Did you know that graptopetalum pachyphyllum is one of the most popular succulent plants? It is a type of graptopetalum, which means “having leaves arranged like a scrolled sheet.” The bluebean succulent plant has thick fleshy leaves and bears roundish flowers with purple to lavender petals.
Graptopetalum pachyphyllum, which is also known as the bluebean succulent, has a beautiful dark-green color. Its leaves are thick and fleshy with a glossy sheen that looks like it was polished. The plant forms clusters of stems with few to many leaves per stem.
If you’re looking for an easy-to-grow houseplant, then graptopetalum pachyphyllum may be right for you!
Origin and description
Graptopetalum pachyphyllum is native to Mexico. This succulent plant has thick leaves which are dark green, blue-grey, or brownish-purple with white speckles on the top of the leaf and cream underneath. The flowers are pink in color, have five petals that look like stars around the center, and are bell-shaped.
This plant is also called the blue bean or ghost flower succulent because of its coloration. Graptopetalum pachyphyllum can be grown as a garden plant in temperate climates, an indoor houseplant during winter months, or kept outside year-round if placed in filtered light and watered regularly.
Graptopetalum pachyphyllum propagation
Graptopetalum pachyphyllum can be propagated by cuttings, seeds, or leaves. To propagate from a leaf, place one in moist sand and cover with plastic wrap to hold in moisture for two weeks until the roots form. Once there are enough roots, plant them in the soil and keep them in indirect sunlight.
To propagate from a cutting, wait until the plant is at least two years old. Make sure to take cuttings that are 18 inches long and use rooting gel or powder for faster growth.
Graptopetalum pachyphyllum can also be grown from seed, but this process takes much longer. Start the seeds indoors in January or February to give them enough time to grow into mature plants before winter comes again.
Graptopetalum pachyphyllum care
Graptopetalum pachyphyllum care is easy and minimal. If the plant is grown indoors during the winter months, keep it away from windows that receive cold drafts as this may damage leaves and buds.
Graptopetalum pachyphyllum care instructions state that this succulent plant can be grown in filtered light or direct sunlight. However, if the plant is kept outside year-round, it should receive indirect lighting for six to eight hours each day.
If you are concerned about not giving your ghost flower enough sun, wait until May to see if it starts to turn yellow from not getting enough light. If this is the case, place it in a south-facing window where it will receive bright sunlight during the day and move back outside when temperatures are warm enough for your plant to survive outdoors.
If you keep Graptopetalum pachyphyllum as an indoor houseplant during winter, place it near a south or west-facing window so that its leaves get bright indirect light for at least six hours each day.
Graptopetalum pachyphyllum requires soil that drains well. They tolerate drought but prefer moist soils. A fast-draining cactus mix is suitable for graptopetalums, or you can create your own succulent potting mix using an equal blend of perlite and organic material such as composted bark fines or coir fiber.
Water graptopetalum pachyphyllum when the soil has dried out, but avoid waterlogging. The leaves will drop off if overwatered or underwatered so keep an eye on your plant and adjust as needed. If you are growing outdoor plants in frost-free areas, they can be grown in a container filled with succulent potting mix and allowed to dry out between waterings.
If growing graptopetalum pachyphyllum in a container, ensure the pot has good drainage holes and place it in an area with bright light or full sun.
Fertilize graptopetalum pachyphyllum with a balanced succulent fertilizer when the plant begins to grow. A slow-release formula is best and follows the manufacturer’s directions for application rates. Do not fertilize if you notice that your leaves are yellowing or dropping off, this typically indicates overfertilization and the plant will recover in time.
Graptopetalum pachyphyllum is not a heavy feeder and fertilizing once or twice per year when actively growing should be sufficient to maintain healthy growth rates for this species.
Graptopetalum pachyphyllum is one of the hardiest species in this genus and can tolerate temperatures below freezing when kept dry. It prefers hotter, arid climates but will tolerate moist, humid conditions much better than most other members of its family.
An ideal temperature range is between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius.
Graptopetalum pachyphyllum is not particularly sensitive to humidity levels and will tolerate dry, arid conditions much better than other members of its family.
However, graptopetalums do appreciate a little extra humidity during the blooming period in spring and summer.
The best humidity range is between 30% and 50%.
Pruning of graptopetalum pachyphyllum is not required but you can prune off any damaged leaves to keep the plant looking tidy.
When growing outdoors, some natural pruning may occur as a result of wind or other environmental factors and these cuts should heal over without problems on outdoor plants. If your indoor plants begin to outgrow their space, you can prune them back by around a third of the overall plant size and they will quickly bounce back.
However, do not over-prune your plants as this may reduce flowering or weaken their growth rate. To avoid these problems, only cut off damaged leaves or deadheads from indoor plants.
When to repot
Graptopetalum pachyphyllum is a fairly slow-growing species and does not need to be repotted very often. You can wait for the plant to fill its pot before re-potting, but if you notice that soil has washed out of the base or roots are poking through the bottom, then it’s time to give your plant a new home.
Repot in the spring or summer when your plant is actively growing, using a succulent potting mix for best results.
Graptopetalum pachyphyllum does not require any dormancy period and will continue to grow year-round in bright light or full sun.
There is no need to give your plant a ‘resting’ period when it seems slow-growing, just keep watering regularly during the active growth season until you notice new leaves forming at the base.
For a short winter rest, place your pachyphyllum in a cool room at around 13 degrees Celsius from November until February when it will shed its leaves and enter a period of dormancy. At this time, you should stop watering the plant or give very light infrequent waterings to prevent rot from setting in. Once growth begins in spring you can resume normal watering and feeding.
Flowers & fragrance
One of the best things about graptopetalum pachyphyllum is that it’s one of few members in this genus to produce blooms.
The bell-shaped flowers appear on short stalks and are usually white or pink with yellow tips, though some varieties may have more red tones than others which can make them look very attractive.
The flowers are not particularly fragrant, but graptopetalum pachyphyllum is a popular choice for pot plants as it looks great even if no blooms appear! When the plant does bloom, though, you can enjoy its small white or pink flowers with yellow tips and red veins which have a light lemon fragrance.
Graptopetalum pachyphyllum is one of the slowest growing members in this genus and does not need much maintenance apart from regular watering.
Graptopetalum pachyphyllum is not toxic to pets or humans.
However, it does contain oxalic acid which can irritate skin and eyes so you should wear gloves when handling the plant if your skin is sensitive to this compound. Also, make sure any cuts are covered with a waterproof bandage after touching the plant to prevent potential irritation.
To avoid problems, keep your graptopetalum out of reach of children and pets who may rub their eyes or mouth after touching the plant by accident.
USDA Hardiness Zones
Graptopetalum pachyphyllum can be grown outdoors in USDA Hardiness Zones 11-12 where it will remain evergreen throughout the year.
However, if you want to grow your graptopetalum indoors then it’s best suited for zones 14-24 which require winter temperatures below 13 degrees Fahrenheit (-12 degrees Celsius).
Pests and diseases
Graptopetalum pachyphyllum is not particularly prone to pests or diseases, but watch out for mealybugs and scale insects that may appear on indoor plants.
If you notice any signs of an infestation then use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol (isopropyl) to remove the pests by dabbing them directly. Repeat this process as necessary until all signs of infestation have disappeared and are sure to discard the cotton swabs after use since they can harbor eggs which will continue the infestation cycle if not disposed of properly.
Graptopetalum pachyphyllum is a slow-growing succulent with attractive leaves and small bell-shaped blooms which you won’t need to repot very often.
This plant does not require any dormancy period and can be kept in bright light or full sun, making it an excellent choice for busy gardeners who can’t always pay attention to their plants.