Repurpose a cardboard box to give frost protection to outdoor plants.

How to Care for Telephiastrum Variegata

by Caryn Anderson

Telephiastrum variegata (Anacampseros telephiastrum variegata "Sunrise"), also commonly known as "Sunrise," is a succulent that blooms in summertime with pink flowers that open only in the afternoon. Although its flowers are attractive, it is mostly grown for its foliage, which the website for "Horticulture" magazines describes as "glittering jewels." The foliage grows in clusters of colorful rosettes in varying shades of emerald, lime green and rosy-pink, with a purplish-pink on the leaves' underside. "Sunrise" thrives in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 through 13, and it can be grown indoors in cooler climates.

Water "Sunrise" once weekly, at a minimum, giving it 1 inch of water per week as needed. Although succulents can survive dry conditions, they should be watered thoroughly once the surface of the soil feels dry. In winter, the plant’s dormant season, the Cactus and Succulent Society of San Jose recommends watering "Sunrise" less frequently, allowing the soil to dry out between watering and giving the plant enough water to keep it from completely drying out.

Fertilize the plant only during the growing season. The Cactus and Succulent Society of San Jose recommends diluting a balanced fertilizer, such as a 10-10-10 formula, at one-fourth strength and adding it to the water every time you water "Sunrise." Another option, as recommended by the website for "Horticulture," is to feed "Sunrise" monthly during the growing season, using an all-purpose fertilizer.

Inspect "Sunrise" periodically for evidence of pests or disease. Like all succulents, it may be susceptible to pests such as spider mites, which are nearly invisible, but create white webs near the plant surface. Mealy bugs are another problem. They live in oval, cotton-like masses on the plant while they eat sap from the plant. Eliminate spider mites by misting the plant periodically and mealy bugs by dabbing the cotton-like mass with a rubbing alcohol-soaked cotton swab.

Repot "Sunrise" once a year. Remove "Sunrise" from the pot and get rid of the old soil, shaking it from the roots and pruning any dead or damaged roots. Fill the old pot -- or a larger one if needed -- with a well-draining potting mixture before replanting it. Commercial succulent and cactus potting mixes are available, or you can make your own using a formula of equal parts of compost, horticultural-grade sand, and grit such as pearlite or horticultural pumice.

Protect outdoor "Sunrise" plants when overnight frost is forecasted. The website for Sunset recommends covering small plants with a cardboard box or draping a blanket over a patio chair placed over the plant.

Items you will need

  • Balanced fertilizer formula such as 10-10-10
  • Misting attachment to a hose or water bottle
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cotton swabs
  • Pruning shears
  • Larger container (optional)
  • Well-draining, porous potting mixture
  • Cardboard box or blanket


  • Harden-off the plant for several days to a week before moving it outside for the growing season, or inside for the winter. Bring it inside, or place it outside for several hours a day, gradually increasing the length of time before making the final move. Also, thoroughly check "Sunrise" for any pests before bringing it inside.


  • Avoid planting areas or indoor growing locations that receive a sizable amount of direct sunlight. “Sunrise” grows best in filtered, bright light, and it does not tolerate direct sunlight for long periods.

About the Author

Caryn Anderson combines extensive behind-the-scenes writing experience with her passion for all things food, fashion, garden and travel. Bitten by the travel bug at the age of 15 after a trip to Europe, Anderson fostered her love of style and fashion while living in New York City and earning her degree at New York University.

Photo Credits

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