Graptopetalum are another member of the Crassulaceae family – the same group that includes Sedum, Sempervivum, Echeveria and (of course) Crassula among others.
They are very closely related to Echeveria, so close in fact that they can cross breed and form x Graptoveria varieties.
The 'x' in the name denotes an inter-generic cross, a hybrid of two genera, not two species of the same genus as most hybrids.
With the genetic collaboration of these two genera, there are many new forms that combine with all the other Crassulacean members in container collections, crafts and succulent gardens.
For care, they require well drained soil, and most thrive in full sun in cooler areas, and a bit of shade in the afternoon in really hot summers. They are frost tender and grown as a house plant for the winter if the winters are cold.
Here are a few Graptopetalum species and varieties:
Graptopetalum pentalum ‘Superbum’; dark mauve over laid with a thick waxy bloom, this plant almost looks white, unless the pruinose is damaged by handling.
The tendency to extremely flat growth gives this a squat low appearance over time.
Each leaf is pointed, but overlaps its neighbors to form a flat disk, looking very much like a zinnia bloom.
Graptopetalum paraguyanse; Ghostlike pale gold and green pointed chubby leaves give this plant the appearance of a cluster of roses.
The pruinose or powdery coating changes the appearance to a mauve blue.
This plant has a tendency to form really long stems, which can sometimes look snake like, each topped with the pretty flower like rosette.
Cascading over the edge of a container, this plant is spectacular all on its own, or combined with many other similar forms in a succulent planter.
There are also some of the x Graptoveria hybrids such as x Graptoveria ‘Debbie’ and x Graptoveria ‘A Grim One’.
These are found more often in avid succulent gardeners’ collections, and many times in crafts and passed around in swaps, as they are easy to propagate and grow.
The white waxy 'bloom' is easy to rub off with even just the most casual of handling - don't worry, it does grow back and it won't hurt the plant. It's there to protect it from intense sunlight.
In lower light situations, it may need to live under a grow light to keep the bloom from disappearing altogether.
The best way to propagate the Graptopetalum group is to behead the overgrown plants, leaving the long stems behind.
The new rosette is planted singly, or in groups of others to form a beautiful carpet of lush growth.
Care is similar to Echeveria; see the page on how to grow Echeveria for some hints and tips, and succulent care for an overview.
Keep an eye out for some of these great additions to your succulent collection; easy to grow and forgiving of neglect, in fact, thriving on it, they make perfect started plants – get your friends hooked on the succulent hobby, so you can trade back and forth.
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