How to Care for Graptosedum’ California Sunset’ and Keep it Looking Its Best.
The Graptosedum California Sunset is a lovely succulent that is colorful, easy to grow, and care for. It is a hybrid plant between the varieties Graptopetalum praguayensis “Ghost Plant” and Sedum adolphii. Thus, it is named Graptosedum. The name is sometimes written as xGraptosedum to denote that it is a hybrid.
The plant has thick leaves that make up a compact rosette. The rosettes grow tightly along the stem. It is similar to Echeveria and yet different, although the task of identifying this hybrid plant is not exactly that straightforward. The plant is colorful, with the petals going from reddish-color to near black. The center of the stemmed rosette is pastel green, and the thick leaves turn peachy pink near the tips.
Cultivation and History.
This succulent is a hybrid that can easily resemble other genetically related varieties. Graptopetalum, one of the parent plants of this plant, is found in Mexico and American Southwest. This is a clue as to the type of climate the plant will thrive in. Being a hybrid variety of succulents, the plant will do well in the climatic conditions in which the main parent plant grows.
The name Graptosedum is not technically shown in the classification table of succulents as it is a hybrid variety. However, many nurseries have resorted to developing hybrid cultivars due to the high demand of succulent lovers for new eye-catching colorful succulents. When this happens, they tend to take the two names of the parent plants and then add another name exclusive to their nursery, such as “California Sunset’.
Propagation of Graptosedum ‘California Sunset’.
This succulent can be propagated easily like all succulents using offsets, stem cuttings, leaves, and seeds. A full-grown California Sunset will give you many small rosette offsets. The offset is cut at the base of the main stem with a clean, sterile knife or scissor. The same is true for leaf propagation.
The leaf has to be cut or pulled out with a neat twist in its entirety. Allow the offsets or leaves to callous over for a couple of days. Then you can place the offset or leaf in excellent drainage soil. Cuttings also can be propagated in this manner. The plants are watered sparingly and only when the soil looks dry.
When planting seeds, it is best when the temperature is warm. If not, you can use a seed warmer or grow light to help with germination. The process is prolonged and can take several weeks or more. The correct environment should exist; watering should only be done when the soil is dry to ensure growth. California Sunset partly originated in Mexico and will grow well in similar climatic conditions. It is a plant that succulent hobbyists love because it is easy to grow and maintain.
California Sunset Grow and Care Instructions.
Caring for and growing this plant is easy. However, it will die off if the plant lacks the correct environment. Starting with potting and placing the pot in a place with sufficient sunlight is a must. Potting into moist soil can be a problem if there are abrasive marks on the cutting, offset, or leaf, as it will start to rot with excess water.
It is recommended not to water the new plant after putting it down in the soil for about a week to overcome this problem. Placement of the plant where it receives sufficient sunlight will also help its growth. Full sunlight can be introduced to the plant an hour or two daily. The thick reddish leaves of the rosette are brought out when the right conditions are present. These include:
- Water as needed for a succulent plant
- Lighting conditions of bright sun to partial shade
- The correct temperature – not too cold
- Soil that drains well
- Adequately pruned and maintained plant
Pruning and Maintenance.
This succulent grows during the spring and summer months. Pruning of the plant is done at the beginning of spring. Maintaining a clean environment for the plant helps healthy growth. Pruning is also the answer to etiolation. This is when there the plant stretches out in search of sunlight. The stems of the plant get elongated, and the formation of rosettes does not happen properly. Pruning these elongated stems allows new rosettes to grow from the stump’s base. After pruning with a clean cutting instrument, the plant should be allowed to scab over before watering.
Cultivars to Select.
There are many choices when it comes to cultivars. Unfortunately, some more common varieties are often mistaken for each other.
Graptosedum’ California Sunset’, ‘Peach Blossom’.
This is one of the most popular succulents in the Graptosedum family because of its vibrancy. The plant can take on different hues ranging from pink to orange tones. As they mature, the leaves start out gray and then gradually turn to pink and orange hues. As the name indicates, a well-grown succulent resembles a colorful sunset. The plant produces many offsets and is ideally suited for propagation. This plant is also grown as a groundcover in many gardens and hanging pots.
Graptosedum’ Bronze’, ‘Coffee’.
This succulent is bronze in color. It is a very interesting color that shows in the mature leaves growing from the base of the rosettes. This type of Graptosedum can handle lower temperatures and survive outdoors for more extended periods when cold weather sets in.
Once again, the name denotes the color. The pale colors of blue and grey dominate the leaf with a hint of pink. This plant is often mistaken for the Graptopetalum Ghost Plant. The only way to differentiate these two is by the color of their flowers. Graptosedum’ Ghosty’ has white flowers while the other has yellow flowers.
Graptosedum’ Vera Higgins’, ‘Alpenglow’.
This plant is distinct in its color. The plant turns a deep burgundy hue brought about by cooler temperatures. The leaves start as green and then turn pink and burgundy as they mature. Alpenglow, however, can be seen as a milder colored version of the plant.
Graptosedum’ Francesco Baldi’.
‘Francesco Baldi’, or Graptosedum’ Darley Sunshine, is one of our best-selling succulents. Similar to Sedums in appearance, it features pink-peach pudgy leaves. Similar to sedum, it grows in clumps. The plant is blue-grey originally and turns pink in direct sunlight. During the winter months, it can become purplish.
Graptosedum’ Darley Sunshine’.
This is a dainty plant with thick long leaves that are pink at the tips. Easy to grow and propagate as there are many offsets.
The ideal lighting requirement for this succulent is at least six hours of direct sunlight and partial shade during the rest of the day. Therefore, when the plant is being grown indoors, it should be placed on a window sill or similar place that receives at least six hours of sunlight. A warm grow light for that much time is also another option.
The soil used in growing this succulent is the same as for all succulents. Its main feature is its ability to expel excess water from the soil. This can be store-bought, or you can make up the soil with 50% – 70% mineral grit such as perlite, coarse sand, or pumice. The choice of the pot is important to the plant. Both unglazed ceramic pots and terra cotta pots help to evaporate excess water. Adding sand to the soil mix also helps to drain water fast.
California Sunset Watering.
As with all succulents, infrequent watering is the norm for California Sunset and all Graptosedum varieties. Water only when the soil has completely dried out. Water should run out of the drainage holes when you water to ensure overall moistness; subsequent watering should occur when the soil is completely dry again. Too much moistness over long periods is unsuitable for the plant as the roots will start to rot.
Temperature and Humidity.
This succulent does not tolerate frost. A sunny window sill is best during colder weather. Warm temperatures with less humidity are ideally suited for this succulent. Hot and dry conditions help to bring out the reddish color of the plant.
Fertilizers and Feeding.
Succulents do not have to be fertilized like other plants. However, a little fertilizer goes a long way in boosting the growth of Graptosedum. As the new season begins in spring, balanced or low nitrogen fertilizer can be added at ¼ strength to clean water. Specialty succulent fertilizers are available commercially.
Repotting your plant is a good way to keep it healthy. The frequency of repotting depends on the type of plant and its growth rate. The rule of thumb is that you should repot your plant when it has outgrown its pot. The frequency of watering also depends on the type of plant and its growth rate.
Common Pests & Plant Diseases.
Pests and diseases afflicting this plant are the same as for most succulents. Mealybugs and other insects such as aphids are a big problem. They sap the juice from the plant, causing the leaves to turn yellow and wilt. Sometimes, you can see black sooty mold on the leaves and stems. The appearance of ants on the plant is an indication of mealybugs.
To combat pests, use rubbing alcohol or spray with insecticidal soap water. Of course, this has to be repeated each week for quick results.
California Sunset Best Uses.
It is highly valued for its color. Landscaping gardeners strategically place California Sunset to bring out its reddish color as well as the color of the other plants around them. The contrast can be quite stunning as this plant is used indoors on window sills and desks. Graptosedum is sprawling succulents and suitable for groundcover and edging, and borders. When cultivated in hanging baskets, it is eye-catching.
If you want a sprinkling of warm color in your rock garden, outdoor landscape, or indoor plant area, Graptosedum California Sunset is your answer. This is easy to grow and care for. These plants will grow for years or forever if the ideal conditions are present.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
Do Graptosedum need sun or shade?
Graptosedum needs at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. After that, partial shade is good for the plant. The plant’s color is mainly due to the amount of sunlight it receives.
What are Graptosedum’ California Sunset’s good for?
Most gardeners plant this to add color to their rock gardens, borders, edgings, and indoor succulent collections. They are also good for hanging pots.
Is a Graptosedum an indoor or outdoor plant?
This succulent can be grown both indoors and outdoors. However, cold temperatures and frosty conditions are not suitable for the plant. When the climate is cooler, the plant can be placed indoors.
How big do California Sunset succulents get?
California Sunset grows to 12 inches and will spread about 10-12 inches in diameter. In hanging pots, the plants grow even longer.
How do you propagate Graptosedum California Sunset?
This is the same as for all succulents. Stem cuttings, leaves, offsets, and seeds propagate the plant.
How do you take care of a Graptosedum plant?
Graptosedum plants do not require specialized care. A healthy plant can be expected if it is grown in well-draining soil, watered sparingly, and placed in direct sunlight for a few hours a day. Pruning and maintaining a healthy environment also helps. Occasionally, liquid fertilizer can be added for better growth.
How often do you water Graptosedum?
Graptosedum does not need to be watered often. Watering can be done when the soil is completely dry. It can be once a week or even once in two weeks. Overwatering is a common mistake that leads to the rotting of the plant.
How do you treat a Graptosedum plant with root rot?
Cut away the rotting areas of the plant with a clean, sterile knife or scissors. Do not water the plant before scab forms over the cutting area. Allow the plant and the soil to dry before adding more soil and water.
How do you recognize a plant that is rotting?
The leaves of a rotting plant will turn yellow or brownish-black in color. The leaves also tend to fall off around the area that is affected. Fresh soil and cutting away rotting plant sections are remedies for this condition.