“Why won’t my echeveria bloom?” is a common question that I get from readers. Keep reading to learn about some things that you can do to make echeveria flower.
The echeveria flower stalk is tall and arching with tubular blossoms that open in succession, making the length of bloom time quite significant.
When does echeveria flower?
Normally, echeveria blooms during the late summer or early fall. However, bloom time may depend on the type of echeveria you are growing.
Both echeveria Lola, and echeveria neon breakers, two of my favorite varieties, flower in late summer, and the blooms last for many weeks.
The stems of the flowers can grow to two feet long.
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Echeveria flower stalks
The flower stalks of echeveria are called inflorescences. They grow from the center of the plant and can reach up to 12 inches (30 cm) tall.
The flowers of echeveria succulent bloom in sequence and finish their cycle over the course of several weeks.
Blooms emerge from part nearest to the plant and open slowly up the flower stalk. Each flower stalk can have ten or more small blooms that open in sequence.
Echeveria flowers are bell or urn shaped. As the older blooms start to dry out, new ones are waiting to open higher up the stalk. This gives so long-lasting enjoyment.
Flowers are often pink but also come in shades of orange, red, peach, white, yellow, or off white.
If you have trouble identifying varieties of echeveria because of their similarity to other types, the color of their flowers can be a help to identification.
Echeveria flowers contain a lot of seeds that you can plant to get new plants for free. Harvest the seeds from the flowers before the buds completely dry out.
If you grow the plant outdoors pollination will occur with insects. However if the plant is indoors, you need to pollinate the flowers yourself to get new plants.
Do this by using a paintbrush and dip it into the center of the flower and transfer the pollen from one plant to another. The best time to do this is usually right after the flowers bloom and the flowers close up again.
What makes echeveria flower?
Getting an echeveria to flower depends on many factors. Light and temperature both play a part in echeveria blooms.
The flowers are triggered into blooming by the intensity of the light they receive. A period of cold in the winter months is also needed.
Most succulents, including echeveria, start growing in spring after a period of winter dormancy. Flowering typically occurs in summer when the sun is bright, and the temperatures are hot.
The natural increase in sunlight from winter to summer is what makes your echeveria bloom.
If your conditions are just right, it’s not uncommon for an echeveria plant to form several flower stalks.
In their native habitat of Mexico and South America, the difference in daylight hours doesn’t seem to matter, but the temperature does.
How to make your echeveria plant flower
If you are lucky and have your plant growing under ideal conditions, you’ll be rewarded with beautiful. blooms. However, if your plant won’t flower, some adjustments may need to be made.
First, you need to be patient. It can take up to four years plus for young echeveria plants to bloom for the first time.
There are several reasons why mature echeverias fail to bloom. If your echeveria is not flowering it may be because of one of the following reasons.
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Not enough sunlight will keep echeveria from blooming
Your echeveria expends a lot of extra energy growing those tall stalks covered in flowers.
Echeveria plants need full sun throughout the day. Outdoors, give them at least six hours of sun.
Indoors, place then near a sunny window or use a grow light.
If your echeveria is leggy and has spindly growth and won’t produce flowers, low light could be the reason.
Too much water
It is important to make sure that echeveria get enough water, but not too much!
Echeverias store water in their fleshy leaves so they don’t need to be watered as often as other house plants.
Don’t let them grow with wet feet. Allow the top layer of soil to dry out before you re-water your echeveria succulent.
Lack of fertilization affects echeveria flowers
Fertilization can also help make your echeveria flower. Use a formula with a high phosphorus content (the middle number of the three digit number on the fertilizer container.)
A fertilizer with a 5–10–5 ratio (or even 10-15-10) which as been diluted to half-strength will work well. Apply this monthly from April until September.
Poor quality soil
All succulents need a potting mix that drains well or they can easily become water logged. This can result in poor growth or even root rot and affects flower formation.
Use a special succulent potting mix, or add sand and perlite to your normal potting mix.
Plants that are in need of repotting often have very poor quality soil which affects growth.
Echeverias can tolerate temperatures from 40 ℉ (-5 ℃) to about 90 ℉ (32 ℃). However, if the temperatures are too extreme the plants may not bloom.
Heat extremes are hard on plants. Even tomatoes are affected by them! Don’t let the plant get too hot or too cold.
Echeveria is a tender succulent and cannot stand the cold the way sempervivum and other cold hardy succulents can. Moderate temperatures result in the most blooms.
Once the plant starts to flower, be sure to keep up the watering and make sure it gets plenty of light.
What to do after echeveria flowers?
When an echeveria succulent is done flowering, don’t discard it or throw it on the compost pile. The spent flowers still contain some tiny seeds which look like dust. You could use them for propagation.
If you don’t want to save the seeds for propagation, it is important to cut the stalk at the base to protect the foliage.
Your echeveria plant will re-bloom again next year, around the same time.
Echeveria growing tips
In addition to the tips above for getting your echeveria to flower, be sure to follow the general care tips.
Echeveria is a succulent. It requires similar care to most cacti and succulent varieties. Follow these suggestions:
- Light. Succulents like a lot of sunlight. Place them in a sunny window if you grow them inside. Outdoors they can take full sun for much of the day.
- Drainage. Be sure the soil drains well. A succulent mix is recommended. Succulents do not like wet feet and will rot if the soil is too moist.
- Watering Needs. Water during the spring and summer during the growing season, letting the soil dry out slightly between watering. During the fall and winter, water very sparingly.
- Propagation. Most echeveria can be rooted very easily from leaf cuttings. To do this, just place an individual leaf in a succulent or cacti mix and cover until the new plant sprouts.
- Potential problems. Try to keep water off the rosettes as this can cause rot. Also remove dead growth from the bottom of the plant as this can harbor pest if not cleaned out.
- Re-potting. Re-pot, if needed, in the spring. Do so when the soil is fairly dry. If you notice any dead or rotting roots, remove these. Leave the re-potted plant a bit dry for a few weeks and then resume normal watering schedule.
Echeveria flowers time line photos
I often ask the fans of The Gardening Cook on Facebook to share their gardening photos. One fan who has often shared with us, Diamond Victoria, has a delightful echeveria imbricata which was about to flower.
She shared some photos showing the time line as the flowers are opening up. Echeveria flowers open slowly along the flower stalk which gives you many days to enjoy the display.
Diamond has been very excited to watch it unfold and Ijoined her in the excitement each step of the way. The flowers are just stunning.
Thank you, Diamond for sharing such a special time line of photos of this delightful echeveria imbricata.
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Admin note: this post for getting echeveria to flower first appeared on the blog in September of 2013. I have updated the post to add new photos, a project card, tips fore getting echeveria to flower, and a video for you to enjoy.
- Mature echeveria plant (plants need to be 4-5 years old to flower.)
- Fertilizer 5-10-5 ratio
- Succulent potting mix
- Grow light (optional)
- watering can or hose
- Plant the succulent in good quality succulent soil, or add coarse sand and perlite to normal potting soil.
- Place in a sunny east or south facing window. Grow lights can be used if the plant does not get enough light.
- Echeveria normally likes temperatures of 65-75 degrees. A period of colder temperatures in the winter months is important. Too high a temp will affect flower formation.
- Fertilize with half strength fertilizer with a high phosphorus count with a higher middle number.
- Do this monthly from spring through summer.
- Water well, but allow to dry out between waterings.
- Once the plant flowers, be sure to water well and ensure it gets enough light.