Desert rose root rot occurs because of waterlogged soil, exposure to cold temperatures, and basically because more moisture is present than what the plant needs.Desert Rose Root Rot

In this article, we will discuss why it happens, what to do if you encounter it, and how to prevent it from happening again. Discover more when you continue reading!

Desert Rose Plants Root Rot: 5 Common Causes

Desert rose plants get root rot because of five common reasons. The first is overwatering, the second is poor drainage – they go hand-in-hand. There may also be diseases and an incorrect pot size. Finally, you may be exposing it to too low temperatures.

– Overwatering

The main cause of root rot in desert rose? Too much water. They dislike “wet feet” and extremely moist, wet ground. The roots will become suffocated by too much soil moisture, which will facilitate the growth of germs and fungi.

Keep in mind that adenium obesum is a succulent plant that is designed from the top down to withstand severe drought. A once dehydrated desert rose will eventually rot from the roots up if you overwater it. Overwatering generally manifests as yellowing leaves, bulbs on the surface of the caudex, a harder, engorged, or swollen caudex, leaf swelling, and leaf falling.

However, it is not just the frequency of watering that might contribute to prolonged overwatering. It may also occur if your plant is in a pot or has poorly drained soil, and you do not empty the drip tray while it is dormant.Causes of Root Rot in Desert Rose

– Poor Drainage

When water pools at the bottom of the pot or around the root ball as a result of poor drainage, your plant will have a high chance of developing root rot. Failure to empty the drip tray will result in the soil becoming saturated, leading to the rotting of the roots.

Poor drainage also happens when you use potting soil that is not well-draining, especially if you include a lot of clay or organic matter, overuse compost, or use a container that lacks drainage holes.

– Diseases

Another problem resulting from overwatering are infections or diseases. Once the roots have been waterlogged and damaged by moist soil conditions, they will be susceptible to fungus infections.

These fungal diseases commonly manifest as tiny patches on leaves. Affected leaves first turn yellow, then brown, and then finally drop off. The pathogen that causes the rotting of the roots usually spreads to old pots, soil, or pruning tools, which can then infect your plant. Some fungi can infect the stems or foliage before moving to the roots.

– Incorrect Pot Size

Your plant may develop rotting of the roots if there is too much or too little soil relative to the pot size. A container that is too small will impede the growth, oxygen supply, and functionality of the roots. Furthermore, as the soil soon dries out and gets compact, roots will be damaged.

However, avoid placing the plant in a pot that is too big for it. There will be waterlogging in some particular areas, which will lead to the soil being saturated. It can also result in root growth but little foliage and flowers.

– Exposure to Low Temperature

When exposed for an extended amount of time to temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, these plants will suffer significant cold damage. The rotting of roots can be a result of stress to the roots and freezing conditions. Low temperatures also make the soil dry up more slowly, which raises the possibility of overwatering.

What Can You Do if Your Desert Rose Has Root Rot? Solutions and Preventions

What you can do to solve and prevent the problem of desert rose root is to first of all remove the infected part. Thereafter, you must avoid overwatering and use well-draining sandy soil. Provide fungicidal treatment, repot regularly and avoid exposure to cold temperatures.

– Remove the Affected Part

No matter how big or small the affected or rotten portion is, it should be removed as early as possible. Removing the affected part is the key to saving desert rose from root rot. Cut away the rotten portion using a very sharp clean cutting tool. After removing the rotten part, take care not to leave any rotting flesh behind because any rot left will only cause issues.

To stop additional fungal and bacterial growth, spray the root with hydrogen peroxide, let it dry, and then sprinkle cinnamon powder over the cut area. Afterward, sterilize your tools to stop the transmission of disease.

Rotting roots can also be removed with a powerful water blast. Lay the plant out on the lawn, then use the pressure sprayer on your hose to give the damaged root a strong blow. This can remove roots that are severely decayed. This technique not only removes the rotting roots but also common pests.

You may also want to try using a spoon or some similar tool to scrape away the rotten root pieces. This works to a certain extent, but obviously, a spoon cannot totally remove damaged tissue the way a knife or a powerful burst of water can. If you decide to utilize this approach, proceed with cinnamon, drying time, and peroxide spray as you would with the others.Remedies for Desert Rose Root Rot

– Avoid Overwatering

Avoiding overwatering is the best technique to stop the rotting of the roots in this plant and all other plants. Instead, water thoroughly and then wait for the extra moisture to completely dry before watering again using the soak-and-dry approach.

– Use Well-draining Sandy Soil

Additionally, the rotting of the roots can be avoided by using sandy soil with sufficient drainage. Another option is a well-draining growing medium like potting mix with coarse sand, perlite, or gravel. Make sure the soil has a pH of 6.0 or below, which falls between neutral and acidic.

In order to prevent rotting roots, make sure your plant’s container has drainage holes so that the extra water can be drained. To allow extra water to drain, the container ought to have at least two or three drainage holes. Make sure to empty the draining saucer or cachepot, too.Sandy Soil for Desert Rose

– Provide Fungicidal Treatment

Fungal growth in the soil of the plants can be avoided by occasionally using a fungicidal solution in the water. You can use synthetic chemical fungicides or natural substitutes.

– Repot Regularly

Repotting this plant should typically be done in the spring when it is actively growing and during the warm season. Make sure to use a non-porous container, such as clay, terracotta, or unglazed ceramic.

These materials are preferable because they drain well and dry off more quickly. Add a thin coating of pebbles, or “crocks,” to the pot’s base to improve drainage even further.

– Avoid Exposure to Cold Temperature

Given that this plant is succulent, it does not fare well in cold and freezing temperatures. Choose a location where the temperature will be between 75 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Fortunately, humidity is not necessary for cultivating these plants because they thrive in arid, hot climates.Solving Desert Rose Root Rot


Encountering rotting roots on your desert rose plant can be upsetting, but with all the advice we shared here, you now have a better idea how to deal with it. Let us recap the key elements we discussed:

  • The main cause of rotting roots on desert roses is overwatering, especially if the roots have prolonged exposure to waterlogged soil.
  • Desert rose plants thrive in hot climates, so avoid freezing and cold temperatures. Place your plant in a location with plenty of sunlight.
  • Remove all the affected parts of the plant as soon as possible to stop the spread of rotting roots by using a clean and sharp cutting tool, spraying with high-pressure water, or simply scraping.
  • Prevent rotting roots by making sure not to overwater your plant by using a non-porous container, such as one made of glass, plastic, or glazed ceramic, all of which drain well.
  • Providing the correct container size with proper drainage and occasionally applying fungicidal treatment can also prevent rotting roots.

Now that you are well-equipped with information on the whys and the hows when it comes to rotting roots, you can rest assured that your adenium obesum will thrive and be as beautiful as it’s supposed to be!

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