Graptopetalum mendozae is a succulent plant native to Texas and Mexico that produces small pink flowers in the summertime and grows best outdoors in full sun or partial shade. With proper care, this hardy plant can last up to 10 years with little maintenance on your part and make an excellent addition to any garden space or container garden bed.
It’s easy to see why graptopetalum mendozae has become so popular recently; the soft, delicate flower-like blooms of this succulent make it an attractive addition to any collection. But as with all succulents, it does require care to stay healthy and happy. That’s why we put together this care guide to provide you with all the information you need to keep your plant thriving in your home or office environment.
If you have planted graptopetalum mendozae in your garden and it isn’t looking as healthy as you’d like, fear not! While this plant may seem temperamental and finicky, it can be very easy to keep alive if you follow these simple tips.
Origin and distribution
The Graptopetalum mendozae is native to Texas and Mexico. However, they are mainly grown as houseplants in temperate regions around the world. Due to their popularity and hardiness, they are frequently used for xeriscaping as well. The plant prefers well-drained soil, so choose a pot that allows water to easily drain from all sides of it.
If you’re growing your plant indoors, place it near a window with ample sunlight or under grow lights. If you’re growing outdoors, make sure there is plenty of sunlight during the spring and summer months but bring your plant inside during the winter months when temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius).
Fertilize your plant once every two weeks while its leaves are still green and thriving. Fertilizing at other times can cause burning on leaf tips, according to Texas A&M University Extension. Water your plant whenever its soil feels dry, never letting it completely dry out before watering again. This species does not need frequent watering; over-watering causes root rot.
Graptopetalum mendozae propagation
The easiest way to propagate your Graptopetalum mendozae is by division. Start by removing a leaf from a healthy plant and placing it in a small cup filled with moistened potting soil or sphagnum moss. Place the cup in direct sunlight but out of high winds, allowing new roots to grow until they’re established enough to be planted independently into another container.
You can also root Graptopetalum mendozae through stem cuttings; simply remove a section of stem (with leaves) at least 2 inches long and place it in an appropriate medium. Make sure that both ends are exposed so that new roots can form.
Some species may not produce flowers for up to three years after being transplanted; however, once flowering begins, you can expect blossoms for up to two months each year.
Graptopetalum mendozae care information
The care of Graptopetalum mendozae is not very difficult, but there are a few things you should know in order to keep your plant healthy and growing. Water when soil is dry to touch, water thoroughly, and allow the potting mix to dry 1 inch below the soil surface between waterings.
Fertilize with a controlled release fertilizer that has more nitrogen in it from May through September. Keep potting mix slightly moist throughout the winter dormancy period.
Graptopetalum mendozae succulent doesn’t like direct sunlight, so keep it in an area with good indirect light and only a few hours of direct sun. If your plant does get some direct sunlight, make sure to give it shade for a few hours each day. Graptopetalums are native to South America, so they like tropical temperatures from 60-85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Graptopetalum mendozae prefers loose, well-draining soil. They can be grown in pots or in a bed of their own; just be sure that you give them plenty of drainages. A cactus mix is ideal for growing graptopetalum mendozae, if you’re interested in planting it out into your garden, go ahead and use one with more pumice than sand or perlite.
You should water frequently during its first year, but allow its soil to dry out between watering sessions. During its second year, water only when necessary; after that point, graptopetalum mendozae will be able to survive on rainfall alone.
This succulent needs a lot of water to grow big and strong. Watering it when its soil is dry will do more harm than good, so make sure you keep it thoroughly watered at all times. If you notice any wilting, water it immediately. If possible, water once every day.
A typical watering schedule for graptopetalum mendozae should be about 1/2 cup per week for each inch of pot size. For example, if your plant has a 3-inch pot, it should get about 1-inch cup (8 ounces) of water per week. Soak the pot at room-temperature or lukewarm water for an hour or two before giving your plant its weekly drink.
While it’s possible to grow graptopetalums without fertilizer, most growers opt to provide some type of fertilizer during their plants’ life cycles. Check your plant periodically for signs of nutrient deficiency. If your plant is lacking in any nutrients, amend your fertilization regimen or replace it with a higher-quality product. If you need help choosing a fertilizer for graptopetalums, ask a professional at a local garden center or nursery.
Graptopetalum mendozae are warm growing epiphytes, but can also tolerate colder temperatures if night temperatures never drop below 50 F (10 C). Because they come from semi-arid regions in South America, they appreciate high humidity and moisture.
They should be watered more frequently than other popular South American species such as Rhipsalis or Schlumbergeras. Use a well-draining potting mix and avoid letting water sit on top of leaves for long periods of time.
Graptopetalums thrive in a humid environment. Misting regularly will help maintain high humidity levels and keep your plant healthy. If you don’t have a humidifier, place bowls of water around your house to add moisture to dry air. If your graptopetalum begins wilting, mist it daily until it returns to its normal state.
The ideal humidity range is between 50 and 70 percent. If your home’s humidity level falls below 50 percent, you can increase it by placing bowls of water around your house. If it exceeds 70 percent, try moving your plant to a cooler location with less moisture in the air.
When caring for a graptopetalum mendozae, pruning is rarely necessary. It’s best to wait until new growth has started in spring before cutting anything back. In fact, it’s advisable to never cut a graptopetalum back more than 50 percent of its overall size.
Pruning can be done at any time of the year (and often is), but it should be performed only when you want to encourage new blooms or a particular shape. If you notice brown tips on your plant’s leaves, that means they are being over-watered and need to dry out slightly.
Remember: Don’t prune more than 25 percent of a plant at one time.
When to repot
While Graptopetalum mendozae are pretty forgiving when it comes to repotting, you should still follow a few general guidelines. Repot your graptopetalum every 2 years in spring or early summer, or whenever its roots have filled up its pot. If you notice that new shoots are growing out of old leaves rather than healthy soil, it’s definitely time for a move.
Also, look at how crowded your plant is; if there isn’t much space between stems and leaves, it may be time to divide and repot.
Graptopetalum mendozae go dormant in winter, so they need a cool rest. It’s recommended to keep them in 35-45 degrees F. (2-7 degrees C) temperatures and high humidity year-round, but especially during dormancy. This can be accomplished using a cold frame or any other structure that will protect them from frosts but let light and water through.
The soil should be kept constantly moist during dormancy because it will not survive long if they dry out. If your winters are mild enough, you may be able to leave your plants outside under protection, where they will still require occasional watering.
However, if you live in an area with freezing winters it is best to bring your plants inside for their rest period. During dormancy, your graptopetalums will lose their leaves and enter a state of semi-hibernation; their roots may even die back completely.
Graptopetalum mendozae flower & fragrance
Graptopetalum mendozae have a sweet, gardenia-like fragrance that is highly desirable in floral arrangements. They make excellent companions for oleander and birds of paradise.
This plant requires little maintenance once established; it’s tolerant of a variety of growing conditions and thrives in both full sun and part shade.
It requires light moisture but is not drought tolerant. These plants are most commonly propagated through stem cuttings, but they can also be propagated by leaf or seed as well.
Like most succulents, Graptopetalum mendozae plants are slow growers. They typically become 3 to 5 inches in diameter within a few years and will not grow much larger after that. It’s important to note that graptopetalums grown indoors will generally be smaller than those planted outdoors.
The leaves of Graptopetalum mendozae are mildly toxic. Avoid contact with them. If you do come into contact with them, wash your hands thoroughly and immediately after handling.
Don’t put your hands in your mouth, eyes, or nose until you’ve washed them thoroughly with soap and water. Keep out of reach of children and pets. The seeds are not poisonous but can cause irritation if they get stuck in your eyes.
USDA hardiness zones
Graptopetalum mendozae thrives very well in USDA hardiness zones 9 and 10. While it can survive down to zone 8, its growth will be stunted. It’s recommended that you grow Graptopetalum mendozae outside during summer and bring it inside when temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s a good idea to place your plant near a south-facing window, but avoid placing it under direct sunlight as it may dry out quickly.
Pests and diseases
This succulent, which is native to Mexico, has a few common pests and diseases. These include spider mites, mealybugs, and fungal infections. The first signs of these problems are unusual discoloration or spots on leaves. When left untreated, graptopetalums begin to wilt and then die off completely. It’s important to treat these plants before they reach that point because most likely you won’t be able to save them at that point.
Graptopetalum mendozae plants are one of my favorite plants to grow, mainly because they’re so beautiful but also because they require low maintenance. They do best in moderately bright light and can tolerate a wide range of temperatures from around 65 degrees to over 100 degrees F with little problem.
As long as you water your graptopetalums regularly and use a good soil mix like General Hydroponics, you shouldn’t have any problems growing them either!