How to Grow and Care for Graptoveria Succulent

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If you favor delicate plants with expressive foliage, Graptoveria succulents are sure to steal your heart. These slow-growing plants are well worth the patience and care. They produce plump, pastel-colored leaves and may occasionally come into bloom when spring conditions are optimal.

Like many other rosette succulents, this perennial variety can be grown indoors or outdoors. An outdoor position will bring out the best gradient of colors and should ensure ease of maintenance and compact growth.

If you find that you have limited time for gardening and are comfortable with letting your plants fend for themselves, then this succulent may be the perfect one for you! As long as they are provided with minimal care, Graptoveria cultivars can thrive in your garden for years to come!  

History

This rosette succulent is a hybrid between two popular genera: Echeveria and Graptopetalum. Succulent enthusiasts are quite fond of hybridizing their favorite plants, so it’s no surprise that there are dozens of highly sought-after Graptoveria cultivars.

Each Graptoveria cultivar is distinguished by leaf forms, orientations, and colors that differ ever so slightly. Oftentimes, gardeners grow these succulents alongside one another to accentuate subtle differences and to create a display of changing hues. 

You’ll find that Graptoveria succulents are quite expressive as they can slightly change in color and compactness, depending on how much sun and water they get. When they receive just enough, they produce waxy leaves that are tightly wound around a stem. Oftentimes, the stem can be completely masked by the leaves. 

Typically, Graptoveria succulents grow to a length of 8-10 inches (20-25 cm). Their rosettes extend to a similar width and may grow even wider than the diameter of their pots. Offsets are frequently produced underneath the oldest leaves and can quickly fill out any spaces between individual plants.

Plant Facts

Scientific NameGraptoveria
Common NamesGraptoveria [cultivar name], x Graptoveria
GenusGraptoveria
FamilyCrassulaceae
HeightUp to 2 feet
Width6-8 inches 
USDA Plant Hardiness Zone9-11
OriginNorth America, South Africa
Flower ColorsPale Yellow, Pink
Blooming SeasonLate Spring, Early Summer
Plant/Flower Special FeaturesWaxy, smooth foliage; Star-shaped Flowers
graptoveria succulent

How to Plant and Grow Graptoveria

Graptoveria succulents are best grown out of pots that are slightly wider than their rosette width. The pot should ideally contain enough soil to ensure that the succulent roots are stable and can comfortably spread out during the growth period. It should be taller than the rosette height upon planting. 

For best results, a terracotta pot with a hole on the bottom should be used to ensure that the substrate can dry out completely. The best planting period is during late spring and early summer when outdoor conditions are mild. Place your pot in an area that receives ample sunlight and ventilation, but is sheltered from outdoor elements. 

Keep in mind that Graptoveria succulents can benefit from a little bit of stress, i.e., withheld water and a few hours of direct sun daily. Regularly monitor its foliage for pests or decaying parts. With proper care, your rosette succulent will quickly outgrow its pot and be viable for propagation. 

graptoveria debbie

How to Propagate Graptoveria

Cultivars of Graptoveria can be propagated in the same way as Echeveria and Graptopetalum. Propagation via seed takes the longest amount of time as seeds can take a few weeks to months to germinate. For rapid propagation, cuttings, leaves, and offsets can be used.

To propagate via leaves, gently remove them starting from the base of the rosette. Carefully wiggle them back and forth to ensure that they are fully intact when removed from the stem. Allow these to scab over before placing them on a few inches of soil. Mist them occasionally and watch them sprout new roots and leaves!

To propagate Graptoveria cuttings, remove the lower leaves (as indicated above). Use a sterilized pair of gardening shears or sharp scissors to cut crosswise along the stem. Allow the exposed parts to become calloused in a dry, shaded area. When tiny, pink roots begin to appear, the cutting can be planted in a fresh pot of succulent soil. 

Graptoveria offsets are best removed by uprooting the entire mother plant. These will normally have miniature, yet well-established, root systems. Try to keep these intact when removing individual offsets. These can be planted directly into the soil, in small pots. Keep them in a shaded area for a few weeks or until the individual plants do not budge too easily. 

graptoveria autumn evening

Care and Maintenance

Soil

Well-draining soil is an absolute must for Graptoveria as its roots will not tolerate prolonged exposure to moisture. For best results, use a mixture of sand, gravel, compost, and pumice or perlite. The bottom of each pot can be lined with a thin layer of peat. 

Refrain from using a thick layer of soil toppings, such as pebbles or stone chips. If you’re located in a humid area, this can prevent the soil from drying out quickly enough. For aesthetic purposes, a thin layer of pumice can be used.

Fresh soil and a bigger pot should be used when repotting Graptoveria plants every 2-3 years.

Water

Graptoveria cultivars are drought-tolerant and will not benefit from frequent watering sessions. As a rule of thumb, provide the plant with water only when the soil is completely dry. If you live in a humid area, avoid getting the leaves of this plant wet. Water can get trapped in the gaps between the leaves and stimulate fungal growth. 

Use the “soak & dry” method to encourage root growth. This is done by soaking the soil completely, until a few drops of water run through the bottom hole of the pot. Use a watering pot for this purpose, and not a spray bottle. Make sure to place your pot in a well-ventilated area afterward. 

Avoid watering your Graptoveria succulents during rainy or cloudy days. Ideally, the top inch of soil should dry out before the day ends. Do keep in mind that prolonged exposure to moisture can cause root rot. 

Overwatered Graptoveria rosettes are easily identified over time. When their roots have become rotten due to waterlogged soil, these succulents will stop producing leaves. The remaining ones will likely become yellow to brown and will be quite soggy or mushy to the touch. 

Fertilizer

Graptoveria succulents do not need fertilizer, especially if their soil is changed every few years. If you must use one, a slow-release fertilizer, such as those delivered via pellets, can be mixed into the soil. Liquid fertilizer can also be used sparingly, and in concentrations that are exponentially lower than that which is indicated on the label.

Sunlight

Graptoveria cultivars will require at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. If sun exposure is insufficient, the plant may take on a “leggy” appearance, in which case the leaves become spread out on an elongated stem. 

Ample sunlight is necessary to bring out pastel shades of pink and purple on the foliage of these rosettes. Leaves can often become a dull shade of green if the plant isn’t sun-stressed. 

If summer temperatures and sun exposure in your area are quite extreme, you can transfer Graptoveria to a more shaded area. You can also use a shade cloth to protect your plant during the hottest part of the day. Though succulents are known for withstanding desert conditions, their leaves can get scorched if they are not acclimated to intense sunlight. 

Temperature and Humidity

The majority of Graptoveria cultivars are semi-cold hardy or not cold hardy at all. They are quite sensitive to fluctuations in temperature. 

If located outside of USDA zones 9-11, you may have to bring your succulent indoors for winter. The leaves of these succulents are unable to tolerate frosts for extended periods. When indoors, make sure that your plant is not exposed to temperatures that are too warm. You may even allow it to grow dormant in a cool, dark room of your house. 

A short period of dormancy can be quite beneficial for Graptoveria. It can stimulate an abundant flowering period in the coming spring, once it is exposed to outdoor elements once more. If you’re going this route, hold off watering completely. 

Humid conditions can be detrimental to rosette succulents, especially if they haven’t been acclimated beforehand. High humidity can prolong moisture evaporation. If located in a humid area, make sure that your potted succulents are spaced apart and regularly provided with ventilation.

Soil drying times can be sped up with the help of an overhead or standing fan. An outdoor area that receives a fair amount of wind or a gentle breeze can also help.

Pruning

Graptoveria need not be pruned unless they grow “leggy” or the rosettes become overcrowded. After the flowering period, dried-up flower stalks should be cut before they become completely dry. You may also break off branches or overgrown offshoots at this point. 

Pruned shoots, if healthy, can generally be used as cuttings for propagation. Make sure to leave a few leaves on these shoots and on the mother succulent so that all plant parts can continue photosynthesizing efficiently.

graptoveria

Pests and diseases

Graptoveria cultivars are generally not susceptible to pests and diseases when provided with the right requirements. Oftentimes, the culprit behind most serious issues is overwatering or high humidity. Exposure to the foliage of other pest-ridden plants can also spread diseases. It would be wise to isolate weak plants and check for the following problems:

Aphids 

Aphids love to feed on the sap of fleshy succulents. These tiny insects can produce large colonies and can be quite challenging to get rid of. At the first sight of an aphid, treat your plant with bug spray, neem oil, or a low-concentration detergent solution.

Mealybugs 

Mealybugs form white, cotton-like colonies around the stem and leaves of Graptoveria succulents. These are very frustrating pests as they can hide in crevices or along the undersides of leaves. Small populations can be controlled by spraying them with Isopropyl alcohol. 

Root Rot

Root rot occurs when the succulent’s roots are smothered in waterlogged or heavily packed soil. Oftentimes, the only way to save succulents with root rot is by uprooting the plant completely and removing the entire root system. If the shoot is uncompromised, it will develop new roots. 

Scales

Scales on Graptoveria can be quite difficult to kill with any sprays. These are tiny pests that have a relatively strong protective shell. These will normally need to be scraped off of the plant.

Uses of Graptoveria

Graptoveria is chiefly used as an ornamental plant. Many pink-infused and purple-colored varieties are incorporated into succulent pot arrangements, wreaths, and bouquets. 

Common Varieties and Cultivars

The most common cultivars include ‘Fred Ives’ and ‘Debbie’. When sun-stressed, the foliage of these hardy hybrids gradually become a warm shade of pink. Variegated and crested varieties have also recently been developed.

Other Graptoveria varieties that have grown increasingly popular in the last few years include:

  • Graptoveria ‘Opalina’ (opal-like coloration on pale leaves)
  • Graptoveria ‘Silver Star’ (extremely compact rosettes with tapered leaves)
  • Graptoveria ‘Lovely Rose’ (plump green rosettes that resemble a rose shape)
  • Graptoveria ‘Platinum’ (foliage is very slightly tinted and sometimes appears white)
  • Graptoveria ‘Fantome’ (large rosettes with cream or bluish leaves)

Conclusion

As a hybrid, Graptoveria is oftentimes easier to care for than its parent plants. Compared to Echeveria succulents, its cultivars tend to be more resistant to pests and diseases and can acclimatize easily as long as minimum requirements are met. 

Graptoveria is a great option for beginner gardeners and a must-have for succulent collectors! Simply remember to provide it with sunlight and ventilation. Given just the right amount of care, each variety will bring much-needed color to your life for years to come.

See more types of succulent plants you can grow.

*References

Reference list:

Smith, Gideon et al., The cultivar xGraptoveria ‘Fantome’ Aubé ex Gideon F.Sm. & Bischofb. Is the most commonly cultivated representative of the Crassulaceae in Southern Africa, https://bioone.org/journals/bradleya/volume-2018/issue-36/brad.n36.2018.a6/The-cultivar-Graptoveria-Fantome-Aub%c3%a9-ex-Gideon-FSm–Bischofb/10.25223/brad.n36.2018.a6.short

G.D. Rowley, Intergenic hybrids in succulents, https://www.jstor.org/stable/42790240

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