Graptopetalum paraguayense also known as the Ghost Plant, Ghostie, Mother of Pearl or Sedum weinbergii is a fantastically hardy succulent species native to Mexico. Although this succulent is very hardy there are a few tips and tricks to keeping it happy. Below I’ll go through everything there is to know about Graptopetalum Paraguayense. All advice is based on growing tens of thousands of these plants at our nursery.
Graptopetalum paraguayense is a succulent plant with a rosette shape leaf arrangement. The colour can range from pale pink to green pink, purple and dark pink. One plant can display all of these colours in a course of a year.
The nickname Ghostie or Ghost Plant comes from the pale appearance this plant can have. The surface of the leaves is coated with powdery substance called the farina and protects the plant from strong UV.
The leaves are wide, longish and quite thick, especially when the plant is stressed. The appearance of this plant will much depend on where it’s grown. Ghosties grown in full sun will have shorter, more stubby leaves while plants in more shade can have elongated leaves.
Graptopetalum paraguayense can grow approximately 15cm in height but the rosettes tend to lean and, as the plant ages, fall to the ground and trail. Individual rosettes grow to approximately 15cm in diameter depending on the conditions.
Offsets are quite prolific and the Ghost Plant can produce upwards of 10 per year once mature. If the offsets are left attached, they will form a small, rosette bush. New offsets usually grow from the base of a stalk but can also appear midway through the stalk.
Graptopetalum paraguayense grows very pretty flowers once per year, usually in Spring. The bell-shaped, white flowers grow on a tall stalk and open up in a star. One rosette can grow more than 3 flower stalks.
Position & Care
Graptopetalum paraguayense is a very hardy succulent that can deal with all sorts of adverse weather and conditions. Established plants and Ghosties grown in the ground can usually look after themselves.
Direct sun exposure over 35C/95F can burn young plants but mature Ghosties should be able to withstand sun even over 40C/104F. Morning sun/afternoon shade is the ideal position during a hot summer and full sun during the rest of the year to get that gorgeous pink out.
Graptopetalum paraguayense is not frost hardy and will need to be brought indoors once frosts are expected. It will, however, happily grow outdoors in low temperatures to about 1C/33F. It should also survive mild frosts, but can suffer burn marks.
To get the best results, upgrade the pot once a year and plant in fresh succulent potting mix. This will ensure the Ghost Plant will grow lovely and big and have lots of offsets. If you live in a climate that often experiences hot summers avoid black pots as these will increase the heat around the root area.
Good quality succulent potting mix should result in a plant that is healthy and beautiful. Having said that, Graptopetalum paraguayense will quite literally survive in any potting mix and will live in the same pot for many years. If the Ghostie is left in poor potting mix and small pot it will not grow very big or many offsets.
In the garden Ghostie can be planted in a sunny spot and will be much more hardy than plants grown in pots. This means it will take higher temperatures and will not need watering as often.
Watering can be left to the rain, though the plant will thank you if you water well during heatwaves and droughts. A good rule is to water once the potting mix has dried up.
Ghosties are unlikely to show any adverse effects if left in the rain or if they get overwatered.
Graptopetalum paraguayense is not a good indoor plant as it requires direct sunlight for at least 4 hours per day followed by bright light. It may however do well inside with the help of professional plant growing lights.
Graptopetalum paraguayense can be propagated by offsets, leaves or seeds. The easiest and fastest method of propagation is by taking cuttings of offsets. To successfully propagate offsets it is best to wait until they are big enough and have a substantial stalk that can be cut through. The cutting should be left to dry for 24hrs and then planted in succulent potting mix.
All propagating should be done during the growing season which is Spring and Summer. In moderate climates the Ghost Plant will propagate in Autumn as well. My favourite time to propagate is Spring as it is not yet hot enough that the cuttings will burn and pretty much all succulents grow incredibly fast during this time. In summer, during hot days cuttings can be a bit vulnerable and burn easily if exposed to strong sun.
Leaf propagation is incredibly easy and if you’re looking for a plant to try propagating from leaves for the first time, the Ghostie is ideal. I often find Ghostie leaves that I’ve accidentally knocked off that have sprouted on their own under the tables or between pots. As a bonus a single leaf can grow more than one rosette. If the leaves are taken off in the growing season new plants will start emerging after about 2-3 weeks. For a guide to leaf propagation see one of our articles here.
Seed propagation can be quite unreliable, extremely slow and a bit pointless given Graptopetalum paraguayense is just so easy to propagate from offsets and leaves. Thus, I would not recommend going down this path.
Graptopetalum paraguayense is susceptible to all the usual succulent pests such as mealy bugs, aphids and snails/slugs. Mealy bugs and aphids are quite a danger to the Ghostie and can infest a plant fast. Regular checks should be made to keep them at bay.
For a full list of pests and how to deal with them see our article on animals that like to eat succulents.
Graptopetalum paraguayense is non toxic to humans, dogs, cats, other pets and livestock. This plant should not be consumed as a food source.
Where Can I Get It?
Graptopetalum paraguayense is a popular and easy plant to find. It should be available in garden centres or succulent nurseries. If you look online, you will definitely find one.
Our nursery Fern Farm Plants sells baby Ghosties in Australia.