Graptophyllum pictum

12 Interesting Facts About Graptophyllum pictum

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Graptophyllum pictum, commonly known as Caricature Plant or Joseph’s Coat1, is a popular houseplant known for its colorful and variegated foliage. Native to New Guinea, these plants have made their way into homes and gardens around the world.

With their unique leaf shapes and eye-catching colors, Graptophyllums have become a staple for indoor plant enthusiasts. Beyond just being visually striking, these plants also have some hidden talents.

Here are 12 fascinating facts about the Graptophyllum pictum:

1. Its leaves can come in various colors

The most recognizable feature of the Graptophyllum are its colorful leaves that can display various shades including:

  • Red
  • Pink
  • White
  • Green
  • Yellow
  • Orange

These hot pinks, vivid reds, and sunny yellows make this plant a true standout. The striking contrasts and combinations keep their foliage looking like a living piece of artwork.

2. The leaves have unique shapes

Graptophyllum leaves have an unconventional shape compared to most houseplants. Their leaves can be:

  • Oval
  • Heart-shaped
  • Round
  • Oblong

They can have smooth, wavy, or deeply lobed edges. This diversity in leaf shapes adds depth and visual interest to these plants. No two leaves are exactly alike on a Graptophyllum!

3. They are native to New Guinea

Graptophyllums hail from the lush tropical forests of New Guinea. This island is known for its incredible biodiversity, likely why these plants have adapted such a wide array of leaf types and colors.

4. Some species have edible berries

A few Graptophyllum varieties produce small oval berries ranging in color from dark purple to bright red. These berry-producing species are sometimes referred to as Aussie Sweethearts.

The berries have a sweet and tart tropical flavor. They can be eaten fresh or made into sweet spreads.

Graptophyllum pictum Andromeda Botanic Gardens
Graptophyllum pictum Andromeda Botanic Gardens

While they look quite different, Graptophyllums and African Violets are close cousins. They both belong to the Gesneriaceae family of flowering plants. Other plants in this family include popular houseplants like Lipstick Plants and Goldfish Plants.

6. They are easy to propagate

An advantage of Graptophyllum’s popularity is that they are very easy to propagate from stem cuttings. Their quick growth makes them ideal for sharing plant babies with friends.

Taking a cutting from a variegated Graptophyllum will produce new plants with similarly colored leaves. This cloning ensures the unique traits carry through the generations.

7. Some species can grow outdoors

While most Graptophyllums thrive as houseplants, some species can grow outdoors in tropical and subtropical climates. These outdoor varieties can reach over 6 feet tall!

Outdoor Graptophyllums produce lush green foliage and abundant colorful blooms. They make striking landscape shrubs in warm environments.

8. Indoor plants stay more compact

When grown as houseplants, Graptophyllums generally remain compact and bushy. Indoors they typically reach 1 to 3 feet tall. This manageable size makes them ideal for desks, tabletops, shelves, or windowsills.

9. Graptophyllums bloom small flowers

Though prized for their foliage, Graptophyllums will sometimes produce small trumpet-shaped flowers. Blooms can be white, pink, purple, red, or blue depending on the variety.

Flowers tend to be sparse indoors. But in optimal outdoor conditions, some species will bloom heavily.

10. They are easy to care for

One reason Graptophyllums make excellent houseplants is they are so easy to grow. They require little specialized care compared to other tropical plants.

Graptophyllums need:

  • Bright indirect light
  • Average room temperatures
  • Moderate watering
  • Humidity (regular misting)

As long as their basic needs are met, Graptophyllums will continue looking beautiful with minimal effort.

The most common and widely available Graptophyllum variety is called Joseph’s Coat. This variety features stunning multicolored foliage in shades of pink, red, orange, yellow, and green.

No two Joseph’s Coat plants look exactly the same making each one unique. Joseph’s Coat is still the #1 choice of Graptophyllum enthusiasts.

12. They filter indoor air pollutants

Like many houseplants, Graptophyllums are natural air purifiers. As they grow, they absorb pollutants and release clean oxygen into the surrounding environment.

This helpful trait makes Graptophyllums excellent additions to indoor spaces like offices and bedrooms. Their vibrant colors and air-cleaning abilities give them dual-purpose appeal!


With their extraordinarily colored leaves, tropical origins, and low maintenance needs, Graptophyllums have certainly earned their popularity over the years. They add life and beauty wherever they grow.

Learning more about these plants reveals even more reasons to love them. Beyond just being visually striking, they also connect us to exotic lands, provide fresh fruit, and help filter our indoor air.

Graptophyllum pictum continues charming plant lovers both with its looks and hidden talents. It’s no wonder so many gardeners have welcomed this little bit of the New Guinea rainforest into their own homes.

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