Deland, FL

I have a desert rose and some of the roots are soft but the plant has 4 seed pods on it plus flowers ready to bloom. The plant looks extremely healthy. What should I do? Should I cut the roots off now? I had to do this one time before to another desert rose I had. I was lucky because I still have the plant but I remember that I was supposed to let the cut area completely dry and then repot it. I'm afraid I'll lose all the pods if I do that. PLEASE HELP ME.

Thank you so much. I love this plant.


Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

All plants that contain a lot of water / moisture within the leaf or tissue do have to be dried out IF you want to use the material for propagation, normally allow about a week or at the very least 3-4 days, this is to allow the leaf material to cause a seal to form over the open wound, if you dont dry it out, then the wound allows rot to set in however there have been occasions where I've forgotten to to the drying out and it's turned out OK, BUT I did have several other pieces of leaf left to work with had it all gone wrong and I never did the same mistake again.

What you have to do is decide whether you want to enjoy the few flowers you have and remove the plant from it's pot and soil, cut off the soft roots and allow the cut wound to dry off before re-potting in fresh new soil with plenty sand or very small grit to help with drainage next time. I would ask at garden store for a small bag of soil suitable for Cacti or something like that as it will have had all the nutrients added to help the plant for maybe a year before you would require more feed for the plant.

The other thing you could do is decide to leave well alone, enjoy the flowers and seed heads, then do the cut root removal of the soft tissue, allow the plant to dry at the cut wound as above and follow the re-pot instructions as with above.

Considering the flowers will be gone in about 2 weeks, the roots have obviously been slowly rotting for a good while as no roots go soft or mushy over night, I would be inclined to leave the plant alone, WITH-HOLD any more watering unless you see it wilt for the need for water. IF the plant is in strong hot sunshine even indoors or out, move it to a bright place but less strong heat. to prevent further damage being done while you water less or none.

Soon as the flowers have decayed and removed, is the time to cut off the soft roots area, ley on a tray away from the strong sun but light and airy, when you see the wound had sealed over, 4 days to a week, then Gently re-pot, do take into account the plant is now in a delicate state therefore handle with care, should any leaves fall off, pop them into some of the compost and water the pot from the bottom not on the top of the soil, sit the pots with plants in into a bowl of water for about an hour and then lift out to drain, once no more water is falling out the bottom of pot, place in a saucer and move to a light airy place till your happy the plant has recovered for transplant shock that all plants suffer at this time. then just enjoy.

Lastly I forgot to mention the seed heads, I would remove these immediately from the plant regardless of what you do to the soft roots.
A plant uses up a lot of energy to make and develop seeds and right now your plant has enough work to do just to stay alive from rotting roots without having to do what nature also wants it to do and that is reproduction from seeds. I always say that unless you want to gather seeds from your plants, remove the spent flowers so seeds are NOT using up precious energy for nothing as the seeds are NOT required, IF you do want seeds, only allow one flower to make seeds as each seed will give you more seeds than you will ever use.

Hope all this helps you out.
Good luck and Kindest regards. WeeNel.

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