How to Transplant a Desert  Cactus Rose ( A Full Guide)

How to Transplant a Desert  Cactus Rose
  • Dogbane family (Apocynaceae).
  • Scientific name Adenium obesum.
  • Natural occurrences in Africa and Arabia.
  • Growth height is 4 to 6 meters.
  • In-room culture maximum height is 80 cm to 100 cm.
  • Almost evergreen shrub.
  • Stem succulent and not hardy.
  • Follicles are 11 cm to 22 cm long.
  • Poisonous Milky Juice.
  • Close botanical relationship with oleander.

Desert Rose: After Winter, It’s Time to Repot!

Very early in spring, often in late winter, the desert rose signals the beginning of growth with the first blossom.

This time is ideal for transplanting or refreshing the substrate. Repotting is done when the pot has become too small or the substrate no longer makes a good impression. If the new substrate is slightly damp, watering after repotting can be dispensed with. 

The desert rose is an exceptional specimen that is worth having in any living room, balcony, or terrace. It can be quite demanding, but it is worthwhile to take care of it since it brings such a rich expression to the room.

If you want to create a full-on tropical feel to your home or terrace, you can’t go wrong with keeping this beautiful specimen in your living room. It will add some color and will definitely make your living space more comfortable.

Spring – Time to Repot

Spring is the best time to repot

During early spring, the desert rose is just beginning to wake up from its winter slumber. If a desert rose has come through the winter in good health and looking good, then it’s time to pot it up.

The soil should be dry and the ground outside is no longer frozen. The pot holding the plant should be clean. Remove any dead branches and leaves.

The potting mix should be light and well-draining, with a pH of about 5.5 or 6.0 (neutral).

When repotting a desert rose, use a pot that’s large enough to accommodate its root ball–the root ball should fill about two-thirds of the space inside the pot.

A container that holds at least 24 inches of potting mix will work for most desert roses, but repotting into larger containers will allow for better air circulation which can keep plants healthier longer.

After removing the plant from its old container, wash off any old dried roots and pat the root ball dry with a cloth or paper towels.

Alternative: In early summer

The best time to transplant the desert rose is in the early spring. However, if you completely forget about repotting your plant and it is already summertime, you don’t have to give up on it completely.

How Often Is a Repotting Action Necessary?

Cacti, succulents and bonsai plants all have to be repotted from time to time. But you don’t have to repot a desert rose because it grows very slowly. You’ll know when you need to repot if the plant is pot-bound. A plant is pot-bound if its roots are growing out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. As long as the roots are not growing out of the pot, you can probably get away with waiting another year before repotting.

Other reasons to re-pot:

-The soil has become compacted and can no longer supply sufficient nutrients and water to the plant

-The roots have grown outside of the container or protrude from drainage holes

-You want to increase or decrease the size of your plant

Step by Step into the New Pot

Here we go:

  • Carefully remove the desert rose from the old pot.
  • shake old soil off the roots.
  • if necessary, cut off dried, rotten, old roots.
  • create a new vessel (with drainage holes!) with drainage.
  • well suited as a substrate: cactus soil.
  • or your own mixture e.g. B. made of sand, pumice, perlite, and potting soil.
  • Place desert rose in the middle.
  • cover with the substrate.
  • Press.

After repotting the desert rose, you should not water it immediately. This is because the plant needs some time to recover. The best course of action would be to wait at least 4 weeks before watering the plant again. If, on the other hand, the repotting takes place in summer, the plant can be watered.

How Are Desert Roses Properly Planted?

The desert rose is its name already implies the ideal location. It could and should be dry and sunny.

The exotic houseplant is at its best in the sun’s view. She is literally stretching toward the sun’s rising.

Uniform growth can only be achieved when it is rotated regularly.

A cooler spot is a benefit in winter as the plant grows more flowers and leaves during spring due to the period of rest. In the spring it is over, she sheds all of her leaf, which can be unusual of an evergreen.

In winter minimum temperatures of 10, and more preferably between 12 and 15°C, are needed.

The desert rose is able to enjoy the summer on the terrace or balcony.

A shade during the midday hours has been proven to be beneficial. In the summer months the desert plant, which is a lover of heat is brought back to the house.

“When repotting, keep in mind that the desert rose is poisonous. It is, therefore, better to wear gloves to protect your skin!”



The selection of the appropriate substrate will depend on whether the gardener who is a hobbyist is cultivating purebred desert roses or is grafting a variety onto an oleander tree. 

An Adenium Obesum with a true root system isn’t often seen commercially, as it’s very expensive, even for a plant that is exotic. If the plant is implanted on the trunk of an oleander plant cost and maintenance effort are drastically less.

  • Desert Rose - Adenium obesum

  • Original desert rose thrives in the mineral substrate.
  • The desert rose thrives in a climate with high daytime temperatures and cool nighttime temperatures. It grows best in a dry environment where it gets full sunlight.
  • The cactus soil mix is best suited for the desert rose, but it can also grow in garden soil and thrive on an oleander stem.
  • Alternatively, a mix of garden soil with coconut, pumice, or perlite.
  • The mineral content predominates two-thirds.
  • The addition of sand or perlite optimizes permeability in the soil, which is necessary for the desert rose to absorb nutrients through its roots.
  • However, it will survive in humid environments, although it may eventually succumb to diseases if it does not get enough air circulation.

An authentic Adenium obesum has a bulbous, thickened trunk, whereas the easy-care cultivar has a narrow trunk that rests on a bulge. This knowledge not only plays a role in terms of the substrate but influences the entire care of the dogbane plant.

Watering and Fertilizing

Be careful when watering the desert rose. The plant does not like soggy soil, so do not water excessively. The desert rose will grow well in most areas as long as they receive adequate water and fertilizer.

  • The substrate should be watered well every 14 days from April to September. During the winter months, it is advisable to give water only once every month or two in order for the plant to rest and rejuvenate.
  • The root system of desert rose cacti is shallow, so it requires a lot of water. But the soil needs to be dry before watering it again.
  • Overwatering the plant can cause rot and eventually lead to death. Letting the plant dry out between waterings is necessary because the roots will die if they remain wet for too long.
  • Fertilize ungrafted plants every 14 days from April to September.
  • Purebred desert rose preferably receives cactus fertilizer.
  • Conventional flower fertilizer is sufficient for grafted varieties.
  • When grown indoors under artificial light, they require lots of watering in order to produce blossoms with copious amounts of nectar.

Dry Phase

Since the amount of light in winter in the local regions does not even come close to meeting the needs of the desert rose, the cold season is a good time to give the plant a break.

  • From September reduce the amount of irrigation water.
  • Keep cooler at the beginning of November, not below 15° Celsius
  • This preparation for the cold season is important for the health of your plant. During this resting period, it’s also better to give it a half-shady location.
  • In the fall, the leaves of the desert rose begin to dry up and drop off. The plant goes into a dormant phase.
  • It is not watered for about four months, only in case the temperature is higher than 20 degrees Celsius.
  • In spring, when temperatures are above 20 degrees Celsius again, you can place the desert rose in direct sunlight again.
  • Do not apply fertilizer during hibernation
  • Only increase the watering when the temperature is above 20° Celsius
  • If your desert rose has already formed new leaves in autumn, you have to put it outside before mid-May. Then you can place your plant in full sunlight again (gradually). If you have not yet found a shoot when bringing your plants outside again, don’t worry:
  • If a shoot has already formed, the plant is gradually accustomed to the sun. To get used to this new situation, you can move it there gradually over two weeks. Bring it out first for an hour, then two hours, and so on. When temperatures are between 10 and 15 degrees Celsius, place it in full sunlight again.

Diseases and Pests

Many diseases and pests challenge desert rose cacti. It is important to know what these threats are and how to deal with them to ensure that your plants stay healthy.

The most common include mealybugs and scale insects, which live on the surface of the leaves, stems, and flowers. If left untreated, these pests can infest the entire plant. They cause leaf drops, wilting and small yellow patches on the stems.

Scale Insects

In the early stages of an infestation, the tiny pests hide in the leaf axils and on the underside of the foliage.

A closer look reveals small brown or green bulges; the protective shells of the female scale insects, who in this way protect themselves and their brood.

While the pests spread explosively, they suck off the plant sap and rob the desert rose of its vitality and vitality.

If the gardener recognizes the infestation, the plant is immediately isolated so that the scale insects do not spread further.

Dabbing with an alcohol-soaked cotton swab has proven to be an effective control measure.

In addition, there are numerous reports of good experiences with the use of ladybirds and lacewing larvae, which are available in specialist shops.


What Kind of Soil Should I Use for a Desert Rose?

As its name implies, the desert rose (also known as the rainbow cactus) is acclimated to naturally dry, desert-like conditions. It prefers sandy or gravelly cactus soil that has a neutral to acidic pH, ideally hovering right around 6.0.

The plant requires well-draining soil because it is native to arid regions that get only about 10 inches of rain annually and where the ground dries out several times a year. If the plant’s roots sit in too much water for any extended period of time, they may rot and kill the entire plant.

Do You Water a Desert Rose After Repotting?

It’s tempting to think that watering a new plant immediately after repotting or transplanting will help it settle in and get off to a good start. But, in fact, the opposite is true.

After repotting, the soil will be quite loose and airy around the roots, while the plant itself will still be adjusting to its new conditions.

In this state, the roots are vulnerable to drying out. Although they may appear to be fine at first, they’ll actually be losing moisture quickly. This is why plants often die soon after being moved to a new location.

The best thing to do when you’re repotting is to leave the plant alone for a couple of days so that its roots can establish themselves outside their original container.

Continue watering several times weekly during the growing season, but cut back to monthly waterings during winter when the plant is dormant.

When Should I Transplant My Desert Rose?

The desert rose, also known as Adenium obesum, is a popular choice for indoor greenery. Its stems are long and slender, and its flowers range in color from red to yellow. However, if you’re the proud owner of one of these plants, you may be wondering when the best time to repot a desert rose is.

Offseason Repotting. Because this plant grows so large and has such thick roots, it’s best to repot during the summer season instead of wintertime. This way, the plant has more growing days ahead of it before winter sets in and slows down its growth cycle until next year. If you do choose to repot during wintertime anyway, be aware that your plant will probably enter a dormant period after being uprooted from its previous potting soil.

Anwar Hossain

My name is Anwar Hossain. I am a cactus lover, researcher, and cactus blogger.

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