Overview of the Graptoveria Succulant
The Graptoveria is a hybrid plant that originated from the combination of Graptopetalum and Echeveria succulent plants.
Some of the common varieties of this plant include;
- Debbi- Frosty pink, lanceolate, and fleshy leaves.
- Fanfare- Narrow pale blue leaves.
- Fred Ives- Pearly bronze, waxy, and purplish-yellow-orange to blue-green leaves depending on the growing conditions and time of the year.
- Moonglow- Large, tall, greenish-ivory thick leaves and upright, small, and orange-yellow flowers.
- Acualis- Pearly-pink leaves that turn into a deeper color during winter.
- Douglas Huth- Thick and grey-green leaves. It becomes vibrant pink under direct sunlight and bluish under the shade. Has pink flowers that appear in spring.
- Lovely Rose- Grey-green leaves that grow to form a beautiful cluster in the shape of rose flowers.
- Platinum- Very delicately tinted flowers, almost white.
- Opalina- Pale blue-green leaves that have some pink tones on the tips.
- Bashful- Minty green leaves that become translucent or bright pink under direct sunlight or cool temperatures.
- Silver star- Silvery-green leaves tipped with a reddish-pinkish bristle.
Other varieties worth a mention include Bayansii, Crest, Olivia, Worthy One, Harry Watson, and David Cumming.
Most of these plants, when fully grown, have a compact rosette of 15-20 cm (6-8 inches) across. Some varieties mat grow up to 25 cm (10 inches) wide.
When stressed, especially as a result of limited water or cool temperatures, the plant obtains bright colors like pink, blue, red hues, or purple.
Graptoveria Care Requirements
You need to get your plant in a permanent place before temperatures start to drop. While traditional houseplant gardeners may find it hard to adjust to the limited watering stressing the plant, those are necessary actions to acquire the intense and vivid colors of the plant.
When the plant is young, water it adequately and keep in mind that too much water will damage it. When it has established a strong root system, limit the watering. Your plant can handle full sunlight, but afternoon sun and hot summer temperatures may be too much for it.
These plants need around 6-7 hours of bright sunlight daily for it to grow properly and strong. Bright light means light that is not blocked by anything, either a curtain or tree branches.
Without enough sunlight, the plants become stretched out, and they lean sideways (etiolation), after which they cannot shrink into their original rosette shape.
However, you need to be careful when introducing young plants into the sun because they may scorch. Filtered light is best until the have a strong root system in place.
To avoid sunburn (calloused, brown spots on the leaves) and still make the plant’s color pop, morning sunlight is the best. Always make sure you shade your plants in the afternoon. If your graptoveria are planted outdoors, you can plant them near trees or build them a shaded structure if they are in direct sunlight more than 5 or hours a day.
During the summer, you can add shade cloth to the structure to allow just enough light to get to the plants and also protect them from the hot temperatures.
In autumn, when the temperatures start to drop, bring your plant indoors, and you can provide sunlight through south-facing windows or by installing a grow light system. South-facing windows are the ones that receive the brightest and most intense light.
Ensure you rotate each plant a few times daily to ensure that all the sides get enough sunlight and grow evenly.
Since the plants are drought-tolerant, they can survive with minimum water because their thick leaves are capable of storing water even during drought. You should avoid over-watering because it may result in the roots rotting and spreading infections to the rest of the plant.
To tell if your plant is over-watered, you need to look for the following signs;
• The bottom leaves turning translucent yellow or mushy.
• You see the plant losing its shape and feeling squishy.
• The stems turning black or brown.
Ensure that the soil is well-drained, and to tell if your plants need water, sink your finger in the soil and it is dry several inches deep, water the plants. Otherwise, leave them. Also, if you notice that the green leaves are shriveled, it is time to water your plant.
During the summer, water your plants once a week and reduce the watering to 3 or 4 times a week during winter. During watering, water only the soil at the base of your plant and ensure that the water does not splash on the leaves or the top rosette to avoid rotting.
Graptoveria Soil Requirements
These plants do best in well-drained, porous soil like sand, peat, or grit soils, with a little compost in it. If you are not growing them in containers, you can grow them outdoor in a rock garden. That ensures that the water drains fast and prevents root and leave rotting.
Location And Temperature Needs
These plants flourish best in hot and dry temperatures, between 18oC and 24oC (65oF- 75oF). They cannot thrive in the frost or temperatures below -1oC (30oF), and very high temperatures will give them sunburns, from which they cannot recover.
The best locations are USDA zones 10a-11b.
Fertilize your plants over the summer and spring growing seasons and stop during the winter. Keep the fertilization at a minimum because over-fertilizing can make your plant grow very fast and become weak.
You can mix compost into the soil where you will have your plants, but it should not be too much as compost tends to hold water for long.
These plants require average humidity (a room’s natural humidity) for optimum growth. Excess humidity can cause the plant’s roots to rot, which is why you should not have them in rooms like the bathroom.
Air circulation is also important, and you can use your fan to maximize it. The water you use for your plants should not be warm or freezing. It should be at room temperature. You should not water under high pressure.
Additional Tips For Success With Graptoveria
When planting these plants, the type of pot you have it in will determine how well it will grow. The best pots to have your plant in are plain terracotta pots that have a drainage hole in them.
After bringing your plant home from a nursery, remove it from the old pot and clean off the soil from its roots, then transplant it into your new pot with fresh and well-drained soil. Ensure that you do not break the roots in the process.
Since these are slow growers, you do not have to worry about changing pots often. Repotting it once after a few years will do, and you should go for marginally bigger pots when repotting.
Small pots will inhibit the growth of the plant, and very large plants have higher chances of becoming waterlogged and causing rotting.
Over time, your plant will grow, and some branches will become too old or no longer looks good on the plant, and that is the time to prune it. The best time to prune is during spring after it has flowered.
To avoid applying too much pressure on the plant, you should prune using your hands and ensure to leave around 3-5 leaves on every branch to prevent your plant from becoming too weak. If you want new growth, prune exactly where you want that new growth to be.
You can train your plant to grow in a certain direction by pruning above a bud that is facing in the direction you want your plant to grow.
Propagating Your Graptoveria
You can easily propagate your plant from cuttings, leaves, and offsets. There are several methods in which to propagate a succulent.
To propagate from a leaf, choose a healthy leaf that is not dried or wrinkled and carefully twist it off the plant. Ensure to remove the whole leaf, not leaving anything left on the branch.
Now that you have taken a healthy leaf, you need to allow it to callous. You can do this by laying the leaf on top of a paper towel for a couple of days to dry out a bit- just let it rest. After about 3 days you can place it on some well-drained soil. Spray the soil where the leaf is with water once a week while exposing it to filtered sunlight.
Leaf propagation require less sunlight and more water than the parent plant. Ensure not to move the leaf as the roots grow. Eventually, your leaf will sprout a tiny little bud or rosette at the base of the leaf. The propagated leaf will eventually shrivel up, and you can remove it and plant the small new cacti in its pot.
Ensure to water the new plant every 5-7 days and expose it to bright filtered light.
Propagating from cuttings is mainly done for plants whose compact rosette shape is no longer there. These new cuttings are a way of growing more attractive plants. You need to cut 1.5 inches below the parent’s rosette stem using sharp garden shears. A good cutting makes all the difference in how this all turns out!
Leave the cutting to callous for 2-3 days, then plant it in well-drained soil. Water it for the first time a week after re-potting it, and then after that, water it weekly. Keep the new plant in bright indirect sunlight.
The last method you can use to propagate your plant is using the offsets that grow at the base of your plant. Wait until your target offset is around ¼ of its parent’s size to cut off. Leave it for 2-3 days, and then plant it in a pot full of well-drained soil.
To allow your plant to ‘settle’ in its new home, give it a few days before watering it, and then after that, water it every 4-5 days. Keep it in a place with bright filtered light.
If you want to replant your plant, cut off the ends or tops of the mature stems and give them a few days to callous, then plant them in new pots full of well-drained soil. You can also replant indoor houseplants to the outdoors and they should prosper as long as they are not in direct sunlight too many hours a day or in freezing temps.
Similar to other succulent plants, these plants also get infected by small insects and mealy bugs. The major causes of bugs and insects on your plant are over-fertilizing and over watering.
If there are mealy bugs on your plant, clear out the soil from the pot, wash it thoroughly and replace the soil with fresh one. Rinse your plant and rub alcohol on its leaves and branches to kill any infections and remaining bacteria, then repot it.
If you have children or pets in your home, it is important to make sure that the plants you have at home are not toxic. Unlike some other succulents, graptoveria is non-toxic. However, just like any plant, ensure that your child or pet does not swallow any part of it.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Stop My Plant From Stretching?
If you notice that your plant is stretched out and has long gaps in between its leaves, it is a sign that it is receiving inadequate sunlight. This may be common among these types of succulents because they are more light-hungry than others.
Ensure to move the plant to a place where it will receive bright light for 6-7 hours a day, and ensure you rotate it often to distribute the light evenly around the plant.
While it is impossible for the shrunk parts of the plant to grow back into the compact rosette shape, you can prune that part off and still save the rest of the plant.
Why Are The Bottom Leaves Of My Graptoveria Dying?
All succulents grow from the center by absorbing nutrients from their bottom leaves. Noticing dried leaves at the bottom of your plant is normal, and they will fall off eventually, so you do not have to pluck them.
To ensure healthy growth for your plant and to maintain its surroundings neat, you can occasionally sweep off the dead leaves once they fall off.
Why Is My Plant Leaning Towards One Side?
This happens because you hardly rotate your plant on the window where it receives its light. The side of the plant facing the window gets more sunlight, hence having a more compact and strong growth than the side against the window.
The side receiving more sunlight becomes heavier than the one without sunlight resulting in the leaning. You can even out the growth by rotating the plant and ensuring all parts get the same amount of sunlight.
Why Is My Graptoveria Turning Mushy And Yellow?
This is a sign that your plant has root rot, probably because of over-watering. The problem is a major one but can be hard to fix. However, if the root rot is not serious, you can try letting the soil dry and minimize how much you water the plant.
If the root rot has started spreading infections to other parts of your plant, the best solution is to cut off the healthy parts and propagate them. If the infection is too much, you may only be left with a few stems to propagate.
Why Is My Plant Turning Green?
When the plants receive adequate light, they may achieve vibrant colors like purple, pink, red, or yellow, which is referred to as ‘sun stress.’ That means that when the plant was receiving some special conditions like cold temperatures, less water, or a lot of sunlight.
If you notice that your plant is turning green a few days after bringing it from the nursery, there is nothing to worry about because it is still healthy. However, if you prefer it with the vibrant colors, place it where there is more sunlight, but ensure it is not too much as the plant may get sunburnt.
If you do not have windows that provide enough sunlight, you may buy a grow lamp and have your plant sit under it. Your plant may not go back to its original vibrant color, but it will seize being green.
How Can I Use This Succulent?
These plants are beautiful, and they require minimum maintenance, which is why having them in your home is easy. Some of its benefits include;
- Beauty- Its bright and vivid colored leaves add some color to your home.
- They increase the amount of oxygen in your home.
- Plants clean the air around your house.
- They boost moisture content in your home, indirectly protecting you from minor diseases like sore throats and colds.
Do I Need To Clean My Plant?
Over time, dirt and dust can enter your home and settle on your plant’s leaves, blocking its pores. That will inhibit the growth and make it weaker.
Ensure you always keep your plant clean by wiping it with a wet cloth. Washing its water will cause drops to splash on the bottom leaves, causing rotting.
Which Window Is The Best For My Plant?
To receive enough light, your plants need to be near a window. However, you should choose the window carefully to ensure maximum light. South-facing windows are the best because they receive the brightest and most intense light throughout the day.
You can also have your plant on an East-facing window in the morning because they receive a lot of the bright and intense morning. However, be sure to move the plant in the afternoon as there will be too much heat for your plant.
North-facing windows are not ideal because they are shady and do not receive any bright light throughout the day. West-facing windows are also not preferred because they receive most of the evening and afternoon sun, which could scorch your plant.