Graptosedum or California Sunset is a succulent that develops reddish-colored rosettes and thick greyish leaves. The succulent is popular with horticulturists and hobbyists because it is very easy to grow and care for. If properly attended to, Graptosedum will produce charming white flowers in the springtime.
California Sunset is a hybrid between Graptopetalum paraguayense and Sedum adolphi. The resulting crossing of the two species of succulents has been classified as Graptosedum.
There are other types of Graptosedum. Each type is distinguished by the color of its leaves. “Alpenglow Succulent” and “Vera Wiggins” have deep burgundy-colored leaves while “Ghosty” has pale-colored leaves with highlights of pink, gray or blue.
The parent succulents are both native to Mexico which is why Graptosedum resembles plants from the Echeveria genus. Graptosedum is categorized under the Crassulaceae family. The succulent can grow to a height of 12-inches or 30cm and a width of 9-inches or 23cm
How To Grow And Care For Graptosedum “California Sunset”
Graptosedum is a sprawling succulent and makes for an ideal groundcover in the garden or as patio accents when housed in hanging baskets.
California Sunset is no-frills succulent; it is easy to grow even for novice horticulturists.
Similar to other succulent plants, just make sure it gets the right amount of water, sunlight, and fertilizer. Choose the right pot and type of soil and you’ll enjoy Graptosedum for many years.
As a garden plant, Graptosedum should be in an area that gets at least six hours of morning sunlight.
Like most succulents that originate from the Crassulaceae family, California Sunset is not a cold-hardy plant. It is recommended to move the plant indoors if the temperature in your region falls below 30° F (-1.1° C).
When grown indoors, place Graptosedum in a room that gets plenty of natural sunlight. An ideal location would be near a window that gets partial to full sunlight for up to six hours per day.
If this is not possible, put Graptosedum under a Grow Light for six hours every day.
California Sunset stores water in its stems and leaves. It can get by without water for more than one week. Be careful when giving this succulent water. If its roots remain submerged in a moist environment for a long time, they will rot.
To know for sure that it’s time to give Graptosedum water, check the soil’s moisture level. You can do this a number of ways.
First, you can simply feel the topsoil. If it feels dry to the touch, give the soil water.
Second, insert a stick one-inch into the topsoil. If the end of the stick is dry, it’s time to give the succulent plant water.
Third, you can use a hygrometer to be more precise.
When watering, give the soil a good soaking. The drainage hole should be leaking with excess water.
Avoid giving Graptosedum too much water in the wintertime. When the temperature is cold, the soil will stay moist for a longer period of time.
3. Pot and Soil
The right pot will ensure that the soil completely dries out. There are many different types of succulent pots in the market but your best choices for Graptosedum are terra cotta and unglazed ceramic.
Both types of pots allow evaporation to take place. You should also choose a pot that is big enough to enable Graptosedum’s roots to grow properly. Make sure the pot has a drainage hole. When watering put mesh wiring on the drainage hole to prevent large chunks of soil from falling out.
For soil, Graptosedum grows best in well-draining varieties. Cactus and sandy soil are good choices. To improve drainage, add ingredients such as peat moss, perlite, and pumice at a 1:1 ratio.
California Sunset does not really need fertilizer but it will not harm the plant if you decide to add it to the soil. The best time to use fertilizer is during the springtime which is growing season.
Don’t give the fertilizer at full strength. Dilute the fertilizer with water until it is ¼ to ½ of its original strength as stated in the instructions.
How To Propagate Graptosedum
If you love your Graptosedum and want more of them, the good news is that this species of succulent is easy to propagate.
There are four ways to expand your collection of California Sunset: Leaves, cuttings, offsets, and seeds.
1. Leaves Method
Step 1: Remove a healthy leaf from the stem by performing a clean pull. Gently twist the leaf and slowly pull making sure all of its parts are intact.
Step 2: Place the leaf in a dry and shaded area. Allow it to callous or harden for one to two days.
Step 3: When the leaf has developed calluses, place it on well-draining soil.
Step 4: Lightly water the soil by using a spray bottle.
2. Cuttings Method
Step 1: With a pair of sterilized and sharpened scissors, cut a leaf or a part of the stem.
Step 2: Allow the cuttings to harden for a few days. Make sure they are left to dry in a shaded area.
Step 3: When the cuttings are ready, place them on top of well-draining soil.
Step 4: Spray with water to support the growth of the plant’s roots.
3. Offsets Method
Step 1: Graptosedum produces small offsets or pups at the base of the main plant. Use a sharpened and sterilized pair of garden shears to cut them off.
Step 2: Give the offsets a few days to develop calluses. Keep them in a dry and shaded area.
Step 3: Place the offsets on well-draining soil.
Step 4: Moisten the soil with water by using a spray bottle.
4. Seeds Method
Step 1: Plant the seeds in well-draining soil.
Step 2: Spray the soil with water and place it under a Grow Light. Germination may take up to several weeks.
Step 3: Give the soil water whenever it feels dry to the touch.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Graptosedum Toxic for Cats and Dogs?
The website of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has not included Graptosedum “California Sunset” in its list of plants that are toxic to cats and dogs.
Why is my Graptosedum California Sunset Dying?
If you notice your Graptosedum California Sunset growing weak and possibly dying, there are three possible causes of the problem: Overwatering, lack of sunlight, and pest infestation.
Overwatering will cause the roots’ cells to burst and lead to rotting. Once rot starts to set in, the plant can develop an infection that will spread throughout.
Discoloration is a symptom of root rot. If the leaves are turning yellow or developing a brownish-blackish color, chances are the roots are rotting.
The first thing you have to do is to cut off the rotting sections with a sterilized and sharpened pair of garden shears.
Then, remove the plant from its soil. Shake off the excess soil so you can inspect the condition of the roots further. Cut off the roots that have rotted. Place Graptosedum in a shaded area and allow it to dry out completely.
Prepare a new pot for California Sunset and fill it with fresh, well-draining soil. Plant Graptosedum in its new home once the succulent has completely dried out.
2. Lack of Sunlight
You know Graptosedum is not getting enough sunlight if you notice its leaves stretching out. This is a condition known as etiolation. The leaves stretch out as if searching for sunlight.
If California Sunset is not given enough sunlight, it will not be able to convert the soil’s nutrients into food.
Simply transfer the succulent in an area that receives partial to full sunlight. If the plant is indoors, you can place it under a Grow Light. It should be fine after a few days.
3. Pest Infestation
Like other succulents, Graptosedum attracts pests such as mealybugs and aphids. These insects can kill California Sunset by depriving it of the nutritious sap that it helps itself to.
You can get rid of these pests by spraying Graptosedum with water mixed with insecticide soap.
You can also add worm casings into the soil. Worm casings produce an enzyme that can break down the exoskeleton of these pests. As a plus, worm casings can improve air circulation in the soil.
Does Graptosedum Produce Flowers?
Yes, if properly grown and taken care of, Graptosedum California Sunset will reward you with beautiful white flowers in the springtime.
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