QUICK REFERENCE PLANTING GUIDE
1. Light/Sun Exposure - Full to partial sun.
2. USDA Hardiness Zones - Winter hardy in-ground, in zones 9 and 10 only. In zones 8 and under, bring inside for the winter and treat as a houseplant.
3. Planting Distance - 4 feet apart in-ground or 1 plant per 10 inch or larger container.
4. Mature Height/Spread - 3 to 4 feet tall with a similar spread.
5. Bloom Time - Early summer until frost. The desert rose is at its showiest during the drier months of the year, from late winter to early summer.
6. Planting Instructions - As indicated below:
For container planting: Fill the container with soil to within 4 inches of the top. Dig a hole in soil to insert the lower part of the root ball. Remove plastic containers and loosen up roots that have encircled the growing pot. Place the plant in the hole and back fill to original soil line. Water well, and if necessary, adjust the plant so that it is upright. Add additional soil to bring the level back up to the original soil line. Never insert the plant lower than the original top of the soil ball.
For in-ground planting in zones 9 to 10: Dig a hole twice as wide and twice as deep as the pot in which your plant was grown. Partially backfill the hole with soil and place the plant into the hole. The top of the root ball should be level with the ground surrounding the hole. Refill the hole with soil, firming the soil around the plant with your fingers. Check to be sure that the plant is not planted too deeply. If it is, raise the plant carefully and refirm the soil. Water thoroughly.
GET THE MOST ENJOYMENT
Quality of light is extremely important to this plant. It needs plenty of sunshine in order to thrive and flower. Four to five hours of direct sun each day in front of an east, west, or south window will encourage this succulent to flower. The Desert Rose will also do well in very bright light without a lot of direct sun but it won't bloom as often or as profusely. Place your plant outdoors in summer and indoors with as much light as possible in winter.
For in-ground planting, although these plants perform well in average garden soils of all types, we recommend having your soil tested periodically by the local County Extension Office. These tests can determine if the soil needs any amendments to enhance your plants' growth and performance. See below for our recommended practice to improve your soil without any additional testing:
1. Spade or till the soil to a depth of 12-18 inches.
2. Add liberal amounts of sand if your native soil or potting mixture is too heavy. Although other soil additives are not necessary it is always good to add a little peat moss with the sand.
3. After active growth begins, periodically feed with Cottage Farms' water soluble Carefree Bud-N-Flower Booster. Plants in containers need more frequent watering and feeding, especially when in active growth and bloom.
Water - Water your Desert Rose the same way you water other succulent type plants. During the growing season, allow the top layer of soil to dry out moderately between each watering and then water thoroughly until the soil is well saturated and excess water drains out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the container. Never allow your plants to sit in a saucer of water. Pots may be kept in saucers AFTER the water has drained from the pot.
Your plant needs less water during the winter months, especially when kept cool.
Increase water during growing and blooming periods.
Note: The plant will lose leaves if over watered.
Mulching - Apply a 2-4 inch layer of shredded bark, compost or other organic mulch around your plants to promote moisture retention, maintain even soil temperatures, and to discourage weed growth.
Weeding - Keep the area around your plants free of weeds. Weeds compete with other plants for food, water and light. Walk around the garden periodically and pull weeds, including the roots, as soon as you see them.
Grooming - Prune after the rest period, usually around March. New shoots can be pruned regularly.
Feeding - Feed your plants once every 2-3 weeks during the growing season with a water-soluble fertilizer such as Cottage Farms' Carefree Bud-N-Flower Booster. Discontinue feeding after September 1st so your plants can harden off for winter dormancy. Resume fertilizing when new growth appears in the spring.
Winterizing - Hardy outdoors only in zones 9-10. In zones 3-8 move your plant indoors when the night temperatures begin to fall below 55 degrees F. During the winter season your plant prefers to stay dry so water sparingly and keep the soil just slightly moist.
When you bring your plant indoors for the winter, select a room that is bright, preferably one with a southern exposure. Even a bathroom will do if it has a southern exposure. Indoors, plants tend to dry out from lack of humidity; however; this does not mean to water them daily. Bathrooms simply provide natural humidity for the plant's environment.
If you place your plant in any other room, you can boost the humidity level around your plant by filling a shallow tray with gravel and water then placing the pot in the tray. The water level should be slightly below the gravel so that the pot is not submerged in the water.
All other watering and feeding indoors should be reduced significantly. Do not over water or allow your plants to sit in water. If you follow these simple steps and remove unsightly or dead growth over the winter, your plant will extend its performance into the following season.
In spring when temperatures begin to rise, ease the plant into a full watering schedule and move back outdoors for the summer.
CAUTION: Not all plant material is edible. Though most plants are harmless, some contain toxic substances which can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, or other discomforts. As a general rule, only known food products should be eaten. In case of ingestion, please contact your local poison control center at once and advise them of the plant ingested. Keep out of reach of children.