Thursday, July 14, 2011

Care to Adenium – Desert Rose

A native of East Africa, the desert rose will grow from 6 ½ to 10 feet in the wild. It has fleshy leaves and beautiful 2-inch open-trumpet shaped flowers in shades from red to light pink. 

Desert Rose is excellent in pots especially for people who "kill everything" because Adenium lives with little care and can take a good deal of neglect.  Besides, the coolest Desert Rose plants are hybrids (many dozens of them) produced in China, Taiwan and Thailand, and some in India.

Watering:  Needs little water during winter, especially when kept cool. Increase water during growing and blooming periods.  If left without added water and no rain for a long time or after a cold night, your desert rose can lose most or all of its leaves.  Never fear, they will re-grow after watering or after warm weather returns. 

Soils: Good drainage is essential in any soil mix, yet the soil mix also must have moisture retention properties, along with adequate nutrients. Use a mixture of half potting soil and half perlite, which will hold some moisture but still drain nicely. If you live in a warmer climate where you can plant outdoors, you can use gravel instead of Perlite. 

Repotting: Root prune and repot ever year or two, after the winter rest period, using a good draining soil mix such as described above. Peat can also be added to the mixture. Plant can tolerate being root-bound (tight in the pot.)  

Pruning: Usually pruning is done to reduce overall plant size, or to selectively remove branches to 'sculpt' a more-perfect plant.  
Adenium flower
Do heavy pruning around March to shape the plant. Any new shoots can be pruned off at any time if you don't want them. Wear gloves and don't touch your face if you get any sap on you while pruning, as the sap is toxic. Don't let children or animals play with or around these plants either. Wash sap off with soap immediately.

 Fertilizer: Feed Adenium obesum with a general houseplant fertilizer half-strength about once or twice a month during the warm months. Blooming fertilizer may help encourage blooming during the growing season.   Along with reducing watering to increase cold tolerance, fertilization should be ended in late August or early September. Availability of nutrients (especially nitrogen) encourages the plants to remain active and produce new growth.

Light: Adenium needs lots of light and fresh air. Keep in a bright location in winter. In summer plant can be moved outside and can tolerate full sun but partial or filtered sun is fine. Plant will bloom better if getting more full sun and regular water.

Temperature: Never below 40 degrees; however, in the winter, keeping it cool (between 40 and 61 degrees) gives the plant a needed rest. 

Pest and Diseases:  The common enemies of Desert Rose are aphids, caterpillars, sometimes scale insects and fungus.  Bugs are pretty easy to handle if you observe and inspect your Desert Rose often'll see the pests and can take action.  Sometimes, the leaves are eaten by small worm.  If the trouble is not serious, just remove the worm out of the plant.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

What to do when cactus is rotting???

The before picture. 
when my mammillaria was still healthy in the big pot
Thailand is in the rain season now and some cacti in my garden were also rotten.  At this time, it happened with my favorite mammillaria which became rotten and I just noted it recently.  So I think it’s important to fight with rotting seriously although before that, I led the plant rot without do anything. Here is the way to do that and hope it’ll be helpful when you have same trouble like me.

  • How do we know or notice that the cactus is rotting?
The brown base of can mean that the plant is aging (become woody) or rotting. To tell the difference, touch the base and see if it is hard or flabby/soft. Hard means everything is OK. But, it’s soft, it means that plant is rotting and it must be treated with care.  

Here is after picture.  It was so soft and I had to cut some rotten part out and dried the rest for 3-4 days together with the rotting aloe

  • Can I still save the rotting cactus? 
The second way to save a rotting cactus is to simply cut of its top.  Using a sharp knife cut off the top of the plant.  After that, let’s it dry for a 2-7 days. Once dry, set about 1/2 the plant into potting mix/perlite or cactus mix/perlite.

Do not water too much. Just enough to make the soil to become a little humid. Over watering at this point could cause rot again. With luck and the right conditions it will start to root. Once it develops its own roots, the watering can be increased.  Establishing the new roots may take several days or weeks depending on the condition of plant and care.

I put them on top of pot with 100% perlite

After several days with humid from rain, the new root came out finally! 

Another option is to take a cutting or two for grafting which need skill & experience to do that.

  • What if my cactus is rotting from the top? What shall I do?
If a cactus is rotting from the top you need to act immediately before more of the cactus rots. Just like as if it is rotting from the base, carefully cut off the top of the cactus that is rotting. Dispose of the cactus top.

As for the bottom, clean it with a spray to make sure it does not catch the top's disease. Change the soil unless it looks as if the cactus can't take a repot. The remaining cactus should now be healthy. After a few weeks of extra care, start caring for it as for a normal cactus. It will not grow a new top or increase in height but it will grow branches which will grow.