Ghost Plant Care – How to Grow Graptopetalum Paraguayense

Nope, it’s not frightening or scary at all. In fact, the best word to describe the ghost plant would be beautiful.

These succulents are full of surprises the moment you lay your eyes on them. This all begins with their pinkish-gray foliage that changes colors when they’re exposed to different kinds of light.

And, don’t forget the lovely rosette that their leaves form.

Best of all, they’re easy to care for.

Learn more about these stunning-looking succulents below.

About Ghost Plants

Ghost Plant Care and Growing Guide

source: Flickr

The Ghost plant is also known as the mother of pearl plant. It is a very popular perennial succulent that’s native to Mexico.

In fact, you’ve probably seen it without knowing what it was. That’s because they are very common in nurseries and garden centers. In large part because of their beautiful looks.

Like most succulents, they have thick leaves that allow them to hold moisture.

But, what makes them unique is the way their leaves create a rosette. In this way, they’re very similar to another succulent, the echeveria.

However, unlike those plants, these can change colors depending on how much light they receive. As such, you’ll see them in many different colors including bluish green, pinkish gray, and silver gray among others.

They’re likewise small in stature but wide, growing up to about a foot tall and extending as wide as three feet. Although in most cases they’ll stay between 12 and 20 inches wide.

To top it all off, they’re easy to care for and low maintenance. Thus, giving you something that you can grow at home or outside even if you don’t have a green thumb.

Ghost Plant Care

How to Grow & Care for Ghost Plant

source: Flickr

Light

Ghost plants need plenty of sunlight. Although they can tolerate anywhere from full to partial sun, they much prefer the former than the latter.

This is why they’re best suited in your garden where there are long hours of bright, indirect sunlight. You can likewise position them near trees where they can receive dappled light.

Indoors, their need for lots of light can be a problem. The key is to watch to see if they start to become leggy. That’s a sure sign that they’re not receiving as much sunlight as they need.

By stretching towards the light source, they’re telling you to move them towards it.

As such, a south-facing window is ideal. Although, you can likewise place them facing east or west. With the latter, you want to avoid direct sunlight.

One of the most unique things about ghost plants is their ability to change colors depending on how much light they get.

In shadier conditions, their leaves will turn blue gray in color. In full sun, you’ll see more of a pinkish yellow color. And, under intense heat, they’ll turn grayish with hints of pink.

This is why the same variety can look very different depending on where they’re placed.

Temperature & Humidity

Like other succulents, ghost plants enjoy warm weather. They thrive in USDA plant hardiness zones 7 to 11.

And, although they’re not hardy to cold weather, they will tolerate temperatures as low as 20 degrees.

But, to get the best out of them, you want to keep them somewhere that’s toasty.

Watering

Ghost plants don’t need a lot of water. And, they do best with soil that drains well. That said, if they’re situated where they receive full sun, they will need weekly watering during the summertime.

Similarly, if there’s little rain where you live, you’ll need to water them occasionally.

As houseplants, you only need to provide moisture once every two weeks.

Make sure to water the soil and not over the plant. Like echeverias, water can easily get trapped in their rosettes. When this happens the moisture can stagnate there.

The best way to check whether they need water is to insert your finger into the soil. If the top few inches are dry, it’s time to water.

The plant itself will also give you some hints. One sure sign is when its leaves become shriveled. Although, this happens when it’s already getting somewhat dehydrated.

That said, overwatering is still the biggest no-no when it comes to ghost plants. It not only puts them at risk of root rot but also pests and diseases.

Soil

When it comes to soil, the most important thing ghost plants need is good drainage. So, if you grow them outdoors, you’ll need to monitor how much rain your area receives.

The more rainfall there is, the better draining soil you’ll need.

That’s because they’re used to and enjoy sandy soil, which is gritty, light, and quick draining. Although, you can likewise use a light potting mix or one that’s made for cacti and succulents.

If your garden is predominantly clay soil, the best way to go is to use raised beds. This allows you to add in the soil you need for your plants.

Alternatively, you can likewise grow them in containers.

Ghost Plant Care Guide

source: Flickr

Fertilizing

Like other succulents, ghost plants are used to soil that’s low in nutrients. As such, it’s important not to overdo the fertilizer. Otherwise, you run the risk of “burning” the leaves.

That said, providing them with fertilizer during early spring helps keep them healthy. Then, scale back to once a month during winter.

Pruning

How often you prune your ghost plant will depend on how you want to shape and make it look. They grow from the center of the rosette.

And, over time, they produce new rosette pups. This happens on thick stems that become leggy.

If you like how they look, you can leave them as is.

But, if you prefer a more compact look, you can prune the longer offshoots.

The good news is that you can replant these pups to grow new plants.

Propagation

Ghost plants are easy to propagate. You can do so by trimming back its pups and replanting them. Similarly, you can also grow them from leaves and cuttings.

In fact, any rosette that falls off has the potential to root and grow into a new plant.

How to Propagate Ghost Plants With Leaves

  • Remove an entire leaf from the plant.
  • Let the leaf dry out. This will take a few days to callous.
  • Once it does, put the leaf in soil. You want to use a potting mix that’s well-draining.
  • Water the soil. And, keep watering once the soil gets completely dry.

How To Propagate Ghost Plants With Cuttings

  • Cut a piece of plant on the stem.
  • Let the cuttings dry for a couple of days.
  • Place the cutting in well-draining soil
  • Soon enough, it will start rooting.

Repotting

Ghost plants don’t need to be repotted regularly. They only time you need to do so is when they outgrow their current container.

Since they have shallow root systems, you don’t need to get a pot that’s too deep. But, you do want stable one.

Also, you want to take extra care when removing the plant from its containers. Its leaves are delicate whose powdery coating can easily be damaged.

As such, it’s better to hold the plant at the base of its crown rather than by its leaves.

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