Echeveria Succulent Identification Cards and Care Guides
Discover the beauty and simplicity of Echeveria! Whether you are a seasoned plant enthusiast or just starting to develop a green thumb, this guide will take you on a journey through the fascinating world of echeveria. With their gorgeous rosette formations and stunning hues, echeverias are the epitome of low-maintenance beauty. From the basics of care to the many different types of echeveria available, this guide will provide you with everything you need to know to cultivate a thriving echeveria collection. So sit back, relax, and let’s embark on a journey through the world of echeveria!
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Caring for Your Echeveria
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. Stagnant air is the perfect environment for harmful bacteria and fungus which can lead to rot.
The best soil for echeveria is a well-draining soil mix that won’t hold onto excess moisture. Echeveria, like many other succulents, are susceptible to root rot and other problems if they’re allowed to sit in water for too long. A well-draining soil mix will help to prevent this by allowing excess water to drain out of the pot and away from the roots of the plant.
To create a well-draining soil mix for echeveria, you can mix equal parts potting soil and coarse sand. Alternatively, you can look for a potting mix specifically designed for succulents, which will often contain ingredients like perlite or pumice to improve drainage.
In addition to using a well-draining soil mix, it’s also important to provide a hole at the bottom of the pot for echeveria. This will allow excess water to drain out of the pot, preventing the roots of the plant from sitting in water and becoming waterlogged.
Overall, the best soil for echeveria is a well-draining mix that allows excess water to drain out of the pot, and provides the plant with the nutrients it needs to thrive. By using the right soil and providing proper care, you can help your echeveria to grow and flourish.
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 habitat, 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. Check out the Watering Guide for more info.
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 callus and replant it in dry succulent soil. Give it the proper amount of light to avoid etiolation again. From there, you can propagate the lower leaves and babies will form on the remaining stem.
For detailed info on how much light succulents need, see the Light Guide here.
Propagation of your echeveria can happen by leaf, seeds and stem cuttings. Be sure that the leaves make a clean break from the stem node if propagating leaves. A mature echeveria will have more propagation success than a young one. For a full guide on propagating succulents see the Propagation Guide here.
Generally, no. Echeveria are not monocarpic 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 inflorescence (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, balanced NPK numbers, and diluted to at least half strength of what is recommended on the label. See my Guide to Fertilizing for detailed info.
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 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 stolons. 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 are not very cold hardy and 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. Learn what your USDA Zone is and what that means to your succulents here.
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. (Source: https://www.smgrowers.com/)