How To Take Care Of 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.

Does a ghost plant require full sunlight?

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.

How much light are required by ghost plants?

Most succulent plants have thick, fleshy stems and leaves. Ghost plants (Graptopetalum paraguayense) have large, dense leaves that may store extra moisture, allowing the plant to survive periods of time without rain. When the leaves are young, the silvery gray to bluish green foliage has a pinkish hue around the edges of the leaves. The rosette is made up of layers of leaves that are between less than an inch (2.5 cm) broad and several inches (7.5 cm) wide. The plant resembles and is linked to Echeveria, a widespread and hardy succulent that is frequently used in container gardens.

These plants have the capacity to change color. Although cultivating succulent ghost plants in partial shade results in the bluish-gray tones, full sun is the optimal environment for them. Plants in full sun are typically iridescent, slightly translucent, and yellowish-pink in color. Those under oppressive heat have pink undertones and turn gray.

The fact that the plant emerges from the rosette’s center must be included in all descriptions of ghost plants. The rangy appearance this causes in mature succulents can be easily fixed by pinching back. The shrub only infrequently produces light, tiny yellow blossoms from spring to summer.

Can a ghost plant be grown indoors?

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.

How can I keep my ghost plant alive?

The most frequent cause of a ghost plant losing its bottom leaves is a lack of sufficient direct light.

Ghost plants are succulents that have evolved specifically to flourish in warm temperatures, full light, and sandy or stony soils.

When there is insufficient light, the ghost plant’s stalk can get tall (or possibly long enough to hang down from pots) (etiolate).

Long, gangly stems with few leaves result from the taller stems’ tendency to develop in the direction of the most light.

The lovely rosette typically remains unaltered, but the lower stem leaves have a tendency to fall off, leaving a long stem devoid of foliage.

In an effort to conserve resources, the ghost plant loses the leaves that are lower on the stalk and receive less light in favor of retaining the rosette.

This does not necessarily imply that your plant is dying; it could just suggest that it is experiencing more stress due to a lack of direct light.

A ghost plant needs to be in full light in order to grow compactly. This entails placing the succulent either outside or in a bright, south-facing window.

Typically, indirect bright light is insufficient for succulents like the ghost plant to maintain their attractive compact shape.

Your ghost plant can still be restored even if it has completely lost all of its lower leaves, leaving only a long stem and a rosette.

The best choice is to divide the ghost plant from a leaf of the rosette to produce a new plant that doesn’t have a long, unattractive stem, or to clip the rosette off with a pair of sterile pruners so that it can be divided in a pot and grow more compactly (assuming its in full sun).

If you have long, bare stems, give it a try and you can have many more ghost plants because they are quite successful to reproduce and it is very satisfying to watch them grow.

In order to revive ghost plants that have grown with long stems and few leaves, watch this instructive YouTube video, which demonstrates how to propagate and prune them precisely:

How often should my 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.

Is the ghost plant 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.

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.

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.

What is the purpose of ghost plant?

There are various medical uses for ghost pipes. They have diaphoretic, antispasmodic, and sedative effects. The management of neurological illnesses such psychosis, severe anxiety, nervousness, irritability, restlessness, and convulsion episodes is where ghost pipe excels.

General Care for Graptopetalum paraguayense “Ghost Plant

The “Ghost Plant” can be mistaken for an Echeveria with ease. Despite its similarities, Ghost Plant is unique in its own right. In the spring, keep an eye out for little yellow blossoms.


The “soak and dry approach” of watering should be used on graptopetalum. To prevent root rot and pests, make sure the soil is totally dry after watering.

Additionally, make sure to get our FREE watering cheat sheet to learn how to determine whether your succulents are receiving too much water (and how to save them if needed).


Twist a leaf from the mother plant to create new Graptopetalum. You will have a lower likelihood of succeeding if any leaf fragments are left on the stem.

Place the leaf on well-draining soil after allowing it to dry out for a few days so the end calluses over. When the soil is entirely dry, water.

Ghost Plant is a simple plant for people just starting out with propagation because it will also shed leaves and spread on its own.


Use a clean, sharp knife or pair of scissors to cut a section of the plant right above a leaf on the stem in order to propagate Ghost plants from cuttings. Place it in well-draining soil after allowing it to air dry for a few days.