Graptoveria ‘Opalina’ succulent care is easy once you learn a few key tips. This beauty forms tight opalescent rosettes that are smooth with a thick coating of farina (epicuticular wax). Keep it in partial sun and it will be a powdery blue-green with a nice covering of farina. Move it into sunnier conditions and it will flush pink at the edges. Its distinctive leaves stay fairly upright and can grow into an 8 inch (20cm) wide rosette. ‘Opalina’ is a relatively fast grower and will produce clusters of offsets at the base of the mother rosette.
Once established, water occasionally; more in extreme heat or containers.
Bright Indoor Light, Filtered / Partial Sun
Minimum 20° F (-6.7° C)
Well-draining soil, use a container with good drainage
May benefit from a balanced fertilizer in summer
6-8 inches (15-20cm) tall/6-8 inches (15-20cm) wide
Echeveria Opalina, Graptoveria Blush, Echeveria ‘Opalina’, Opalina Succulent
Mealybugs, aphids, vine weevils, rot
Generally non-toxic to humans and animals
Graptoveria (grap-toh-VER-ree-uh) is a hybrid of a Echeveria and a Graptopetalum succulent. Specifically, ‘Opalina’ is a hybrid of Echeveria colorata and Graptopetalum amethystinum (lavender pebbles). They are quite similar to Graptosedum (the word sedum refers to its orange flowers), another type of succulent. Popular Graptoveria favorites include ‘Fred Ives’, ‘Debbi,’ and ‘Fanfare’.
Succulents, including Graptoverias, store water in their leaves to survive drought. This plant does not have very high watering needs. Replicate its natural habitat by giving your Graptoveria a deep watering. Then, let the soil dry out completely before watering again. Graptoveria ‘Opalina’ only needs minimal water during the winter. Remember, as with most succulents, less is more! If in doubt, be sure to use a moisture meter. Very inexpensive and it really helped me when I was new to succulents.
Graptoverias have moderate light needs and thrives in partial to full sun. 6 hours of sunlight a day is ideal. Consistent exposure to full sun will bring out the deepest colors this succulent has to offer. If your Graptoveria lives indoors, place in bright light near a sunny window or use a grow light if needed. It grows to be up to 6-8 inches (15-20cm) tall and 6-8 inches (15-20cm) wide in ideal light conditions.
This frost-tender evergreen prefers warm climates, typically zones 9 through 10 (Minimum 20° F/-6.7° C). A great plant in the ground or in a pot in a bright location. Too much shade and plants may become leggy and lack pink coloration. If you live in an area with a colder climate it is best to grow it in a container and then move it indoors in cooler months. Ideally, its environment should always be above 25° F (-3.8°C). However, it can tolerate some cold temperatures as low as 20°F (-6.7°C).
Well-draining soil is essential for keeping Graptoverias happy. If your succulent is left sitting in water, it’s susceptible to rot and fungal diseases. Add pumice or perlite to the soil to help increase extra drainage and be sure to pick a pot with a drainage hole. I also like adding coarse sand with perlite to commercial potting soil for 2:1:1 ratio. Even when I use a commercial cactus soil mix I still add perlite for increased drainage.
Graptoverias need to be repotted every few years to avoid compacted soil. Repot during the summer when the soil is dry. Start by gently brushing the soil off the roots. Inspect the roots for rot or other problems that are usually underground. Place in fresh well-draining soil and hold off on watering for a few days. This will allow the roots to get comfortable and heal from any damage during transfer.
Fertilizer isn’t a priority with this plant. If you want to give it a try though, do so during the summer with succulent or cactus fertilizer. It should be liquid and balanced or low-nitrogen.
Graptoveria Opalina Propagation
Graptoverias naturally propagate via offsets. If you want to speed up the propagation process, this can be done by leaf and stem cuttings. Once you have the process down, you can easily multiply your Graptoveria collection.
Leaf cuttings are taken by carefully removing the leaf off of the stem. Gently twist the leaf to ensure that you remove the entire leaf and don’t leave any parts behind. This will increase the chances of successful propagation.That section in between the leaf and stem is what enables the cutting to grow roots.
After removing the leaf, let it dry out for a few days so that the ends can callous over. Once dry, set it on top of well-draining soil and mist it with water. Keep the soil damp until new roots have grown in. As the leaves begin to take root, return to a regular watering schedule.
Stem cuttings follow almost the exact same process as leaf cuttings. Take a sharp pair of scissors and cut off the top of the plant, leaving a few inches at the base. This may be a frightening experience at first, but eventually you will be happy with the results. When removing offsets or stem cuttings, allow them to dry for three to five days (depending on your climate) before planting in soil or propagating in water.
Water propagation is one of my favorite methods and you can read more here. When placing in soil make sure the rosette is upright, and in well-draining soil. You can test if it has roots by gently pulling on it. If there is resistance, it has established some roots. The base should eventually produce new babies. Follow the above watering suggested watering instructions for leaf cuttings.
Intergeneric hybrid Graptoveria ‘Opalina’ produces clusters of tight rosettes of thick, smooth, upright-held pale-blue-green leaves that blush a hint of pink on the leaf tips and margins when grown in bright light. In late spring come short-branching inflorescences bearing yellow flowers with orange centers.
Be wary of overwatering your Graptoveria, which is the number one killer of succulents. Overwatering kills succulents much faster than underwatering. Symptoms of overwatering include yellow, mushy leaves that easily fall off. Remedy this issue by removing your succulent from the overwatered soil and place it in fresh well-draining soil. 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 harmful to Graptoverias, but much easier to fix. Give your succulent a good drink and it will usually perk up. When underwatered, the succulent leaves will shrivel up and the plant will wilt. They can also send out air roots. Read more about air roots here.
Etiolation is a common, but easily preventable problem with succulents. When the plant isn’t getting enough sunlight, it stretches toward the sun. If you don’t keep your Graptoveria in a bright location, it will grow stretched and less attractive than its typical compact rosette.
Once stretched out, it will not return to its tight rosette. Propagate the stem as mentioned above to give it a second chance and increase your collection size.
Graptoveria is an intergeneric hybrid of Graptopetalum (Greek for marked petals) and Echeveria (for Atanasio Echverria Codoy, a Spanish botanist). Opalina is a hybrid of Echeveria colorata crossed with Graptopetalum amethystinum. Created by California succulent enthusiast and breeder Robert Grim with the name first published in the Cactus and Succulent Journal in 1988. It was distributed that same year by the International Succulent Institute as ISI 1853 which noted: “A lovely new cultivar, notable for its highly succulent, pink flushed, bluish leaves that remind one of the shifting colors of opal”.
They generally do not require a lot of maintenance. The bottom leaves will brown and die off as the Graptoveria grows, and this is normal. Be sure to remove these to keep the plant healthy and so that it does not attract pests like the evil mealy bug!
Mealybugs are the biggest pest threat to your succulents. They love to hide in crevices on your Graptoverias so be sure to inspect your plants regularly. If signs of mealy bugs appear in the form of a white cottony web or disfigured leaves, be sure to eradicate them immediately. These small white scale insects drink the sap out of plants and secrete honeydew that attracts ants. A Q-tip dipped in alcohol or a spray from an organic pest killing soap will do the trick. Read my complete post on mealybugs eradication here.
Aphids are less common but still a potential threat to Graptoverias. Like mealybugs, they suck out the sap. If left untreated, they will eventually kill your succulent. Protect your echeveria by applying diatomaceous earth to the soil and neem oil to the succulent. Use insecticidal soap to control existing infestations.
Vine weevil is a black beetle (flightless) that chews through leaves, causing them to turn yellow and wilt. Diatomaceous earth will prevent them. Unfortunately, vine weevils are resistant to most sprays. Removing them manually is the most effective remedy for infestations. Since vine weevils are nocturnal, you’ll be able to find them easily at night.
Learn more about Mealybug and pest eradication here.
Make sure you never let your Graptoverias stand in water or else the chances of root rot and other fungal diseases will increase. Root rot is caused by consistent moisture and can lead to bacterial infections. The good news is that it is easy to prevent. Avoid overwatering and use a well-draining soil.
Root rot is best caught early, so routinely check for rot on your Graptoverias. Rotted sections will be brown or black and mushy. The rot usually starts in the roots and spreads up the stem. If you find an infected part, you’ll have to remove it or else it will spread. After cutting away the rotted section, leave your succulent out of the soil for a few days so it can dry out and callous over. Repot in fresh well-draining soil and keep an eye on watering.
Brown spots may appear on your Graptoveria. These are most likely from sunburn. Move your plant out of direct heat to prevent further damage. Learn how to save your sunburned succulents here.
The Graptoveria succulent has a few different varieties:
Graptoveria ‘Bashful’ (the name is based on the fact its flowers grow very close to the soil)
Compliment your Graptoveria 'Fred Ives' with these varieties:
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