Formerly known as the Graptopetalum pentandrum subsp. Superbum, Graptopetalum superbum (Beautiful Graptopetalum) is a very hardy succulent that grows in warm, dry climates. It prefers bright light, with ample airflow to promote vigorous growth and flowering. It has the most beautiful flowers of any graptopetalum. Not only are they bright and colorful, but they’re also stunningly long-lasting.
Graptopetalum superbum is an ornamental plant that grows in full sun and partial shade and thrives in hot weather but does not tolerate freezing temperatures well. A native of California, this succulent plant makes an excellent houseplant or groundcover and has recently become more widely available through online nurseries such as Raintree Nursery.
The Graptopetalum superbum is one of the most beautiful of all succulents and often needs little care beyond what most succulents need, making it an excellent addition to almost any home or office. Its popularity has spread across the world, and this plant can be found on display in many different countries, but it can be hard to determine the best conditions to keep your Graptopetalum superbum happy.
Luckily, this guide will help you figure out exactly how to care for your own Graptopetalum superbum so that you get the most vibrant and healthy plant possible!
Origin and distribution
Native to Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. graptopetalum superbum is distributed from central Mexico southward through Central America into northern South America. It grows in moist forest habitats at elevations of 200-1,500 m (650-4,900 ft).
It is most common in wet montane forests along streams or other water sources at intermediate elevations between 800 and 1,400 m (2,600-4,600 ft). Plants have been found growing on rocks in streambeds, on mossy tree trunks, and on fallen logs. Plants are also cultivated as ornamental plants by specialty nurseries for use as landscape plants.
In its native habitat, it is typically found in shaded areas beneath trees such as oak (Quercus spp.), pine (Pinus spp.), and fir (Abies spp.). In cultivation, it will grow best under similar conditions.
The plant has a number of varieties that differ mainly in their leaf size, shape, and coloration.
Graptopetalum superbum propagation
There are two main ways to propagate a graptopetalum superbum plant, both methods begin with cutting the flower stem at its base. Method one is to simply put your cuttings in water until roots form, which usually takes between one and three weeks.
Once you see roots, you can transplant them into the soil or keep them in water.
Method two involves burying your cuttings directly into the soil; again, once you see signs of new growth (usually within one to three weeks), you can transplant them into larger pots or outdoors.
You can also take leaf cuttings if you want more plants but don’t have any flowers on hand. You’ll need to let them callous over for a few days before planting them in soil. If all else fails, you can simply buy a plant from a nursery and start propagating it that way!
Graptopetalum superbum care information
When it comes to caring for your graptopetalum superbum, water deeply and infrequently. If you’re using tap water, be sure to let it sit out overnight so that chlorine has time to evaporate out of it; otherwise use rainwater or distilled water instead.
Before you plant your graptopetalum superbum, you’ll want to make sure it gets enough light.
Indoors, it thrives in a well-lit room. Place it near a window with bright and indirect sunlight; avoid direct sunlight that may scorch its leaves. If you plan on growing your plant outdoors, place it somewhere with full or partial sun exposure.
Graptopetalums are semi-epiphytic plants, meaning they like a little bit of direct sun and aren’t perfectly suited to indoor growing. However, with some special care techniques, you can successfully grow your graptopetalum superbum indoors.
Indoor lighting for your superbum should be on for about 12 hours per day, during spring through summer and fall through winter when nights are longer. If you live in an area where days are shorter or there is less sunlight year round, use artificial light that mimics natural sunlight as closely as possible.
If your plant begins to stretch out or its leaves begin to turn yellow, it may need more light than what is provided by artificial lights.
Graptopetalum superbum does well in a rich, fast-draining mix of soil. I prefer a mix of about 50% cactus potting soil, 25% pumice (perlite), and 25% finely screened compost or leaf mold. Be careful not to pack down your potting mix when you water, keep it nice and loose so that air circulates through it. Just make sure you keep your pots well-watered at all times during summer.
For successful care of Graptopetalum superbum, water your plant well during the spring and summer months. Keep it on a regular watering schedule so that you’re watering your plant when it needs water.
Water them thoroughly once every week to 10 days, then let them dry out completely before watering again. This will help prevent root rot and encourage healthy growth.
In winter, reduce watering to once every two weeks; if temperatures are mild enough outside, they can be left outdoors year-round with no ill effects.
If your graptopetalums are kept indoors over winter, make sure they’re in bright light but not the direct sun; a south-facing window is ideal for most species.
If you grow your Graptopetalums in a non-soil medium (such as perlite), fertilize them occasionally with a liquid fertilizer. If you use soil, fertilize when you transplant and again after blooming (if you aren’t already fertilizing).
Use a time-release fertilizer or slow-release granules, which have fewer additives. Avoid fertilizers with heavy salt concentrations.
This plant does best at room temperature, or warmer. It likes a warm spot in your house. In winter, you may want to move it to a sunnier location and provide additional warmth, such as from an indoor grow light. If you have an unheated garage or sunroom, that’s also a good spot for your graptopetalum superbum.
Keep your Graptopetalum pentandrum subsp. superbum in temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. If you need to cool your plant off, consider moving it outdoors during a hot spell. If you prefer to keep it inside, put it on top of something that will help direct airflow toward its leaves, such as an open cardboard box or bookcase.
Be sure to keep it away from any drafts.
When these plants are planted in very dry air they will wilt, but adding some humidity to your plantings will help them thrive. You can increase humidity by grouping your plants together or planting them in a terrarium that includes moist sphagnum moss. Be careful not to overwater your graptopetalums, as their leaves will begin to rot if you allow their soil to become soggy.
The ideal humidity range is between 40% and 70%. This can be achieved by grouping your plants together or adding a humidifier to your home. If you have air conditioning, consider turning it off during hot summer days. This will increase humidity in your home and prevent your graptopetalums from wilting.
If you’re growing your plant indoors, prune out any dead or weak branches. If you’re growing your plant outdoors, feel free to remove some of those extra branches (just leave at least one on each main stem) because they won’t be able to withstand cold temperatures as well as they will in a controlled environment.
You should also make sure that you can provide it with enough water, about 1/2 an inch per week if possible.
When to repot
Repot your graptopetalum superbum during spring and summer, in either late April or early June. Do not repot a plant that has been sitting in water, as it will cause root rot. Instead, allow it to dry out slightly before you transplant it into fresh potting soil.
Be sure to use fast-draining soil so that excess moisture doesn’t remain around its roots for long periods of time. Use a pot that is one size larger than what it currently sits in. For example, if your graptopetalum superbum is planted in a 6-inch container, move it to an 8-inch container after repotting.
This extra space allows more room for growth and helps prevent rotting caused by overcrowding. If you notice new leaves starting to turn yellow after repotting, remove them immediately; they are most likely infected with fungi or bacteria due to overwatering.
In warmer regions, they can be grown as an annual and will require a dormancy period. The easiest way to force dormancy is to place them in a plastic bag and store them in a refrigerator for three months at 45 degrees.
During their dormancy period, keep your graptopetalums out of direct sunlight and away from any heat source. When you remove them from storage, allow them to adjust slowly by moving them into indirect light for a few days before returning them to full sun.
Graptopetalum superbum flower & fragrance
It’s easy to get lost in a plant’s beauty, but it’s also important to note its scent. While some plants have pretty flowers but they don’t smell too good, others have not-so-gorgeous flowers but their aromas are divine.
When you consider how much time you spend at home and how many hours you spend sleeping there, it makes sense that your bedroom should be filled with beautiful fragrances from your indoor plants.
If you’re looking for beautiful flowering indoor plants that are known for their pleasant scents, look no further than graptopetalum superbum (Graptopetalum pentandrum subsp. superbum). This evergreen perennial has showy pink-to-purple blooms that attract hummingbirds. Not only do these gorgeous little blooms smell wonderful, but they last long after other varieties have faded away.
In hot, dry climates, a Graptopetalum pentandrum subsp. superbum vine can grow as much as 12 inches per month and reach a length of 10 feet or more in only four months. Make sure you plant your graptopetalum where it will have full sun and plenty of room to spread out and climb.
Graptopetalum superbum can be toxic if ingested. If you have young children in your home, it is best to keep them away from your plants. It may be a good idea to put some sort of protection around your plant to keep small children from accidentally ingesting any part of it.
Keep in mind that like all plants, graptopetalums have been known to cause irritation when touched or ingested.
USDA hardiness zones
Graptopetalum superbum thrives best in USDA hardiness zones 8b through 11. However, if you live in zone 8 or 9, be sure to plant your graptopetalum superbum plants in a spot that receives partial shade during midday. This will protect them from direct sunlight and prevent them from getting burned by heat.
If you live in zone 10 or higher, full sun is not an issue for your graptopetalum superbum plants and they can thrive outside all day long without any protection from direct sunlight.
Pests and diseases
While there are very few pests or diseases that impact graptopetalum superbum, there are a couple of things you can do to keep them as healthy as possible. Graptopetalums are susceptible to mealybugs and root rot, so look closely for these if you see leaf yellowing or wilting in your plant.
Mealybugs can be treated with neem oil, while root rot is best avoided by planting in well-draining soil. If you notice any wilting leaves on your graptopetalum, it’s best to remove those leaves right away, this will prevent further damage from occurring and will help encourage new growth.