Why Are My Desert Roses Not Blooming

Adenium Desert Rose 15 May 2020

Please check to see if there's:

Insufficient Sunlight

Without enough sunlight, it can be difficult for the desert rose to convert energy & produce flowers. Even if they produce flowers, they usually won't be as bright & beautiful. Branches may flower at different time & not all at once. 6-8 hrs of sunlight is good for desert roses.

Too much nutrients

The principle for reproduction is when the surrounding nutrients reach its lower limit. We can see examples from other species like mushroom, which will reproduce when the substrate nearly runs low. Birds with excess body fat won't lay eggs soon.

Likewise, check if there's too much nutrients in the soil of your desert roses. The plants may still be in their peak development stage to shoot out branches. See the fat branches & the number of new shoot-outs.

In cases like this, you may see the tree flowers but then continue to heighten up their branches. Narrowing it down, this may be excess nitrogen (the 'protein') in the soil. This slows down phosphorous & potassium intake which makes flowers & seed pods. You can wait or cut off some branches to hamper growth.

Too much bad stuff

Strong boosters like Atonik might weaken the overall health of the trees. This means a weaker natural root system. The plants may not flower in this case.

If this is the case, get rid of the bad stuff & replant your desert rose in clean, new soil. Some folks use sand as the substrate to "detox" their trees completely. Then, they start feeding them moderately again depending on the development stages.

Insects & fungi

These guys suck the nutrients out of your plants. They are the "partners in crime" of causing yellow leaves or black spots. When too much nutrients are leaking out, there may not be enough to support your trees.

Here are their faces:

Red spider mites sneaking under the leaves.


According to some growers, these guys are the most stubborn of all stubborn insects. They appear on other plants as well like strawberries & apples. They are tiny & often sneaking under the leaves. They suck out the good juice, make the leaves yellow & possibly slow the flowering stage down.

Red spider mites love this adenium variety. It's a double-layer pink desert rose. They party here all the time:

Here are some white mealybugs:


The ones you see here are females. They don't have wings & can't fly. They often lay eggs on the plants. Ants help carry the bugs or their eggs around. When the white wax is washed off, mealybugs show an orange body. These guys can affect the adenium leaves, caudex & root.

Fungi causing black spot & yellow leaves:


Many people call this leaf spot. It's caused by a fungi with this long romantic name Colletotrichum gloeosporioides penz. Fungi like this can penetrate deep into the desert rose's body, pulling back the speed of growth & flower production.

Get rid of pests safely

To get rid of the pests, you can try:

  • 3 parts boiling water
  • 2 parts room temperature water
  • 3 cc (3 ml) dish soap
  • Optional: mint essential oil, neem oil, horticultural oils, red wood fiber

This works to keep these guys away while still keeping your plants safe & alive. The dish soap & oils dissolve the protective cuticles or skin of the insects. Spray the solution late in the evening.

If your local area sells red wood fiber, get some because red spider mites hate this smell. It will also keep the ants away from your plants.

Cold Pressed Neem Oil
100% pure oil (no chemical additives)
Does not burn plants

If you use neem oil, be careful 'cause this stuff smells bad (like vomit or dead bodies). People mix this with castille soap (not water) in their bathrooms to isolate the smell & get it to work. But once it dries, the smell is gone. This stuff is effective.

If you don't like the idea of killing insects, try a milder solution:

Soak some chopped onion in water & extract that juice. If there's chlorine in your tap water, let it sit outside for a few days to off gas. Spray or pour the onion extract around the caudex or roots.

There's some sulfur in onion (noticeable by its strong specific odor). Sulfur strengthens the plants' disease resistance. The bad guys just hate this smell so they'll find some other places to build their houses. Garlic or mustard also work for this purpose.

For fungi, you need to cut off the branches. So the fungi won't run their mycelium (white mushroom strings) deep into the tree body & spread to other trees in the garden.

Bloom Again

If well-cared-for, your adenium will begin gathering all it needs to produce flowers & seeds again. If you believe the plants can do it, you can do it too. Good luck!

Share or pin this post!


Cover image source

Great! You've successfully subscribed.
Great! Next, complete checkout for full access.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.