The Graptopetalum paraguayense is commonly known as the Mother of Pearl plant or Ghost Plant Succulent. Definitely, one of the most common Graptopetalums. In fact, triangular, thick leaves hold excess moisture. Therefore, they can withstand periods without water. As a bonus, this Graptopetalum has beautiful trailing rosettes. Undoubtedly perfect for a hanging pot. Additionally, when grown in full sun, they will turn yellow-pink. However, if kept in shade, leaves will be bluish-grey.
Once established, water occasionally; more in extreme heat or containers.
Full sun to partial sun
Between 41-86°F (5-30°C), minimum 20° F (-6° C)
Well-draining soil, use a container with good drainage
May benefit from a balanced fertilizer in spring.
Rosettes grow up to 4″ (10 cm) wide/to 1 foot (30 cm) tall. Trails up to 3 feet (91 cm) long.
Ghost Plant Succulent, Mother-of-pearl Plant, Ghosty Succulent, Mother of Pearl
White star-shaped flowers
Generally non-toxic to humans and animals
There are multiple types of Graptopetalums Varieties. Indeed, making it hard to choose just one. However, if you’re looking for beauty and elegance. Then, look no further than the Graptopetalum paraguayense.
Additionally, it is great for beginners. Also, easy to propagate. Absolutely stunning in succulent wedding bouquets as well. What’s more, below is everything you should know before growing this stunning succulent.
Succulents, including Graptopetalums, store water in their plump leaves. Specifically, this helps them survive drought. As a result, this plant does not have very high watering needs. Therefore, replicate its natural habitat. For example, give Graptopetalum a deep watering. After that, let the soil dry out completely before watering again. Even so, Paraguayense only needs minimal water during winter. Without a doubt, as with most succulents, less is more! Additionally, if in doubt, you can use a moisture meter. Definitely inexpensive. Indeed they helped me when I was new to succulents.
Graptopetalum paraguayense has moderate light needs. For instance, she thrives in partial to full sun. Indeed, six hours of sunlight a day is ideal. Furthermore, consistent exposure to full sun will bring out the deepest colors paraguayense has to offer. Therefore, if your Graptopetalum is indoors, place it in bright light near a sunny window. Or, use a grow light.
Also, Ghost Plant Succulents grows to be up to 4″ (10 cm) wide. And, up to 1 foot (30 cm) tall. Certainly, in ideal lighting conditions. Additionally, it trails up to 3 feet (91 cm) long.
For one thing, this frost-tender evergreen prefers warm climates. Therefore, zones 7 through11 (minimum 30-40° F or -1.1- 4.4° C) are preferred. Even still, if you live in an area with a colder climate it is best to grow it in a container. Certainly, move it indoors in cooler months. Ideally, its environment should always be above 40° F. However, it can tolerate some cold temperatures from 25°- 30°F.
Certainly, well-draining soil is essential for keeping Graptopetalums happy. Alternatively, if your succulent is left sitting in water, it’s susceptible to rot and fungal diseases. Therefore, add pumice or perlite to the soil. Specifically, to help increase drainage. Definitely pick a pot with a drainage hole.
Additionally, I also like adding coarse sand with perlite to commercial potting (2:1:1 ratio) soil. In fact, even when I use cactus soil mix, I still like to add perlite to increase drainage.
Also, Graptopetalums need to be repotted every few years. Consequently, to avoid compacted soil. Therefore, repot during the summer when the soil is dry.
To begin with, start by gently brushing soil off the roots. Next, inspect the roots for rot or other problems that are usually underground. Then, place in fresh well-draining soil. Finally, hold off on watering for a few days. This will allow the roots to get comfortable. Also, help it heal from any damage during the transfer.
Fertilize your Graptopetalum paraguayense
Fertilizer isn’t a priority with Graptopetalum paraguayense. However, give it a try if you’d like. Moreover, keep in mind ghost plants are actively growing succulents during winter season. Generally speaking, a liquid and balanced cactus or succulent fertilizer that is low-nitrogen, is best.
Indeed, Ghost Plant Succulents are generally non-toxic to humans and animals. Furthermore, visit ASPCA for more detailed info. Or, call ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.
The Graptopetalum paraguayense naturally propagate via offsets. In fact, to speed up the propagation process, try leaf or stem cuttings. Moreover, once you have the process down, you can easily multiply your Echeveria collection. Definitely easy to do.
Leaf cuttings are taken by carefully removing the leaf off of the stem. First, gently twist the leaf. Ensuring, that you remove the entire leaf. Specifically, do not leave any parts of the leaf behind. Undoubtedly, this will increase the chances of successful propagation. Furthermore, the section in between the leaf and stem, is what enables the cutting to grow roots.
After that, allow the leaf to dry out for a few days so that the ends can callous over. Once dry, set it on top of well-draining soil. Additionally, mist with water. Next, keep the soil damp until new roots have grown in. Finally, as the leaves begin to take root, return to a regular watering schedule.
Stem cuttings follow almost the exact same process as leaf cuttings. To begin with, use a sharp pair of scissors. Next, cut off the top of the plant. Obviously, leaving a few inches at the base. Unquestionably, a frightening experience at first. However, you will be happy with the results. In addition, allow the stems to dry for three to five days before planting in soil. Or, propagating in water. Of course this can vary depending on your climate.
Water Propagation is one of my favorite methods. Furthermore, you can read more about water propagation here. Definitely make sure the rosette is upright when placing in soil. Also, make sure its well-draining soil. In fact, you can test if it has roots by gently pulling on it. If there is resistance, it has established some roots.
Additionally, the base should eventually produce new babies. Follow the above suggested watering instructions for leaf cutting.
The Graptopetalum Paraguayense grows pretty white flowers. Typically in Spring, bell-shaped blooms grow on a tall stalk. Additionally, opening up in a star. In fact, one rosette can grow more than 3 flower stalks.
Alternatively, if the plant is too young it may not bloom. Specifically, an age of 3 years or more should be sufficient for blooming.
Graptopetalum paraguayense Problems
Be wary of overwatering your Graptopetalum. Indeed, the number one killer of succulents. In fact, overwatering kills succulents much faster than underwatering. For example, symptoms of overwatering include yellow, mushy leaves, that easily fall off. More importantly, you can easily remedy this issue.
First, remove your succulent from the overwatered soil. Next, place it in fresh well-draining soil. Finally, hold off on watering for a week or so. If you still aren’t sure of when to water, a moisture meter will take out the guesswork.
Underwatering is also harmful to Graptopetalums. On the contrary, much easier to fix. Give your succulent a good drink. And, it will usually perk up. When echeveria are underwatered, leaves will shrivel up. Additionally, the plant will wilt. Besides, they can also send out air roots. Furthermore, read more about air roots here.
Etiolation is a common, but preventable problem with Graptopetalums. For instance, when the plant isn’t getting enough sunlight, it stretches toward the sun. Consequently, if you don’t keep your Graptopetalum in a bright location, it will grow stretched out. What’s more, is it will also appear less attractive than its typical compact rosette.
Once stretched out, it will not return to its tight rosette. Propagate the stem as mentioned above giving it a second chance. At any rate, increasing your collection size.
What's in a name?
Graptopetalum is derived from two Greek words. First, graptos, meaning marked or inscribed. Second, Petalon, meaning a leaf, petal. Specifically, referring to the markings on the flower petals of many species in the genus.
Graptopetalum paraguayense was originally thought to be native to Paraguay. Thus, having been found among cactus plants imported to New York in 1904. However, it was later determined to be from Mexico. Although, it has not been found in the wild there since then.
In general, Graptopetalums varieties do not require a lot of maintenance. However, bottom leaves will brown. And, die off as the Graptopetalum grows. Without a doubt, this is totally normal. Definitely remove any dead leaves to keep the plant healthy. More importantly, as to not attract pests like evil mealybugs!
Mealybugs are the biggest pest threat to your succulents. In fact, they love to hide in crevices on your Graptopetalum. Therefore, be sure to inspect your plants regularly. Specifically, signs of mealybugs will appear in the form of a white cottony web. Or, disfigured leaves. Absolutely be sure to eradicate them immediately.
Consequently, these insects drink the sap out of plants. In addition to secreting honeydew that attracts ants. A Q-tip dipped in alcohol or spraying with an organic pest killing soap will do the trick. Furthermore, read my complete post on mealybugs eradication here.
Aphids are less common but still a potential threat to Graptopetalums. Similar to mealybugs, they suck out the sap. Surely, if left untreated, they will eventually kill your succulent. Nevertheless, protect your echeveria by applying diatomaceous earth to the soil and neem oil to the succulent. Also, use an insecticidal soap to control existing infestations.
Vine weevil is a black beetle (flightless) that chews through leaves. Specifically, causing leaves to turn yellow and wilt. Again, diatomaceous earth will prevent them. Unfortunately, vine weevils are resistant to most sprays. Also, removing them manually is the most effective remedy for infestations. Furthermore, since vine weevils are nocturnal, you’ll be able to find them easily at night.
Additionally, learn more about Mealybugs and pest eradication here.
Certainly, make sure you never let Graptopetalums stand in water. Otherwise, the chances of root rot and other fungal diseases will increase. In fact, root rot is caused by consistent moisture. Subsequently, leading to bacterial infections. Nonetheless, the good news is that it is easy to prevent. First, avoid overwatering. Secondly, use a well-draining soil.
Root rot is best caught early. Therefore, routinely check for rot on your Graptopetalum. Specifically, rotted sections will be brown, or black, and mushy. In fact, the rot usually starts in the roots. Then, it spreads up the stem. Obviously, if you find an infected part, you’ll have to remove it. Otherwise, it will spread.
First, cut away the rotted section. Second, leave your succulent out of the soil for a few days so it can dry out and callous over. Third, repot in fresh well-draining soil. Lastly, keep an eye on watering.
Brown spots may appear on your Graptopetalum. It should be noted, these are likely from sunburn. Thus, move your plant out of direct heat to prevent further damage. Furthermore, learn how to save your sunburned succulents here.
Enjoy our Graptopetalum paraguayense Time Lapse Bloom video below.
Graptopetalum paraguayense 'Ghost Plant' vs Graptosedum 'Ghosty' Plant
The Ghosty Succulent is very similar to the Graptopetalum Ghost Plant. Although, you can differentiate by flower color. For example, ‘Ghosty’ has yellow and the Ghost Plant has white flowers. Additionally, I feel the Ghost plant grows a bit faster. Ghost Plant gets cool false variegation in the center of rosettes with light stress. Also, Graptosedum ‘Ghosty’ becomes etiolated faster in non-ideal conditions.
In conclusion, Graptopetalum paraguayense is a real stunner. Certainly, if you are looking for a beautiful low-maintenance succulent, look no further. Indeed, easy to care for and easy on the eyes. Surely, a great addition to any succulent collection. Additionally, if you have any further Ghost Plant Succulent tips, please leave them in the comments below. Finally, learn about other Graptopetalum Varieties here.
Complement your Graptopetalum paraguayense with these varieties:
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