Graptopetalum (grap-toh-PET-al-um) are pretty, easy to grow rosettes that can develop long, rambling stems. They thrive on full sun and drought, both of which bring out their best colors. It's an easy variety to propagate from stem cuttings or leaves. It also hybridizes readily with other genera in its family, like Sedum and Echeveria.
- Colors: A range of pastel shades that are lightened by a heavy coat of farina.
- Form: Can be anywhere from a low growing rosette to a stemmy, branching thing.
- Foliage: Tends to be very thick and can either be egg shaped or very pointed at the tips of the leaves.
- Flowers: Tend to be pale in color, either white or pale yellow. Some of the stamens reflex outside of the petals when the flower is receptive to pollen. The petals often feature burgundy or rust colored speckling or banding.
- Light: Graptopetalum prefer lots of light. South facing windows are perfect for these plants.
- Soil: A light, well-draining soil balanced with organic matter will encourage growth and prevent root rot. Look for a gritty cactus/succulent soil at a garden center or make your own by mixing 1 part potting soil with 1 part coarse sand. Fertilizer is not required, but a biweekly application of a balanced fertilizer in the summer growing season can accelerate growth and prompt flowering.
- Water: Infrequent watering is key to developing healthy roots, especially in the winter when Graptopetalum is not actively growing. Water deeply, but only when the soil is dry, as Graptopetalum will not tolerate standing water. Frequency will vary; aim for about 1-2 times a week in the summer and 2-3 times a month during winter semi-dormancy. For potted Graptopetalum, we recommend using containers with drainage holes.
- Hardiness: Graptopetalum are not frost hardy, so only plant outdoors in Hardiness Zones 10-11 with good drainage and plenty of sun (what’s my zone?). Fortunately for plant lovers in other climates, these plants are happy growing indoors.
- Propagation: These varieties can be multiplied through stem or leaf propagation. Use a sharp, clean knife to remove a large leaf or the top 2.0"+ of stem. Leave the cutting to dry 3-5 days then follow our Guide to Propagating Cuttings to re-root them.
NOTES FROM THE NURSERY
Graptopetalum is mainly a "catch all" genus for things that couldn't comfortably be placed into Sedum or Echeveria. As such, the variation in this genus is truly remarkable. However, despite all this variation, they are united by one feature, their flowers. Graptopetalum flowers have petals that spread out from each other, more like Sedum than Echeveria. However, what separates them from Sedum are the stamens. When the flower is ready to receive pollen, half of the stamens bend away from the center of the plant so far, that they pass through the spaces between the petals. Bizarre to be sure, but this tiny detail is all that stops Graptopetalum from being swallowed up by Sedum.