Category Archives: Flowers not hydrangeas

pink desert rose flower

How to Care For a Desert Rose Plant

desert rose pink flowers
Desert Rose in Garden

When I was given this flowering plant as a gift I was told it was a Plumeria. After seeing this same plant at the local Home Depot store, I discovered it was a Desert Rose. But before I knew what it was, I had taken it out of the original pot and put it into a sunny location in the backyard.

Sun is exactly what this flowering plant craves. The only problem was that it doesn’t need a lot of water. In fact, the less water the better – like a succulent, because that is really what it is.

At the time I planted it, we were have a long dry spell here in Florida. The Desert Rose did well. I avoided watering it when I watered the hibiscus next to it, and the plant even sent out new buds, which you can see blooming at the bottom of the stalk.

But, Florida is a tropical place, and I knew the rains would be coming. The Desert Rose also can’t handle cold temperatures (below 40 degrees F), and it does get cold in central Florida in winter.

pink desert rose in orange pot
Dug up and potted

I finally decided the Desert Rose needed to be in a pot. That way I could leave it outside for the sun, but bring it in during rainstorms and for the cold winter nights.  When I potted it, I had to give it water, but I haven’t watered it since.

It seems to be a very hardy plant, as I’ve dug it up and put it back into a pot. I think the key here is to NOT GIVE IT WATER. And I haven’t.

I’ve killed some really nice succulents by over-watering.  It can be tough to not water something when in general plants need plenty of water.  And, it seems to me that the Desert Rose (adenium) is not native to Florida.  Florida has no deserts.   This one will have to stay a houseplant if I hope for it to survive.

These plants develop a very thick “stem” or caudex (see them in the photo below).  This is the part that holds in the water to keep the plant thriving in drought conditions.  It is a succulent shrub and can grow quite large outdoors.

thick caudex stem of desert rose
The thick “stems” of the Desert Rose plant (photo credit: Pixabay)

The Desert Rose can be called by other names.   It is similar in appearance to the plumeria / frangipani tree and Oleander.  The plant is often easy to recognize because of it’s extremely thick stem.

Be aware that this plant contains poisonous sap.   It may not be a good choice as a houseplant for families with young kids for this reason.

I found a lot of articles about this plant at the TipsPlants.com site.  I will reference these articles if I ever get seed pods and maybe I will try to propagate it.

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orange flowering hibiscus

Florida Yardscape Must Include At Least One Hibiscus

screen-shot-2017-03-02-at-9-27-26-amNow that I live in Florida, my yard must contain the normal Florida perennials. Hibiscus is at the top of that list, and therefore I recently purchased a shrub and recently planted it along the side of the house.

I know that hibiscus will tolerate lots of sun and heat.  Although the tag on this one said it was protected from mites and aphids, I notice there are some on the buds.  I mixed up a solution of dish detergent and water to spray on the plant, and picked off the buds that were full of bugs.  I’ve had to do this for a few days not.  It’s irritating that I bought it with the bugs on it.  Should have checked closer.

Next to it, I added a rose bush and on the other side a small Desert Rose.  In my photo below the plumeria hasn’t been planted yet, but you can see the red poinsettia I bought this past Christmas …  the flowers are still red!  That one also needs to go in the ground.

rose bush and hibiscus
New Little Florida Garden

I need to get these gardens planted before the weather becomes too hot. I can’t work outside like I used to, and I dislike working in the heat. Digging up this St. Augustine grass is a real chore, and then I must lug the dirt to mix into the dug hole.  The Florida “dirt” is mostly sand, so it must be amended with quality dirt and fertilizer.  After it was planted I added black mulch.

double orange hibiscus
This Hibiscus Has Ruffled Flowers
plumeria plant

The Plumeria Plant Gift, Or Is It Something Else?

plumeria plant
A Special Gift

Some friends stopped by the other day and they had been to the Farmer’s Market at the Volusia County Fairgrounds. They opened the trunk of the car to show us the wonderful plants they had purchased. They had boxes of little succulents, a bushy croton, tiny African violets, and bags of organic dirt. In the back I noticed three tall stalks in pots with one or two flowers at the top. When I asked what the plant was, our friend pulled one out and handed it to me. “It’s a Plumeria” she said, “Here take it, it’s for you”.

I tried to give it back, and said I was only curious, but she insisted I keep it. She said they were only $3.00 and she had more.  The guy who sold them to her told her they were Plumerias.

Now, I have never seen a plumeria plant. I am familiar with the beautiful flowers of the Hawaiian plumeria (frangipani), and know that they are often used to make Hawaiian leis in the islands. I use plumeria (or frangipani) images to create wedding and event stationery for my Sandpiper Wedding store. But I have never had a plant like this. And honestly the flower reminded me more of an Oleander, but the plant itself was like nothing I had seen.

I figured I’d call it a plumeria until I discovered differently. I had already looked up How to grow plumerias, but I’ve had my doubts as to what this plant really is. I’ve never seen plumerias growing in Florida, and I used to have all the favorite local plants planted in my yard when I lived here in the 80’s and 90’s. It doesn’t mean they don’t grow here, but they need a more tropical climate than what we have here in central Florida.

Plumerias need tropical conditions to grow well, and where I live it does get cold.

**** Then, I went shopping at the local Home Depot, and came across plants that look just like my “plumeria” but they were called “Desert Rose”.  Aha, I did not have a plumeria.  But I had no idea what to do with a desert rose.

My Desert Rose plant

I looked up how to care for it.

The Desert Rose is a flowering succulent, which means it won’t need a lot of water.  The stem can be very thick, and holds water to be used in times of drought.  It does not like cold temperatures, which means I should keep it indoors over the Florida winter.  I’ll have to dig it up.  It is slow growing, compared to plumerias, which grow fast and turn into small trees.

IMG_1459
The one flower that opened on my plant

Right now our temperatures are very warm with daytime readings in the 80’s and overnight in the 60’s and some 50’s. I regret planting it outdoors and will have to spend some money on a decent pot and bring it inside eventually. I’m not sure it will like all the summer rain we’ll be getting soon.  It’s meant to be an ornamental indoor plant, from what I gather.

Here are more pictures of the Desert Rose, found at the free images site, Pixabay.

pink desert rose flowers
Beautiful Desert Rose Flowers (photo credit: Pixabay)

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orange flowering hibiscus

A New Hibiscus Plant For the Yard

orange hibiscus shrub
Newly Planted Hibiscus Shrub

One plant that every Florida yard should have is the fantastic hibiscus.

A hibiscus will bloom constantly for much of the year in Florida. It loves the sun and does extremely well in the hot and humid climate.

Hibiscus plants come in a wide variety of colors and types. Some can grow in northern climates, but the ones I refer to here are tropical. They will not die over the winter. It’s not really necessary to know your types (unless you are searching for something specific, or mail ordering) because local stores will sell the types that work in your area of the country, or world.

One problem I remember having is aphids that get on the flowers and plant, but this new hibiscus contained a tag that said it was protected from aphids, white flies, and some other bugs.  So we’ll see.

They are easy to plant.  Remove any grass in the area and dig a big wide hole.  Mix together some kind of fertilizer, bone meal, and or garden soil and add that back into the hole with some of the dirt that was removed.  Push the dirt down around the edge of the root ball and then water thoroughly… that means a lot.   If the plant still looks great the next day, then you did a good job.  Water again, and continue to water well until it gets established.

My new hibiscus has a double orange bloom, which looks like a ruffle compared to the flat types of flower. It was the prettiest flower I saw among the bunches of plants at the local Home Depot.  I planted it in a spot that should get a lot of sun year round.  Once I buy some mulch, I’ll put that all around the bottom to help keep the soil moist.  Then I can water it less often.

orange flowering hibiscus
Double Orange Hibiscus

Although I have mainly been shopping for plants at Home Depot, I prefer to support a privately owned nursery.  I am not very familiar with any around here.  I’ve already been to Lindleys, and wasn’t all that impressed.  One that I plan to visit is Garden Arts and is located on Flagler Ave. Generally I only go to the very touristy Flagler Ave. to eat at Breakers Restaurant. I will brave the crowds to eat a yummy fish sandwich while looking out at the ocean.

Some friends just told me about the Garden Arts nursery and suggested I visit.  I have a free parking pass for the beachside lot (yes, they charge to park now!), so I may do just that.  Then I will write a review about the place, and visit often … if I like it.

Now that I have a hibiscus growing in my yard, it’s a reminder that I’m settling into my new lifestyle which is a throwback to a very old life.  When I see my photos of the huge piles of snow, and remember suffering without power for days during ice storms, I really don’t miss dealing with those problems.  Walking out the door, without a coat on, day or night, is quite a sweet change of pace for me.