Graptopetalum Amethystinum Care (Lavender Pebbles)

Graptopetalum amethystinum

Last updated on July 12th, 2022 at 10:27 am

Graptopetalum amethystinum, also known as the lavender pebbles plant, jewel-leaf plant, or the lavender succulent, is a succulent plant with long, triangular leaves and lavender flowers. Native to Mexico, this desert plant prefers lots of sun and dry conditions, so it will benefit from being placed in a sunny window indoors or outside if you have dry weather.

Graptopetalum amethystinum is an easy-to-grow succulent with interesting white and purple leaves that has gained popularity in recent years due to its compact size and ease of care.

Lavender pebbles can tolerate both cold and heat, so it makes a great addition to an indoor or outdoor succulent garden. While its origin is Mexico, the plant can be found across the globe as an ornamental in regions like South Africa, Australia, and Argentina where it thrives under hot weather conditions.

You’ve probably heard of Graptopetalum amethystinum, otherwise known as lavender pebbles, graptoveria, or silver leaf succulent plant. The versatile plant can be used in hanging baskets, ground cover, or as an indoor houseplant.

Here are some care tips to help you get the most out of your lavender pebbles!

Origin and distribution

Graptopetalum amethystinum, also known as lavender pebble plant or lavender succulent, is a perennial succulent native to Mexico. This unique little plant grows in small clusters along mountain stream beds and it has purple-blue flowers with yellow centers that bloom all throughout summer and into fall. The colorful petals are quite striking against grey-green leaves and make for a beautiful addition to your succulent collection.

It’s not at all difficult to grow, making it an excellent choice for new gardeners. In fact, you may have already seen these plants without even realizing they were graptopetalums! They’re often sold under their other common name of ghost plant due to their pale white appearance.

Lavender pebble plant makes a great indoor plant, but can be grown outdoors year-round in zones 9 through 11. If growing indoors, place your graptopetalum near a sunny window where it will receive plenty of bright light each day. Be sure to use an all-purpose potting soil when planting your lavender pebble plant so that its roots can easily access nutrients and water.

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Graptopetalum amethystinum propagation

Graptopetalum amethystinum

Graptopetalum amethystinum reproduces readily by leaf cuttings, a method that requires little skill or effort. It’s a good idea to root a few plants while they’re still young so you’ll have some extra materials in case you make mistakes when propagating your first batch of Graptopetalums.

If you’re familiar with succulents, propagation is easy: simply remove a leaf from one plant and stick it into the soil. The best time to do this is early in spring before new growth begins.

You can also propagate from stem tip cuttings taken during summer and fall; take two-inch sections of stems and bury them just below soil level with only about an inch showing above ground.

In both cases, keep plants well-watered until new roots form. Be aware that it takes several months for leaves to grow roots, so don’t be discouraged if nothing happens right away.

Once rooted, graptopetalum amethystinum will continue growing like normal. They’ll produce offsets at their base as well as flowers on stalks that rise up from among their leaves. When flowering occurs, carefully dig up offset plants and replant them separately in pots.

Graptopetalum amethystinum care information

Graptopetalum amethystinum

To keep graptopetalum amethystinum healthy, they should be watered weekly. A lot of people overwater their plants and keep them sitting in water instead of letting them dry out, which can lead to root rot. Overwatering also leads to spindly growth on succulents like Graptoverias and Pachyverias, so it’s very important to avoid overwatering. This plant likes lots of light, but not direct sunlight; direct sunlight can burn its leaves.

Light requirement

Graptopetalum amethystinum are desert succulents, so they’re very tolerant of heat and sunlight. They need partial to full sun for at least part of every day and don’t let light levels drop below 5,000 lux. If you live in a particularly hot or sunny area you might want to consider a sun-blocker like shade cloth or Aluminet to protect it from too much heat.

Like most succulents, Graptopetalums do best with good air circulation, so if your plant starts looking droopy it may be because its roots are getting waterlogged. In general, though, these plants can tolerate quite a bit of abuse, they’re hardy down to 20 degrees Fahrenheit (-6 degrees C).

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Soil/potting mix

Graptopetalum amethystinum likes a fast-draining mix of 3 parts potting soil to 1 part coarse builder’s sand. This will allow for better drainage, which is critical for desert succulents. I personally use cactus/succulent soil from Miracle-Gro; it works great. Be sure to poke some air holes in your pot before adding your soil so that they can get plenty of air and water if needed.

If you’re growing them in pots with no drainage holes, be careful not to overwater them. Graptopetalums are drought tolerant once established, but they don’t like sitting in wet soil. If you have them potted in containers without drainage holes and notice that their leaves are starting to shrivel up or turn brown at their tips, chances are you need to give them more water.

Watering

Lavender Succulents are drought tolerant plants, but they do need to be watered. The soil should dry out between waterings. These plants will survive on rainfall alone, and even more so in an arid climate.

If you live in a rainy or humid climate, it’s better to over-water than under-water your succulents. Gently remove any water that is pooling at or near the base of your plant by pouring off excess water or by wiping it with a towel.

Fertilizer

Over-fertilizing can be harmful to your Graptopetalum amethystinum; instead, only fertilize once a month using a mild water-soluble fertilizer, and water with rainwater or distilled water.

It’s also important to use potting soil specifically designed for succulents, this will prevent nutrient build-up in your soil. If you notice yellowing leaves, it could mean that you’re over-fertilizing; cut back on watering as well as fertilizer until new growth appears.

Temperature

The Graptopetalum is succulent, so it does best in warm, dry conditions. Like many other succulents, it thrives in temperatures between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Be careful not to expose your Graptopetalum to temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit for extended periods of time, though, it can cause your plant to drop its leaves if you leave it outside in freezing weather for too long.

Humidity

To keep your Graptopetalum amethystinum healthy and happy, it’s important to pay attention to its humidity levels. Although they can tolerate lower levels of humidity, a higher level is ideal. In particularly dry areas, you can give them a daily misting with room-temperature water, or place them on a pebble tray that catches and holds water that slowly evaporates over time.

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The ideal humidity range is between 40 and 60 percent. If your Graptopetalum’s leaves start to curl or wrinkle, it could be a sign that they need more moisture. You can also check their soil for signs of moisture by sticking your finger about an inch into it. If it feels moist, you don’t need to water them; if it feels dry, then give them a good watering.

Pruning

We recommend you prune your Graptopetalum amethystinum every six months or so. The best time to do so is in early spring, just before new growth appears. Use a pair of sharp scissors to cut back the plants that have grown too large. These should include any leggy stems, which may be an indication that you have allowed your plant to grow too large for its pot.

You can also remove branches with dead leaves and flowers on them. If you are unsure whether a branch is dead or alive, pinch it between your thumb and forefinger; if it snaps off easily, it’s dead and can be removed. If it doesn’t snap off easily, leave it alone, it’s still living and will regrow from where it was pinched out.

When to repot

Graptopetalum amethystinum

Lavender succulents are slow growers and don’t need to be repotted very often. Repotting should be done when your plant is root bound or needs a change of soil. You’ll know your Graptopetalum is rootbound if you have to water it every day.

After being repotted, be sure to keep it out of direct sunlight for a few days so that it can adjust its normal watering cycle before putting it back in direct light.

Dormancy

In order to bring a Graptopetalum amethystinum plant out of dormancy, it’s important to consider when you planted it last year. In order for your plant to bloom again, it needs enough sunlight and warmth. If you planted your plant during the summer months, consider moving it outdoors in late winter or early spring after killing back any remaining leaves.

Alternatively, you can keep your plant indoors and pot up into a much larger container once all chance of frost has passed. The soil should be kept damp but not soggy until new growth appears. Once new growth appears, watering should be reduced slightly as too much water will cause root rot.

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Don’t forget to fertilize every two weeks with a general-purpose fertilizer such as Miracle-Gro Liquid Houseplant Food at half strength until blooms appear. When flowers fade, stop fertilizing and allow your plant to go dormant by reducing watering further until new growth appears in fall or early winter.

Graptopetalum amethystinum flower & fragrance

Graptopetalum amethystinum produces clusters of small lavender flowers with a white lip around August in filtered sunlight. Each flower lasts only a day but is produced in abundance at times throughout late summer and fall.

Growth rate

Graptopetalum amethystinum plants are slow-growing plants and may take several years to reach blooming size. It is normal for them to stop producing new leaves after a while, as they focus their energy on developing blossoms. However, you can help by providing high humidity and fertilizing regularly with Miracle-Gro® Houseplant Fertilizer every two weeks during spring and summer, and every four weeks during fall and winter.

Toxicity

Like most succulents, Graptopetalum amethystinum are completely nontoxic. However, their sap is a bit more caustic than that of other succulents, so take care when handling them. Never let children or pets chew on or eat Graptopetalums—or any other plant for that matter!

USDA hardiness zones

Graptopetalum amethystinum thrives very well in USDA hardiness zones 10-11. However, some growers have reported success with growing them as far north as zone 8. In colder climates, it is recommended to grow these succulents indoors during the winter months and move them outside during the summer months.

Pests and diseases

There are several different pests and diseases that affect Graptopetalum amethystinum. Some of these include mealybugs, scale insects, aphids, leaf miners, snails, and slugs. The first thing you should do if you find any of these pests is quarantined your plant away from other plants to avoid spreading any diseases. You can treat some issues yourself with a bit of soap and water or an insecticidal soap spray.

Conclusion

Graptopetalum amethystinum is a species of succulent that is native to Mexico. This striking, drought-tolerant plant requires very little attention and is relatively easy to care for. Like many other succulents, it’s perfect for people who have busy lifestyles and aren’t able to make time to care for a large number of plants.