Desert Rose - Help! Can I save this plant?

magpie_32399May 19, 2009

I have a several year old desert rose. I love this plant. Base is/was about 4 inches in diameter and 2 feet tall/wide. It is kept outside in a clay pot and has survived pretty much on its own with minimal care. After being gone for an extended period, I returned to find about half of the base gone. Probably rotted away from horrendous rainfall from tropical storms we received in our area. (12" in 3 days one week, 4" the next.) The leaves are still green and the plant has many buds that are beginning to open. I pushed soil down into the "cavern" under the plant. Half the base is still solid and there are ancillary roots extending down from the side that has rotted away. Am I doomed to eventually lose this plant? Has anyone had any experience in saving a plant in this condition? I debated on removing the paper thin exterior of the plant but didn't as I didn't know what to do after that. Any suggestions anyone?

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puglvr1(9b central FL)

magpie, try posting this question on the Cactus and Succulent forum...someone might be able to help you there, there's several members on that forum that grow this one. I only have two of them and luckily for me this hasn't happened to me, so I can't help. Good luck and hope you save it!

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 12:00PM
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fireflyintexas(z8 TX)

I almost lost one of my Desert Roses to too much water. Whatever you do, DON'T put your pot in a saucer. I had mine with a saucer and - you guessed it - a rainy couple of days when I wasn't paying attention and it stayed too moist and then one of its main branches started to get mushy. I had to pull it off and clear out the underlying soft, rotting material. I QUIT WATERING IT for about a couple of weeks and the notch is healing and there are buds forming on the ends. Whew! It's coming back. These plants like it hot, sunny, and DRY. Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2009 at 12:59AM
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bobinzone9us(z9 TX)

In hot weather, adeniums love water and only rot when the mix does not drain fast enough. In cold weather they should be very dry. Look at photos under "adenium problems" at N.R. Sundarams web site:
Wash all soil from the roots of your adenium. If it is completely rotted below soil line, like his photo #6, then you have the choices he wrote on the photo. But if there are some good roots: cut off all brown rotted roots with alcohol-sterilized knife down to white flesh -- no brown. Repot in dry media -- I use pure perlite for the recovery period -- do not water until third day. Keep plant in partial shade for a couple of weeks. When growth resumes, put it back in full sun and water every second day when it is hot. In a month or two, repot to a fast draining bark/perlite or similar light mix. Join the cantankerous passionate worldwide experts adenium group on yahoo.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2009 at 12:02PM
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Rot at the base is always the worst..higher,you can prune off the rot/dead tissue. At the base,no place to go. Keep dry-with dry air. Sprinkle some dessicant also. I havent had much luck-well,none with that kind of rot and recovery. Others who handle hundreds of plants must have had some recover-the odds are long. You might ask them if you cut the plant above the rot,making it essentially a giant cutting,if that would save it.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2009 at 2:58PM
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The same thing happened to one of my old adeniums a few years ago. At that time the caudex was about 5" x 3" and almost the entire side and middle rotted out. I scraped away the soft tissue and let it dry. It's grown several inches over the past few years and the hole is filling in at the sides though the interior of the caudex is still pretty hollow. It's in a 15" container now. One side looks pretty normal but I guess the hole will always be visible on the other side but it is much smaller. The only difference I notice between this and my other adeniums is that this one seems to take longer to break dormancy. It's just now gettting foliage and buds.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 7:35AM
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I think I have this problem too since both of my adeniums were outside during this very cold/wet winter.

The cudexs seem solid enough but some of the branches are soft. I did prune them off. Should I unpot them and check the roots below the soil line?

I think I have a bug problem too; maybe spider mites?

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 6:01AM
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Both of my adeniums were outside this winter when it was cold and wet.
I pruned off the soft branches. Should I check the roots too? I may have spider mites as well. What should I do?

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 6:04AM
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