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How to Grow and Care for Graptopetalum

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Graptopetalum is a small genus of the family Crassulaceae. They are perennial succulent plants and native to Mexico and Arizona. Their leaves vary in color from silver-grey to pink to waxy green, and are often speckled. They all have thick leaves forming rosettes with star-shaped flowers from white to pink on long stems. All require lots of sun to look their best. They are similar looking to Echeverias, although they are generally considered closer to Sedums.

Growing Conditions

The rules for Graptopetalums care are similar to those for most succulents. Container-bound plants thrive in a mixture of peat, sand or other grit, topsoil and a little bit of compost. Full sun is the best situation but they will also grow in partial sun with slightly rangy results.

Graptopetalums need excellent drainage and moderate water. You can tell when to water by sticking your finger in the soil. If it is dry several inches down or the fleshy leaves are looking shriveled, you should water. Overwatering is a cause of root rots and the plant can get several pest infestations.

Photo by Joan Steele

Propagation

The Graptopetalums are generally easy to propagate, by seeds, leaf cuttings or offsets. Any rosette that breaks off has the potential to root and start a new plant. Even a leaf that drops off will root below the parent plant and produce a new rosette quickly. The new plant feeds off the leaf until it shrivels up and falls off. By then the new little ghost plant has rooted and sprouted new leaves.

Grower's Tips

Graptopetalums are succulents who prefer cooler temperatures for actively growing. Their primary growth actually occurs during fall and spring while slowing considerably during true winter. They require gritty porous soil with excellent drainage. Water regularly from spring to fall, letting the soil dry out between waterings. Minimal water is required over winter. Fertilize once during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer diluted to ¼ strength. All do best in sun or part sun.

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