Desert Rose – The Right Care For The Steppe Dweller

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 09:03 pm

It is a steppe plant that shrugs off long periods of drought thanks to its water storage capacity. Both in its home in Africa and in this country in pots on the balcony, the terrace and in the living room, the desert rose makes quite an impression. On the one hand rustic and on the other hand delicate looking…

Wüstenrose gießen

What is essential when watering?
Desert rose needs abundant watering, especially in spring and summer. At this time, it builds up a water supply in its trunk. In the fall and winter, a more sparing supply of water mimics a dry period that the plant needs.

Desert Rose - The Right Care For The Steppe Dweller

Note the following aspects:

allow the substrate to dry out before watering again
never keep wet for a long time (especially rootless specimens do not tolerate waterlogging)
Stem is firm and plump: sufficient water available
Stem is soft and flabby: plant is already drawing on its own reserves (lack of water)
How often and with what should you fertilize the desert rose?
Fertilize the desert rose from April and into September! The interval between fertilizing should be 2 weeks. Well suited for fertilizing is cactus fertilizer. With flower fertilizer (22,00€ at Amazon*) you should be careful! Dose such fertilizers more sparingly or dilute them strongly!

Why does the desert rose need wintering?

In winter, the light conditions in this country are insufficient for the desert rose. Therefore, it should be placed in a cooler place. Cool overwintering causes the plant to go into dormancy. This is important so that the desert rose can bloom vigorously again in the coming season.

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How do you manage the plant during its dry phase?
Winter time is dry time:

water less from September onwards
from November place in a cooler place
well suited: semi-shaded locations with temperatures between 10 and 15 °C
do not fertilize anymore
from April place warmer and brighter
Does the desert rose need pruning?
Pruning is only necessary if your desert rose has grown too large for you. Pruning can be done either between February and March or in July. The shoots can be cut back by half. Be sure to start 3 to 5 mm above an outward facing bud!

How often and when do I need to repot?

Due to the slow growth of this plant, which is preferably cultivated in pots, repotting is rarely necessary. Repotting is advisable about every 3 to 5 years. Choose a container that is about 5 to 10 inches wider than the old one.

This is what you should keep in mind:

repot in spring before new shoots appear
or repot after the first flowering in early summer
cut off old, rotten root pieces with a knife
do not water after repotting
wait at least 4 weeks before cutting
Do not worry if the desert rose loses some of its leaves in winter. This is a completely normal process.


  • 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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