Echeveria elegans 'Mexican Snowball' Care Guide
About Echeveria elegans 'Mexican Snowball'
Echeveria elegans ‘Mexican Snowball’ is also known as ‘Mexican Hen and Chicks’ probably due to its freely offsetting quality. Keep the offsets attached and it will form gorgeous clumps in your garden.
This species is highly variable in color and leaf shape, but the differences are so minor that they can all be considered E. elegans. In cooler weather, they can develop a pinkish stress coloring on the tips.
Their flowers contrast the green/blue leaves and are bright pink on long, arching inflorescences.
General Guide to Echeveria Care
These beauties are one of the most popular succulents for beginners and experienced gardeners alike. There are hundreds of echeveria species, hybrids and cultivars which makes them a fun succulent to collect. Their origin is mostly from Mexico and the rest from Central America, South America and the United States.
Indoor echeveria kept as houseplants generally won’t need watering as frequently as the ones kept outdoors. Water them once the soil dries out AND they show signs of thirst. In the winter, they can go longer in between waterings when they are dormant.
When caring for echeveria indoors, be sure to give them lots and lots of light- natural or supplemented by grow lights. Most echeverias aren’t the best succulent to grow indoors as house plants because they need so much sun to keep your echeveria from growing tall. They become weaker and unhealthy when they start to lose their compact rosette shape.
In addition to lots of light, be sure to provide your indoor echeveria with lots of ventilation. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to set a fan up near them to keep air flowing all the time. Stagnantstagnant having no current or flow and often having an unpleasant smell as a consequence air is the perfect environment for harmful bacteria and fungus which can lead to rot.
Never let the soil remain waterlogged by using a very porous, gritty, well draining soil in a pot with a drainage hole. Amendamendment Material added to a soil to improve its physical properties which create a healthier environment for the roots your soil with at least 50% inorganic amendmentamendment Material added to a soil to improve its physical properties which create a healthier environment for the roots. Echeveria are sensitive to root rot when over watered. See the Guide to Soil for Succulents for more information about the different amendments that people use for succulents and where you can buy them. Echeveria can tolerate long periods without water as it is stored in their fleshy leaves and stem.
Water echeveria varieties a little more during their active summer growing season between March and September approximately. Be sure to let the soil dry out between waterings. Water sparingly in the winter when they are dormant. They will not be able to take in as much water through their roots when they are in a dormant state. In their natural habitathabitat The natural home of a plant., they have long periods of drought between heavy rain events so try to mimic this when you are watering.
Always avoid getting the leaves wet especially in humid areas to keep water from remaining trapped between the leaves. This will lead to rot. Bottom watering works well in the case of potted echeveria. It takes a LOT longer to kill an echeveria from dehydration than overwatering, so always err on the side of underwatering.
The more light your echeveria gets, the more brilliant its colors will become. During the cooler months, their colors really get dramatic because you’ll be watering them less as well.
Bending leaves and stretching stems indicate low light levels. This is also known as etiolation. Bending and stretching are their way of trying to reach for more light by increasing their surface area. To fix this, gradually increase the amount of light over a few days to a week to avoid sunburn. Putting an echeveria in full sunlight abruptly will cause irreversible sun damage.
If the etiolation is severe, you will need to behead your echeveria, let the cut end calluscallus The tougher tissue that forms on or around a cut wound. Letting the cut end of a stem or leaf dry before planting. and replant it in dry succulent soil. Give it the proper amount of light to avoid etiolation again. From there, you can propagatepropagate breed specimens of a plant by natural processes from the parent stock like taking stem cuttings, leaf cuttings or seeds the lower leaves and babies will form on the remaining stem.
Propagation of your echeveria can happen by leaf, seeds and stem cuttings. Be sure that the leaves make a clean break from the stem nodenode The point where a leaf, shoot or root grows from a stem if propagating leaves. A mature echeveria will have more propagation success than a young one.
Generally, no. Echeveria are not monocarpicmonocarpic A succulent that dies after one bloom. Examples are Sempervivum and Agave species. like sempervivum, aeonium and agave. They will bloom yearly in the spring and summer with long arching flower stalks that have several flowers at the ends. Their small, brightly colored flowers will last for a few weeks and will attract hummingbirds and other pollinators to your outdoor succulent garden. The energy needed to create a flower stalk can be taxing on your echeveria, so you may notice the leaves starting to look a little shabby. This is normal and once the flower stalks are removed, your echeveria will begin to perk up again. I actually cut the bloom stalks off right before they flower because I prefer the energy to go to making new leaves rather than flowers. I also find that the leaves on bloom stalks are more likely to propagate successfully so I remove those as well. See my Guide to Propagating Leaves for my step-by-step leaf propagation process.
I did mention that they GENERALLY don’t die after flowering. On occasion, echeveria will throw out a terminal inflorescenceinflorescence the complete flower head of a plant including stems, stalks, bracts, and flowers (flower stalk) from the very very center of the plant. When this happens, the echeveria will die after flowering. In my experience, the echeveria varieties that have given me terminal blooms are Echeveria ‘Afterglow’ and E. ‘Blue Sky.’
Fertilize echeveria only during their summer growing period with a fertilizer low in nitrogen, balancedbalanced referring to the nutrient content or NPK numbers. An example of balanced fertilizer has 15-15-15 on the label. NPK numbers and diluted to at least half strength of what is recommended on the label.
Echeveria are prone to mealy bugs. At the first sight of mealy bugs, pick them off with a small paintbrush dipped in isopropyl alcohol and treat the soil with a systemic insecticidesystemic insecticide distributed systemically throughout the whole plant. When insects feed on the plant, they ingest the insecticide.. Quarantine any affected plants so the mealy bugs don’t spread. Most echeveria problems, however, are because of too much water and not enough light.
Echeveria are rose shaped plants and can send out offsets horizontally from their stems via stolonsstolon Sucker or runner; a prostrate basal branch, above or below ground, which can root and produce new stems or plantlets.. When planted in the ground, echeveria can form wide mounds around the mother plant.
There are many echeveria types and their thick foliage ranges from powdery, fuzzy, smooth edges, wrinkled edges to bumpy surfaces.
Echeveria can withstand temperatures down to about 20°F (USDA Zones 9-10) outdoors. They can handle a very light frost, but definitely can’t handle consistently freezing temperatures.
The name Echeveria comes from the Mexican botanical artist Atanasio Echeverria y Godoy by the French botanist Augustin Pyramus deCandolle. Echeverria y Godoy produced thousands of botanical illustrations while exploring Mexico and Central America.