A native of East Africa, the desert rose will grow from 6 ½ to 10 feet in the wild. It has fleshy leaves and beautiful 2-inch open-trumpet shaped flowers in shades from red to light pink.
Watering: Needs little water during winter, especially when kept cool. Increase water during growing and blooming periods. If kept outside in the hot Texas sun, it can take water 2 to 3 times a week. It will lose leaves if over-watered.
Soils: Good drainage is essential in any soil mix, yet the soil mix also must have moisture retention properties, along with adequate nutrients. We use a growing medium of 1/2 potting soil and 1/2 Perlite or other material that provides for good drainage. Gravel works, but makes the pot heavier that with Perlite.
Repotting: Root prune and repot ever year or two, after the winter rest period, using a good draining soil mix such as described above. Peat can also be added to the mixture. Plant can tolerate being root-bound (tight in the pot.)
Styling: Do heavy pruning after the rest period, around March. New shoots can be pruned regularly. The sap is toxic, so clean hands after pruning, and avoid getting sap into open wounds or eyes.
Fertilizer: Feed with a general houseplant fertilizer half-strength about once or twice a month during the warm months. Blooming fertilizer may help encourage blooming during the growing season.
Light: Needs lots of light and fresh air. Keep in a bright location in winter. In summer plant can be moved outside and can tolerate full sun but partial or filtered sun is fine. Plant will bloom better if getting more full sun and regular water.
Temperature: Never below 40 degrees; however, in the winter, keeping it cool (between 40 and 61 degrees) gives the plant a needed rest.
Animals: Leaves eaten by house pets will cause intense salivation but will not harm the animal. The pet's mouth should be rinsed well with water to stop the salivation.
Additional Information: The internet is a valuable source of information regarding general care as well as information about specific plants.
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