How to Grow and Care for Graptoveria ‘Fred Ives’

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Graptoveria ‘Fred Ives’ is an attractive hybrid that can thrive in your garden for many years. This perennial is perhaps one of the most widely cultivated among the rosette succulents, and for good reason. It can rapidly acclimate to a variety of ambient conditions, making it an ideal plant for beginner gardeners.

This hybrid is characterized by elongated fleshy leaves that are compactly arranged in a spiral around a tough stem. The leaves are elegantly pointed and can grow to a length of 5-6 inches at maturity.

When exposed to ample sunlight and varied temperatures, the full rosette can display a lovely gradient of soft blue-green, muted purples, and deep pinks. The oldest leaves tend to become more yellow or bronze over time. 

When summer conditions are optimal, mature rosettes produce tall, arching flower stalks with star-shaped yellow flowers. At this stage of growth, a single rosette can extend to a foot wide and will begin to develop a profusion of offsets. 

History

This attractive succulent is a hybrid between Echeveria gibbiflora and Graptopetalum paraguayense. It was developed by Albert Baynes, who served as one of the founders of England’s National Cactus & Succulent Society. Both parent plants are known for being quite durable and for producing leaves and shoots that are extremely easy to propagate. 

After 2-3 years of proper care, a single ‘Fred Ives’ rosette can be likened to a miniature tree! It can tower over many other Graptoveria cultivars as its shoots grow taller and taller, as if to veer closer to the sun. Lower leaves tend to drop off over time, making each rosette resemble a canopy.

To bring out the best features of this hybrid, it should be cultivated outdoors. In general, its care requirements are similar to that of other Graptoveria hybrids, though it can withstand harsher conditions. Its waxy leaves are also remarkably resistant to many pests and diseases.

Plant Facts

Scientific nameGraptoveria ‘Fred Ives’
Common namesFred Ives, x Graptoveria ‘Fred Ives’
GenusGraptoveria
FamilyCrassulaceae
HeightUp to 2 feet
Width1 foot
USDA Plant Hardiness Zone9-11
OriginGreenhouse Hybrid (Albert Baynes)
Flower colorsYellow
Blooming seasonSummer
Plant/Flower special featuresStar-shaped Flowers, Elongated Leaves

How to Plant and Grow Graptoveria ‘Fred Ives’

Graptoveria ‘Fred Ives’ can be planted in pots or directly into the ground. As long as there is enough space for its roots to grow downward and expand, the rosette can grow to be quite stable. Ideally, pot length should be longer than width as this hybrid’s shoots tend to grow tall. Pot size can gradually be increased over time so that the plant’s roots are able to support a widening rosette.

If planting your succulent directly into the ground, ensure that it is located in an area that receives constant ventilation. The soil should never be waterlogged or prevented from drying, otherwise the plant may not be able to establish itself. 

How to Propagate Graptoveria ‘Fred Ives’

Like all other Graptoveria succulents (and rosette succulents in general), ‘Fred Ives’ can be propagated using its leaves, stem cuttings, and offshoots. A healthy, mature plant can be expected to branch out over time and produce enough baby plants to create a colony. You can opt to cut off the branches and separate the offsets to prevent overcrowding. These can then be planted into their own pots or directly into soil.

For all parts that you use for propagation, make sure that the exposed plant tissues are calloused over completely prior to exposing them to soil. This will prevent pests and mold from attacking the open wounds of the plant. Make sure to use only plump and healthy old leaves to ensure that they are able to supply enough nutrients to generate new leaves and shoots.

Care and Maintenance

Soil

Make sure to use well-draining soil as Graptoveria ‘Fred Ives’ is sensitive to moisture retention in the soil. You can use a mixture of sand, gravel, sterilized compost, and pumice or perlite. The soil should be porous enough to allow the roots of the plant to breathe. Pre-mixed cactus soil from your local garden shop should also suffice. 

This hybrid does not have to be repotted as frequently as other rosette succulents. It can thrive in poor soils that are allowed to dry out completely. For decorative purposes, you can opt to use a thin layer of toppings, but make sure that these do not significantly trap moisture in the soil.

Water

Water your plant only when the soil has completely dried out. It’s completely normal to provide water to rosette succulents only every 1-2 weeks if they are outdoors, and once a month if indoors. If your plants are situated in outdoor pots, you can water the soil thoroughly or until water streams out of the bottom hole. 

Though the waxy leaves are capable of repelling water, avoid watering or spraying the leaves and shoot of the plant, especially if you are located in a humid area. Trapped moisture can attract pests and stimulate fungal growth. 

Fertilizer

Graptoveria ‘Fred Ives’ does not require additional fertilizer. This succulent can grow to be healthy even in poor soil. Excess nutrients can be more detrimental to the plant as it can encourage bacterial growth in the soil or invite mold. 

Sunlight

Place your ‘Fred Ives’ outdoors or on a windowsill to ensure that it receives enough sunlight. If your plant is well-acclimated, it can be exposed to up to 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. Dappled or filtered sunlight are also acceptable if you are located in a dry climate. 

Sun stress will bring out the colors of this plant. Leaves will become less green and increasingly purple when exposed to more sun. Pink spots can also begin to appear under direct sunlight. If no shade at all is afforded to your plant during the summer, do monitor the leaves for signs of sunburn, such as parched sections or a wrinkled surface. Relocate it to a more sheltered area or place a shade cloth over it to protect the leaves.

Temperature and Humidity

Graptoveria ‘Fred Ives’ can tolerate a wide range of temperatures, especially in non-humid conditions. It is not frost-resistant, however, and must be transferred indoors during the winter if located outside USDA zones 9-11. Transfer your plant to a warm area that receives a fair amount of sunlight once temperatures drop to below 8°C (45°F). 

If located in a humid area, make sure that the plant receives enough ventilation to dry out the soil after watering sessions. Pots placed indoors do not at all require a humidifier and would benefit more from an overhead or standing fan. 

Pruning

If your Graptoveria ‘Fred Ives’ grows too tall, becomes leggy, or develops branching rosettes, you can prune your plant. Since this hybrid has the tendency to produce canopy-like rosettes, its shoots can be beheaded. The full rosette should be allowed to callous over before replanting it. 

In the case of a leggy rosette, cut the shoot at around an inch below the top section with more compact leaves. Use the remaining leaves of the lower shoot for propagation. The rosette head can be replanted as indicated above. 

The oldest leaves may naturally dry up and fall off over time. These should be collected and disposed of properly to prevent decay on the soil’s surface.

Repotting and Transplanting

After a few years of growth, Graptoveria ‘Fred Ives’ will benefit from being repotted. If the soil is compromised by pests or diseases, the entire plant must be repotted into sterile soil. To repot your succulent, use a small shovel to carefully loosen the soil and dig out the entire plant. As much as possible, keep the roots intact. Remove any parts with mold or pests and dispose of these properly. 

Select a new pot that provides ample space for the plant’s roots. Its opening should ideally be slightly wider than the rosette. Place enough soil to cover the bottom of the pot and arrange the roots over this area. You can use chopsticks or your fingers to hold the plant in place while filling in the rest of the pot with soil. There should be enough soil to cover the bottom part of the shoot. Press the soil down gently to make it compact enough to keep the plant upright. 

Pest and diseases

Graptoveria ‘Fred Ives’ is resistant to many common pests and diseases when it is provided with proper requirements. If it shows signs of ill-health or pest invasion, it is likely that your plant suffers from being overwatered. Overwatering can result in root rot, mold, scales, and pest infestations. 

Regularly monitor the plant’s health by checking the stability of its shoot, peering into gaps between the leaves, checking the growth of the plant’s parts and the underside of each leaf. If any parts are compromised, you may have to dig out your plant and remove diseased sections. Pests can be treated organically with either mild soap solutions or alcohol.  

Uses of Graptoveria ‘Fred Ives’

Graptoveria ‘Fred Ives’ can be used for ornamental purposes. It is an attractive plant that can bring color to your succulent garden. Small rosettes may be used in container gardens or added to bouquets. If you live in a dry area, this succulent can also be a great outdoor border plant when grown alongside other drought-resistant plants. 

Common Varieties 

Succulent collectors will surely love the variegated form of this hybrid. Graptoveria ‘Fred Ives’ f. variegata produces elongated leaves that have multiple streaks of color. These streaks run lengthwise along the leaves and normally contrast the general color of the rosettes. When exposed to more sunlight, more streaks tend to appear! 

Another common variety is the crested form of this hybrid. This can often develop through leaf propagation. Crested forms develop paddle-like or wide shoots that generate leaves without the characteristic rosette orientation. This variety tends to produce much smaller leaves.

Conclusion

Graptoveria ‘Fred Ives’ is a great succulent for plant lovers that are unable to dedicate much attention to their plants. In fact, this plant can even survive under a state of near-abandonment! Simply ensure that its soil is allowed to dry out and its leaves are exposed to enough sunlight. Eventually, minimal care will be rewarded with colorful leaves and summer blooms!