Category Archives: Plant Care

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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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.

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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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Learning From Experience – Which Hydrangeas Are Best?

white hydrangea flower
The “Blushing Bride” Flower

I am still learning about the hydrangeas I planted this spring. They have all surprised me by blooming very nicely. The only one that doesn’t have many flowers is the Pee Gee.

What I’ve learned:

New hydrangea shrubs will flatten easily in a big rainstorm. After they bloom, it’s even worse as the flowers get wet and heavy.

The flowers which are elongated (Pinky Winky and Limelight) fare better. They droop when the flowers are wet, but not to the ground like the others. Maybe because their petals are smaller and the flowers are more open. Their stems are sturdier too.

The overall appearance of these types of shrub seems to be hardy and carefree. I have to constantly water the Endless Summer (blue-flowering) shrub as well as the Blushing Bride – both are mophead varieties. They wilt terribly in the sun, even though they get mostly morning sun.  It has been hot.

I’ve cut some of the blue ones because they were laying on the ground.  They are now hanging to dry on my drying rack.

They are all beautiful and I don’t think I have a favorite yet.  I may decide by the time summer is over.

Brown Spots on Hydrangea Leaves

wilted hydrangea leaves
What's Wrong?

I have not grown my own hydrangeas, but I did help care for the shrub in the front yard at my rental home. The landlady did not have a green thumb, and since the plant was not really mine, I generally just made sure it got enough water so I could photograph the blooms in summer and fall.

My last year living there, I noticed that part of the plant was not as green as the rest and some of the leaves were getting brown (see photo).

I no longer live there, but I’d like to know what this is for when I do grown my own hydrangeas.

Certain types of hydrangea shrubs can get diseases and have problems with powdery mildew, and mineral deficiencies. They can be affected by mites, aphids and Japanese beetles.

In fact the yard was full of grubs which turn into Japanese beetles and although I did seem some beetles on this plant, they didn’t seem to be doing much damage.

So why are the leaves turning brown? And only on a portion of the plant? Could it be Cercospora leafspot or some other similar fungus? Continue reading Brown Spots on Hydrangea Leaves