Graptopetalums are beautiful plants that can be used in many different ways. They make an excellent ground cover, they look great when planted among other succulents and cacti, and their care is easy to maintain!
They are a type of succulents that offer many benefits to your garden. They often grow in clusters and like shade, so they can be great for under trees or tall plants. If you’re thinking about adding graptopetalums to your garden but aren’t sure where exactly to start, this blog post will help you find proper care tips that work best for your needs.
- 1 Origin and description
- 2 Graptopetalum propagation
- 3 Graptopetalum care
- 4 Top 12 graptopetalum species
- 4.1 Graptopetalum superbum
- 4.2 Graptopetalum paraguayense
- 4.3 Graptopetalum pentandrum
- 4.4 Graptopetalum pachyphyllum
- 4.5 Graptopetalum saxifragoides
- 4.6 Graptopetalum ‘Purple Haze’
- 4.7 Graptopetalum rusbyi (San Francisco River Leatherpetal)
- 4.8 Graptopetalum ‘Mirinae’
- 4.9 Graptopetalum mendozae
- 4.10 Graptopetalum macdougallii
- 4.11 Graptopetalum filiferum
- 4.12 Graptopetalum amethystinum (Lavender Pebbles)
Origin and description
Graptopetalum is a species of flowering plant in the family Crassulaceae, native to Mexico. It was described by Charles Lemaire in 1849. The common name “ghost plant” was derived from the flowers‘ resemblance to ghostly faces peering out at you through veils of translucent white.
The specific epithet “superbum” refers to the Latin superbus, meaning ‘excellent’ or ‘great’, and is a reference to the striking flowers.
The ghost plants are native to North America where they can be found growing on rock cliffsides at elevations between 500-1600m in the state of San Luis Potosi and Hidalgo.
They are a succulent plant that forms rosettes with fleshy leaves arranged symmetrically in five or more ranks around a short stem but does not form clumps as do many other members of Crassulaceae such as the jade plant.
The ghost plant is an evergreen perennial growing to 15–30 cm tall, with leaves arranged in five ranks around the stem. The flowers are white and star-shaped, produced on a dense cyme at the top of each stem. They can be up to 30mm across.
They are easy to propagate. They can be divided by carefully cutting the plant into sections, then re-planting them in a new location. This is easiest when you have small plants that just need more room, or if they’re getting crowded out by other plants around them! To prevent damaging the parent plant while taking cuttings, you can gently remove the entire plant from its pot and place it in a new one.
They do best in well-drained soil. They are very drought tolerant but for the best growth, provide regular water to keep the soil moist. If growing indoors or in a container, make sure it has good drainage holes and use a sandy potting mix that will drain readily.
Graptopetalums are generally low-maintenance plants, but they do appreciate bright light. Make sure your plant is near a window that gets plenty of sun during the day! The more direct sunlight it receives, the better. If you find your plant has pale green leaves with brown edges, this may be an indication of not enough light.
Graptopetalum plants prefer to be potted in well-draining soil that isn’t too high in nutrients. If you notice your leaves turning yellow it may mean that the plant is getting nutrient burn from too much fertilizer or incorrect pH levels (too acidic). They also need good drainage to survive, so avoid using terracotta pots.
The plants appreciate low to moderate amounts of fertilizer. If you don’t fertilize enough, your plant may start looking pale with small brown spots on the leaves. Too much fertilizer leads to excessive growth and yellowing/browning tips (this is called nutrient burn). A balanced 20-20-20 or 30-30-30 fertilizer is great for the plant.
If you notice your plant’s leaves turning yellow, it may be an indication that there are too many nutrients in the soil/water or not enough light!
Water your plant when the soil is completely dry. Watering too much (overwatering) leads to root rot, so only water if it’s extremely necessary! Make sure you’re watering in a clean container free of any soap residue that might damage the plant.
Graptopetalum plants grow best in temperatures between 50 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live in a hot climate, plant your graptopetalums outdoors after the last frost of spring has passed. In cooler climates, keep potted plants inside until nighttime temperature stay above 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
Although graptopetalum succulents can survive in low humidity, they do best when the air is consistently moist. If your home’s indoor humidity drops below 30%, consider placing a small humidifier near your potted plant.
An ideal humidity range is between 30-50%.
Trim off any dead or dying leaves whenever you see them. Graptopetalum plants are not especially prone to insect damage, but if an infestation occurs, remove the affected plant part immediately.
When to repot
Graptopetalum care also involves repotting the plant when it has outgrown its pot, which is usually around one year after planting from a young cutting or within four years of being grown from seed. When your plant needs a new home, choose a container that is only an inch larger in diameter, and make sure to use the same type of potting soil.
Graptopetalum has a cold dormancy that lasts from late fall to mid-winter. During this time, your plant will drop its leaves and you should allow it to rest in cool temperatures with reduced sunlight for four or five months before returning it to normal growing conditions.
When the nighttime temperature is at least 45 degrees Fahrenheit, you can remove your plant from dormancy by moving it to a warmer area for at least half of the day. Gradually increase the amount of time it spends in this warm area until you are providing 14 hours of light each day, which is optimal for its growth.
Flowers & Fragrance
Many people love to grow graptopetalum and enjoy the ornamental value of this plant. It is a great way to add color and texture to your garden while adding some fresh flowers as well! The flower stems are long with an interesting shape, but they aren’t particularly fragrant; however, many different hybrids can be found that will be fragrant.
Graptopetalum flowers grow in a wide range of colors from purple to pink, yellow, and white, while some have contrasting colored throats with the rest being a lighter shade. Some varieties even look like little daisies! We love this plant for its bright color and long-lasting blooms which last well into the fall and early winter months. There are even some varieties that bloom year-round!
The flowers can grow from a couple of inches up to as big as six or seven inches across depending on the variety, which will give you an idea about how much space this plant occupies in your garden.
Graptopetalum grows slowly and tends to stay about the same size for a long time. This makes them ideal as container plants, especially in areas with harsh conditions where other succulents would quickly die out.
Graptopetalum contains compounds that can be harmful to pets such as cats and dogs. When ingested, the plant’s toxins will cause vomiting and diarrhea. If your pet is seen eating any part of the plant, it should be taken to the vet immediately.
USDA Hardiness Zones
Graptopetalum is hardy to USDA Zone 11 and can withstand temperatures as low as 25 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pests and diseases
They are susceptible to pests such as spider mites and mealybugs. They can also be affected by root rot if they are overwatered or not in well-draining soil.
Top 12 graptopetalum species
Graptopetalum superbum is a rare and attractive flowering plant. It has particularly dark green leaves and large deep pink flowers that usually appear in April and May.
This succulent actually requires very little care: it thrives under full sun or half-shade, though it prefers to be kept on the dry side during winter.
It is also known as a “ghost plant” because of its beautiful white flowers and pale pinkish-yellow leaves whose markings seem to fade with the coming of autumn. The ghostly appearance disappears in winter when it becomes slightly solid green again.
This succulent would make an excellent houseplant or rock garden subject if you live in a Mediterranean climate.
Graptopetalum paraguayense is a beautiful flowering succulent, easily recognizable by its large pink flowers. This plant grows best in full sunlight or bright shade and thrives when it’s kept on the dry side during wintertime.
This pretty perennial plant looks especially nice when planted with other drought-tolerant plants such as agave, aloe, or even a cactus. The ghost plant prefers very well-drained soil and should be watered only occasionally in the summertime when there’s no rainfall.
The nice part about graptopetalum paraguayense is that it can also grow as an annual if you live in the U.S., where it does not appreciate cold winters.
This pretty succulent has an interesting appearance due to its five-pointed leaves that are dark or light green in color. This plant is notable for its large pink flowers with red veins and wavy tips, which appear on stems between April and June.
It’s also known as the ghost plant because of its white flowers with pale pinkish-yellow leaves whose markings fade away in autumn, only to reappear again on winter days when it becomes more solid green than ghostly.
Graptopetalum pentandrum is suitable for well-drained soil and should be kept slightly dry during the cold season so that its roots do not rot. It benefits from extra water during the growing season, which is springtime in most areas.
Graptopetalum pachyphyllum is a very attractive plant that needs little care. It does well in full sun as well as bright shade and tolerates drought once established, though it prefers to be kept on the dry side during wintertime.
This succulent can also grow indoors if you live in the U.S., where it does not appreciate cold winters.
The graptopetalum saxifragoides is a great, hardy plant. It loves the shade and it tolerates dry soil well too. Plus, this little guy can be fertilized with any type of fertilizer that you might have in your garden shed; however, it’s best to avoid chemical or synthetic products since they can do more harm than good.
The graptopetalum ‘Purple Haze’ plant is an absolutely stunning specimen. While it isn’t the easiest to take care of, this little guy will reward you with gorgeous blooms that are so purple they look unreal. The blossoms have a unique shape too which makes them stand out even more!
As long as you make sure your graptopetalum ‘Purple Haze’ is never thirsty and it gets plenty of sun, you should have a beautiful plant to call your own!
Graptopetalum rusbyi (San Francisco River Leatherpetal)
The graptopetalum rusbyi (San Francisco River Leatherpetal) is a beautiful plant that grows in the wild. It’s one of those plants that thrive when it isn’t pampered, so if you’re looking for something easy to take care of then this might be your go-to!
This little guy is also unique in that it can flower even when there are no leaves on the plant. This might sound strange but if you’re lucky, the blooms will be beautiful and well worth your time!
If you want to make sure this little leather petal grows strong, then avoid fertilizers with high levels of nitrogen or potassium because they can make it burn out.
Since this graptopetalum is already unique in that the flowers grow without leaves, you might consider keeping it further away from other plants since direct contact can cause harm to them too!
The graptopetalum ‘Mirinae’ is a sturdy plant that can take on even the most difficult of conditions. This little guy thrives in full sun and loves to be watered regularly too!
This particular graptopetalum has small, white blooms with hints of pink and red which makes it look especially beautiful. If you want to keep it happy then fertilize with a balanced fertilizer once every few months and be sure the soil doesn’t dry out too much!
If your graptopetalum ‘Mirinae’ isn’t blooming, that might mean it needs more water or sun; either way, take special care not to over-water because that can cause the plant to rot.
If your graptopetalum ‘Mirinae’ is looking kind of sickly, then take note, it might be getting too much water so stop watering for a while and see if the problem goes away!
This little guy has purple blossoms that look absolutely stunning when they’re in full bloom because of how bright and vibrant they are; plus, you can expect the plant to be covered in blooms for about three months out of the year!
If you want your graptopetalum mendozae to grow strong then it’s important that you don’t fertilize too often because this can cause root rot. In fact, if there are no flowers on the plant when you first get it, then that might be a sign of too much fertilizer.
If your graptopetalum mendozae isn’t blooming then you should reward it with more sun and less water. Over-watering is the most common problem for this type of plant so make sure to keep an eye on how much rain or irrigation it gets throughout the year.
If your graptopetalum mendozae is starting to die on you, it might be time for a repot because the plant doesn’t do well when it’s root-bound!
The graptopetalum macdougallii is a beautiful succulent that’s just dying to be put in the ground. It has plenty of blooms on it and its unique shape makes for an interesting addition to any garden!
This little guy produces stunning purple flowers with yellow edges all throughout the year which, as you can imagine, looks amazing against the plant’s dark green leaves. If you want to keep your graptopetalum macdougallii happy then make sure it gets plenty of sun; in fact, if you don’t have a good spot for this type of plant then just let it be because it will do well on its own!
The graptopetalum filiferum is an interesting succulent that can grow into a small shrub or even a climber if you give it the right kind of support. Plus, this little guy has no problems taking on different soil conditions!
This plant produces beautiful pink blooms which last for months at a time so if you want the plant to grow strong, then you should always be sure it has plenty of flowers. Keep in mind that if there aren’t any blooms on your graptopetalum filiferum , fertilizing might help!
If your graptopetalum filiferum isn’t growing as much as you’d like, try fertilizing with a balanced fertilizer and see if that doesn’t help in the long run.
If your graptopetalum filiferum is starting to wilt, cut off any dead or dying leaves immediately because this can lead to rot! If there are too many brown spots on the plant, then you should probably water less frequently.
Graptopetalum amethystinum (Lavender Pebbles)
The graptopetalum amethystinum is a stunning succulent that’s usually easy to grow and has no problems with the changing seasons. It looks especially lovely in hanging baskets!
This plant produces bright purple flowers all throughout spring which makes it an excellent choice for any garden. If you want your graptopetalum amethystinum to grow strong, then you should always be sure it gets plenty of sun!
If your graptopetalum amethystinum is looking kind of sickly, take note that this might happen if the plant doesn’t get enough light. If there aren’t any flowers on your plant when you first receive it then that might be a sign of under-watering.
If your graptopetalum amethystinum is starting to die, then you probably need to repot the plant because it might have outgrown its current pot! Just remember that this type of succulent doesn’t do well in cold climates so make sure it’s somewhere warm during the winter!
If your graptopetalum amethystinum isn’t growing much, try fertilizing with a balanced fertilizer and see if that helps the plant out. If there are no flowers on your plant when you first get, it then maybe lack of sun is to blame, so be sure to give it more light in the future.
Graptopetalum amethystinum is one of the best beginners’ succulents. This low-water plant can withstand even harsh frost, so it’s perfect for cooler climates. It’s also known as ghost plant, and it can grow up to four inches tall.
This succulent can be grown indoors and will thrive in well-drained soil. As the days get colder, it’s necessary to water less frequently — just once or twice a month should do.
If you live in the U.S., graptopetalum amethystinum is much easier to grow than its cousin ghost plant.
Graptopetalum amethystinum is commonly called the ghost plant because of its lovely white flowers and pale pinkish-yellow leaves with markings that fade away in autumn, only to reappear again on winter days when it becomes more solid green than ghostly.