One of the most popular cultivars of Graptoveria (grap-toh-VER-ree-uh), ‘Opalina’ was created in 1988 by California-based succulent breeder Robert Grim and became an instant sensation.
As with all members of the family Crassulaceae, Graptoveria Opalina is a perennial evergreen succulent. The leaves of its tight rosettes stand upright, thick and smooth but slightly less plump than on ‘Blush’, giving way to yellow flowers in spring.
The combination of appearance, low maintenance, and overall durability make this plant a must-have for any fan of succulents.
Graptoveria Opalina Care
Size & Growth
Despite being a subtropical succulent, Opalina’s growth is more active in cooler temperatures, speeding up during spring and autumn and slowing during summer and winter.
Overall, it tends to be a fast grower and creates numerous offsets beneath the parent rosette.
Graptoveria Opalina has clusters of tight pink-tinged bluish rosettes that measure up to 8″ inches high and 6″ inches wide.
Flowering and Fragrance
Opalina blooms in late spring with a display of short, branching inflorescences. Each flower is yellow with an orange center, providing a colorful contrast to the plant’s foliage.
Light & Temperature
You can grow Graptoveria opalina in partial shade with a little care. However, if you want this plant to look its best, full sun is the only way to go. Interestingly, the coloration of this plant can be very different based on the amount of light provided.
When in part sun, the foliage retains a powdery blue-green hue. However, it will blush in the sun, gaining a pretty pink tinge around its edges and leaf tips.
There’s some debate about the resilience of this cultivar, It thrives in USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b, but has been known to grow successfully in zone 9b.
It is most hardy in temperatures down to 30° degrees Fahrenheit, with tolerance down to 25° degrees Fahrenheit.
In a few cases, Graptoveria opalina has been rumored to survive 20° degrees Fahrenheit weather, although there’s no information on conditions or duration of exposure in these cases.
Watering and Feeding
This plant prefers moderate water between spring and fall, but you should allow the soil to become dry to the touch between waterings to avoid rot and infestations.
Avoid getting the leaves wet and cut back on watering in winter so the plant doesn’t suffer frost or freezing damage. Make sure any excess water drains out when tending to a potted specimen.
As this plant is tolerant to poor soils, you only need to add fertilizer once at the beginning of the growing season. A fertilizer balanced for succulents and diluted to one quarter strength works best.
Soil & Transplanting
The soil quality of Graptoveria opalina requires will depend largely upon whether you’re growing it in a container or garden. Outdoors, the plant can handle poorer, gritty but porous soil.
Potted plants prefer a mix of sandy soil, peat, and topsoil. In both cases, the soil needs to be well-drained to prevent disease.
It’s rare for Opalina to need transplanting. However, you should always repot this plant when purchasing a grown specimen.
Grooming And Maintenance
Opalina requires very little maintenance when grown in bright light. Those grown in partial sun may become leggy, however, and require a little more attention.
How To Propagate Opalina
As with its kin, Graptoveria opalina is incredibly easy to propagate. While you may choose to use seeds, an established plant may develop pups simply by dropping leaves if you leave them alone.
You may also cut the stem just under smaller rosettes and allow them to sit for three to five days in a cool, dry place.
Once the cut has callused, plant the rosette in some gritty soil and water frequently until roots have formed and new leaves are visible.
Graptoveria Opalina Pests or Diseases
A well-tended Opalina tends to stay quite healthy. However, plants that lack excellent drainage are prone to root rot and infestation by a range of pests attracted to moisture.
Some common pests are aphids and mealybugs. Mold may also become a problem when overwatered.
This succulent plant is also non-toxic, making it a great choice for homes with pets.
Suggested Graptoveria Opalina Uses
Opalina isn’t the only hybrid of Echeveria colorata x Graptopetalum amethystinum, and mixing it with its siblings can create a pleasant effect. It serves well in rock gardens or as an accent to a focal cactus display.
It also looks great as a container plant and may be kept in a three gallon or larger container.
Dish gardens and hanging baskets are great choices for this plant where its pale blue-green leaves, pink tones, and contrasting flower color can draw the most attention.