Anacampseros Rufescens (The Sunrise Succulent)

Anacampseros Rufescens image

Anacampseros rufescens is also called Sunrise succulent or Sand Rose. It is a lovely, low-growing succulent with rainbow-colored leaves. South Africa is the native place of Anacampseros rufescens and initially grows in small bunches but later expands by forming offsets. The thin, white hair that grows around this succulent enhances its beauty and makes it easily blend in with any decoration.

You will learn how to grow and care for your sunrise succulent in this post.

Anacampseros Rufescens

Different Types of Jade Plants

Jade refers to plants in the Crassula genus, and they are many. The plants come in different sizes, colors, and other features. It may not be possible to get details about every type of jade plant. However, we can look at some characteristics of the most common ones.

Common NameBotanical NameDescription
Silver Dollar Jade/Blue Buddha BushCrassula arborescensThis plant has light blue leaves that are covered with whitish wax. The whitish color of the leaves is why the plat is called a silver dollar jade. The leaves are small and roundish, like a dollar coin. A burgundy edge also lines the leaf. It grows and flowers in winter.
Blue Bird Money plantCrassula arborescens blue bird variegataIts leaves are variegated. They come in a few colors, including aqua, green, red, and cream. Each leaf doesn’t necessarily need to have all these colors, but it will certainly have some. The plant can grow extensively in its natural habitat, but you can control it by potting.
Gollum JadeCrassula Ovata GollumJade Gollum prefers more relaxed environments and thrives under shade. Thus when you domesticate these plants, you will find hobbit doing better in the outdoor rock garden, while Gollum will give you the best when you grow. It has fingers-like protrusions that look like Gollum’s fingers.

Finally, the varieties of jade are too many to list. The above three are just representations of hundreds of plants. If you are interested in a specific plant, it is best to research more on it.


This plant is not toxic to cats, dogs, or humans. You can therefore position it anywhere without fear of it having adverse effects on your children or pets.

Anacampseros Rufescens Care

Anacampseros rufescens can be planted indoors and outdoors, provided there is well-draining soil, adequate water, and sunlight. If this succulent stays in wet soil for long without getting adequate sunlight, it will start dying.

For better drainage, you can use perlite and a cactus mix with a 1:1 ratio to grow your Anacampseros Rufescens succulents. This soil mixture for Anacampseros Rufescens is tried, tested, and trusted by many succulent growers.

Sandy soil is also suitable for growing your Sand Rose succulents. A 2:1 ratio of potting soil and coarse sand works great. Alternatively, you can use a 1:1:1 ratio of perlite, potting soil, and coarse sand for growing this succulent. You can purchase these soils online or get them from a local store.

You can grow your Anacampseros Rufescens all year round. In a place like Northern California, where the climate is relatively mild, your succulents can stay outdoors even during the winter. However, you may have to take your Anacampseros Rufescens plants indoors during the summer.

#1. Lighting Requirements

If you are growing your Anacampseros rufescens succulent indoors, keep it in a well-lit location in your home. You may have to place your pot close to an east or west-facing window, depending on the sunlight’s direction. Bear in mind that the position of the pot is not stationary.

You can move it to another spot to get an adequate amount of sunlight if the succulent starts stretching out. This condition is called etiolation. Succulents tend to stretch in the direction of light when they do not get a sufficient amount of light. If you allow your succulents to keep stretching out without providing the necessary lighting, they will have stunted growth and may eventually die.

Anacampseros rufescens succulents need at least 4 hours of bright light daily. If you cannot meet this requirement, your plants will start losing their elegant colors and turn pale green.
If your entire indoor lighting is insufficient to grow your succulents, consider getting a grow light. Your indoor lights and your grow light will be sufficient to grow healthy Anacampseros rufescens succulents. When it comes to growing your Anacampseros rufescens outdoors, it would be best if you provided a shade for the plant instead of placing it under direct sunlight.

Anacampseros Rufescens
Anacampseros rufescens succulents and sunburns

That said do not have the idea that Anacampseros rufescens succulents cannot grow under full sun. It would help if you acclimated them to full sunlight to avoid sunburns. It is best to start acclimatizing your succulents with the early morning sun and then gradually progress to the more intense midday sun. Bear in mind that Anacampseros rufescens succulents might still suffer sunburns during an intense heatwave, even after acclimatizing them to full sun. In such instances, sunshades come in handy for this succulent.

Baby Anacampseros Rufescens succulents are more prone to sunburn than full-grown ones. If you keep this succulent in the shade without exposing it to direct sunlight from time to time, it will lose its vibrant color. Its because the plant needs sunlight to undergo a natural phenomenon known as photosynthesis, which is necessary for colorful and healthy growth.

#2. Frost Tolerance

Anacampseros rufescens succulents can withstand mild frostbite and freezing temperatures for a short period. In harsh winter conditions, it would be best to grow your Anacampseros Rufescens succulents in containers. If you notice the frost is too much for your succulents to endure, you can get frost cloths to protect them.

If you reside in the USDA Hardiness Zone 9 to 11, your succulents can remain outdoors throughout the year. This plant can be hardy up to a temperature of 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

#3. Fertilizing Anacampseros Rufescens

You need to feed the plant at the end of winter or the beginning of spring which is its blooming season. The additional feeding helps the plant bloom and also supports the foliage. The best way to apply the fertilizer is to dissolve the 20% of the average fertilizer amount in water and then apply it as a liquid. You may want to avoid fertilizers with too much nitrogen as they hasten the growth of leaves. Too much foliage growing too quickly will make it necessary for you to repot the plant more often than usual since it will outgrow the pots.

Feed it phosphorus-rich fertilizers to enhance flowering. A mature plant requires additional feeding only once a year. Avoid too much fertilizer to keep harmful chemical salts from accumulating in the substrate.

#4. Watering

How you water your Anacampseros rufescens succulents largely depends on the climatic condition of your environment. While this succulent can survive in a dry and hot environment, you will need to water it to make it bloom adequately. There is no specific rule for watering your Anacampseros Rufescens plant. During the summer, you can water your succulents once a week. When the weather is cooler, like spring, you can reduce your watering frequency to once in two weeks.

You can depend solely on rainwater for your succulents in the winter months if you experience a lot of rainfall. However, if it rarely rains in your area during the winter, you can water your succulents at least two times a month, depending on how quickly the soil gets dry. If you reside in a humid environment, you do not need to water that frequently, especially if your plants are indoors. If you overwater your succulents and are not receiving enough light, they will start stretching out and eventually die.

Anacampseros Rufescens

A great way to know if your succulents need watering is by checking the soil’s moisture level. If the top section of the soil is not dry, do not water again. It is best to under-water the soil initially and then increase appropriately than to overwater. If you notice swollen, discolored, and dry leaves, those are signs that you need to adjust your watering frequency.

For adequate watering, use a hygrometer to measure the moisture level in the soil and air. This device is quite affordable and will help you avoid inadequate watering.

#5. Humidity

The plant requires a moderate humidity of 50% to 70%. Too much humidity impedes growth and increases the plant’s vulnerability to pests and fungal diseases. Too little humidity, on the other hand, will make your leaves crisp, causing them to lose their natural beauty. Also, it may be difficult for flowers to bloom to their best appearance if the humidity is too little.

#6. Potting and Repotting

This plant is relatively slow-growing; it only needs repotting once every two years to accommodate the additional size. Repotting may also be made necessary by your substrate losing its porosity. The soil on which you plant it can become less and less porous over time as it loses some of its grit through drainage holes through watering.

If you are potting for the first time, choose the pot carefully. It should have several draining holes at the bottom because the water that gets to the soil must get out to avoid waterlogging. You can also use a breathable pot to enhance the evaporation of water. Unglazed terracotta pots are the best option for growing these succulents.

#7. Pruning

This plant requires minimal care. When it comes to pruning the turtle plant, prune out the top of some stems to reduce vine growth, focus on removing dead or damaged foliage and make it a priority to remove stems that are quite large. Too much pruning can make it lose its lush, bushy appearance making it look spindly (long and thin). Too much grooming may cause permanent damage to the plant if done wrong.

Anacampseros Rufescens Variegata

This plant’s common name is the Rainbow Sand Rose, which originates from the Cape Province of South Africa. The difference between it and the ordinary Sand Rose is the variegated leaves, as the name suggests. The plant’s leaves are pink with parts of purple. The variegation forms best when the plant has been exposed to direct, bright sunlight.

The leaves can attain a length of 2 cm and about 1 cm wide.

The plant blooms and produces pink rose-like flowers on its stems that grow to three and a half inches. These flowers open up when the sun is bright and close in the evening when the sun sets.

 The anacampseros also grows wide and covers a relatively wide area, which can therefore be a good ground covering. As the plant spreads, it develops small roots that anchor it to the ground providing anchorage. The caudex that forms on the ground is well established, giving your grounds a lovely covering.

The best place to plant this succulent is in a pot or a rock garden. The Rainbow Sand Rose is not cold-hardy. It struggles to survive in temperatures below 30oF. It will die if the temperatures go much further below that. The plant develops a considerable level of drought tolerance when it gets established. The leaves have axillary hairs, which trap water vapor from the atmosphere, thus helping the plant survive the drought.

This succulent doesn’t require much effort to maintain as it only needs watering once per week during spring and summer. Spring and summer are its growing seasons.


Anacampseros Rufescens Propagation

It is essential to know that these plants tend to produce offsets and present the easiest way to propagate them. Also, you can multiply with leaves, but it takes much longer for a plant propagated with leaves to get established.

Offset Propagation

  1. Look for an offset that is developed enough to remove and remove the offset with its roots. Using it for propagation without leaves is possible, but you will succeed better faster if the offsets you use already have left. Also, it is advantageous when the offset is bigger and more robust because they get established faster as independent plants.
  2. Once you have identified the right offset, remove it gently from the mother plant, being careful to take as many roots as possible with you. The best time to remove the offsets is when repotting the mother plant, and the unpotted mother will give you the best access to remove the plant. In the event, you need to use a knife to remove the offset, ensure it is sanitized.
  3. Allow the offset to dry for a few days before transferring it to the new pot. If you didn’t manage to get your offset with roots, you could apply a rooting hormone on the lower side of the offset to expedite the rooting process.
  4. Prepare a well-draining potting mix and make a hole where you will plant the offset. If the offset has roots that get in the way, you can trim them to fit in the hole. Return the soil carefully after planting until the plant is secure.
  5. Position the now planted offset away from direct sunlight but in a well-lit place to keep it from drying due to moisture loss.

A mature Anacampseros rufescens requires little water, but the offsets require more moisture. Water it occasionally and spray it to moisturize the soil from time to time.

Propagation by Leaf Cuttings

Follow the following steps.

  1. Cut a healthy, mature leaf from the plant. The best leaves for propagation are always the ones on the lower side of the plant. Make sure they aren’t dried up with age, as some of the leaves in the rosette are wont to do from time to time.
  2. Allow the leaf to be calloused under a shade for three or four days.
  3. Put the leaf-cutting in the potting soil. The soil should be suitable for the growth of Aeonium according to the characteristics we shall discuss later.
  4. Keep the soil moist but not too wet, as this is the ideal watering condition for the plant.

Please note that this succulent can take some time to root. Be patient; you might have to take care of it for up to a month before rooting occurs.

Propagating Anacampseros Rufescens by Seeds

Buy certified seeds for these succulents. Certified seeds ensure more outstanding production than any seeds you might produce at home unless you are an expert. Plant the seeds one inch deep in a pot or bed and water gently from time to time. The seeds can take up to a month to germinate, after which little rosettes will start emerging.

Transplant them into their pots and continue with the care routine we shall describe later in this article.

Quick Recap

Anacampseros rufescens is a colorful succulent that can be grown indoors or out. There is no specific watering rule for this succulent but ensure you do not under-water or overwater it. Anacampseros rufescens needs at least four hours of sunlight daily.


Richard Miller

Salute everyone. It's Richard, the author of this Succulent & Xeriscaping blog. I am a traveler and a nature lover looking for a connection with the wild green. In my journey, I found a love for succulents and xeriscaping. What attracts me is the long-lasting & unique beauty of every plant I have the chance to see with my own eyes. Welcome to my little blog and let's enjoy a good time together!

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