How to Grow and Care for Topsy Debbi (Lilac Spoons)

topsy debbie succulent

The Spruce / Kara Riley 

Topsy Debbi is a succulent known for its thick, spoon-shaped leaves that grow in stemless rosettes and feature a dusty lilac color. The color can change in intensity depending on growing conditions, with cool weather often bringing on a more vivid appearance. The plant most commonly flowers in the spring but might bloom again later in the year. The small flowers rise above the rosettes on thin stalks. Topsy Debbi is a fairly rare plant to find at garden centers, but it’s easy to care for even for beginners. It has a moderate growth rate and is best planted in the spring.

Common Names Topsy Debbi, lilac spoons
Botanical Names x Graptoveria 'Topsy Debbi', x Graptoveria 'Lilac Spoons'
Family Crassulaceae
Plant Type Succulent
Mature Size 6 in. tall, 4 in. wide
Sun Exposure Full
Soil Type Sandy, well-drained
Soil pH Acidic, neutral
Bloom Time Spring
Flower Color Yellow
Hardiness Zones 9-11 (USDA)
Native Area Hybrid, no native range
closeup of topsy debbie succulent
The Spruce / Kara Riley  
graptoveria side by side

Topsy Debbi Care

Topsy Debbi has growing requirements similar to those of most other succulents. It prefers lots of sun and warmth and only a moderate amount of water.

To start your succulent off right, ensure that it’s planted in well-draining soil. It will grow and look its best when planted in the garden. But if you live outside of its growing zones, plant the succulent in a container that you can bring indoors for the winter. Plan to water when the soil dries out, fertilize annually, and separate crowded plants as needed. 


Topsy Debbi prefers to grow in full sun, meaning at least six hours of direct sunlight on most days. Too little light can result in a leggy plant, rather than the tight rosette it’s known for. However, the succulent will appreciate some shade from the harsh afternoon sun, especially in the warmest parts of its growing zones, to protect it from sunburn.


Soil with sharp drainage is essential for Topsy Debbi. It prefers a sandy or gravelly soil. When grown in containers, a potting mix made especially for succulents and cacti is ideal.


It’s very important to water this succulent sparingly to keep it healthy. Give it a good soak whenever the soil has almost completely dried out, ensuring that excess water is draining away from the plant. Then, refrain from watering until the soil dries out again.

Temperature and Humidity

This succulent does not tolerate frost well, but it can handle the hot temperatures of its growing zones. Topsy Debbi prefers low to moderate humidity levels. High humidity can cause the soil to retain too much moisture, which can lead to an unhealthy plant.


Similar to most succulents, Topsy Debbi doesn’t require much feeding and can survive in lean soil. But it can benefit from an annual feeding with a succulent fertilizer in the spring as it’s entering its active growth period.

Types of Topsy Debbi

Topsy Debbi is a hybrid so there are no additional varieties but there are similar hybrids, such as

  • 'Fred Yves', with foliage that changes to different rainbow colors depending on the amount of water and light the plant gets. It grows 4 to 8 inches tall and about 2 inches in diameter.
  • 'Fanfare' with blue-green rosette-shaped leaves that have a powdery coating. It has a low-growing, sprawling growth habit and sends up flower stalks with star-shaped yellow flowers in the summer.


Other than removing damaged or diseases leaves, the plant does not require pruning. Remove the leaf at the base where it meets the stem and gently twist it off. The breakage point should be clean so new leaves can grow.

Propagating Topsy Debbi

Like all succulents, Topsy Debbi is easy to propagate through separation and leaf cuttings. Healthy mature plants eventually will grow tiny offset plants, or “pups,” around their base:

  • Gently separate the offsets from the main plant.
  • Wait for a couple days before replanting to allow the cut end to callous over; otherwise it can rot in the soil.
  • Replant the offsets in a pot filled with potting mix for cactus and succulents, or in well-draining garden soil. Don’t water the soil until you see roots beginning to sprout from the end of the leaf. Then, water as you would a mature plant. In a few weeks, you should begin to see a small plant growing near the roots at the end of the leaf.

To propagate the plant from leaves, gently separate a healthy, plump leaf from the main plant by wiggling it back and forth until it pops off. Place the leaf in a shallow container with cactus and succulent potting mix and place it in indirect light. Follow the same instructions as for watering pups above. Don’t remove the leaf from this tiny new succulent, as it’s providing nutrients and moisture. Over time, the leaf will shrivel up and fall off on its own. 

How to Grow Topsy Debbi From Seed

Topsy Debbi seeds are not commonly available from seed companies. Because it is a hybrid, seeds that you collect from your plant won't produce a plant that is true to the parent. That. and the fact that propagating this succulent from pups or leaf cuttings is fairly easy with a good success rate, makes growing it from seed not a recommended option.

Potting and Repotting Topsy Debbi

When growing Topsy Debbi in a container, it’s important to select a pot with ample drainage holes. An unglazed pot is ideal, as it will allow excess soil moisture to escape through its walls as well as the drainage holes. The container should be just slightly larger than the plant’s root ball.

Topsy Debbi stays relatively small and won’t require repotting often. Once the roots are growing out of the container and the leaves have grown well beyond the container walls, then it’s likely time to repot. The best time to do so is in the spring; avoid repotting in the winter when the plant is dormant. Select just one container size up. Gently remove the succulent from its old container, shaking off excess soil from the roots, and then replant it at the same depth in the new container with fresh potting mix.


The plant does not tolerate cold wind well so make sure to plant it in a location where it is sheltered from chilly winter winds.

Common Pests and Plant Diseases

Topsy Debbi does not have any serious issues with pests or diseases. However, overwatering can leave it vulnerable to root rot and other disease. Also, keep an eye out for common plant pests, including mealybugs and scale, which might hide out in the crevices of its leaves.

How to Get Topsy Debbi to Bloom

If your succulent does not bloom, it is most likely suffering from lack of sunlight. Topsy Debbie needs full sun to thrive.

Common Problems With Topsy Debbi

While it is generally a trouble-free plant, yellowing leaves and root rot are common problems when the plant is being overwatered. Make sure that the soil has excellent drainage.

  • Can topsy Debbi be grown indoors?

    It can, but make sure to provide enough light for your topsy Debbi plant. It should be placed by a window where it will receive bright, direct light for most of the day. If you notice that the color of your succulent is becoming less intense over time, this could be a sign it’s not getting enough light. The use of a grow light might be necessary to keep it looking its best. Also keep it away from cold drafts, including blowing from air conditioning.

  • What is the difference between Graptoveria and Graptopetalum?

    Graptoveria is a hybrid between two species, Graptopetalum and Echeveria. Graptopetalum is one of the species used to produce the hybrid plant.

  • Why are the leaves of my topsy Debbi shriveled?

    Leaves that have lost their plumpness and instead look a little shriveled are typically a sign that the succulent is thirsty. In the winter, reduce watering to just enough to keep the leaves plump.