Graptoveria Plants are a favored variety amongst Houseplant enthusiasts and succulent collectors. Known for their vivid colors and compact, perfectly formed rosettes, this succulent hybrid makes a great talking piece in any houseplant or terrarium display.
Interestingly, the coloring of the leaves on Graptoveria succulents is achieved by providing a ‘stressed’ environment where watering is limited, temperatures are adjusted and light exposure is increased.
Originating from a combination of Echeveria and Graptopetalum succulents, the Graptoveria is a hybrid cross and is distinguishable by its waxy leaves and rosette appearance.
There are many varieties of Graptoveria or Graptos as they are often referred to by experts. The most common of which include Graptoveria Debbie, Graptoveria Moonglow, Graptoveria Fred Ives, Graptoveria Opalina, Graptoveria Blue Pearl, and Graptoveria Bashful. Find more details about these other varieties later in this article.
The leaves of the Graptoveria plant are typically olive-green with a bronze sheen. However, each variety provides a different hue including pink, yellow, orange, and bluey-green.
Position Full sun with partial shade in extreme temperatures
Watering Water thoroughly but infrequently
Climate Semi-cold-hardy, Zone 9a (Minimum 20° F | -6.7° C)
Propagate Stem cuttings, leaves, offsets, seeds
Toxicity None Toxic
Flowers Typically star-shaped. Colors vary: peachy-pink, orange, yellow or white
Graptoveria Succulent Care
All Graptoveria succulent varieties need full sunlight to ensure the best chances of achieving that vivid sort-after admirable colors. Provide partial shade when the weather is very hot to avoid sunburn and scorched leaves.
These succulents are not hardy plants and will not tolerate frost for extended periods of time. Bring them indoors during colder spells and when you know temperatures will begin to drop. They don’t tolerate extreme changes in temperature and so will need to reacclimatise from their outdoor to indoor position over a week or so.
For indoor planting, a good position is a bright, draft-free windowsill.
The rosettes of a well-cared-for plant of the Graptoveria succulent variety will grow between 6 to 8 inches in diameter. Some varieties such as Moonglow may grow up to 10 inches in diameter. Offsets are common and will grow around the main rosette to create a colorful carpeted effect that will eventually fill up a succulent display.
As is the case with most other succulents, Graptoveria plants prefer dry roots and low levels of humidity rather than to be kept in damp soil. The key is giving them a thorough drowning with your watering can when needed and then also exposing them to a dry period to allow roots to grow and get the oxygen they need to thrive.
Water thoroughly but infrequently and always ensure that the soil is completely dry before watering again.
To test the dryness of the soil press your finger at least a quarter of an inch into the soil or prod the soil around the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. If the soil feels dry, it’s time to water your plant.
It’s easy to spot when you have either over watered or under watered your Graptoveria succulent. Indicators of over-watering include soggy, mushy, and brown-colored leaves. The leaves of an under-watered Graptoveria plant will look deflated and may also turn brown or drop off. You may also start to notice little or no growth at all.
One further word of caution about watering, don’t be tempted to use a spray bottle or mister when you’re watering your Graptoveria succulents. Firstly, the roots will not get the required amount of water they need to hydrate. Secondly, any water that settles and remains on the leaves can lead to leaf rot, disease, or potentially encourage pests.
Always use well-draining soil when planting any variety of Graptoveria. The roots need to be free from excess moisture and receive the oxygen they need and you’ll only achieve this with a peat-free soil or coconut coir mixed with minerals such as grit, sand, or perlite.
Planting in the right type of soil will not only encourage healthy growth, it will also help to prevent root rot and disease.
Mixing your own well-draining soil is easily achievable at home. Simply, combine two-thirds of minerals such as grit, sand, and perlite, and one-third of organic matter, such as a good quality peat-free compost or coconut coir.
You can of course buy a ready-mixed version and there are plenty of good ready-mixed succulent and cacti soils available to purchase online or at any decent garden-supply retailer.
The flowers of the Graptoveria usually appear in late spring and early summer. They are tiny little pretty blooms that are star-shaped. They can vary in color from one variety to another, ranging from peachy-pink, orange, yellow and white.
To encourage a good, strong root system and healthy growth use a ready-mixed succulent or cactus fertilizer that has been diluted to 25%. Fertilize just once during the summertime growing season.
Pruning is only necessary for aesthetic reasons to tidy your Graptoveria plant up from time to time if absolutely necessary. Do prune back any damaged, yellow or dead to improve the look and to keep your plants healthy and disease-free. Always use a sharp pair of scissors or a knife that you have sterilized before use before attempting any pruning.
You should only need to re-pot any of the Graptoveria succulent plants every 2-3 years. In fact, all varieties of Graptoveria prefer a relatively pot-bound environment. This is because their tightly formed roots help to encourage Therefore, keeping them in a pot for longer than intended should not pose too much of a problem unless there becomes little or no room for off-sets to grow.
If your Graptoveria plant does outgrow its container it’s best to re-pot after flowering. Choose a suitably sized pot and always use fresh soil.
Whilst you have the plant out of its pot check the condition of the roots for any signs of rot. If you do notice any wet and slimy, dark brown or black areas on the roots, gently trim them off with a sharp sterile knife or scissors. Allow the cuts to dry before repotting.
How To Propagate Graptoveria Succulent Plants
Most varieties of Graptoveria can be propagated from cuttings, seeds, leaves, and offsets. Even a rosette or leaf that has dropped off has the potential to take root and produce a new plant quickly given the right environment.
See below for a step-by-step guide on how to propagate.
To take a cutting from your Graptoveria plant use a sharp, sterile knife or pair of scissors to remove a cutting from the main plant. Make sure the cut is as clean as possible and as close to the main plant as you can.
Place some kitchen paper in a container or tray and put the cutting on top. There’s no need to place the cutting in soil at this point.
Keep the cutting dry for the next few days or so to allow it to form a protective barrier or to ‘callous off’.
Once the callous has developed you can lay the cutting on top of a thin layer of succulent or cactus soil and wait for the roots to start to grow. This will take a few weeks. Water the soil only when it has completely dried out.
When roots appear, plant in a pot or container using succulent or cactus soil. It’s best to mound the soil up around the newly rooted cutting so that it sits slightly proud of the pot. Press down to secure and cover with a layer of grit. Do not water until the following day.
After watering press the soil down around the cutting once more. Position in in a bright spot but move into shade to avoid full sun.
Sow seeds in well-draining soil and water only when the soil is dry. Ensure that soil and air temperature are consistently warm. Using a seed tray warmer or grow light will help here. Seeds are unlikely to germinate or will take several weeks to germinate if conditions are cool.
Always select a healthy leaf from your Graptoveria succulent and take care to remove the entire leaf from the stem. For best results, hold the leaf between thumb and forefinger as near to the stem as possible, give it a gentle but confident twist to ensure the leaf remains intact. Damaged or bruised leaves are less likely to be successful in propagation.
Place the leaf on kitchen paper and allow it to callous off for a couple of days. Once dry, lay the leaf on well-draining succulent or cactus soil. Water only when the soil is completely dry. Rooting is likely to take several weeks.
Propagate offsets in the same way as above by removing with a sharp, sterile knife or scissors and allowing the cut to callous off for a day or so.
Place the off set on well-draining soil and water only when soil is completely dry.
Common problems with Graptoveria Succulents
Most varieties of the Graptoveria plant are forgiving and can tolerate a little neglect from underwatering. However, overwatering or more to the point allowing the soil to remain damp for prolonged periods, can lead to root rot. Unless you check the roots of your plant regularly (which is unlikely) one of the first signs to look out for with root rot is rotting leaves near to the bottom of the plant.
If you suspect your Graptoveria plant is suffering from root rot, gently remove it from the pot and carefully brush off any remaining soil. Roots that are brown or black and soft and mushy are rotten and need trimming off. Allow the cut to dry before repotting with fresh soil in a clean pot. Water thoroughly, but less frequently.
The leaves of rosette succulents such as a Graptoveria plant become more vibrant when exposed to more light. When leaves transition from green to their more vivid color, the leaves may appear blotchy. This can also be the case when transitioning from a vivid color back to green.
These tiny wingless insects can be found amongst the crevices of the Graptoveria succulent, usually where the leaves and stems meet. Mealybugs produce a distinctive cotton-like mass on the plant’s surface. They feed on the plant’s sap by piecing their straw-like mouth into the foliage.
Use household insect spray, neem oil, detergent or soapy water to wash them away. Repeat regularly until the infestation subsides.
A pest that breeds at a phenomenal rate, feeding on the sap of Graptoveria plants. Aphids are most commonly green, white, or black. These slow-moving insects breed in massive numbers around new growth. Treat regularly with a detergent or any household horticultural bug spray and repeat until all traces have been removed.
Popular Varieties of Graptoveria Plants
Graptoveria ‘Debbie’ or Graptoveria ‘Debbi’
Is a purple succulent with arrowhead-shaped leaves that have a frosted pink hue. Rosettes are perfectly formed as the leaves grow in a tightly packed formation. The pink leaf color intensifies during cooler temperatures or exposure to bright sunlight. Star-shaped blooms appear in Spring and are apricot-colored.
Is a most distinguished variety and one that is easy to grow and quickly produces off-sets. ts rosette formation leaves have a blue-green hue and are tinged with shades of pink depending on temperatures and light exposure. You can expect to see pretty orange-colored flowers in winter and into early spring.
This is a great variety if you are new to succulent growing or want to introduce others to the joys of succulent plants. Moonglow is notoriously easy to grow and very forgiving even if it gets slightly neglected.
Graptoveria Fred Ives
Is another highly coveted Graptoveria plant for succulent growers and enthusiasts. As with Moonglow, it’s an evergreen with leaves that form rosettes and spread in clumps to create a spectacular carpet of interest. Depending on temperature and light exposure its color transforms from pink and bronze to blue, yellow, and salmon pink. It produces exquisite orange and yellow star-shaped flowers in summer.
Fred Ives is another forgiving succulent plant that enjoys well-draining soil and dry conditions. It quickly produces offsets that create the colorful carpeted effect making it perfect for succulent arrangements, rock gardens, and container displays.
Displays frosted blue-green leaves in a rosette formation albeit less densely clumped together. Watch out for pink outer leaves when exposed to full sun and pretty, yellow flowers in spring.
Yet another fast grower and once again forgiving if slightly neglected, this succulent makes a lovely addition to rock gardens and succulent displays.