Graptopetalum, also known as ghost plant, is a species of succulent belonging to the Crassulaceae family. The plant is native to Mexico and Arizona, making it not a stranger to heat and intense sunlight.
The ghost plant is quite similar to echeveria in appearance, consisting of fleshy rosette-forming leaves. the rosettes grow to an average width of winches and may range in color from silvery grey to pale pink. The plant also blooms pretty star-shaped flowers during the warmer seasons.
Overall Graptopetalum are both elegant and low maintenance making them popular household plants.
Caring for a Graptopetalum
Caring for this plant is not much different than caring for any other succulent. To grow them successfully, just make sure they get the right amount of sunlight and are not overwatered.
Graptopetalum is a desert dweller and does best in higher temperature environments. You can grow them outdoor in USDA hardiness zones 7b and up.
One thing to remember about these plants is that they are not cold hardy. The minimum temperature a ghost plant can withstand is 20 F. exposure to frosty conditions for an extended period should be avoided.
If you live in a region with cold winters, consider growing these plants in containers so you can bring them indoors as temperatures begin to fall.
These succulents are sun lovers and do well in full to partial sun. the intensity of their pink tones is determined by the amount of light they’re exposed to, so its best you provide them with as much light as possible.
If kept outdoors choose the sunniest spot in the garden. For indoor growing, a well naturally lit room will do. Ideally, locate the plant to a spot by a south-facing window.
If your home or office space is dimly lit, you may want to purchase a grow light. Look for one that is both bright and energy-efficient.
Graptopetalum succulents are best suited for dry environments and do quite well with minimal watering.
When watering these plants use the soak and dry method. This involves making sure the soil is completely dry between each watering session. check the top inch of the soil for moisture to know when it’s time.
Also, Water the soil directly and make sure water runs down to the draining holes. These aren’t plants you’d want lying around in excess water. Soil that’s wet for too long can cause root rot which leads to fungal infections and attracts pests. Root rot as a result of overwatering is the leading cause of death among most succulents, including Graptopetalum.
How frequently your ghost plant needs to be watered depends largely on the climate you live in, as well as the time of year. The plant’s active growing season is early spring so that when it requires a little more water than usual.
Regular potting soil will retain moisture far too long for these succulents to handle.
Graptopetalum requires an extremely well-draining succulent mix to grow properly and avoid root rot. Fortunately, there are a wide variety of succulent potting mixes available online, so finding the right one shouldn’t be a problem.
You can also make your succulent mix using coarse sand and regular potting soil and good draining material such as perlite.
Remember though, well-draining soil won’t compensate for a poor watering schedule.be sure to follow the watering advice mentioned earlier.
Feeding your ghost plant isn’t necessary. If you do choose to do so, use a well-balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to ¼ its strength.
As for when the plant should be fed, once at the start of its active growing period (spring) should be enough.
Like most succulents, Graptopetalum is super easy to propagate. You can expand your ghost plant collection using either one of the methods given below.
1. Propagating using offsets
Offsets can be found at the base of this plant and can be removed using a sharp sterilized blade. Next, leave the offsets out to callous for 2-3 days. Once the wounds have healed replant the offsets in a pot of fresh succulent soil. Mist the soil to keep it moist and you should see new growth within a few weeks.
2. Propagating using cuttings
This is much like the first method. All you have to do is cut off a piece of the plants’ stem using a sharp sterilized blade, leave it out to callous, and then stick it in a pot of fresh succulent soil.
3. Propagating using leaves
Using a leaf cutting is the simplest method to propagate these plants. A single leaf has all the nutrients needed to grow a whole new succulent!
Start by twisting a leaf off the stem of the plant. Try to get a clean pull so as not to damage the leaf or the mother plant. A damaged leaf has much less of a chance of propagating successfully.
Next, leave the leaf out to dry for 2-3 days and then place it on a bed of fresh succulent soil. there’s no need to press the leaf into the soil. Just mist the soil with water regularly and wait for it to take root. New growth should appear within a few weeks.
Graptopetalum naturally loses leaves anyway. Under the right conditions may fall off and take root, so you won’t have to do anything!
Most insects are unlikely to bother your lipstick-echeveria. However, like many other succulents’ mealybugs and aphids may pose a threat.
Mealybugs excrete a cottony white substance which is how you know your plant is infected.
To rid your succulent off these pests, just spray the plant with 70% isopropyl alcohol. Alcohol evaporates within just a few minutes and isn’t likely to damage your plant. If, however you do notice burns, consider using a more diluted solution. You can also use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol.
You can also use more organic methods such as diluted neem oil and ladybirds.
There is also a large variety of plant insecticides available to fight these pests but using them is not recommended. Most are too harsh and may burn tour succulent. Some may pose a threat beneficial insect such as bees, which is why they’re even banned in certain states.
Graptopetalum is non-toxic to humans and pets, and are safe to grow around the house unsupervised.