Adenium care in the Gulf

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There have been numerous posts about Adenium or Desert Rose in the Gardening Club-Qatar Facebook group. Many members have shared their valuable experience about its care in the Gulf conditions, about ways to make it bloom more, methods to save seeds or cuttings and grow more plants from them or where to find the Adenium with the most beautiful flowers.

In this blog post, we are trying to put everything together and also add some advice from our experts’ experience.

Image: Photo by Unmesh V G on Unsplash

Adenium’s common name is Desert Rose, and as indicated by it, it is a sun and heat loving plant and it grows happily in containers or gardens in the Gulf, to add color even at the toughest locations for other plants. Just like Bougainvillea, it requires little water, a lot of light and very little care other than that.

Here are some tips, to help you care best for your Adenium:

Sun: Place it under full sun all year round.

Soil: Adeniums like well-drained soil, so you should add more perlite in your potting mix. If you plant in the soil, you can use more sand than usual.

Water: Adeniums don’t like a lot of water, so you should let the soil completely dry before you water again (in the winter it can take up to even a week, depending on the pot size and the soil used). You will notice that as the weather gets more hot, the soil will be drying out faster, until around the 15-30 of May, when you will have to be watering daily, until end of September.

Fertilizer: you can add your regular compost at the end of the summer (first half of October) and then you can keep adding compost every 3-4 weeks, until mid May. If you don’t mind using chemical fertilizers, you can replace compost with a fertilizer high in P (like 15-30-15) 3 times a year.

Pruning: Adeniums are very forgiving plants when it comes to pruning, and actually they grow back even prettier, when pruned strictly.  So when you see your plants getting too long and floppy and giving less flowers, it’s time to take out your scissors!

Flowering: if your Adenium has slowed down on flowering, offer more sun, cut down on watering and don’t be afraid to prune it back a lot.

Propagation by seeds: Seeds start forming inside pods at around April and they keep maturing until June. You can try tying the pods with a soft thread and keep watching, especially close to the time of maturing (beginning of June). You will recognize when the time gets closer, as the pods will start drying. At that time, you can also cover them with a bag. Even if tying is not successful, you might still be able to save some hairy seeds. Remove the hairy part and spread the seeds on a light mix of soil, perlite and sand.  They can be kept outdoors, under a 60-70% shading net and as the weather gets hotter, start watering daily.

During the summer you might see many leaves falling. This isn’t always a reason for concern, as after September your plants will start blooming again.

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