Anacampseros rufescens [an-ak-KAM-ser-os, roo-FES-enz] is a slow-growing succulent belonging to the relatively new Anacampserotaceae family of plants.
It’s native to Southern Africa, often growing as a small undershrub or a spreading herb.
Anacampseros rufescens is commonly called sand rose due to its colorful rosettes of succulent leaves.
It is a small perennial lasting for many years with proper care.
Anacampseros Rufescens Care
Size and Growth
Sand rose is a short, succulent plant with small, spiraling rosettes.
The leaves are pointed and narrow, ranging in color from green to reddish-brown.
As Anacampseros rufescens matures, offsets start to grow around the base of the plant, allowing it to spread.
The additional rosettes form a dense mat with small, connected roots.
Flowering and Fragrance
The plant produces large purple or pink flowers with yellow stamens.
The single flowers grow from 4″ inch stems, extending above the leaves.
Light and Temperature
Place the plant in partial sun or full sun.
If grown indoors, ensure it receives bright light throughout most of the day.
Sunlight impacts the color of the succulent leaves. In shaded spots, the leaves are typically olive green.
When placed under bright light, the leaves become reddish-brown.
Anacampseros rufescens is best suited for growth in warm, dry regions.
It’s only winter hardy in USDA hardiness zones 9a to 11b.
Watering and Feeding
Sand rose only requires low to moderate watering.
Rot is a common problem for the plant, which is often caused by overwatering.
Use liquid fertilizer throughout the growing season to improve the health of the plant and encourage fuller, brighter blooms.
Dilute the fertilizer with water and apply it during watering.
Soil and Transplanting
Anacampseros rufescens grows best in gritty soil with good drainage.
Use a cactus potting soil or create a mixture using equal parts regular potting soil, coarse sand, and organic material or peat moss.
Transplanting is best done in the spring when new growth starts after winter dormancy.
Avoid watering the plant for about a week before transplanting, making it easier to remove from the soil without damaging the roots.
TIP: Transplanting isn’t required, but it’s a great way to separate the offsets and propagate the plant.
Anacampseros rufescens doesn’t require grooming.
How To Propagate Sand Rose
Propagate sand rose from seeds, cuttings, or division.
Propagating by division is the easiest method as the plant freely produces offsets.
- The smaller rosettes spread across the pot or garden and are connected through the complex root system.
- Dig up the soil around the plants and carefully lift the offsets from the ground.
- Loosen the soil to find where the roots connect to the mother plant.
- Use sharp gardening shears to cut the offsets free.
TIP: It’s sometimes easier to remove the entire plant from the soil, providing greater access to the connected mound of roots.
To Propagate From Cuttings
- Use gardening shears to cut one or more healthy leaves from the rosette.
- Cut near the base of the rosette and allow the cuttings to dry for several days.
- After the cut section scars over, dip the tips of the cuttings in rooting hormone powder.
- Plant offsets or stem cuttings in gritty soil using the ratio described above.
- Saturate the soil once after planting.
- Wait to water the plant until new growth appears, and the soil is completely dry.
Sand Rose Pest or Disease Problems
With proper care, sand rose is virtually pest-free.
If the plant develops any diseases, the risk of a pest infestation increases.
Aphids, mealybugs, and other small critters are often attracted to succulents when they start to rot or develop fungal growth.
More on Treating Bugs on Succulents
Check the plant regularly for signs of infestations and disease.
If pests appear, treat the infestation before treating the disease.
Most pests are easily removed with strong blasts of water.
Unfortunately, succulents should not be overwatered.
After spraying the plant, lay it on its side to allow the excess water to drain away.
If the plant suffers from rot, it may develop dark brown spots or black spots on the lower leaves.
Stop watering the plant and remove it from the container.
Cutaway the infected areas.
If most of the plant is infected, consider propagating using a healthy leaf cutting.
After cutting away the rot, prepare a pot or container using fresh soil.
Combine equal parts coarse sand, potting soil, and peat moss.
Don’t use any of the previous soil.
Repot the plant and place it in a bright area with warm temperatures.
Moisten the soil immediately after repotting and then avoid watering until the soil is completely dry.
While the plant isn’t considered toxic, ingesting portions of the succulent leaves may cause digestive distress.
Keep it away from pets or children who may be tempted to chew on the thick leaves.
Suggested Anacampseros Rufescens Uses
Anacampseros rufescens looks great in a long window box or container where it can spread freely with its offsets.
It also works well in succulent gardens or cactus gardens if the offsets are removed to keep it from overtaking the other plants.