Cut The Desert Rose: What For, When And How?

A rustic trunk, idiosyncratic branches, a bizarre root system and exotic funnel flowers – the desert rose captivates with its unique appearance. Is it necessary to cut the plant to preserve this?

Wüstenrose Rückschnitt

When is the timing perfect for pruning?


Ideally, the desert rose should be pruned after overwintering and just before new shoots appear. This is between February and March. At this time, the plant is not yet in full sap and will tolerate pruning best. Alternatively, you can prune the desert rose after the first bloom. Usually this time is around July.

Precise procedure for cutting – tips
Without any problems, the desert rose can be shortened with a sharp tool. The shoots can be cut back by half. It is important that the pruning tool is placed about 3 to 5 mm above an outward facing bud.

In general, the desert rose tolerates pruning extremely well. It can even cope with heavy pruning. It also sprouts again from old wood. Nevertheless, due to its slow growth, it is better to prune this plant only a little.

Wear gloves for protection
Be sure to wear good gloves when cutting! This is recommended because of the poisonous milky sap that is in the plant. The milky sap can otherwise cause skin irritation.

Cutting – rarely necessary
Basically, it will rarely be necessary to prune the desert rose. As a rule, it grows extremely slowly. Therefore, you should rather be happy about a vigorous growth. Only when the plant has gotten out of shape or has grown too large will pruning be necessary.

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Cut desert rose for cuttings
It also makes sense to reach for the scissors in order to obtain cuttings in the course of propagation:

Use head cuttings
cut in early spring
length: 10 cm
with at least 2 pairs of leaves
allow to dry for 1 to 2 days
then put them into potting soil
keep slightly moist
place warm (e.g. over the heater)

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  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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