Anacampseros rufescens (Haw.) Sweet
Anacampseros arachnoides var. grandiflora, Ruelingia rufescens
Anacampseros rufescens is a small succulent with erect or slowly creeping stems and fleshy ovate to broadly ovate leaves with pointed apex spirally arranged along the stem. It grows up to 4 inches (10 cm) tall. In shaded or partially shaded positions, the upper surface of the leaves is olive green, while in sunlight, they become reddish-brown to purple. The lower surface is reddish to deep purple. Leaves are up to 0.8 inches (2 cm) long and up to 0.4 inches (1 cm) wide. The white hairs between the leaves (axillary hairs) help it survive droughts by trapping water vapor from the air. As the plant matures, it spreads outwards to form a small mat or low clump and develops a thick caudex-like base from which smaller roots serve to anchor it into the soil. Flowers are pink to rose-purple and appear on up to 4 inches (10 cm) tall stalks above the leaves in late spring. They open short in the afternoon, only in bright sunshine, and close by nightfall.
USDA hardiness zones 9a to 11b: from 20 °F (−6.7 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Anacampseros grow well in partial sun with bright light enhancing the leaf colors and keeping them compact. They require gritty free-draining soil with added organic material and low to moderate watering. The beautiful caudiciform species are prone to rot and should be watered very sparingly. Feed with a high potassium fertilizer during the growing season diluted to 1/4 potency and mix into the watering can for application. Anacampseros is an excellent plant for container growing. It always looks good and stays small. It looks fine in a cold greenhouse and frame. It does well outdoors in raised beds and terraces as well.
These succulents may be attractive to various insects. Still, plants in good condition should be nearly pest-free, particularly if grown in a mineral potting mix, with good exposure and ventilation. Nonetheless, watch carefully for any significant decline in health. This may signal a pest problem that should be dealt with quickly to prevent scarring, stunting, and even death.
See more at How to Grow and Care for Anacampseros.
This species is native to South Africa.
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