How To Care For A Ghost Plant

Ghost plants only occasionally require irrigation when there isn’t natural rain. A weekly drink will be appreciated by plants growing outdoors in the hot summer heat, but indoor plants may only require watering every other week. To keep water from pooling in the rosettes of indoor ghost plants, irrigate them at the soil level.

How frequently should a ghost plant be watered?

The Ghost plant tends to grow in direct sunlight, which gives the leaves an almost transparent pink colour.

The ghost plant can take some shade, though it will give the leaves a blue-gray tint.


In the spring and summer, water a Ghost plant once a week once the top inch of soil has become dry.

To avoid overwatering, the plant should only receive water once every two to three weeks in the winter and once a week throughout the spring and summer’s vigorous growing seasons.

In order to prevent the leaves from scorching in the morning on a hot, bright day, water the soil directly around the base of the plant rather than directly on them.


The ghost plant is a somewhat resilient succulent in terms of temperature range, and it will thrive at room temperature in your home.

They can endure low nighttime temperatures in a mountainous location in their native Mexico, where they thrive in hot, dry circumstances.

Can you grow ghost plant inside?

The “Ghost Plant,” Graptopetalum paraguayense, can be grown both indoors and outdoors. The most crucial things are to give these plants a well-draining potting mix and enough sunlight. According to my observations of these plants, they thrive when left outside in the open air. Give them some outdoor time during the summer months if you must keep them inside during the winter; they will undoubtedly benefit from it.

Why are my ghost plant’s leaves falling off?

The ghost plant is indigenous to Mexico’s high-altitude, dry deserts, where it grows in stony, sand, or gravely soil with scant sources of moisture.

In fact, ghost plants have evolved expressly to survive in this environment and need it for them to flourish.

Their optimal circumstances are not overwatering or poorly draining soils.

Too much moisture stresses out a plant, which results in drooping leaves and, in extreme circumstances, stem and root rot that can kill your ghost plant.

Native to extremely arid and hot regions of Mexico, ghost plants benefit from being dormant in the summer to conserve resources and increase growth in the cooler months of the year.

Due to this seasonal cycle, ghost plants in particular are more vulnerable to stress from over watering in the summer, which can cause leaves to fall off and the health of the plant to deteriorate.

Depending on how severely the stress brought on by too much moisture around the roots manifests itself, overwatered ghost plant leaves may feel soft, turn yellow, and eventually fall off.

On order to recreate the native range of the ghost plant, it is crucial to prioritize good watering techniques and grow your ghost plants in well-draining soil that has been improved with grit.

Your ghost plant needs little care and should be strong enough to avoid losing leaves due to stress if you follow the recommended watering schedule and use well-draining soil.

Key Takeaways:

  • In order to reproduce themselves or in response to a lack of direct sunlight, ghost plants shed their leaves.
  • The ghost plant, which thrives in dryer circumstances, is stressed by overwatering and slow-draining soils, which results in some of the leaves falling off.
  • Ghost plants can have long stems with few leaves since they develop more quickly than the majority of succulents.
  • To replenish a scarce ghost plant, propagate it from cuttings and from leaves.

What does a ghost plant look like when it is overwatered?

Root rot, the most prevalent disease of ghost plants, is typically brought on by over watering or poorly draining soil. Dropping leaves are frequently an indication that the plant has been overwatered.

Are ghost plants sun-loving?

These plants must be cultivated in soil that drains well due to Florida’s humid, wet climate. Succulents like the ghost plant are consequently frequently grown in rock gardens or in pots, both indoors and outdoors.

Make sure to pick a container with drainage holes and well-drained potting medium when placing your ghost plant in a container. For an interesting yet low-maintenance landscape, try combining ghost plants with other varieties of succulents.

Alternately, you might include your ghost plant in a rock garden. A rock garden is made by piling huge rocks, such as limestone, to form the base and then filling in the spaces with smaller rocks, gravel, and planting pockets of soil.

Because the ghost plant needs sunshine to grow, find a spot where it will get full or partial sun.

Keep it close to a south, east, or west window if grown indoors.

For a larger shape, some individuals choose to keep their ghost plants trimmed. Allowing it to become a little “leggy” will give it a new look and will allow the twisted stems to slowly climb out of the pot and cascade down. Between waterings, make sure the soil has nearly dried up entirely.

The ghost plant is extremely drought-tolerant, like the majority of succulents; if your plant starts dropping too many leaves, you may be overwatering. But naturally, leaves will fall off; this is how the plant expands. As leaves fall to the ground below and break off, the ghost plant reproduces itself. Give a fallen leaf some time to develop a callous above the break-off spot if you want to try growing ghost plant yourself. Because of this, ghost plants are some of the simplest succulents to grow, making them excellent gifts for friends and family.

What makes it the “ghost plant”?

The botanical name for ghost plants, Graptopetalum paraguayense, is a form of succulent that is a member of the Crassulaceae family. The low-growing plants create dense, sprawling rosettes of leaves that range in size from 15 to 31 cm. Ghost plants are so named because of the pruinose, or powdery, coating that covers their leaves. The leaves have a ghostly or pale appearance because of this covering. In the past, ghost plants were utilized in Mexico as a natural remedy and as a landscape adornment. Succulents were introduced to Japan in the 20th century, where they were carefully nurtured to develop into a novel and distinctive food item. Ghost plants grow quickly, and even without soil, a single leaf plucked from the plant will produce fresh buds. The leaves and buds of the Ghost plant are both edible, and you may find them together in certain commercial packaging. In Japan and other nations like Taiwan, ghost plants are a common culinary item that is yet relatively new. The fleshy leaves are adaptable ingredients for desserts, snacks, dips, roasted meats, and soups due to their crisp, juicy quality and mild flavor. The leaves can be served raw or cooked.

Are phantom plants toxic?

Is it a blossoming plant or a mushroom? From June through September, you can come across Monotropa uniflora, also known as ghost plant, Indian pipe, or corpse plant, a ghostly white understory plant, on your hikes in the deep woods. The ghostly whiteness of this plant makes it simple to mistake it for a mushroom. Because it lacks chlorophyll, this perennial plant cannot produce energy from the light way most other plants can. Since it doesn’t require sunshine to grow, it can flourish in the gloomy understory of our old-growth woods.

Search for single white flowers, sometimes appearing in bunches, almost translucent, and occasionally with black specks in the dense shade of the forest, frequently close to decaying tree stumps. The ghost plant blossom points downward as it emerges from the dirt, then after it is fully grown, it becomes upright and parallel to the stem. Ghost plants have white, five-parted flowers that are produced on a single stalk and grow to a height of 4 to 8 inches. Also possible are very mature plants, which can range in color from dark brown to black and have blooms or seed heads that tip upward.

How does a ghost plant sustain itself, then? In a process known as photosynthesis, green chlorophyll-containing trees and plants use solar energy to transform atmospheric carbon dioxide into sugars and other carbohydrates. These sugars are transferred from the plant’s roots to the soil’s mycorrhizal fungus. The fungus gives the trees water and minerals in return. The underground fungal network allows for the sharing of nutrients produced by one tree with other trees and plants in this mutually beneficial symbiotic arrangement.

Read the article Survival of our Woods in this issue for additional information on the symbiotic link between trees and fungi.

Ghost plants, however, lack chlorophyll and are unable to photosynthesise. As opposed to symbiotic, its root system interacts with subsurface fungi, obtaining nutrients from them in a parasitic capacity. Due to its parasitic nature, the ghost plant takes use of the mycorrhyzal fungi connected to the tree roots in the area. As a result, even the ghost plant, which lacks the pigment chlorophyll needed to synthesize food, can gain advantage from the nutrients provided by other photosynthesis-capable plants. In a mnagetrois interaction between a photosynthetic tree, a mycorrhizal fungus, and a parasite plant, the ghost plant essentially takes and provides nothing back, allowing it to grow in complete shade. Fortunately, the ghost plant returns all the nutrients it got from its hosts back to the forest floor when it dies, where they will be ingested, recycled, and absorbed by other animals.

Inside the seed pod

The ghost plant can be consumed in moderation by the daring. When cooked, they are claimed to taste like asparagus but have a relatively bland flavor when eaten raw. But watch your intake! If consumed in large quantities, the plant, which has glycosides (compounds that help store sugars), can be dangerous.

It’s better to avoid attempting to transplant ghost plants back into your garden in a shaded area if you do happen to uncover them on your walks. Without their subsurface support system to provide them with water and nutrients, they are unlikely to live. These chlorophyll-deficient plants, which resemble tiny white vampires creeping up through the litter on the forest floor, have carved out a distinctive niche in the understory food chain and are best appreciated in their natural habitat.

Young plants are bright white

The article Think Like a Mushroom in this issue has further information on the healthy and harmful mushrooms.

Adelia Ritchie was raised on a farm in northern Virginia with horses, cattle, dogs, and Porky, her pet pig who was in charge of the entire operation. Adelia, a native of the wonderful Pacific Northwest, has worked as a scientist, educator, artist, and serial entrepreneur. She graduated from the University of West Florida with a B.S. in Chemistry and Physics and from Northwestern University with an M.S. and Ph.D. in Physical Organic Chemistry. She finished the Hon. Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership training program in June 2017, and she is now collaborating with educators, activists, and strategists to advance a greater understanding of climate change science and how it affects the intricate biological web of life. Adelia lives in Hansville, Washington, with her garden, dogs, and a bunch of hilarious hens.

Are ghost plants winter-resistant?

Ghost Plant (graptopetalum paraguayense) is a succulent that is simple to grow and has a lot of potential. Ghost Plant, a native of the bordering state of Tamaulipas in northeastern Mexico, has adapted well to the hot southeast Texas climate. One of the succulent family’s many cold-tolerant members is this greyish green kind. This plant survived and thrived throughout the series of freezes in 2018 that occurred below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Succulent output has surged as a result of professional plant farmers seeing a 64 percent increase in sales since 2012 for these plants. Plants that are transportable, simple to grow, and guarantee a high success rate are in demand in today’s mobile world.

Plants known as succulents can conserve water for times when it is scarce. Ghost Plant is a leaf succulent that always has water stored within of its thick, angular leaves. The powdery covering (pruinose), which gives the plant a ghostly mauve blue look, is the source of the common name “Ghost Plant.” The brittle stems of the plant can grow rather long and past the borders of beds and containers. A lovely rosette of light grey foliage crowns each stalk. Ghost Plant, which changes color according on the climate, adds charming winter interest. The plant can be any color, from yellowish pink in full sun to pale bluish grey in strong shadow. In late winter to early spring, this drought-tolerant succulent blooms, complementing its appearance with small white star-shaped blossoms that are sporadically tinged with dark crimson.

The main strength of the Ghost Plant is its adaptability. It grows nicely in pots, hanging baskets, wall-mounted half-baskets, semi-prostrate ground covers with well-drained soil, and even next to water features. With its trailing stems and lovely rosettes spilling over the edge of the container, Ghost Plant makes a gorgeous accent when it has fully grown. It thrives just as well growing indoors as a house plant as it does in a rock garden. For usage in the incredibly popular tiny or “fairy gardens,” small baby Ghost Plants are ideal.

If the planting area or container is well-drained, caring for this plant will be simple. Wet roots are not tolerated by Ghost Plant. It will get root rot, which will kill it in no time. Compost, sand, grit, or perlite should be mixed with other materials to make potting soil. Use a container with a big enough hole for drainage. When the earth is fully dry to the touch, do not water (plunge your finger into the soil to test). Leaf drop is a sure symptom of overwatering. Each spring, give plantings or containers a gentle fertilization. Ghost Plant requires intense light coming from a south, east, or west window while being utilized as a house plant.

My ghost plant is shriveling, why?

This plant has fairly brittle stems that separate readily. This is due to the habitat’s Graptopetalum ghost plant’s vegetative reproduction. Any rosette that separates has the capacity to take root and produce a new plant. Even a fallen leaf will swiftly form a new rosette by rooting below the parent plant. The leaf is consumed by the young plant until it shrivels and falls off. By that time, the new, little ghost plant has taken root and begun to grow new leaves. Growing succulent ghost plants is quite simple, and it gives beginning gardeners a boost of confidence.

Ghost plants that are succulents can be grown in USDA zones 7b and higher. The care guidelines for most succulents and ghost flower plants are the same.

Plants grown in containers do best in a mix of topsoil, a little compost, and peat, sand, or other grit. Although full sun is ideal, they can also thrive in partial sun with slightly erratic results. It is best to choose the optimum spot for the ghost plant and then keep it there because the stems are so delicate.

Ghost plants require moderate watering and great drainage. By placing your finger in the soil, you can determine when to water. You should water if the soil is dry several inches (10 cm) down or the fleshy leaves appear wilted. Root rots are brought on by overwatering, and the plant may experience many pest infestations.