Anacampseros is an amazing succulent that is very popular among exotic plant enthusiasts. It is known for its colorful foliage and ease of care, making it a great choice for beginners and experienced gardeners alike. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about growing and caring for anacamseros indoors, including its characteristics, propagation, and common varieties.
Description of Plants of the Genus Anacampseros
Anacampseros is a genus of flowering plants in the family Portulacaceae, native to the Eastern Cape and Northern Cape of South Africa. The genus name “Anacampseros” is derived from the Greek words “aná”, meaning “up” or “again”, and “kámpsis”, meaning “to bend”. This refers to the plant’s ability to close its leaves at night and reopen them during the day.
Anacampseros is also referred to as “the plant that brings back lost love”, it was used as a talisman to regain the affection of a loved one. It used to belong to the family Portulacaceae. Since 2009, the genus belongs to the newly created family Anacampserotaceae.
Anacampseros has a rich history of origin, with many species discovered and documented in South Africa as early as the 19th century. These plants were first cultivated as ornamentals in Europe in the 20th century and have since gained popularity as houseplants and in miniature gardens.
They are low-growing succulents, which makes them an excellent choice for growing in containers or miniature gardens. Depending on the species and growing conditions, rosettes can grow as small as 4 inches (10 cm).
All species in the genus Anacampseros are known for their rosette-shaped foliage, which can range in color from pink and purple to green and silver. The leaves are fleshy and thick, allowing the plant to retain water for long periods of time.
The flowers of the succulent are white, pink and red with 5 petals. They are arranged singly or in clusters. The flowers can bloom in hot weather, but there are varieties that bloom only at night. The period when the shrub blooms is usually in May, the summer months or September.
One of the unique features of the succulent is its ability to change color depending on the amount of sunlight it receives. When exposed to direct sunlight, the leaves take on a rich pink or purple hue. In more shady conditions, the leaves take on a green or silver hue. This makes Anacampseros plants a popular choice for gardeners and landscapers who want to create visually striking displays.
Indoor care of Anacamseros
Anacamseros is a low maintenance plant that thrives in a variety of environments. However, there are a few key factors to keep in mind for your plant to look its best.
Anacampseros prefers well-drained soil because its roots are susceptible to root rot. You can create a suitable soil mix for this succulent by mixing purchased cactus soil with sand or perlite in a 2:1 ratio.
As mentioned above, anacampseros loves direct sunlight and thrives in bright, sunny conditions.
However, it is important to gradually acclimate the plant to direct sunlight when moving it from a more shaded location. Too much direct sunlight too soon can cause the leaves to sunburn, turning them brown and crispy.
Temperature and Humidity
Anacampseros prefers a warm climate and does well in an average room temperature of 65-75 °F (18-24 °C). However, it can tolerate chills down to 50 °F (10 °C) and heat up to 90 °F (32 °C). It is also important to keep the succulent away from drafts and cold windows, as sudden changes in temperature can stress the plant.
Anacampseros is a succulent, which means it stores water in its leaves and stems. Therefore, it is important to allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings. Water the plant once every two weeks during the growing season and once a month during the winter months.
This plant is not demanding to all kinds of fertilizers, so it should be fertilized only once a month during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer diluted to half the rate.
Overwinter the plant in a cool, light place at a temperature of up to 10°C. Dormancy lasts from November to March. Once the hibernation period is over, it is important to gradually awaken the plants by exposing them to heat and watering them more and more as the temperature rises.
How to propagate Anacampseros
This is a relatively simple process that can be done using stem or leaf cuttings. We will describe step by step how to propagate Anacampseros:
- Select a healthy, mature plant with stems or leaves at least 2-3 inches (5-7 cm) long.
- Use a clean, sharp knife or scissors to cut the stem or leaf from the mother plant. Be sure to make the cut at an angle to increase the surface area for rooting.
- Allow the cuttings to dry for a few days until a callus forms on the cut end. This will help prevent the cuttings from rotting when planted.
- Prepare a well-draining potting mix. A mixture of cactus soil and perlite or coarse sand is ideal.
- Plant the cuttings in the substrate, making sure to submerge the cut end about an inch. Lightly moisten the soil and place the pot in a warm, bright location. Avoid direct sunlight, which can dry out the cuttings.
- Water the cuttings sparingly, allowing the soil to dry completely between waterings.
After a few weeks, new growth should appear where the cuttings were taken.
How to propagate Anacampseros from seed
Propagation of the plant by seeds provides quick and quality results. The seeds should be sown in May-June so that the germination is effective. If you want or need to do this process in winter, be prepared to light the sprouts additionally with fluorescent lamps.
The seeds are sown in trays, in soil from a mixture of sandy and peat substrate. At the same time for planting, the optimum temperature of up to 70 °F (21 °C) is maintained. The seedlings should be systematically sprayed.
The first sprouts can be observed on the 10th day after sowing. At this point, the seedlings should be moved to a bright room and the substrate should be moistened. This will allow the young seedlings to form quickly. After 6 days, harvesting is done.
Succulent Pests and Diseases
Anacampseros is usually hardy and disease resistant, but it can be susceptible to some pests and diseases if not cared for properly. Let’s briefly describe some common problems to watch out for:
- Mealy bugs: These small white insects can appear as cotton balls on the leaves and stems of the plant. To treat, wipe the affected areas with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol.
- Spider mites: These tiny pests can cause the leaves to turn yellow or brown and form cobwebs on the plant. To treat, spray the plant with a mixture of water and insecticidal soap.
- Root rot can occur if the plant is overwatered or kept in poorly drained soil. To prevent this, make sure the plant is planted in a well-draining soil mix and water sparingly, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings.
Fungal infections: These can appear as brown or black spots on the leaves or stems of the plant. To treat, remove all affected areas and treat the plant with a fungicide.
Popular species of the genus Anacamseros
There are up to 35 species of succulents, but we will only focus on the most popular ones:
A dwarf variety that has a large, repose-like root (caudex). The shoots are covered with scales and are bluish-green, gray or brownish in color.
When the bush begins to flower, it has large, colorful buds that are more than 1 inch (3 cm) in size. The petals are white.
The plant is up to 2 inches (6 cm) tall. The leaves are usually light green, oval in shape, and covered with white leaflets.
The flowers are whitish with a green tinge.
Commonly known as the Sand Rose. The most popular species among flower growers. Characterized by branched stems, the rosettes are fleshy, thick. The leaves have long white hairs and are reddish in color.
They can turn purple or bright pink in bright light. The flower stems are pink, clustered in compact inflorescences, with a single bud about 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter.
A very popular variety of the plant is Anacampseros rufescens cv ‘Sunrise’.
This variety forms small clusters of rosettes of fleshy leaves. Common species are medium to dark green in color, but the leaves of this variety take on a reddish or purplish hue when kept succulent in bright light.
Another popular variety of Anacampseros rufescens var rubra.
This is a rare, small succulent plant that grows up to 6 inches (15 cm) tall, and its main feature is its fleshy, burgundy triangular leaves. They are tightly packed together to form compact rosettes. Among the characteristic burgundy leaves are white hairs that are converted leaf stalks.
Better known as the Sunrise Succulent. The main difference is the spectacularly large leaves, which can reach up to 2 inches (5 cm) in length. The leaves are hairless. The flowers are quite large – up to 0.35 meters in volume.
The petals are oval, dark pink, sometimes purple. Very effective in florariums.
The leaves are of the built up type and have a small indentation on the inside. They are dark green or burgundy in color. With time, the root system becomes a caudex. It flowers intermittently almost all year round, but most often in the summer.
The flowers are small, usually reaching up to 1/2 inch (1.7 cm) in volume. The petals are oval and pinkish or snow-white in color. They open during the day and close at night.
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