Graptoveria Succulents

Graptoveria Succulents

One of my favourite succulents are the Graptoveria species.  Why? Its easy to care for, speed of growth, propagating ease and they look great. Also, they grow well in a pot or in the ground, in a sunny or shade position.  There are many different species of Graptoveria, I currently have Fred Ives and the Tri Colour species.

The name Graptoveria is a combination of Echeveria and Graptopetalum. It is a hybrid between the two plants.  Like the Echeveria species it comes from the Crassulacae family.

Growing Conditions
Most Graptoveria are low growing and tend to grow in clumps.  Their growing period is in the Summer, they are drought tolerant, can withstand a full sun position and can grow in part shade.  They also tolerate wet winters. For those of you who live in colder climates they have a good cold tolerance too. So, does that sound familiar,?  Basically, they have the same growing habit as an Echeveria.  They only vary with regard to being able to tolerate colder temperatures than Echeveria and the flower that is produced looks slightly different. (see below)

Graptoveria Fred Ives

Graptoveria Fred Ives-Grown under shelter of tree/part shade

Graptoveria Tri Colour

Tri Colour grown in full sun/in pot

Fred Ives- full sun/in the ground

Surviving Hot Summers
Graptoveria can survive very hot summers.  Graptoverian species : Tri Colour, David Cumming, Fred Ives and Jules have survived Australian hot temperatures of 40C+ (that is in the shade). Some Graptoveria produce a protective waxy or powdery coating which protects them from the sun.  It has a few names such as: farina or epicuticular wax and is thought to be the plant’s natural protection from strong sun – like a sunscreen.  This coating will rub off at the slightest touch and  will lose its protective coating.  The protective coating will not be re-produced.

Producing Offsets/Pups
Graptoveria have their growing period in the summer and can produce a few offsets/pups in this season. They will normally grow in the shade of the parent plant to start off with.  So if your succulent is in a pot and it produces an offset/pup do not turn the pot so the offset is facing the sun as this could burn the new growth.  Similarly if you decide to transplant the offset do not plant it in full sun to begin with.

Graptoveria have a very distinguishable flower in that it has tiny black dots on its petals.  The flower will look like an Echeveria and other succulent’s flowers until closer inspection. If grown outside/in the garden the Graptoveria will flower profusely, however, if it is grown inside it may not produce any/many flowers. Graptoveria’s are NOT monocarpic so they do NOT die after flowering.

Graptoveria Flower

Graptoveria Flowers have tiny black dot on the petals

Graptoveria Flower

Black dots on Graptoveria flowers distinguish them

Graptoveria Tri Colour

Tri Colour- grown inside and did not flower

Graptoveria Tri Colour

Tri Colour-grown outside has flowered

Graptoveria Fred Ives and Graptoveria Tri Colour
Fred Ives grow in full sun and/or partial shade.  In previous summers they have withstood 40C+ temperatures. The photo below left shows a Graptoveria Fred Ives that has morning shade and full afternoon sun and is grown under the protection of a cherry tree. The next photo from the left shows a Graptoveria Fred Ives that has morning shade and full afternoon sun but is NOT grown under the protection of a tree.

The mottled/blotchy leaves are normal for a succulent that is not protected from the elements such as rain and hail.  I put this down to the cold rain or hail sitting on the leaves in the winter.  The Graptoveria on the left is growing only 10 metres from the Graptoveria on the right during the same winter this year.  This is a bit of a downside to growing succulents in the ground and open to the elements.  However, it will only look unsightly until the mottled/blotchy older leaves drop off.  Which is not that long at all – possibly a month.

Graptoveria Fred Ives

Graptoveria can survive in cold temperatures but they do not tolerate frosts or hail well.   As stated above they can also look a bit unsightly if they are grown outside and open to the elements in the winter. (Succulents DO NOT like hail!! )   Like most succulents Graptoveria can be susceptible to mealy bugs.  How do I treat pests on succulents & cacti? Other than those minor problems they are a great succulent to grown and love.

Do Succulents Flower?

Do Succulents Flower?

When I first started with succulents I had no idea how many of them produced flowers and how many they would produce.  Some succulents do not produce flowers, some produce flowers and then die, some flower in spring and some flower during the winter.  Some do not flower until they are mature plants and others will flower when they are less than a year old.  They can be star shaped, tubular, dangle like a bell or look like any other flowering plant.

However, a large majority of succulents do flower and they flower profusely as well.  Just like many other flowering plants most succulents tend to flower during Spring. Different succulents can flower from spring and summer to autumn and winter. Therefore, just as with other types of plants your garden can look beautiful in Spring (or anytime of the year) if you only have succulents in your garden.

As usual, in the amazing world of succulents there are a many and varied flowers which all look amazing with brilliant shape and colours.  There is a common appearance between the Echeveria, Graptoveria, Pachyveria and other Echeveria hybrids, they are usually orange, red or yellow. In one instance, the only way to determine a Graptoveria succulent from an Echeveria succulent is by the flower it produces!  (What is the difference between an Echeveria and Graptoveria succulent?)

The size of the flower depends on the size of the plant.  My Echeveria Strawberry Heart is large and thus has large flowers (see below left).  Conversely, a small Graptoveria Fred Ives has tiny flowers. (Below right).

Echeveria flower close up

Echeveria Strawberry Heart

Eceheveria Flowers

Echeveria Strawberrry Ripple

Graptoveria Flower

Graptoveria Fred Ives

Graptoveria Flower

Graptoeria Fred Ives

Monocarpic Succulents
As mentioned above, some succulents – such as some Agaves, Aeoniums and Sempervivums will flower and then the parent plant will die. These succulents are known as being – ‘monocarpic’.  However, the plant will produce many babies/offsets during the flowering of the mother plant so it is not too devastating for the owner! (Which succulents die after flowering?)

Winter Flowering Succulents
Aeonium succulents are Winter flowering, also monocarpic (see above).  You can often see them growing on the side of the road as they are very hardy.  They can be quite untidy succulents while the flower and the attached stem is dying.

Aeonium Undulatam

What should I do when the flowers die?
You can prune the dying flower stems at any time.  Usually the stems start to look unsightly which is when I prune mine.  If you do not prune them they will eventually shrivel up and drop off by themselves.

Do succulents flower when grown indoors?
Succulents ‘rarely’ bloom when they are grown indoors.  In their natural habitat they can require high temperatures in summer to trigger flowers to grow. Air conditioned houses do not provide these high temperatures.Conversely some succulents need winter dormancy and cold temperatures to induce flowers. Light and water conditions are also conducive to whether a succulent flowers or not.

Succulents (in flower) from my Garden
Aeonium Pinwheel
The Aeonium Pinwheel is a very compact plant that is hardy and easy to establish.  This year is the first time mine has flowered, (it has been growing for approximately 3 years) It is Monocarpic, so the stem from which the succulent has flowered will die, however, the rest of the plant growing from other stems should survive.  Below is a photo of the flower which is quite stunning.

Aeonium Pinwheel flower Aeonium Pinwheel Flower Aeonium Pinwheel

 This succulent is usually sold for Mother’s Day as it has beautiful flowers of white, red, pink or orange.  This succulent flowers in the spring.

Kalanchoe flower Kalanchoe Succulent Flowers