What You Need To Know About the ‘Bluebean’ Graptopetalum Pachyphyllum

Graptopetalum Pachyphyllum is one of the most popular succulents in the world. The name graptopetalum loosely means leaves arranged like scrolled sheets. The plant’s leaves are lush, thick, and fleshy. If subjected to the right stressors, the leaves can turn to different shades of color, giving your garden an even more beautiful appearance. Possible shades include blue-grey brownish-purple with white speckles.

The pale coloration that often characterizes the plant has caused some people to refer to it as the ‘Ghost Flower Succulent,’ one of its common names.

Further, this plant produces equally fleshy flowers that are roundish in shape. The flowers have either purple or lavender petals. The flowers are bell-shaped, and each of them has five petals that appear like stars at the center. It blooms in spring; it is beautiful through and through.

This beautiful plant is a native of the Central Mexican Mountains such as Zacatecas, Quretaro, San Luis Potosi, Hildago and Jalisco. Naturally, the Bluebean is adapted for environments similar to these mountains.

Some of its other physical characteristics include a slow-growing plant with a short stem that grows to a maximum of twenty centimeters. It, however, branches at the base with the stems growing big. Ultimately, the plant takes more space than just the short stem.

The following is all you need to know about Graptopetalum Pachyphyllum’s care.

Placement and Light Requirements

Graptopetalum Pachyphyllum can do well in either direct or indirect sunlight, and you can grow it indoors or outdoors provided you give it the right conditions. If you keep it outside permanently, keep it under indirect sunlight for six to eight hours. Among the eight hours, you keep it under direct sunlight, ensuring that the scorching mid-day summer sun isn’t one of them. When the sun is too hot, it scorches the delicate leaves.

The Bluebean is not cold-hardy either. It performs best in temperatures between 25o Fahrenheit (-3.9oC) and 50o Fahrenheit (10oC). Take the plant into the house if your area experiences freezing winters because it won’t survive the season.

One of the challenges you are likely to experience in winter is the yellowing of leaves. It is a symptom that your plant isn’t getting enough sunlight. Position it towards the southern or western window so that sunlight can seep through. Keep the plant for six to eight hours to cure the deficiency causing the yellowing of leaves.

Best Soil for Graptopetalum Pachyphyllum

Like most succulents, this plant prefers well-draining soils, it is drought-resistant, but unlike many other succulents, it requires its soil to be moist (we shall discuss this more under watering). If you want to grow it outdoors, you can use commercially available cactus pottage mix. You can also make your pottage by mixing organic material such as compost and mixing it with perlite. The organic material will produce the nutrients you need, while the perlite will give it the porosity to help water pass through quickly. Compost will also help maintain the necessary moisture level in the soil.

How to Water Graptopetalum Pachyphyllum

Graptopetalums grow in summer and spring, and this is when it requires the most watering. Give it just enough water in winter to keep it alive. Even in summer and spring, this plant needs just enough when it needs water. Waterlogging is one of the most significant causes of plant death for Bluebean since it leads to root rot. Too much water also causes the plant to be susceptible to pests and diseases.

The best way to water in spring and summer is to ensure no water in the top one inch of the pottage. Water only if it is dehydrated. Also, you should try as much as possible to put the water directly into the soil. This plant’s leaves usually form rosettes, and water tends to lodge on the rosettes when you pour it on them.

Lodged water on the leaves causes the leaves to rot. It also increases the possibility of the plant being infested with pests. The expansive nature of the leaves can make the recommended outcome of watering difficult because leaves and branches cover the whole base. You can dampen from the bottom by dipping the pot into a tab for the soil to absorb water through the pot.

The success of the above-suggested method will depend on the type of pot you are using for your plant. Terracotta pots are the best because they absorb the water to facilitate watering, and they are breathable enough to allow excess water to evaporate through.

Fertilizer

Graptopetalum pachyphyllum only needs fertilizer in its growth seasons of spring and summer. The safest way to feed it is by using a succulent fertilizer mixed with quarter strength. Feed once every month and observe. If you notice the leaves turning yellow, it is an indication that you are overfeeding them. It would help if you stopped feeding the succulent for a while, and the problem will resolve itself. Succulent fertilizer is the best because its nutrients are explicitly mixed for these plants. You, therefore, can’t get it wrong with the combination of nutrients.

Grooming Graptopetalum Pachyphyllum

The Bluebeans plant doesn’t require any grooming to improve its appearance. The plant is pretty well shaped, naturally. However, you might find the need to remove some dead leaves once in a while to keep them tidy. The plant can also outgrow its space if you are growing it indoors. In the event it starts taking up too much space, you can prune off up to a third of the plant’s total size, and it will continue growing without missing a step. You should be wary, though. Too much pruning can stunt the plant for a while as it tries to regain momentum.

Repotting

Earlier, we mentioned that this is a slow-growing plant. This attribute means that it may take some time to outgrow its pot. Re-potting may become necessary after a while. Change pots if you notice roots poking out from the bottom. You will need to purchase the succulents potting mix and transfer your plant to the new, more giant planter.

Toxicity

It contains oxalic acid that irritates the skin and eyes; you should wear gloves when working on it. Besides this, it is not toxic to humans or pets. It is, however, essential to keep the plant away from pets and kids so they don’t touch their eyes with the plant’s sap. It is not fatal, but it will irritate them.

Pests and Diseases

This plant isn’t highly prone to pests and diseases; however, mealybugs and scale insects sometimes attack it, especially indoors. You can deal with the bugs by spraying the infested leaves with diluted pesticide soap or plant-based pesticides such as pyrethrum and neem. Get a cotton swab, dip it into rubbing alcohol, and dub the infested place for scale insects. It is vital to dispose of the cotton swabs well because they may have these insects’ eggs, and if you keep them near the plant, the eggs will hatch, causing a re-infestation.

Root rot and basal stem rot are the most likely diseases for this plant. It is predisposed to them by keeping it in waterlogged soil; root rot can advance to basal stem rot if unabated. It also leads to the death of the plant eventually.

ALSO READ:

How to Propagate Graptopetalum Pachyphyllum

There are several propagation methods for the Blue Bean. You can use cuttings, leaves, offsets, or seeds.

Follow the following procedures for each.

Cuttings

This is the most effective propagation method. Take the following steps.

  1. Take a knife and sterilize it with rubbing alcohol or methylated spirit.
  2. Select a healthy stem from the succulent and cut it at the base.
  3. Allow the stem to dry off for a few days under the sun.
  4. Plant the cutting on well-drained soil and water sparingly.

Rooting should occur in two to three weeks.

Leaves

You can also propagate using leaves. You pick healthy leaves and cut them off at the base, where the leaf connects at the stem. Don’t leave any part of the leaf on the stem. Else the propagation won’t work. Follow the steps above to grow your new plant. The leaf will eventually become a whole plant, but it will take longer than a stem cutting.

Offsets

  • Cut off the offset using a sharp sterilized knife.
  • Put the offset under shade and allow it to be callous
  • Plant it in the correct type of soil and wait.

It takes a little longer to propagate using the offsets because you have to wait until one appears on the mother plant.

Once you propagate the plant and pot it, you might need to re-pot after about two years. The reporting frequency is not as high as some other plants because it has relatively shallow roots.

Seeds

Propagating Blue beans through seeds should be the last option as seeds may not produce mature plants as quickly as other propagation methods. Don’t try to use your sources; their vitality may be poor. Get certified seeds from a recognized seller.

  • Plant your seeds on well-draining soil, not deeper than one centimeter under the ground.
  • Water the seeds gently after planting. Please note that the soil should be well-draining to avoid waterlogging.
  • Allow the water to dry off before watering again.
  • Keep watering the seedlings when they sprout and never allow waterlogging.
graptopetalum pachyphyllum with green leaves
Photo by @toffeee300 via Instagram

Conclusion

The care regime for Graptopetalum pachyphyllum is quite simple; it is slow-growing; thus, it doesn’t need frequent re-potting. It doesn’t require much grooming or watering, and it isn’t too prone to pests and diseases. Despite all this, it has an exquisite appearance. It is the kind of plant that makes a novice gardener appear like a seasoned professional and a busy gardener appear like they have everything under control.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Posted in Succulents