What is the difference between an Echeveria and Graptoveria succulent?

What is the difference between an Echeveria and Graptoveria succulent?

The name Graptoveria is a combination of Echeveria and Graptopetalum. It is a hybrid between the two plants. Like most people I thought these plants were another Echeveria variety rather than a hybrid between two genera.  So how do you tell the difference between an Echeveria and a Graptoveria and is there a difference in their growing conditions and care?

Growing Conditions
Most Graptoveria are low growing and normally grow with a clump-forming habit.  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.

Graptoveria Fred Ives

Graptoveria Fred Ives

Both Graptopetalum and Echeveria come from the same Crassulacae family. As with Echeveria there are many different varieties of Graptoveria. Like Echeveria there are some varieties with very plump/thick leaves and there are also  some with very thin flat leaves.

Graptoveria Succulent Graptoveria Succulent Graptoveria succulent

Problems
I thought one of my Graptoveria was dying when the stem shrivelled up and died. (see below)  I waited to see what happened – as many other succulents have revived and survived after looking dead.  Not too surprisingly the plants rosettes put down new roots and continued to grow as separate plants.  Why did the stem shrivel up? – I’m not 100% sure, research suggests it was probably due to high summer temperatures and not enough water.

Graptoveria dying shrivelled stem on Graptoveria Succulent

Sometimes the leaves on a Graptoveria may look blotchy.  This is normal when they are changing colour from summer to winter.

How do you tell the difference between a Graptoveria and Echeveria?
Apparently the only way you can tell the difference between an Echeveria and Graptoveria is by the flower. The flower is neither an Echeveria or a Graptopetalum flower. The two photos on the left are a Graptoveria flower: the petals open out wider, they have spots on them and the stamen reaches outside the petal. On the right are the Echeveria flower.

Conclusion
Other than the flower there really is not much difference between an Echeveria or a Graptoveria.   The only other very small difference that I have noticed (in my experience) is that the Echeveria may cope with higher temperatures in a full sun position than a Graptoveria would.  Hence, the shrivelling stem situation that I had occur last year.  So if you buy a succulent from a hardware store that just says ‘ succulent’ on the name tag -or you are given a nameless Echeveria or Graptoveria succulent and you are unsure of what it is, do not worry!, treat it the same and it will survive.  Alternatively, you could try and identify the plant online (see post: Where can I identify my Succulents? ).  Make sure you look under the Echeveria and Graptoveria category though!