How to Grow Echeveria Succulents Easily

How to Grow Echeveria Succulents Easily

If you’re a succulent plant enthusiast and want to add a fancy touch to your collection, Echeveria succulents are an excellent choice. These showy succulent plants which hail from Mexico and Central America, are famous for their unique rosette architecture, vibrant colors, and are easy to care for. This guide will talk about how to grow Echeveria succulents at home, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced gardener.

Choosing the right Echeveria

The first step is to choose the proper Echeveria variety to grow in your designated space. These popular succulents have been bred for years and are available in many species and varieties, each with unique characteristics.

echeveria agavoides
Echeveria agavoides, one of the most popular Echeveria varieties to be grown.

Some Echeverias grow best indoors in low light, while others thrive outdoors in direct sunlight. Ensure to research the different species and their specific needs before choosing which plant to keep. Mostly, they are grown indoors unless you live in a dry climate region and would prefer growing them outdoors.

echeveria purpusorum
Echeveria purpusorum, on sale as potted plants.

Being succulents, Echeverias require the same type of conditions that succulents thrive in, namely:

  • Low-moderate amounts of water
  • Bright sunlight all day
  • Temperatures which never drop below freezing point
  • Frost free climate

Nowadays, many places sell Echeveria succulents, even in stalls at the mall near you. They are inexpensive and you can easily pick one up from these places. There are many species of Echeveria (about 150 species) in addition to cultivars, and it could be confusing for the beginner.

echeveria dondo
Echeveria dondo, a pretty native of Mexico that thrives in dry conditions.

Some recommended Echeveria varieties include:

  • Echeveria minima
  • Echeveria agavoides
  • Echeveria imbricata
  • Echeveria “Neon Breakers”
  • Echeveria “Sahara”
  • Echeveria “Topsy Turvy”
  • Echeveria “Violet Queen”
  • Echeveria setosa
  • Echeveria colorata
  • Echeveria peacockii
  • Echeveria dondo

Substrate for cultivation

Well-draining soil is essential for growing these succulents successfully. These plants inhabit semi-desert locations and prefer sandy, well-drained soil (which prevents water accumulation).

echeveria pulvinata ruby
Echeveria pulvinata “Ruby”. Adults develop light green leaves with reddish edges.

The ideal soil can be prepared by adding coarse sand or perlite to the base mix of your choice. This combination will provide the type of soil the plant needs, with the necessary drainage, allowing the Echeveria roots to breathe.

echeveria elegans
Echeveria elegans, planted in a pot, and flowering.

Planting your Echeverias

With the soil prepared, it’s time to plant your Echeveria succulents. These succulents have shallow roots and have good radial (sideways) growth.

Bowl-type vases, broader than tall, are ideal for planting Echeverias. The best containers for succulents are terracotta or unglazed pots that let the soil dry out faster. Ensure the chosen pot has drainage holes at the bottom and fill it with the prepared substrate. The last step is to dig a small hole in the soil and then carefully plant your Echeveria, gently pressing the soil around it.

echeveria lilacina
Echeveria lilacina, an elegant blue colored Echeveria.

Essential care for Echeveria succulents

Even though they are notoriously easy to care for, Echeveria succulents need attention and care to thrive. Here are some essential precautions to keep in mind:

  • Moderate watering: These succulents like a certain amount of humidity, but excessive watering, or a very humid substrate, can lead to root rot. Ensure you only water them when the soil is dry. A general rule of thumb is water the soil (not the leaves) when the top first inch of soil is dry. Water the soil till water drains out from the pot bottom, and then don’t water again until the topsoil is dry again.
  • Adequate light: Echeverias love direct sunlight but also grow in partially shaded areas. The incidence of light on the plant will change both the colors and the overall architecture. Ensure to provide at least 4 hours of light (direct or indirect) daily.
  • Frost protection: As plants from tropical regions, most species and varieties of Echeverias do not tolerate frost. If you live in a cold region, keep them in vases, making it easier to protect them indoors during the winter. A greenhouse works best for this purpose, of course.
  • Fertilizer: We all need nutrients, and plants are no different, although succulents do not take well to overfeeding. Fertilize your Echeverias with a balanced fertilizer suitable for succulents. A good NPK ratio for a succulent fertilizer would be 0.5-1-1. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines, applying at the right time and amount to promote healthy growth.
echeveria flowers
Echeveria flowers. It can take up to 4 years or more for young Echeveria plants to bloom. So don’t be surprised if your young plant does not flower even after a long time. Unlike other succulents, Echeveria is not monocarpic, so they don’t die after blooming.

Pro tip: Propagating Echeverias

If you want to expand your Echeveria collection or start commercially producing some seedlings, foliar propagation is a great option. This type of propagation can be carried out from leaves or stem cuttings. For leaves, the best option is removing a healthy leaf from a parent plant and letting it dry (out of direct sunlight and no moisture) until a husk forms at the base. Then plant the leaf in sandy soil (it can even be a sandbox or vermiculite) and keep the substrate slightly moist until new seedlings begin to grow.

Propagation through stem cuts can proceed the same way.

echeveria pumila
Echeveria pumila in bloom. When well cared for, Echeveria will bloom regularly every year, most species blooming from late spring to summer.

Echeveria Pest Control

Echeverias are usually pest free. However occasionally, you may get spider mites, mealybugs, or fungus gnats. Prevention is the best cure, so always keep your plant healthy with plenty of sunlight and ensuring the soil is well drained and always allowed to dry out. For example, fungus gnats are a sure sign your soil is too moist. Manual removal of pests is usually sufficient in case of infestation, or using a natural organic spray like neem oil is enough in most cases.

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