Desert roses overall need a very light amount of fertilizer. The thing we should keep in mind is when should we fertilize our babies, what & how often to feed them. It also depends on whether or not you have pruned your desert roses or whether your babies are grafted ones. Let's check out some ideas with us.
For Very Young Desert Roses
For young babies that are only 2 weeks old, we usually don't feed them with any fertilizer. This ensures their young roots are not being burned or fried up by too much nutrients in the soil. When they grow a little bit older (about 3 weeks old), we may use a secret feed that some growers have shared.
The Sulfur Secret
For desert roses about 3 weeks old, some growers sprinkle sulfur on the soil & water them. From their experience, this has helped the plants grow strong & faster. Sulfur helps make the soil more acidic for acid-loving plants like adenium. You may want to play around with this if you like.
Bigger Leaves Growing
During the growing stages, desert roses actually need more water, more nutrients, more sunlight. Basically, more everything to push out those beautiful flowers. It's like a teenager reaching puberty.
When the plants are growing bigger leaves, we would mist them more & pour some root powder to stimulate more root growth. At this stage, we try to add more of the Nitrogen amount.
Desert roses are also huge foliar feeders. They devour the good bits like a child munches candy. You can combine foliar sprayers like fish emulsion/seaweed twice a week & slow release fertilizer (high in Nitrogen) in the soil at this stage.
There's still some ongoing discussion about the ability to absorb nutrients through leaves of adenium. Some growers believe this route takes longer as the absorption rate is lower. The direct method of pouring the nutes into the roots is thus more quicker & effective.
Some other growers believe that we're just not feeding our babies enough through the leaves. It is devouring all the nutes we put in. And that's the reason why we're not seeing a lot of growth when doing it this way. For now, let's carry on with our desert rose growth.
Small Buds & Flowers Forming
When small buds & flowers are forming, we increase the P, K amount. Phosphorous (P) helps the plants develop more buds at once. And Potassium (K) helps make the color of your flowers more vibrant.
Here you can choose a fertilizer that is high in P, K like 6-30-30. A fertilizer that contains other micro-nutrients like Cu (Copper), Zn (Zinc), Fe (Iron), Mg (Magnesium) is also beneficial.
Misting the leaves with fish emulsion or seaweed also helps nurture the bud growth. But here, we use a more diluted solution so it doesn't burn our little buds. Water daily using well-draining growing medium.