The Graptopetalum Paraguaynese gets its nickname “the ghost plant” from its thick farina layer, which covers its pale blue, purple, and occasionally red leaves. The layer of wax gives these colors a ghostly shine, and this succulent’s haunting pastel beauty makes it an excellent addition to any home garden. Ideal as a potted houseplant, this heat-loving succulent pairs well in any home, as long as you give it proper attention and care.
The Ghost Plant isn’t toxic to animals or people, and it’s completely safe to have around pets! Still, we recommend handling this succulent with gardening gloves to help protect the farina layer and to keep it out of reach from any curious and hungry critters.
As a succulent, Ghost Plants are relatively hardy and low-maintenance compared to other houseplants. What makes this succulent a bit tricky, however, is its pale leaf color. Unlike bright green succulents, it may be a bit hard to tell when your Ghost Plant is struggling simply because its leaves have a naturally dead and distressed look.
Unlike most succulents, the Ghost Plant thrives in bright, direct sunlight as well as bright, indirect sunlight. Your Ghost Plant will also change color depending on its light level: in direct light, the succulent appears a bit more pinkish, while in shadier areas, it’ll appear more blue-greyish.
Your Ghost Plant will need well-draining soil with a bit of coarse sand to ensure it doesn’t retain too much water. We recommend using a cactus mix or a potting mix with peat and perlite for optimal drainage. Place a layer of stones and a middle layer of gravel at the bottom of your pot to improve this succulent soil aeration further.
Ghost Plants don’t need water often, only when their soil is completely dry. Since these succulents are especially drought-resistant, you can wait until the leaves start to shrivel slightly before watering. After watering, wait for excess water to drain from your pot before putting your succulent away. To ensure your Ghost Plant is deeply watered, use a succulent watering bottle or the bottom watering method.
Temperature and Humidity
Ghost Plants do best in USDA agricultural zones 9-11, and unlike other succulents native to these areas, they can tolerate a bit of cold. Still, Ghost Plants aren’t frost-tolerant and will start to wither when temperatures drop below freezing without proper protection. If you’re growing your Ghost Plants outside, be sure to bundle them up before winter hits!
Indoors, Ghost Plants do best at your standard room temperatures between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. While they aren’t too picky about temperature, humidity is another story. Keep your room’s humidity at a lower 40% to ensure your Ghost Plant stays content.
Ghost Plants don’t need much in terms of fertilizer either. We recommend only using compost to fertilize this succulent during its spring and fall growing seasons.
Potting and Repotting
Like any other succulent, it’s best to repot your Ghost Plant during the growing season in the spring or fall to ensure your succulent has plenty of time and energy to adjust to its new home and recover from the move.
When choosing a pot for your Ghost Plant, it’s best to prioritize drainage over all else. Make sure your new pot has drainage holes, and is made from a porous material like concrete, terracotta, or ceramic. Whenever you transfer a succulent to a new pot, make sure the pot is at least 10% larger than the last one!
Ghost Plants flower during the late spring and early fall with small yellow or white flowers. These succulents aren’t monocarpic, so feel free to enjoy your Ghost Plant’s blossoms as they come and go. To encourage blooming in your Ghost Plant, increase the amount of sunlight it receives to about eight hours of direct light, and make sure your soil doesn’t retain much water.
The best way to propagate a Ghost Plant is through leaf cuttings or offshoots. To do so, wait until your succulent begins producing offshoots during its growing season. Then, using a clean, sharp pair of scissors or a knife, cut the tiny rosette off from the mother plant and place it in its tiny pot. Treat the pup like its own baby succulent and keep its soil moist until it takes root.
Ghost Plants normally go dormant in the winter, but they also have a slower growing period in the summer as well. Since this succulent does best in the cooler parts of spring and fall, its growth will naturally slow during extreme heat or cold. During any dormant period, your succulent may appear wilted or not grow. Don’t worry– your Ghost Plant isn’t dead, just resting before another growing period.
Common Pests and Complications
The biggest complication to come with a Ghost Plant is overwatering. With such a heavy emphasis on drainage, these succulents need high levels of soil aeration to avoid contracting common overwatering problems like root rot, fungal gnats, and mold infections. Fortunately, you can solve most overwatering problems with some fresh soil, a clean pot, and a little hydrogen peroxide.
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