Its name is derived from the pale shade of its leaves, which comes from its natural coating of powdered wax.
“Their leaves are coated with wax powder to help protect them from full sun and protect the water stored in their leaves during dry periods. If possible, avoid touching their leaves as this can dispose of them,” explains Annie Schreck, director of research and editor-in-chief at Mountain Crest Gardens. Easily”.
Expert advice for ghost plant care
“Ghost plant is the common name for this species Graptopetalum paraguayans, says Annie Schreck.
“It sometimes grows in variegated form, and has been hybridized with other succulents to produce many new varieties such as the pink ‘Alpenglow’, the variegated ‘Titubans’, the pearly ‘Fantome’ and the stunning ‘Purple Haze’,” she says. “More and more.”
Caring for ghost plants is very similar to caring for other succulents, in that they prefer well-drained soil and dislike too much water. They can withstand a lot of direct sunlight, due to their protective powder coating.
Check out this succulent purple Graptopetalum paraguayense ‘Ghost Plant’ at Walmart.
Annie Schreck has been Research Director and Editor-in-Chief at Mountain Crest Gardens since 2018. She takes great pleasure in researching and writing about succulents, sharing plant care tips through the MCG YouTube channel, and helping people grow hydroponic plants at home and in the landscape.
Provide ghost plants with plenty of light
“Graptopitalum, like all ghost plants, needs lots of direct, full sunlight,” says Annie. “They are adapted to growing on sunny slope sides, and if grown indoors with insufficient light they will fade and extend with long, leggy stems.
“To avoid this, plant them on your sunny doorstep, supplement them with grow lights, and/or revive succulents by moving them outside when there’s no chance of frost,” she says.
Different lighting levels can also affect the color of the rosettes. More light can cause cheerful pink tints.
Be responsive to watering rather than scheduling it
“Succulents should only be watered when their soil is completely dry and the leaves start to feel more floppy or appear wrinkled,” says Annie.
“Instead of watering on a set schedule, choose when to water succulents such as ghost plants in response to signs of thirst from your ghost plants. “Succulents are well adapted to tolerating drought but not overwatering,” she adds.
If in doubt, it’s safe to wait longer before watering them and water them deeply once they feel really thirsty.
Fertilization is done rarely and only when necessary
“Succulents are not heavy feeders and many growers see no need to fertilize them,” says Annie. “Replanting your ghost plants into fresh soil every two years is often enough to replenish soil nutrition.”
If you really want to fertilize your ghost plants, to encourage growth, Annie suggests using a balanced fertilizer, diluted 50/50 with water, up to once a month in the spring and summer growing season.
There is special soil to use for growing succulents, like this succulent and cactus soil at Perfect Plants.
Keep it in warm, humid conditions
“Ghost plants won’t tolerate temperatures below freezing but they handle higher heat well,” Annie says.
“Moisture can cause succulents to rot, so be sure not to spray them or keep them as bathroom plants, and plant them in well-drained, sandy soil such as Gritty Mix from Bonsai Jack.”
Look for pests
“The most common succulent pests and diseases are mealybugs (which look like white, woolly down) and mold,” says Annie.
Giving your succulent everything it needs is the best way to avoid problems. Make sure your soil is well-drained enough, with plenty of horticultural grit. And you plant it in a pot with drainage holes.
“Mealybugs can be prevented with good airflow and infrequent watering,” says Annie.
How do you propagate ghost plants?
According to Research Director and Editor-in-Chief Annie Schreck at Mountain Crest Gardens, ghost plants are fun and easy to propagate. She shares her method on how to propagate succulent ghost plants below:
- Gently pull a large, healthy leaf from the stem or use a sharp, clean knife to cut off an entire rosette.
- Plant the leaf or cutting in new soil and place it on a sunny sill. Keep the soil slightly moist but not soggy and new roots can grow in 2-4 weeks.
- A very gentle tug will tell you if it has established mature roots. Once this is done, you can water them like a normal succulent plant, i.e. when the soil is dry and the leaves are less hardy.
Do ghost plants need repotting?
Unlike many indoor plants, ghost plants actually thrive when slightly rooted, and Annie Schreck, director of research and editor-in-chief at Mountain Crest Gardens, tells us that small containers can help prevent overwatering.
“If after a few years they become so crowded that you can no longer see the soil from above, that’s a good sign that it’s time to remove them from their pot, separate some of the stems, and replant them in multiple containers,” says Annie. .
If you’re fascinated by these beautiful succulents, see what you can grow alongside them in your home with other indoor plants for direct sunlight.