A small- to medium-sized slow-growing Mexican member of the succulent family Crassulaceae (making them relatives of Kalanchoe and Jade Plant). Pachyphytum leaves are plump and fleshy, and range in color from green to lovely orange and even purple. The leaves form a loose rosette. They may be grape-shaped or tubular, and may have a powdery coating called farina. Pachyphytum forms small, unimpressive bell-shaped flowers in spring and summer which are usually greenish-white and deep red, and which grow on long spikey inflorescences. Pachyphytum rosettes will not die after flowering. The genus name Pachyphytum comes from the Greek for “thick leaves”. It grows in both shrub-forming and stemless rosettes and eventually forms clumps. Pachyphytum plants are fairly hardy, and are common houseplants. However, like Graptopetalum, Pachyphytum is sensitive to being handled, as skin oil can damage leaves, in particular those with a pearlescent coloration or farina.
Pachyphytum will not tolerate frosts well. Temperatures below 20 °F (-6 °C) will kill the plant, and temperatures which may go below 45 °F (7 °C) during extended period should be avoided. Pachyphytum tolerates high heat and intense sunlight. As with most Crassulaceae, Pachyphytum can tolerate (and even appreciated) poor soil conditions, so long as it is well draining. Pachyphytum can thrive in full or partial sunlight. Allow the soil to dry out before watering, and be careful to avoid getting water on the leaves. In winter, the plants will require more water, as winter begins its active growth season. If you are unsure when to water your Pachyphytum, watch the lower most leaves for signs of drying and water them then. Pachyphytum is FAR more likely to survive under-watering than over-watering. The thick fleshy leaves will appear wilted and a bit “under-full” when they need water.