Growing Succulent Echeveria: How To Care For Echeveria

You’ve likely seen echeveria (ECH-i-VEER-ee-uh) plants in succulent gardens, terrariums, and floral arrangements. 

Native to Mexico, Central America, and South America, echeverias are among the more popular succulents.

Growing Echeveria SucculentPin

Echeverias are in the Crassulaceae family. They are unique because of their smooth, plump leaves in a beautiful rosette shape.

Their popularity is partly due to their beauty and ease of maintenance (some may even say that the plants enjoy periods of neglect).

The common name for echeveria are the following:

  • Hens and Chicks
  • Mexican Snowball

However, don’t be confused by other plants called Hens and Chicks (Sempervivum tectorum), as they are different plants altogether.

Although there are over one hundred echeveria varieties, these are the most popular:

  • Black Prince
  • Dusty Rose
  • Perle Von Nurnberg
  • Mexican Peacock
  • Neon Breakers
  • Topsy Turvy
  • Painted Echeveria Nodulosa
  • Violet Queen

Quick Facts On Echeveria

  • Family: Crassulaceae
  • Light: Bright, direct light
  • Temperature: Room temperature; Cold hardy to zone 9a
  • Water: Water only when the soil has completely dried out
  • Fertilizer: Succulent fertilizer (occasionally during the growing season)
  • Propagation: Offsets, leaves, cuttings
  • Common Problems: Fungus gnats, spider mites, or mealybugs

Echeveria Plant Care

What Does The Echeveria Plant Look Like, And How Big Does It Grow?

Echeverias are so popular (other than being easy to grow) because they are beautiful succulents. The large variety of colors gives them a resemblance to flowers.

In addition, they have plump leaves and a beautiful rosette.

They are similar to succulents like Haworthias, but echeverias have smooth, plump leaves displayed in a striking rosette.

Depending on the variety, succulent Echeverias can be anywhere from 2″ inches to a foot tall.

When Does The Hens And Chicks Plant Flower? Are The Flowers Fragrant?

Varieties of Echeveria plants flower somewhere between the summer and early fall. The bell-shaped flowers are on a tall stalk.

The intensity of the light is a significant factor in the plant’s flowering. It’s less about how long the daylight lasts but how intense the sunlight is during those hours.

To encourage your plants to flower, it’s a good idea to ensure it has plenty of light and a period of darkness.

This plant is polycarpic, which means it can repeatedly flower in its lifetime without producing dead blooms.

Therefore, unlike some flowering plants, succulents do not die after flowering.

What Are The Lighting Needs And Temperature Requirements?

The lighting needs of echeveria plants are substantial, meaning that the plants require a lot of bright light to survive.

They need 4 to 5 hours of direct sunlight every day to thrive. They will become leggy if they don’t receive enough light.

In addition, they generally won’t flower if they have any light deficiency.

If you don’t have the recommended amount of light indoors, you can place it outdoors during the summer months to help it thrive.

However, if you’re moving it outdoors after a winter inside, make sure you gradually transition.

For example, direct afternoon light can cause the leaves to burn, so your plant needs afternoon shade.

Echeveria plants love dry and hot climates. However, they do not do well with cold temperatures below 50° degrees Fahrenheit or hot temperatures above 90° degrees Fahrenheit.

Room temperature and humidity are best for echeveria plants, but since they don’t like humidity, don’t place them in a laundry or bathroom.

Echeveria plants are generally hardy to zone 9a so that they can grow in the ground. 

However, move the plant inside when temperatures drop in other areas where the weather is colder.

How And When To Water And Fertilize The Echeveria Plant?

Echeverias do not require a lot of water, but they also don’t enjoy being too dry.

Finding that perfect balance can be tricky. If you see wrinkled leaves, the plant likely needs water.

However, if you overwater the plants, they are prone to root rot.

You don’t need to water too much in the winter, just enough to prevent the leaves from wrinkling. Then, during the summer, water them more frequently.

Echeveria is an easy plant to grow, and that includes fertilizing.

Thankfully, regular feeding is not required for this plant as they are used to growing in soil lacking nutrients.

That being said, fertilizing can help the plants grow during their active growing period but be careful not to overfeed. It’s best to use a succulent or cactus fertilizer.

What Is The Best Soil For Echeveria, And When Should You Transplant?

Just like most succulents, echeveria requires well-draining soil to thrive. Many gardeners add perlite or sand to the cactus soil to ensure proper drainage.

As long as the soil is well-drained, echeverias can thrive in garden beds.

While repotting is unnecessary, many garden enthusiasts repot their echeveria plants once they have outgrown their container. 

Here’s how to do it:

  • First, ensure the soil is completely dry before moving to another container.
  • Then remove the soil from the plant’s roots before putting the echeveria plant in its new pot.
  • It’s best to repot when the plant is entering its growing phase.
  • After you repot, wait a week or so before watering so you don’t cause root rot.

Does Echeveria Plant Need Special Grooming Or Maintenance?

The only reason you might need to prune your echeveria is if the plant is seemingly leggy or elongated.

This is usually due to a lack of sunlight, but some pruning will fix the problem.

How To Propagate Hens And Chicks Plant?

You can propagate the Hens And Chicks plant in several ways, including:

  • Leaves
  • Cuttings
  • Offsets

Offsets are probably the easiest way to propagate Hens And Chicks.

If you don’t want to prune the offsets and propagate, then you can use the Hens And Chicks leaves to propagate.

This is a little harder than using offsets, so make sure you have more than one leaf for propagation.

Lastly, you can use stem cuttings to propagate a Hens And Chicks plant. It’s not the most common method, but it works well if your plant has become leggy.

Mexican Snowball Echeveria Pests And Diseases

Like many other succulents, Mexican Snowball plants don’t usually have pest issues, but when they do, the most common ones are the following:

  • Fungus gnats
  • Spider mites
  • Mealybugs

Fungus gnats are most commonly caused by overwatering, and the fungus gnat issue is usually solved when you dry out the soil.

However, if this doesn’t help, you can also catch fungus gnats with sticky traps.

If you have a significant infestation, mealybugs and spider mites can be resolved with insecticide.

If you don’t treat mealybugs, they will suck the juices from your plant, and the plant will eventually die.

Spider mites are super tiny but can still cause damage to the plant. Before using an insecticide, it’s best to try the least toxic removal method first.

Strangely, spraying a stream of water at the bugs on the leaves can resolve your issue with spider mites and mealybugs.

However, if they persist, then an insecticide might be needed.

Worst case scenario, a systemic insecticide may be needed for a bad mealybug infestation.

Suggested Uses For Echeverias

Succulents, like the Echeveria plant, are a great way to add color to your garden.

In addition, the Mexican Snowball plants add interest and depth to shrubs and garden perennials.

Echeveria plants are typically used as ornamental garden plants. If you live in a suitable climate, these succulent plants can be used as groundcovers or as annuals in other designs.

In addition, it is often seen as a valuable plant between pavers or stepping stones or in rock gardens.

However, most Echeveria plants are used indoors as potted plants or as hardy houseplants in succulent gardens.