How often do you Fertilize Desert Rose Plants?

The Desert Rose, otherwise known as the Adenium, is a heavy feeding tropical flowering plant that benefits from a routine feeding. The schedule below pairs the proper feed or fertilizer with the different phases of growth, from sowing the seeds through mature plants. While it is not necessary to follow such a rigorous program, the plants respond with greater blooms that last longer. Stop all fertilizing activities if the average temperature drops below 68 degrees, as the plant will enter dormancy for the winter, and resume when the weather warms up. 

Fertilizer Crash Course

Selecting a fertilizer can sometimes be overwhelming given the wide selection and application methods. Any fertilizer you buy comes with information about the nutrient profile and should prominently display the N-P-K ratio, or the percentage by volume the product contains of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). A 10-10-10 fertilizer, for instance, contains 10% nitrogen, 10% phosphorus, and 10% potassium. All fertilizers contain at least one of these elements; if any is missing, the ratio will show a zero for that nutrient (a 5-0-0 fertilizer contains nitrogen but no phosphorus or potassium). 

Desert Rose Feeding Schedule

Month 1

In this phase, the adenium seedlings are sprouting and developing their first true set of leaves. During this period, spray a water soluble liquid fertilizer with a high amount of nitrogen and low amounts of phosphorus and potassium on the leaves every three days.

Fertilizer: 30-10-10 liquid

Frequency: Spray every 3 days  

Month 2

Spray a water soluble liquid fertilizer with even amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium on the leaves every three days.

Fertilizer: 20-20-20 liquid

Frequency: Spray every 3 days

Month 3

The adenium seedlings will accelerate their growth and require additional nutrients during this month. Repot the seedlings into three inch or larger pots and mix in a 20-20-20 slow release chemical fertilizer into the soil media. In addition, continuing spraying the leaves with a 20-20-20 water soluble liquid fertilizer every three days. 

Fertilizer: 20-20-20 liquid, 20-20-20 slow release

Frequency: Spray every 3 days

Month 4

Change the fertilizer this month to one with very low nitrogen and higher even amounts for phosphorus and potassium.

Fertilizer: 8-15-15 liquid

Frequency: Spray every 3 days

Month 6+

After six months, the plants are mature and no longer considered seedlings. Continue spraying the leaves with a fertilizer containing N:0-15, P:15-30, K:15-30. Mix in 20-20-20 slow release chemical fertilizer to the soil media every year during repotting. 

Fertilizer: N:0-15, P:15-30, K:15-30 liquid

Frequency: Spray every 3 days