Everything You Should Know About Graptopetalum And How To Care For It

When you look at the rows of succulents at gardening stores and nurseries, there’s one that you’ll always guarantee to find.

The graptopetalum is a genus of succulents that include around 19 different species, and they’re most commonly found in the US and Mexico which only adds to their popularity.

The graptopetalum can be found in most succulent gardens, whether you have an expert level garden or just one or two plants at home.

The most popular in the family is the ghost plant succulent, but there’s so much more to this species than the one name, and you can easily grow them for yourself at home.

How do you grow a graptopetalum and help them thrive?

These succulents are part of the perennial family and they’re known as being exceptionally easy to care for with very little maintenance required. With their beautiful rosette shapes and curved stems, they perform best in warmer conditions with good brightness and don’t require a lot of upkeep. 

If you’ve been considering adding a new succulent to your garden, the Graptopetalum has many plants within its family that would be a great addition.

They’re simple to care for, can be propagated quickly, and have a beautiful and distinctive look, making them ideal for any type of gardener.

What Exactly is Graptopetalum?

Graptopetalum Plant

The Graptopetalum is a genus of succulent plants that belong to the popular crassulacean family.

Within the genus, there are around 19 different species, with some of the most recognizable names within this group being the ghost plant or mother of pearl plant.

This succulent comes in many shapes and sizes, but its defining feature is its succulent rosettes growing at the end of its stems that make them look like flowers.

The plant is native to the United States and Mexico, and it’s easily found in hobby stores, gardening centers, and nurseries, and always affordably priced.

These plants are a good first choice for people who have never grown a succulent before or any kind of plant at all.

Once you get them established in the right position for sunlight, all you need to do is water them once a week, and you’ll notice that they flourish without much attention at all.

Appearance and Types of Graptopetalum

The appearance of the graptopetalum can differ between species, with some looking like a completely different type of succulent altogether.

These are some of the most common types of Graptopetalum and what they look like, to help you tell them apart:

Graptopetalum paraguayense 

Commonly known as the ghost plant or mother of pearl plant, this is the most common graptopetalum.

The leaves can be green, gray, and blush, and they’re arranged in a rosette that spirals around the stem.

Graptopetalum Amethystium

Lavender Pebbles

Also referred to as the jewel leaf plant, this succulent has a distinct flower that doesn’t look like others when it’s in full bloom. It grows beautiful small pink and purple pebbles for leaves and is native to Mexico.

Graptopetalum Bellum

The Bellum variety of graptopetalum has flat rosettes in a triangular shape that grows outwards around it.

With beautiful lavender, pink, and sea green foliage, it’s one of the prettiest in the graptopetalum family, and blossoms during summer and spring with bright pink flowers.

Graptopetalum superbum

This plant with the unique and funny name is one of the prettiest species, with gray, lavender, and pink rosettes that cluster at the bottom of thick stems.

It’s one of the smaller types of graptopetalum ideal for container growing because of its size.

The Ideal Growing Conditions

When you bring your home your new Graptopetalum, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with how you’re going to care for it.

Luckily, this type of succulent is known as being easy to maintain, with just a little care required.

In order to see the best from your new plant, you should follow some basic guidelines for soil, water, and sunlight that will ensure it grows as full as possible and continues to thrive with minimal attention.

Sunlight

Graptopetalum On Sunlight

To get the most out of your ghost plant and achieve the brightest look, you’ll want to keep it either in full sunlight or in the shade that’s still bright.

If you can avoid keeping it indoors, it’s best to do so, but if you have no other choice than to keep it inside make sure it’s on a windowsill facing either south or east so that it gets the most sun.

The color and appearance of a succulent like this will be determined by how much sun it receives, and they’re in the color-changing species of plants.

Even two plants of the same species can look completely different when they get different amounts of locations of sunlight, so the location matters to the final result.

Keeping them in the shade will turn the foliage bluish-gray, and just one day in the sun can give them a hint of a red or pink color.

Water

Keeping your plants outdoors is the easiest way to tend to their water needs.

If you have one of these succulents outside, the rain now and then is usually all you need to keep them hydrated.

However, during summer and when the temperatures rise, you should aim to water them just once a week if there hasn’t been any natural rainfall.

If you keep your Graptopetalum indoors, you won’t need to water it as often.

These plants should be left to dry out naturally before watering them again, and if needed, you can stick your finger into the soil gently to test that it’s not still moist.

Be sure to only water the plants at the soil level, otherwise the water can sit in the rosettes and turn stagnant, or worse still, rot away at the stems and leaves.

Soil

Holding Soil

The soil needed to grow a happy Graptopetalum needs good drainage and healthy soil for it to keep its roots healthy as well.

The best type of planting mix for them, whether they’re indoors or outdoors, is a mixture of half organic material and half sand or gravel.

This allows for adequate drainage and still feeds it the nutrients it needs to thrive.

For locations where rainfall is higher than average, you’re still able to keep your succulents outside, but you’ll have to go further with their drainage setup.

Succulents need a good drainage system at the best of times, but this plant especially won’t fare well with excess moisture at the roots.

Temperature

There’s little you can do to control the temperature where you live, but if you live anywhere there’s hot weather, you can guarantee your succulent will do well.

The only time that hot weather can be an issue for the plants in the Graptopetalum group is if there’s high humidity as well.

The best solution for these plants in humid locations is to keep them well spaced when they share a garden bed, so they get optimal air circulation and ensure they have more drainage than usual.

You can do this by adding more gravel or grit to the soil and having them in higher raised garden beds, even if it’s just during the summer months.

How to Take Care of Your Plant

Graptopetalum In Hand

The graptopetalum is one of the easiest plants to care for, and this includes all of the plants within the succulent family.

Once they’ve been set up in the right area for sunlight, have a solid watering schedule that suits the weather, and you have their drainage needs taken care of, there’s little else you’ll have to do.

Succulents like this don’t require any extra fertilizer, and adding it to the soil can end up damaging the plant and its leaves.

The best approach is to pot it with a low nutrient soil that already has fertilizer built in, and then leave it as is.

If you think it could do with more feeding, you can do something simple like compost or manure tea that offers a more natural approach to fertilization.

When the time comes to repot your plant, you’ll be able to tell because it will show signs that it’s growing out of the container.

Thankfully with the Graptopetalum, this doesn’t occur often, because the repotting process can damage them if you’re not careful.

The powdery coating on the leaves is especially delicate, so if you do have to move them, you should grab them at the base of the leaves to do so.

Tips for the Perfect Graptopetalum Plant

If you want to guarantee a healthy and flourishing Graptopetalum, no matter the species you have, we’ve got some tips that making caring for them easy.

Keep these in mind for your plant to ensure a long and healthy life for it:

  • Dead leaves should be removed from the base of the plant as soon as they drop, otherwise they can attract pests like mealybugs, which can eat away at the entire plant.
  • There’s no need to keep this succulent away from pets as it’s recognized as a non-toxic variety and safe even if eaten.
  • If you plan on propagating this plant, it’s quicker to do it with a cutting, but it still is possible for an intermediate gardener to grow them from seeds.
  • The ghost plant and other varieties perform very well in containers, and it’s the easiest way to ensure they get all of the nutrients and the exact amount of moisture they need.

A Special Succulent for Home

Graptopetalum Paraguayense

The Graptopetalum is one of the most well-known succulents in the US and often found in the gardens and windowsills of beginner gardeners right through to expert green thumbs.

If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on one, you’ll be thrilled to see how easy they are to take care of, and just how beautiful they can look with minimal effort.

Regardless of the type of Graptopetalum you choose, you’ll be rewarded with its beautiful rosettes and hardy nature that make it so popular.

This is a plant that will delight for years to come with just a little bit of love, and for many, it’s the first in many succulents that they add to their garden over time.

Related Questions

Succulents are one of the easiest plants to care for, and with so many amazing varieties out there to experiment with, you’ll never get bored with growing them.

Whether you want to add a Graptopetalum to your garden or try something new, we’ve answered some commonly asked questions about these unique plants that can give you all of the information you need to make them flourish.

Can Succulents Grow in Water?

Most succulents are not tolerant of overly wet conditions, including the Graptopetalum, but in some cases, they may be able to grow successfully in water.

If your succulent has had too much water, you can remove them from the soil and dry out their roots before replanting them, be sure to check the drainage system in place so that it doesn’t happen again.

Can You Put Succulent Cuttings in Soil?

If you plan on propagating a succulent by taking cuttings and placing them in soil, you’ll have to wait for them to dry out and be calloused.

Once they’re in this dryer condition, place them in a well-draining soil designed for succulents, and you’ll notice that the roots start to grow out and into the soil within a month.

Are There Tall Succulents?

Succulents are commonly known as a petite plant, but there are some capable of growing taller.

However, as they grow taller, they may lose some of their colors as they attempt to absorb more sunlight, so it’s best to keep them a more compact size.

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