This is the first year I am growing several adult Anacampseros of all different kinds and can watch and compare how they grow throughout the year. For a plant nerd this is really fascinating. In my last "observations" I was talking about new growth coming from underneath and this one will continue this thought.
It looks to me that these plants tend to abandon the branches that have extensively flowered. As if producing the flower stalk is sucking all the juices out of it. Well, considering the size of those flower stalks, no wonder! What I have seen in the multi-branched plants that flowered this year is that the flowering branches drop leaves one by one until they look like bald twigs with only a couple of leaves at the top and no signs of new growth. If I think back to last winter when I got the majority of my adult plants, some of them have arrived with such "towers", meaning the towers have not grown any new leaves or branches of their own to cover the baldness during fall and winter. This year it seems the same thing is happening and my guess is that this is quite natural. Not very pretty though.
I don't need my Anacampseros plants to be big and so trimming those twig-towers looks like an option to keep the plants round-ish and compact. This year I have trimmed two plants with good results.
Remember this plant I was showing back in February?
Anacampseros arachnoides, An35
Well, I thought the towers quite ugly and cut them off shortly after. Since then the plant grew new leaves and branches with fresh strength and then flowered. And you have to admit the general look is much better.
Moreover, as I felt sad to throw away the towers, I tried to root them, and it worked! They looked so dead and then, when they were cut off and not dependent on the roots and resources of the big plant, they really flourished. (This sentence sounds like some kind of lesson for humans I'm not going to elaborate on.)
Here they are when they just barely rooted and started to show some green.
Here they are now.
The other plant in a similar situation is my beautiful Anacampseros vanthielii. Here is the photo from May this year, when I was pondering on whether it's going to abandon the "tops".
Well, it did. And I should have cut the yellow branches then and there. I kept them in the hope that all the growth from below will eventually consume them or some new leaves will come out from the top. I think the plant was just wasting energy on them and that's why didn't flower. Meanwhile the tops grew scruffy-looking. A month ago I took my scissors and cut off all the yellow stuff and look at that! The "undergrowth" spread its leaves and got a healthy color under the sun. And the plant is now a cute ball of leaves and hairs. I should have cut off all the yellow parts back in the spring.
This year, as the flowering nears its end, I see some plants abandoning the flowering branches and I will be cutting them off and rooting them this time without a second thought. It benefits the plants and creates "back-up copies" I can give away.