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The desert rose is a beautiful flowering plant native to the Asian peninsula and southwestern Africa. Despite having risen in their name these plants are flowering succulents. The flowers consist of bright pink petals with faded white centers and measure two inches across. 

While the plants are best adapted to living in dry arid environments, they are adaptable and do surprisingly well in tropical environments. Desert roses make for gorgeous houseplant and can be found in 5 varieties all over the world. Due to their global popularity, the plants are referred to by more than one name including impala lily and Mock Azalea. 

If its beauty hasn’t won you over, it is easy to care for nature’s will. that’s right, desert roses are super low maintenance. Just get to know what these plants like, and you’ll have no problem growing a garden full of them.

In this guide well explain all there is to know about caring for a desert rose from temperature they’re most comfortable into the pests that you may have to look out for. Let’s get into it.

Caring for a desert rose

Temperature

Desert roses can be grown outside in USDA hardiness zones 11 to 12.the ideal temperature in which these plants flourish in is between 50 F.- 60 F. 

These succulents do not tolerate the cold well. they are called desert roses after all. If you live in a region with frosty winters bring the plant indoors as temperatures begin to fall. 

Light

This plant loves light and should be kept in full to partial sun. when grown outdoors choose the sunniest spot in the garden. 

If kept indoors choose a spot that receives a sufficient amount of natural light throughout the day. Near sunny south-facing window would be ideal.

If your home or office space is dimly lit, consider purchasing a grow light to supplement your rose’s needs. There are a wide variety of fluorescent lights available online, which are sure to serve this plant well. 

Water

Water your desert roses regularly about once a week. These plants are winter dormant and do not require water during this period. Overwatering is a common cause of death among these plants so be careful not to overdo it. Remember underwatering won’t kill this plant but overwatering will.

When winter approaches switch to watering schedule similar to that of other succulents, or in other words the soak and dry method. This involves letting the soil completely dry between watering sessions. This may vary depending on your climate, but generally speaking, once every two to three weeks should suffice.

To know exactly when to next water your roses in the winter, check the top inch of soil for moisture.

Soil

For these plants, not just any type of soil will do. Desert roses require a light, well-draining succulent soil mix with a ph of around 6 (slightly acidic).

Like many succulents, desert roses are susceptible to root rot if kept in excessively wet soil, which is why well-draining soil is crucial.

There is a wide variety of succulent/cactus mixes available online, so finding a good one shouldn’t be too much of a hassle.

If you want, you could make your mix right at home. You can do this by mixing equal parts sand, regular potting soil, and a good draining material such as perlite.

Fertilizer

Feed these succulents with a controlled release 20-20-20 diluted to ½ its strength.

Apply fertilizer once a month only during the plant’s active growth period in the spring and summer seasons. This is when they’re most actively absorbing nutrients.

Do not feed your desert roses in the winter, doing so may burn their foliage or even kill them.

Repotting

Pests and disease

Root rot is the only danger to these plants as far as diseases go and can be easily avoided if you follow the right watering schedule.

In terms of pests, these plants won’t be bothered by much besides maybe mealybugs and aphids.

Mealybugs are hard to spot on a succulent because they love hiding in any small crevice they can find. Left untreated they can eat away at your plant and eventually kill it. A sign that your plant is infected can include misshaped new growth and a white cotton substance between the leaves and stem which the bugs are known to produce. Fortunately, you can easily rid your succulent off these pests through some simple organic methods.

The first method involves spraying the plant with 70% isopropyl alcohol. You don’t have to worry about this causing har to your plant. alcohol evaporates fast and isn’t going to stay long enough to burn any leaves.

The second method you can opt for is using diluted neem oil. Neem oil messes with the bugs’ hormones, preventing them from reproducing and causing further damage to your plant.

As for aphids, they can be picked off in noticed or even wiped off gently, with a clean cloth.

Pruning

Desert rose which grows according to the size of its container. To keep the plant at a manageable height of consider growing them in a smaller pot.

If the plant gets leggy it’s safe to cut off a few of its blossoms. Cutting spindly stems partway is a great way to encourage new growth.

Toxicity

Desert roses produce a sap that is considered highly toxic to both humans and pets.as all parts of the plant are poisonous, wear gloves when handling it. Also, keep the succulent out of reach of young children cats and dogs. 

Propogation

Once you’ve fallen for these stunning plants you’ll probably want more. Fortunately, like most succulents, desert roses are quite easy to propagate.

You can propagate desert roses using branch cuttings by following the steps given below.

  1. Cut off a tip of the plant branch using a sharp, sterilized blade.
  2. Leave the cutting out to dry, this allows the wound to heal. (without this step the cutting is unlikely to propagate successfully.)
  3. Stick the cutting in a well-draining succulent soil mix.
  4. Water the cutting daily to ensure that the soil remains moist. you can also just simply use a spray bottle to mist the cutting.
  5. Wait for the cutting to take root. This should only take a couple of weeks.
  6. Once the roots have established and new growth has emerged, switch to a regular watering 

Warning Signs

Follow the steps given for

1. Soft squishy branches

This is often a sign of rot and is probably a result of overwatering. Repo the plant in dry succulent soil and cut off parts of the roots that have succumbed to rot.

2. Reduced foliage

Leaves falling isn’t abnormal if its winter. If it’s happening during the plant’s active growth season, it’s a sign the plant isn’t getting enough light. Move it to a sunnier spot. 

3. Yellowing leaves

Yellow leaves in a succulent is a classic sign of overwatering.

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