Desert Rose: the perfect container plant

Gardening Dilemma #1:
You need a container plant that can take sun, gives colorful blooms, and can tolerate a pot that dries out quickly.


Potted Desert Rose

Image via: Garden Web

DESERT ROSE: the perfect container plant

  • Desert Rose is a succulent and therefore drought tolerant and slow-growing. It’s perfect for a pot in a sunny location. It blooms throughout the year in a warm environment and will retain its leaves as long as the temperature stays above 50 degrees F°.  If you live in colder climates it’s just as happy in a sunny window.

  • It has an interesting serpentine growth habit that almost resembles a bonsai. It’s not unlike a jade plant in that it tends to become a prized possession. If you live in south Florida you can grow desert rose right in the ground.

  • For potting, use a well-draining cactus or succulent potting mix that has a  pH around 6.0, which is slightly acidic. Fertilize with a bloom boosting controlled-release fertilizer every three months.

  • Desert rose can’t tolerate sitting in a wet environment – do not over water!

  • Be careful – the sap of desert rose can be poisonous. If you have crazy animals or very young children that will put the leaves in their mouth this plant is not for your home. If you get sap on your hands, wash it off right away.


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  • runslikesnail

    Two in the backyard. One in the front. They’re beautiful!

  • Debra Silas

    How can I get the base to spread out ?

  • Heather Serody

    Debra that only happens over time as the plant matures the water reservoir ‘base’ gets larger. It’s one reason desert rose are as prized as bonsai.

  • Debra Silas

    Thank you. I have a dozen roses each have a different colored flowers. They are about five years old. Can they be all potted together until they get larger?

  • Heather Serody

    Debra try it, I think if left long enough they would merge together with those twining roots, but that could be a great effect, too. Have fun digging.

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