Drought Resistant Echeveria are Easy to Grow
One of the most popular forms of plants lately is the succulents. They are easy to grow, tolerate most conditions other than over watering and are so interesting in growth habits and form. Most of these are part of the family of succulents called Crassulaceae.
One variety of succulents that is particularly popular is the echeveria. This lovely succulent grows in rosette shapes and has pretty leaves in a variety of colors. And if you can manage to get one to flower, you are in for a true delight.
Breeders are coming up with new varieties of them all the time with interesting new leaf forms and colors.
Echeveria are members of the Crassulacae family and their care is similar to sedum and kalanchoes. Most remain fairly small but there are some exceptions that will grow to a couple of feet.
To grow echeveria and other crassulas, follow these tips:
Light: Like most succulents, echeveria love full sun outdoors and need a sunny window if you grow them indoors. In very hot climates, they may need some protection from full midday sun.
Watering: The plants need water regularly during the spring and summer and require good drainage. They hate having wet feet. Cut back on watering during the winter months. One of the biggest problems for growing echeveria outdoors here in NC is that they will rot easily from excess water in the winter, so I must bring them inside.
Temperatures: Echeveria prefers temps between 65º – 70ºF and does not like to go much below 50ºF. They are only hardy outside in higher temperature zones. Zone 9b is about as cold as they will stand in the winter.
Fertilizing: Succulents grow in nature in soil that often has very little nutrients so fertilizing is not really necessary. If you do fertilize, do so in the growing season and use a weak liquid solution. A good time to use it is if you see it starting to flower.
Propagation: Echeveria are very easily propagated from leaf cuttings. Just place a single leaf in cacti mix and cover the dish until a new plant sprouts.
Re potting: Spring is a good time to re pot if needed. Let the plant dry out first and then gently remove from the pot. Take off the old soil and any rotted or damaged leaves, or roots and treat with a fungicide. Re pot in new soil, taking care to spread out the roots as you add the soil. Do not water for few weeks until it settles in and then resume watering as before.
Most echeveria will lose their lower leaves in winter. This can mean that, after a few years, the plants will lose their attractive, compact appearance and will need to be re-rooted or propagated.
Flowers: Echeveria flowers are not succulent and usually pink with thin, narrow, aster-like petals.
What has your experience been with Echeverias? Have you been able to grow them outside in the winter months? Please leave your comments below.