How to Grow Topsy Debbi (Lilac Spoons)

topsy debbie succulent

The Spruce / Kara Riley 

In This Article

Topsy Debbi (x Graptoveria ‘Topsy Debbi’), also known as Lilac Spoons, is a unique hybrid of Echeveria runyonii 'Topsy Turvy' and x Graptoveria ‘Debbi’ in the Crassulaceae family. This succulent is 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.

Botanical Names x Graptoveria 'Topsy Debbi', x Graptoveria 'Lilac Spoons'
Common Names Topsy Debbi, Lilac Spoons
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 (parents from North America, Central America)
Toxicity Nontoxic
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. The succulent doesn't 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.

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. 

Light

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.

When grown indoors, it can be difficult 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. 

Soil

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

Water

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. 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.

Temperature and Humidity

This succulent does not tolerate frost well, but it can handle the hot temperatures of its growing zones. When grown indoors, make sure to keep it away from cold drafts, including blowing from air conditioning. Topsy Debbi prefers low to moderate humidity levels, and average household humidity is typically fine for it. However, high humidity can cause the soil to retain too much moisture, which can lead to an unhealthy plant.

Fertilizer

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.

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.

Propagating Topsy Debbi

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. These offsets can be gently separated from the main plant and replanted in their own pot or in the ground. Wait a couple days before replanting to allow the cut end to callous over; otherwise it can rot in the soil.

To propagate via 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 of soil, and put the container in indirect light. 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. 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.