Tacitus bellus Moran & Meyrán
Tacitus bellus, also known as Graptopetalum bellum, is a small succulent that forms rosettes composed of dull grey or bronze leaves. It grows up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) tall, slowly spreading by offsets. Rosettes are up to 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter. Leaves are triangular and up to 1.4 inches (3.5 cm) long. Flowers are star-shaped, up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) across, deep pink to red, and appear at the top of a branched, up to 4 inches (10 cm) long inflorescence.
USDA hardiness zones 9a to 11b: from 20 °F (−6.7 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
The rules for Graptopetalum care are similar to those for most succulents. All require lots of sunlight to look their best. They require gritty porous soil with excellent drainage. Over the summer months, water regularly, letting the soil dry out between waterings. Minimal water is required over winter. Overwatering is a cause of root rots, and the plant can get several pest infestations. Fertilize once during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer diluted to 1/4 strength.
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 plant has rooted and sprouted new leaves.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Graptopetalum.
This species is native to Mexico (Chihuahua). It was found by Alfred Lau in 1972 and described by Moran & Meyrán in 1974. Five years later, D. R. Hunt transferred T. bellus to Graptopetalum bellum. According to Prof. Charles Uhl, when the authors include Tacitus in Graptopetalum, they hopelessly muddle the Mexican species' already complicated classification. His advice is to keep this plant in a genus of its own, Tacitus.
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