The Lampranthus, also known as rayito de sol, mesen or cat’s claw, is a plant widely used in gardening and decoration for its beautiful flowers. In addition, some parts of the plant are consumed as part of natural medicine to prevent and treat some ailments. For all this, many people want to have one of these beautiful plants in their home.
If you want to learn more about the care of the rayito de sol or Lampranthus plant , join us in this article.
How is the Rayito de Sol or Lampranthus plant
The Lampranthus is actually a whole genus of the Aizoaceae family, with about 250 species, and they are succulent plants. In addition, they are carpeting plants that have their origin in South Africa, which form beautiful carpets with their colorful and showy flowers. Its fleshy, cylindrical or triangular leaves are also showy and help the large corollas of the flowers of the sunray plant stand out even more. They are fast growing plants, which reach heights of about 45 cm. Lampranthus flowers also open and close as day and night alternate, and last for about a week. Flowering usually occurs in spring, between the months of April and May. Depending on the species, it produces flowers of different shades, ranging from red and orange to purple or white.
Some of its best known species are:
- Lampranthus spectabilis
- Lampranthus roseus
- Lampranthus aurantiacus
- Lampranthus aureus
- Lampranthus glaucus
- Lampranthus multiradiatus
Sunray plant or Lampranthus: basic care
Take note of the basic care of the sunray plant or Lampranthus to keep it healthy at home:
Climate, location and light
This plant withstands hot and dry conditions quite well, but on the other hand, it does not cope well with cold climates. Thus, when it comes to caring for your Lampranthus plant, the first thing to keep in mind is that you should find a location where the temperature does not drop below 10ºC, not even in winter. Some of them can withstand sporadic and isolated frosts, but if you risk it, you could be in for a nasty surprise.
Regarding light, they easily withstand the influence of direct sunlight, even in hot climates. In fact, it is better to always find a location where they receive a large amount of light throughout the day.
Substrate for the rayito de sol plant
Apart from this, it is a succulent plant that does not need excessive care. It adapts without problems to nutrient-poor soils, although if you plant it in a pot, the ideal is to use a special substrate for cacti or succulents . However, it is important that the soil or substrate has good drainage.
Irrigation and fertilizer for the Lampranthus plant
Like most plants of this type, they require very little water, so you must make sure that the waterings are sufficiently spaced. Water your plant in a ray of sunshine only when the top layer of the substrate is completely dry, and always without flooding it. This should be approximately every two weeks in winter and twice a week in summer. Keep in mind that if you water it excessively, the plant runs a significant risk of root rot or being attacked by fungi.
It does not require much fertilizer, so it is enough to apply specific fertilizer for succulent plants every three weeks in the warm months.
Maintenance, pests and diseases
It’s also important to remove faded flowers when their spring blooming season arrives. By doing this, we stimulate in the Lampranthus the production of new flowers, which will upholster the garden, flowerpot or flowerbed in which they are with their beautiful and vivid colors.
Finally, as far as pests and diseases are concerned, it is not very common for it to be attacked by anything, being excess humidity its worst enemy, as it happens with many succulents. At most, if you see spots on the underside of the leaves, there may be the presence of a cottony mealybug, a whitish insect that produces waxy-like secretions. If they are few, it is easy to remove them manually with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol, or to spray water with neutral soap on the plant, making sure after rinsing it well.
Sunbeam plant: reproduction
Reproducing this plant by cuttings is easier and more practical than by seeds, although these can be planted in spring without complications. To reproduce a Lampranthus plant by cuttings follow these steps:
- Cut a branch about 10 cm long in early spring.
- Let it dry for about 3 days in a sunny or semi-shaded area and then, after helping the lower end with rooting (we recommend any of the ecological rooting agents that you can prepare yourself at home), plant it in a pot with a specific substrate.
- The first days keep it in the shade so that it has time to recover, in an area with warm temperatures, and water it a little more than usual to keep the substrate a bit humid.
- Once you see new shoots, it means that it has fully adapted and is already a new plant for all intents and purposes.