Guidance About Graptopetalum Species

Graptopetalum (Grapt-toe-PEH-tuh-lum) is a genus of about 19 species including the ghost plant succulent. All are native to Mexico and the Southwestern United States. Very similar in appearance to echeveria, graptopetalum form elegant rosettes at the end of curving, ever-lengthening stems. These stems help to create a thick carpet of succulent rosettes for groundcover or spilling over the side of a container. In addition to their floral appearance, they are well known for their exceptionally easy care and quickly spread. If you are an expert or a succulent newbie, you should definitely include graptopetalum in your collection. Let’s see why.

Graptopetalum, Identification & Care

How to distinguish Graptoveria from Echeveria

This lovely Graptopetalum paraguayense, The ghost plant succulent, demonstrates a strong resemblance to echeveria. The teardrop-shaped leaves form concentric circles about common center-forming classic rosettes. These closely related genera are native to the same habitat, but there are some key differences that will help you to recognize the difference between the two:

  • Flower shape
  • Sheet thickness
  • Stem
  • Offset
  • Succulent offsets are the baby succulents that form at the B…
  • Hardiness
  • Let’s take a closer look at each.

Echeveria blooms are similar in structure to those of graptoveria, but the look is quite different. Each form flowers with five pointed petals each along a stem. But echeveria blooms remain mostly closed. They are heroes far above the plant, on succulent stems, with each flower hanging down, like a lantern. Echeveria blooms are highly attractive to hummingbirds. Graptopetalum flowers open wide, to form cheery stars that attract butterflies. The stems are somewhat woody in texture, well-branched and much shorter, displaying the starry blooms next to the flower-like plant. When your plants are in bloom, it will be easy to distinguish graptopetalum from echeveria.

Although most look more like the ghost plant succulent, Graptopetalum amethystinum has pudgy leaves that look like so many polished stones. All graptopetalum have thick leaves, thicker than those of echeveria. This distinction makes it likely that graptopetalum Comes from the same drier regions as echeveria since they store so much more water in their leaves. Perhaps the soil in the region is Sander, far less water resounds, to explain the difference.

In ideal growing conditions, the rosette of an echeveria remains close to the ground. The stem lengthens only when the plant is etiolated, or stretching for more light. When this occurs, you will see the space between the leaves of the rosette grow wider, as the plant exposes the full surface of each leaf to the light.

Graptoveria stems, however, continue to grow longer, even in perfect lighting. In time, they become quite woody and will arch over and down, which is especially effective as they tumble over the side of a container. This is just part of the plant growth model. The rosettes maintain their nice, compact form as the stems grow ever longer. They can certainly be cut back and re-rooted at any time.

Graptopetalum grow quickly, setting offsets freely. In the matter of echeveria, graptopetalum stems branch, with each supporting a new rosette. In a short time, they form a bed of succulent roses-an elegant ground cover. The pale, silvery rosettes of the ghost plant succulent, Graptopetalum paraguayense, are exceptionally beautiful in a moonlight garden, where they reflect the light of the moon at night. The view is mesmerizing!


Propagate (PRAH-puh-gate-ing) one plant is to grow another p…

graptopetalum is a snap-literally. It is enough to break a rosette, or take a cut, and then from the root. You can also propagate them by the leaves. Graptopetalum are widely considered to be about the fastest and easiest succulents to propagate. When a large bed is established, you will find leaves dropping and re-rooting on their own.

Like echeveria, graptopetalum are considered tender succulents. They are not cold hardy like sempervivum or some sedum. Nevertheless, they are really pretty tough plants. Most will survive weather down to 20°F (7°C). They look like full sun, and are far less likely to sunburn than most succulent, even in the heat of summer. And despite their sun-loving nature, graptopetalum tolerate shade better than echeveria. They will thrive even when conditions are hotter, colder, weather, drier, sunnier or shader than they prefer. Graptopetalum are an excellent choice forbeginnerss or for challenging growing conditions.

Graptoveria Water

Like all succulents, graptoveria should be planted in a fast-draining succulent soil mix. This is what plants have evolved to adapt to. With the right soil, water becomes very simple: Water only when the soil is dry, and water thoroughly. When you follow this “drench and drought” cycle, you provide water in a man very similar to the climate where succulents are native. This is the key to growing healthy, happy plants.

Graptopetalum and its hybrids, Graptoveria and Graptosedum

One of the many qualities to love in graptopetalum is the wide range of colors a single plant will produce when grown in different conditions. The same ghost plant succulent that is a pearly white when grown in partial shade, flushes pink and yellow tones in full sun. When the weather warms up, the pink tone becomes predatory, with traces of peach. This is true in the many hybrids developed from crossing graptopetalum with echeveria and with sedum.

Graptosedum is the result of crossing graptopetalum with sedum, and the results are so charming. Graptosedum ‘Darley Sunshine’ shown on the left above, forms rosettes of narrow, pudgy leaves that shade from silver through apple green to a lovely, soft rose at the tips. Graptoveria, as the name implies, are the hybrids of graptopetalum and echeveria. Graptoveria ‘Fred Ives’, the magnificent result of crossing graptopetalum with echeveria, creates enormous rosettes over 12 inches in diameter that flame in colors of pink, peach, violet, amber, turquoise, silver and sea green, depending upon its sun exposure.

As much as I love graptopetalum and their hybrids, Pest like mealybugs and aphids like them too. There are a number of good and effective ways to control Pest on your succulents. My favorite is to use Worm castings, either dried or in tea form as a spray. Worm castings provide excellent fertilizer for all of your succulents. But the biggest benefit is the insect repellent properties. Worm castings are rich in chitinase, an enzyme that will dissolve the exoskeleton of most insects. When your plants absorb chitinase, it spreads throughout all of their cells. Insects can smell chitinase, and they avoid it out of self-preservation. Worm castings should be included in every gardener’s supplies.

For sensational succulents that grow and propagate quickly and easily, it is hard to beat graptopetalum and its hybrids. You will find a few graptopetalum, including the ghost plant succulent, at Mountain Crest Gardens. They also have a very nice selection of graptoveria and some colorful graptosedum varieties.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.