Desert Rose Root Rot – How to Save it? (Step by Step)

Desert Rose/Adenium is hands down the toughest plants I have encountered till now in terms of watering it.

This plant can go without water for weeks and still won’t show any signs of weakness. But…

Root rot in desert rose is a very common problem and probably the major reason behind people loosing this beautiful plant.

How to Fix Desert Rose Root Rot?

To fix Desert Rose Root Rot, take the plant out of the potting soil carefully and look for mushy roots and soft stems. Wash out the infected area with the help of fast running water as much as possible. Take a sterilized knife and cut off all the squishy (brown) part, apply fungicide and let the plant dry out before repotting it.

Desert Rose Root Rot

As I told you, rotting of roots in Desert Rose is a very common problem and I also keep facing it on regular basis.

Earlier Overwatering was the cause behind it but now a day’s sudden rain is what keeps my desert rose in trouble.

But after saving so many of my dying adeniums from root rot, I have gotten used to with the process and can assure you that it is a fail proof method.

Early Signs of Desert Rose Root Rot

Adeniums are very susceptible to root rot and will show you clear signs when they are in danger.

As soon as you encounter these make sure to act swiftly, the more you wait, the lesser the chances that your plant will live.

  • Blister like formations on Stem
  • Stems turning squishy
  • Leaves Turning Yellow and Brownish
  • Soil always remains moist

Save Desert Rose/Adenium From Root Rot

Once, you have discovered your adenium has root rot.

Follow these steps to revive your dying desert rose.

Hunting for the Rotted Part in Desert Rose – # Step 1

Save Desert Rose From Root Rot
  • Take the plant out of the potting soil carefully without damaging its root.
  • Look for the infected or rotted roots.
  • Rooted roots look brownish and soft to touch.
  • Wash all the infected area with fast flowing (pressure) water, to wash out all the infected area and harmful microorganisms.

Also read – Reasons Behind Aloe Vera Leaves Bending

Getting Rid of The Infection – # Step 2

Root rot in adenium
  • After this use a sterilized knife and cut off any part that is soft to touch.
  • If the rot has spread till stem, the stems will also turn soft in nature.
  • Don’t be afraid to cut of stems that has turned soft and mushy.
  • Leave only that part which is firm and healthy.
  • If you leave any infected part the infection will keep on spreading and your plant will ultimately die.

Interesting Read – Do Haworthia Die After Flowering?

Reviving Your Desert Rose from Root Rot – # Step 3

After following this process, what you are left with is a non-infected but injured plant that is yet to go through the healing process before getting repotted.

Apply fungicide carefully all over the part that has been cut off. Do not leave any part as it is very prone to fungus attack in this weak stage.

Adenium Hanged For Drying Out

Now hang the plant somewhere to let it dry out completely before planting it again.

Once the plant has dried out and you see that its health has improved.

It is time to repot it.


Before repotting it, you need to ask yourself what might have been the reason behind the root rot in your desert rose, so that you don’t end up repeating the same mistake again.

I will tell you a few obvious reasons behind it, and let you decide what could have been the possible reason:

Reasons Behind Root Rot In Adenium


This is the main cause behind root rot in desert rose. As you can clearly see this plant has a word desert attached to it.

And it is there for a reason.

It can handle water deficiency for days and won’t have problems, but you keep it in standing water for a few days and it will start to rot.

So, never ever overwater your adeniums. Use good garden sprayer for the same.

Only water it when the top few inches of the soil has completely dried off.

Faulty Potting Soil

Using an all-purpose potting soil for your adeniums, can also lead to rotting.

Desert Rose requires an extremely fast draining soil, because if the water stays in the soil for long time, it causes trouble.

Use perlite and sand in large quantity while making potting soil for adeniums.

You can use this potting soil specifically made for adeniums.

Size of Container

If the container in which you have planted desert rose is extremely huge in comparison to its size.

This can also cause root rot.

You might be wondering, how is that possible?

So, let me tell you what happens is that when the size of the container is comparatively huge the amount of potting soil in it, is also in larger quantity.

Which in turns require more water, and water stays for much longer time in it and not being used by the plant which results in rotting of roots.

So, always choose an ideal size container and keep changing it as the plant grows big.

Kept in Shade

Desert rose, if kept in shade can also develop root rot.

As this plant is a desert plant and cannot grow well in shady conditions.

So, keep your plant in a location that receives at least 5-6 hours of direct sunlight, otherwise your plant will suffer.

Sudden Rain

This sudden quick rain is keeping my adeniums under bad health and there is pretty much nothing we can do, if this is the reason with you as well make sure to take your desert rose under shade as soon as you find out it’s raining.

Once you have decided the reason behind the root rot in your desert rose.


Now let’s get back to the repotting process.

For this choose an optimal sized container with drainage holes and fill it with potting soil (fast draining).

Then take your desert rose and place it carefully inside the soil.

Don’t water it for a few days, until it starts to show sign of life.

Which can be developing new leaves or even stems.

Final Words

I have not seen a plant which is more prone to root rot than desert rose, so if you wish to keep yours thriving and happy make sure to never overwater it, use a faulty potting soil and keep it deprived of sun.

Apart from this, adeniums are real beauty and will be the glamour of your garden.

Do leave your doubts, if you still have any.