Habitat: Graptoveria is a nursery hybrid and doesn’t exist in nature.
Cultivation: Like all crassulaceae, Graptoveria are tough plants, easy to grow and reproduce. Exposure to full sun will help this plant to develop all its beautiful tinges of colour.
Curiosity: Graptoveria is a hybrid of Echeveria and Graptopetalum. Some nureseries refer to it as “X Graptoveria”:The “X” in front of its name sometimes indicates that it is not a naturally occurring species but a hybrid developed by nurserymen.
The genus Graptoveria is a hybrid of Echeveria and Graptopetalum. It has shape and general appearance of its relatives, but is loved both for its distinctive trunk shape and (in some species only) for the very large size of its leaves and rosettes, which can be over 20 cm wide for a single rosette!
The plant is made of one or more a woody stems that can be short and strong or more slender and flexible, in some species looking like the trunk of a tree, on the top of which beautiful rosettes of a wide variety of colours grow: from light green or grey-green to beautiful reddish, brown or violet shades. The rosettes group plenty of succulent, slightly showel shaped, more or less pointed leaves.
The colorful leaves and the remarkable hardiness of Graptoverias make them very sought after by succulent lovers, but also by “succulent beginners”.
Although identifying hybrids is not so easy, the shape of the leaves can help you to guess whether it is a Graptoveria or an Echeveria. Most Echeverias, in fact, have rather pointed leaves while Graptopetalums do not. So, if you have a plant similar to an Echeveria, but with more rounded leaves, it’s more likely to be a Graptopetalum. It’s, anyway, very difficult to be 100% sure. The thickness of the leaves is another useful feature to guess. As Graptopetalums have leaves more thick than Echeveria, in fact, if your plant look like an Echeveria with more thick leaves, it’s more likely to be a Graptoveria.
Moreover, the genetic diversity among a population of hybrids is greater than the one of a normal species. This means that, while “creating” a new hybrids, nurserymen can never know how it will look like: it strongly depend on the species artificially pollinated to create is. In addiction, the artificial pollination is not so easy to carry out: it has to consider the pollination method of the two original species, their blooming period, their compatibility… That’s another fact which make the value of these species increase.
The shades of colour depend both on the exposure of the plant to the sun (which enhances the reddish tones) and the species, which in turn is derived from the parent varieties of Echeveria and Graptopetalum. The two relative genuses show very colourful leaves.
The size of the plant varies greatly and in some cases (such as the ‘Fred Ives’ variety) you really do get the impression that you are dealing with a giant crassulacea.
Long, inconspicuously coloured inflorescences sprout from the centre of each rosette. The shape of the flower is slightly different to that of the Echeveria and is a way of identifying the plant with more likelihood. On the other hand, the inflorescence of Graptoveria is rather similar to the one of Eceveria and the one of Graptopetalum: inconspicuous, coloured flowers (often of a peachy pink), borne at the top of a reddish-greenish or bluish succulent stem.
VARIETY AND TYPES
Here below are a few Graptoveria species that you can find on the market today. Check out our online shop to find them!
- G. ‘Debbie
- G. ‘Douglas Huth
- G. ‘Fred Ives
- G. ‘Fred Ives’ f. cristata
- G. ‘Moonglow
- G. ‘Opalina
- G. ‘Silver Star
- G. ‘Titubans
TIPS FOR GROWING
Like all crassulaceae, Graptoveria are tough and easy to grow and reproduce. Here is our advice:
- Choose a position in full sun because the direct rays will help give the plant the a beautiful shades of colour, especially reddish. Be careful to shelter it at least during the hottest hours of the day in summer.
- It can’t stand cold temperatures: even in winter, take care to leave it always above about 7°C.
- Just as for the Echeverias, water regularly every 2-3 days in spring and summer but stop in winter. If you water it too much, the soil will not dry out between one watering and the next; if too little, the rosettes will shrivel up. Be careful not to water the rosettes because the stagnant water inside them could cause rottings.
- Use a standard soil for cacti, not too rich and very draining.
- Fertilize in spring, once a month, with a specific product for succulents.
- Repotting will probably be necessary every spring, given the speed of growth of the Graptoveria.
The hybrids do not produce fertile seeds. It will be very easy, however, to obtain new seedlings using as cuttings or single leaves or, better still, the suckers which sprout at the base of the plant (and which can be either small rosettes or small branches).