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What is a Ghost Plant?

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  • Written By: Misty Amber Brighton
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 20 September 2016
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A ghost plant, also called Graptopetalum paraguayense or mother-of-pearl plant, is a type of succulent that is often grown in rock gardens and containers. It is native to Mexico, but is also found in England and many parts of the U.S. It is characterized by long, woody stems, greenish-gray leaves, and yellow or red flowers.

This plant's stems may somewhat resemble the branches of a small tree. They can be up to 12 inches (30.48 cm) long and usually trail downward rather than growing straight up or out. They may be light brown or green in color. They are typically very thick and do not break easily.

The leaves of this plant are usually in the shape of a tear drop and vary in size. A ghost plant normally has larger leaves on the bottom and smaller ones near the top. These are typically in clusters at the end of the stems. The clusters somewhat resemble a rose bloom. This foliage can be greenish-gray, but may sometimes have a silver or violet tint to it as well.

The foliage is generally very smooth to the touch, and dull in appearance. The leaves are normally very thick and may feel spongy or rubbery. Unlike many succulents, the foliage of a ghost plant does not have prickly spines.

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During the spring, a ghost plant may produce brightly-colored flowers. These are normally star-shaped with a bright orange-yellow center. They might also have red or orange stripes or speckles on them from time to time. They are typically around six inches (15.24 cm) long and develop just above the leaf clusters.

A mother-of-pearl plant prefers to be placed in direct sunlight, but can sometimes tolerate being grown in partially shaded areas. It does best in warm climates, but can often withstand temperatures as low as 5°F (-15°C). This succulent can grow in a variety of soils and may do well in rocky areas. It typically needs little watering, and is believed to be somewhat drought-resistant. It might be a good idea to give this succulent plenty of room to grow due to its spreading nature.

A ghost plant is a perennial, which means it can live for several years. It normally retains its colorful foliage even during the winter months. It does not typically require a great deal of care in order to thrive. For these reasons, it can be an interesting specimen to add to a houseplant collection.

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