Everything You Need To Know About Graptopetalum Paraguayense – The Mother Of Pearl Succulent

The Ghost plant (Graptopetalum Paraguayense) is cold-hardy, succulent forming rosettes of grey-bluish color and has a pinkish tinge. The leaves are frail, require finesse, and fall off easily, so please handle them with care. They grow in full sun, are cheap, beginner-friendly, simple to propagate (both from cutting and leaves), succulent, and the flowers grow in a beautiful star-like shape.

Ghost Plants are some of the easiest to grow and to take care of it. Due to their hardy nature, issues that would spell the end for other succulents are just a setback, namely lack of water, frost, or breakage. If you are only getting into growing your babies, the ghost plant will give you plenty of leeway for mistakes and accidental neglect.

Pretty, easy to grow, and hardy sound interesting? Then please keep reading and find out more about how this resilient succulent can be part of your life, and how you can help it to show off its beauty.

Which Temperature Ghost Plant Preferers?

Graptopetalum paraguayense is beautiful succulent, hardy but does not like to be indoors. You want to grow it if you are in a zone that does not get particularly cold (The lowest temperature being 20 º F or -6 ° C) or freezing.

Of course, it is not a good idea to keep them so cold. If you foresee extended periods of cold or freezing temperatures, you want to take additional care to protect them. Good ways to shelter them are with frost cloth or, the cheaper alternative, bringing it indoors for a while to avoid damage.

It does not mean they cannot tolerate those temperatures, as they can for as long as they are kept dry. So if you are not feeling like bringing them in and facing the cold weather, it is unlikely that they will suffer any significant damage. I only generally prefer to stay a little safer.

Placement and Sunlight

Although it can handle full sun with ease and remains compact, the Graptopetalum paraguayense does better under indirect sunlight. It feels at home on a windowsill or a garden with other succulents. When grown indoors, the ghost plant tends to be elongated.

A few things to bear in mind, though are its brittleness and fragility. Due to this, avoid planting it in high traffic areas and frequent movements.

In limited cover, they become blue-gray, and while exposed to full sun, their color turns gray-pink and sometimes to yellow or pinkish gray.

What Is The Soil Type For Graptopetalum Paraguayense?

The ghost plant requires porous, well-draining, and sandy soil with perfect drainage. A mixture of gravel and loam soil at an equal ratio is ideal for growing this plant. Although drainage must be good, it should maintain adequate moisture to sustain the plant.

Pruning Graptopetalum Paraguayense

Ghost plants and other succulents can be kept neat and controlled with occasional pruning. Always cut or prune where you want the new shoot to emerge as new growth typically starts growing from the cutting area. It is easy to shape your plant the way you desire it to grow. To do this, cut above a branch or bud that is growing in a specific direction.

The cut-offs are then used later after allowing them to wither for a few days before wedging them in a porous potting soil or a hanging pot.

If you are working on a plant in the garden ground, it’s better to do it at the beginning of winter. It is the time before new growth starts. The rule of thumb is, always prune when indoor weather is warm. When working on flowering varieties, only prune in winter when they are dormant.

Use sharp and easy to clean knives or a pair of scissors to avoid infections on your plants.

Why is pruning important?

There are many reasons for pruning your ghost plant:

  • When they are tall and thin due to the lack of enough sunlight exposure. Pruning will clear some leaves and unwanted canopy to allow sunlight to shine through.
  • When you want to expand your plant garden by propagating using branches. Cuttings from pruning can grow more ghost plants for your garden by re-planting them.
  • When you desire a new growth and rejuvenate your plants. There is a need to have more sprouts of branches below a specific section of the stem or want a denser canopy.
  • When you desire to have a particular shape of the plant canopy, for example, to have a short growing rosette, you must cut off your plant’s head or chop off some branches to form the desired shape.

What tools do you need for pruning?

It would be best if you had a long sharp pair of scissors that can allow you to access the whole plant without much strain. You may prefer using Japanese bonsai scissors, or you can use Fiskars pruners.

It’s recommended to clean your scissors with Isopropyl alcohol after every use to avoid infections.

two beautiful graptopetalum paraguayense plants
Photo by @bea_deco2018 via Instagram

Pests and diseases

The common pests are mealy bugs, aphids, and vine weevil that like infesting its congested-looking rosettes.

To organically get rid of mealy bugs try any of the following:

  • Dab these insects with a cotton pad soaked in rubbing alcohol.
  • Other natural predators like lacewing, ladybugs, and mealybug destroyer feed on mealybugs.
  • Use neem oil. It disrupts the development of mealybugs without harming honey bees.

To eliminate aphids, use a mixture of soap and water, essential oils, and neem oil. Ladybugs, birds, and lacewings feed on the aphids.

Vine weevils can be controlled by removing mulch from the plant base and reducing watering frequency. For a lasting solution, use organic Diatomaceous Earth.

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How To Propagate Graptopetalum Paraguayense

Graptopetalum paraguayense is an incredible propagator that grows not only from cuttings but also from the root of its leaves. The plant is very frail because it strongly desires to break off and keep growing and expanding quickly.

It’s critical to be careful where you plant your Ghost plants due to their strong desire to propagate, as they can and will take over the space of your other plants if allowed. Keeping in mind how little they need to thrive, they can take over your garden in a stride even when temperatures are mild with enough sunlight.

Propagating from cuttings

When propagating from cuts, allow time for them to dry and give enough space to plant, even if that means removing some leaves from it. Only water then after that is done, that way they will have the best chance of survival.

Propagating from leaves

When growing outdoors, it’s natural that a ghost plant keeps growing past its intended space. If a leaf falls in dry enough soil, it’ll eventually grow thin roots that will slowly drain the frail leaf of nutrients and be the catalyst of new growth. When manually removing leaves to propagate, you have to twist them carefully to avoid damaging them. Try to go for the leaves lower on the main stem if you want to be completely safe.

Leave the leaf on dry soil for a full day, and give it time to dry. Then place them on the soil and space them apart, giving the new growth enough space. After a full day of sun and drying, you can water them, and in time you will see roots growing from the leaves. When watering, it is crucial to soak the soil and only water again after a week. The succulent will draw the water it needs into its leaves in this period.

graptopetalum paraguayense plants
Photo by @amosuculenta via Instagram

Do You Need to Repot Graptopetalum Paraguayense?

There is no need to repot Graptopetalum paraguayense too often. You should still keep in mind that they grow a lot and outgrow the pot if not tended. In that case, you can either make cuttings and replant those in another recipient or move the whole plant to a bigger pot during spring (when it’s growing the most) with mild temperatures.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for an easy to care plant that you don’t have to worry about having around pets or kids (the ghost plant is not toxic), looks pretty all year long, and is very forgiving with mistakes, this is the succulent for you. Just give them plenty of sunlight, dry soil, and watch as their colors flare into beautiful hues of blue, yellow, and orange depending on the time of year and the amount of sunlight.

Graptopetalum paraguayense will make for a stunning decoration indoors or outdoors. Just be sure to give them the proper care when growing indoors, as they become a bit more of a challenge but are still very manageable if you give your plants enough love.

It’s critical to always keep in mind that this succulent strongly desires to break-off and grow, so moving it around is a sure way to damage the stem or lose leaves. Keep moving and repotting to a minimum, unless it’s growing outside of your intended area. This plant is a survivor and will adapt to arid and colder environments alike, as long as you avoid frequent movement.

And last but not least, the number one way to damage your ghost plant is by overwatering. Make sure to water them until the soil is soaked, and then wait a week until you water again. Having a recipient with drainage holes is essential for its survival, as it helps to plant in disposing of excess water. And with these few tips, you should be ready to have your very own beauty of a Ghost plant.

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