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Desert Rose Plants

Q.Desert Rose In Miracle Grow Succulent Potting Soil Has Pale Green Leaves. (not Yellow And Falling Off From Overwatering)

Zone 37821 | Tony Botchagaloop added on April 27, 2020 | Answered

I have been trying to grow a desert rose for many years now. When I first got it the pot was too small so I repotted it, but I used regular soil and was very tricky to water it just enough to keep it between brown tipped leaves and yellow leaves. I finally read up and repotted it into cactus/succulent potting mix. When I had pulled it out of the old pot I was amazed it was still alive because it had only 2 or 3 small roots coming off the big ball, and it surely had root rot. There was not much at stake so I washed it in water and actually sprayed it very hard with the hose nozzle to clean off the black stuff. Back to the new pot and soil, it started to grow very fast but the leaves will not get dark green, they look pale. The soil was miracle grow and I’m wondering if it has the wrong fertilizer in it? Also even though it drain much better than before, I think I’d like to pot it again with a good amount of sand added to the succulant soil so it drains even better. Oh, I did pull it out of the new soil once to see how the root rot was doing and it had grown new roots like crazy! I couldn’t believe how fast the new roots grew! So what do you think I should do? Add sand because I feel it is still holds too much water, and what about the pale green? It used to have dark green leaves. It has only bloomed once in many years, sometimes I just can’t give up on a living plant no matter how bad it looks. I had cut it back a few times because it was tall with only a few leaves up top and it always sprouts new shoots, this last time 3 shoots on one little stub! Thanks, Tony

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on April 29, 2020

I'm concerned about the webbing that I see on it. I suspect spider mites. That could be one of the factors of initial infection, as well.

Repairing this plant will take a bit of work. Since infections will reside inside the plant for long periods it will not, likely, clear up on its own.

I recommend a few things:

You will need to treat the spider mites. This is not easy. Here are some articles to help:




Once the spider mites are under control, you will need to address the infection. a fungicide will be needed. This article will help:




Last, will be the watering habit. This is a little more complex then letting it dry between watering. They will need a period of moist (not wet) soil, followed by a period of dry (barely moist at most) soil. You may even have to add something porous and large like lava rock or puffed glass grow stone to promote further drainage than a standard cactus mix has to offer.

Here is an article to help you with their care:


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