- Botanical name: Echeveria Crassulaceae
- Height: 12 inches (31 cm.)
- Spread: 12 inches (31 cm.)
- Sun exposure: Full sun
- Soil requirements: Rocky, sandy, well-draining
- Hardiness zones: 8-11
- When to plant: Spring
Echeveria care is similar to that of other succulents. There are 150 cultivated varieties of this plant. Most of the echeveria species are native to areas of southwest Texas and into South America and thrive in punishing heat and dry conditions. They have broad, fleshy leaves, often topped with spines that are adapted to holding water and preventing evaporation. A firm touch can mar the skin and leave marks.
While tolerant of many soil types, they require excellent drainage to prevent root and stem rot. Growing echeveria in an unglazed clay pot which allows water to evaporate, is ideal. Protect these plants from freezing temperatures and store potted plants indoors in winter. Echeveria plants do not need pruning, but it’s fine to pinch off damaged or errant growth when needed.
As natives of southern regions, an echeveria should be planted in a full sun site. They need at least 8 hours of bright light daily. Houseplants should be placed in a southern or western window. Echeveria leaves can sport bold colors to iridescent pastels., but the best colors will result from plenty of sun.
In their wild state, echeverias receive very little water. During rainy seasons, they store water in their leaves in preparation for the dry seasons. The plants' soil should be allowed to dry thoroughly before watering. Container plants require a bit more water than those in the ground. Some echeverias are sensitive to tap water, so it's a good idea to allow the water to sit overnight to off-gas before watering them. In winter, diminish their watering by half.
Temperature & Humidity
When caring for echeveria succulent plants, consider their native range. They have little cold hardiness, although there are a few varieties that can withstand sustained freezes. Houseleeks or hens and chicks are an exception. Most varieties are hardy to USDA zones 8-11, and if they’re growing outdoors outside of their range, they should be brought inside for winter. Indoor echeveria plants do not need high humidity and will do well in winter near heating vents. Avoid placing them near drafty windows and doors.
These succulents are native to desert ranges and prefer rocky, sandy soil which drains well. Indoor plants in containers can manage well in traditional potting soil, but they will need less water than those grown in cactus soil. A simple homemade soil of 1 part potting soil, 1 part perlite, and 1 part coarse sand is an ideal medium for indoor echeveria plants.
Outdoors, provide some mulch around them with gravel or sand to help prevent weeds and conserve moisture.
Most succulents do not need supplemental feeding. In spring, container plants will benefit from a cactus food, diluted by half during watering. Fertilize every 8 weeks during the growing season. Use a balanced liquid food or treat the plant once in spring with a slow-release granular formula. Avoid getting fertilizer on the lovely leaves, as it may burn them.
Problems, Pests & Diseases
Outdoor plants are prey to more pests than those indoors. Aphids, spider mites, and mealy worms are prime pests. Spray the plant with rubbing alcohol to get rid of any insects. The most common issues result from overwatering. Excess moisture in the soil can cause the plant's roots and stems to rot. Only water these plants when their soil is dry to the touch. Plants that are kept in too little light will get leggy and the color will suffer.
Echeveria and most succulents have an amazing ability to produce pups or offsets. These baby plants grow along the stem or occasionally right next to the parent plant. Using a sterile, sharp knife, cut away the small plant. If you place the cutting in well-draining soil it will root.
The plant may also be propagated from leaves. Place a leaf on the surface of the soil and it will produce roots within a few weeks and soon a small rosette will grow next to the rooted leaf. The original leaf will dry up and crumble off of the new plant.
Due to their low nutrient needs and the native areas where they grow naturally, echeverias do not need to be repotted too frequently, but it’s fine to repot them with new soil every couple of years. The size of the container should be only a tiny bit larger than the body of the plant. They prefer to be slightly crowded.
How to Make Echeveria Flower
Flowering Echeverias are a sight to behold, but getting them to flower can be a challenge. Outdoor plants don't need much assistance and will flower in early spring. Indoor plants, however, should be placed in a window with bright light or under artificial light in dimmer conditions. Ensure that the plants get 8 hours of sunlight per day. Container plants prefer a crowded pot when forming flowers.
Common Types of Echeveria
Here are some of the most common types of echeveria and how to recognize them:
- Echeveria Afterglow- Rich pink leaf edges with bright green centers.
- Echeveria agavoides- Deeply green rosettes
- Echeveria Alta May- A ruffled variety
- Echeveria Andromeda- Crimped ashy blue leaves
- Echeveria pulvinata- Velvety red-tinged leaves
- Echeveria subrigida- Large rosettes with blue-green leaves
- Echeveria Topsy Turvy- Twisted, curling gray leaves
- Echeveria Baron Bold- Bumpy, warty chartreuse leaves
- Echeveria Candy Wright- Deeply pink with just the barest green center
Echeverias make excellent houseplants. Use them in a dish garden surrounded by succulents with the same care and light needs. In the garden they may be tucked in around rocks in the rockery, grown in containers, or added to flower beds for dimension and texture. The echeveria succulent is slow-growing and usually does not exceed 12 inches (31 cm) in height or spread.
Tender outdoor plants should be planted in containers and brought indoors for winter.
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Bonnie Grant is a professional landscaper with a Certification in Urban Gardening. She has been gardening and writing for 15 years. A former professional chef, she has a passion for edible landscaping.
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