During the rainy season, the number one thing you should keep in mind when taking care of your lovely desert roses is water drainage.

You'd want to make sure the soil that houses your adenium has very good drainage so that the roots won’t get soaked in too much water and become rotted.

Come along with us. Let's check out some good ways to care for your plants during this rainy season.

But first, let's meet some:

Insects During the Rainy Season

You'll see these familiar faces come & go again and again in the rainy season, so it's good to get to know them or mentally prepare for their coming. Some of these little guys are:

  • Ants
  • Aphids
  • Fungi
  • Mealybugs
  • Green worms
  • Red spider mites
  • And other local ones in your areas

The types of insects that come may differ depending on the local environment.

The high humidity in the rain attracts lots of bugs, insects & fungi. This is a great time for them to gather up & reproduce. Ants will also be very active during this season. They need to move their nests & eggs high up so they won't get flooded by rainwater. Before rain falls, you'll see lots of ants moving or carrying little white stuff (eggs) around.

Here are these guys' faces:

The ants attract aphids & other bugs like mealybugs. They form a symbiotic relationship with each other. The bugs feed the ants sweet yummy sugars & the ants help move the insects or their eggs to the best 'restaurants' (dining places) on the desert rose plants.

This is a reason why we need to keep the water & nutrients of our adenium in check. Otherwise, as these guys appear seasonally, they will suck all the good food out, leaving our plants yellow & rotted.

Let's prepare:

1. Prepare a Soil-Less Potting Medium

Regular black garden soil tends to drain more slowly and holds water for a longer period of time. This is unfavorable especially in the rainy season because the excess amount of water might damage our plants’ roots.

What we want here is an environment that has good air flow and water drainage. To achieve this, you can use well-draining components found easily at many nurseries or in online stores like:

  • Sand
  • Perlite
  • Pumice
  • Pebbles
  • Pine bark
  • Charcoal
  • Lava rock
  • Crushed brick
  • Expanded clay
  • Red wood fiber
  • Carbonized rice hulls

These components let water flow through very easily thanks to the hundreds and thousands of tiny pores on their surface. Desert rose roots can grab on components like perlite and therefore develop a stronger foundation.

You can add in about 1 or 2 parts of black garden soil or bonsai/cactus soil. If your plant is quite young and may not have enough nutrients for self sufficiency, then we may want to add in some yummy bits.

Otherwise, creatively mix these components however you see fit. Here are some ideas. You'll see lots of well-draining materials:

Adenium Mix 1 for Rainy Season

Ingredients Purpose
Red lava rock Allow air flow through root system & water drainage
Agricultural pumice Build a strong root foundation
Expanded clay Keep moisture & air
Horticultural charcoal Improve aeration, drainage & kill germ
Turface (high-fired clay) Add acidity & retain moisture

Adenium Mix 2 for Rainy Season

Ingredients Purpose
Crushed brick Keep moisture
Wood charcoal Provide good air flow
Perlite Improve drainage & root development
Sand Keep moisture & drain water well
Coco peat Provide good drainage

Secondly, you can:

2. Cover Your Plants With Clear Sheets

Use a plastic grocery bag or a clear polythene sheet to cover up your plants. The clear bag allows some sunlight to get through while still protecting our plants from getting lots of rainwater.

Rain-Protecting Drop Cloths
* Waterproof
* Easy to cut & resize
* Clear to allow sunlight through

The way you cover the plants varies depending on the size of your adenium and your pot. But be a little gentle. You can cut the sheets or bags and cover the caudex and root part. Tie the sheets together using some wires, tapes or staples.

We generally cover the lower part because that is the main water tank for the plant and we don’t want it to get imploded with a lot of water. You could also use an old T-shirt or burlap.

The upper part usually doesn’t take up a lot of water so it should be fine. You may want to cover it up too if you want to protect the flowers and foliage (leaves clusters) from splashing rain.

Alternatively, you could:

3. Move Your Plants Under a Clear Shelter

Another idea you can try is just to build a simple sort of clear canopy to house the plants under. This doesn't have to be too big. A simple clear roof or even an umbrella will do.

With the clear roof above them, the plants can still enjoy some sunlight in the morning. They will, however, be protected from too much rainwater that can damage the roots.

Polythene is a strong and sturdy material & a roll can be had for very cheap. If you don’t want to buy those rolls, try clear garbage bag. It also works.

Use some bamboo columns to set the shade up or some plumbing pipes as the base structure for your shelter. Then safely place your desert roses under it and be worry-free throughout the rainy season.

4. Spray Some Fungicide at Least Once a Week

This is a protective method to keep our plants safe from the bad bacteria or fungi that could eat them up. You can use systemic and contact fungicide and spray it onto the plants. Copper-based or zinc-based sprays also provide good protection against fungi for the adenium.

Basically, the systemic fungicide gets absorbed through the roots and the contact fungicide gets absorbed through contact with the leaves. A good dosage can be about 2 grams or ¼ teaspoon of fungicide powder per one liter (4 cups) of water.

At the start of the rainy season, you can start spraying the stuff. Then, adjust the dosage depending on the weather conditions and the condition of your plants. Every 3-5 days is also fine. Spray it once a week if your plants are strong and can fight the harmful stuff on their own.

You could use some natural pesticides like these :

  • A mixture of garlic, onion, ginger, pepper, and ghost chili
  • Horticultural oils like neem oil (note: neem oil does not smell very good)
  • Red wood fiber

These veggies like garlic or onion have natural chemicals that can fight against the bad guys. The mixture is also more gentle to our plants, the underground water source, and has minimal side effects. It's the smell of the stuff + the oil which could dissolve the insects' protective coat and help keep them away.

Also, mix in some red wood fiber. Termites hate this thing so they will stay away from your adenium.

You could also:

5. Get Thick Adenium Flower

If possible, you could try getting some thick adenium flower varieties. For these varieties, rain and wind are not really a big deal. They can take it all outdoors and you don't even need to bring them indoors.

As the petals are thicker, they won't get bruised easily when the rain drops splash on them. Thus, lowering chances of rotting. The red flower above is named Adenium Arrogant. It is also widely known to be a super bloomer.

However, if the adenium flowers you have are slightly thin (like the triple-petal ones) you may need to sacrifice (cut off) those flowers this time. If water gets inside, it may cause stem rotting.

As there's usually strong wind during a rainfall, so remember to:

6. Protect Your Plants From Strong Wind

Remember to use wires or ties to secure your adenium in place. There may be strong wind that could knock the plant over.

A question many folks ask is:

Should I Water My Adenium During the Rainy Season?

This depends on the weather condition, the condition of your desert rose, the potting medium, the pot, and so on. If you use a well-draining mixture, you can try touching the medium to see if it’s too dry the next day.

After checking the moisture, if the soil is dry then you can water it lightly. Watering in the morning is good because the plant can re-hydrate after a long night. If the potting medium is still moist or wet, then you may not need to water that much or at all.

If you need a moisture tester, here's a good one at a good price:

Good Moisture Tester Tool
* Measures pH, moisture & light
* No batteries needed
* Compact & portable

Should I Fertilize My Desert Roses on Rainy Days?

Make sure not to supply your plants with extra fertilizer during this time of year. Because during the rainy season, the air has a higher amount of nitrogen that can be taken up immediately by the plants.

This amount is more than enough for our babies. If we supply more nutrients at this time, it might actually do more harm than good. The plants don’t really need more food at this point. The excess food + water might attract some bad fungi & bacteria to the party. Which then could lead to rot.

To Prevent Stem Rotting During the Rain

If your plants have flowers at this time, we may need to sacrifice them to prevent the upper-shoot stem rotting. When cutting off the flower buds, you could cut right at the waist (just below the colored petals a bit), not too far down the tube or string part.

This is because cutting a bit high up doesn't make the plant ooze out a lot of latex. Cutting too far down makes it ooze out quite a bit of latex. To conserve resources, some growers cut the buds off this way.

What if Your Adenium Plant Has Been Caught in Rain?

If your adenium plant was caught in rain, you could use a hose to wash the rainwater off the surface of the leaves. Sometimes, the early-season rainwater may contain a bit of acid in it. So it's a good idea to cleanse your plant off with some nice, fresh water.

Rain, rain go away...

Rain, a great source of water and nutrients for many plants, can unfortunately be a great source of damage for our adenium. Now you know some of the practical and easy ways to take care of your plants on rainy days.

Remember, use a soil-less potting mix that drains water well. You can cover your plants using a plastic grocery bag. Build a nice shelter to protect them from excess rainwater. If your plants are quite weak, consider spraying some fungicide or natural pesticide to keep the bad guys away.

Water your plants during the monsoon season if the potting medium is too dry. If it is moist, then just leave it as it is. Don’t give our babies too much food during this time of year or they might become overfed. Rainy season provides lots of free nitrogen in the air already, so we don’t need to do the hard work.

You now know some good ways to tackle rain & the familiar faces the rain brings. I hope this helps!


Responses to Readers' Questions

Do you pull of the flowers as soon as dead

--> Thanks for your question. Yes, also as soon as I notice them. So the dark rotten flowers do not spread to the other parts of the plant. I hope this helps!

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