while dormant', above by previous posters). A newly purchased plant bloomed this year and I am officially 'hooked'!

I've been watching closely a Cactus & Succulent Guru who trims them down to stumps willy nilly and pots up as bonsai! I recently asked him about cutting my lanky bloomer back and his recommendation was to wait until spring and full growing season.

I find with mine after winter dormancy is broken, plenty of water and some fertilizer will pop out those blooms!

This adenium is four years old and has never been cut.
It is in full sun all year, except for Winter (known as Rainy Season in SoCal) when I move it in and water about three times during it's indoor stay. (Still hasn't bloomed, but I only started working on that this year.) I am getting ready to 'raise' the plant so the fat root (caudex)is exposed, part of the allure to C&S growers for this plant.

DISCLAIMER: None of the plants shown in the following are MY plants! They are examples of local-to-my-area C&S enthusiasts and their art.

This plant, in 2008 took four men to lift up to the table. This pic was taken in 2006.

The proud grower and plant in 2007.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2008 at 12:49AM
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nanw_4wi(4/SW WI)

Oh, and don't those photos make you realize that all the pain these can cause is sooo worth it!!!(Ã)

Cena...the last two....those BIG ones....are they Adenium?

Their leaves look much smaller than A. obesum.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2008 at 12:33PM
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GAgirl-apryl

I have had my desert rose for over a year and I still have yet to get it to bloom also it has list its leaves. I really don't know what I'm doing wrong? Also it is very tall over two foot do I need to prune and how?

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 9:00AM
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GAgirl-apryl

I have had my desert rose for over a year and I still have yet to get it to bloom also it has list its leaves. I really don't know what I'm doing wrong? Also it is very tall over two foot do I need to prune and how?

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 9:20AM
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fakechuchi(7)

Hi! I was just passing by to look up something and I saw this thread.

If I may interject, I will suggest that you wait until mid-spring to prune your plant, GAgirl. Although without seeing what it actually looks like, it's hard to say whether it needs it. Pruning is really a matter of personal aesthetic preference.

When you do prune, cut diagonally across the stem you wish to trim. This way, water will not bead on top of that exposed surface when you water or when it rains. It is also best to wait until you are sure it will not rain before you prune your plant. Sometimes, pruning shocks it into blooming, too. But only sometimes.

Okay, re-lurking now!

Pagan

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 9:34AM
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GAgirl-apryl

Thank you I suppose I neglected to say it have it as a house plant. Any tips on its not Blooming ?

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 11:50AM
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birdsnblooms

GAgirl. Your Adenium needs sun to bloom.

What's its size?

Don't over-pot. Desert Rose are more likely to flower when roots are slightly tight.

Have you checked the Adenium Forum? Members are experts when it comes to Adeniums.

Their motto is treat Adeniums as tropicals in summer and succulents during winter. It works.

Toni

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 5:07PM
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