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Caring for Echeveria – How to Rosette Forming Succulents with Spectacular Flowers

Caring for echeveria is a task made for those gardeners with brown thumbs. These rosette forming succulents have spectacular flowers that would make you think they need a lot of special care, but these plants actually thrive on a bit of neglect.

echeveria and flowers

If you love succulents as much as I do, you will want to check out my guide for buying succulents. It tells what to look for, what to avoid and where to find succulent plants for sale.

Succulents like echeveria are drought smart plants that are super forgiving and make fantastic houseplants.  They don’t require a lot of water and are great for those with brown thumbs.

What is not to love about a succulent? These drought loving succulent plants are easy to grow, manageable in size and look great in all sorts of succulent planters, as well as outdoors in rock gardens if your hardiness zone permits.

Echeveria (pronunciation:  eh chev eria) is a native to the semi-desert areas of Mexico, Central America and the northwestern part of South America. They are a large genus of flowering succulents plants in the stonecrop family crassulaceae.

Echeveria varieties grow in rosette shapes and have pretty leaves that come in a variety of colors. And if you can manage to get one to flower, you are truly in for a delight.

Very few plants look as nice in the home as a decor item. They are compact, pretty and very easy to grow.

Growing Echeveria

Caring for Echeveria

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.

While the plant care needs vary from one species to another, these general requirements apply: To grow echeveria, keep an eye on the light, don’t over-water and make sure it’s not too cold.

Echeveria are the ideal plant for those new to succulent gardening. Here are some plant care tips:

Light

Like most succulents, echeveria love full sun outdoors and need a sunny window if you grow them as an indoor plant.  In very hot climates, they may need some protection from full midday sun.

When you bring the plant outdoors in the warm weather, try to acclimatize it to the sun by gradually giving it more and more sunlight each day. If you move it from indoors to outside and place it in full sun right away, it could scorch the leaves.How to grow echeveria

A plant that gets the right amount of light will be a compact rosette.  If your echeveria starts to stretch and grow into a tall, spindly plant, it means that the succulent is not getting enough light.

How often to water echeveria

The plants need water regularly during the spring and summer if you have them outside in the full sun.  If you grow them in planters, be sure that there is very good drainage. A special cactus and succulent soil is perfect.

Echeveria plants hate having wet feet.   Be sure to cut back on watering during the winter months when the plants are more dormant.

Outdoors, I give my succulents a good soaking and then let the soil dry out before I water them again.  Depending on how hot your summer gets, this could mean every day.watering succulents

Trying to grow echeveria outside in the winter, here in NC, is a challenge.

While I have heard that there are a few cold hardy echeveria, most will rot easily from excess water in the winter, and cannot take a freeze, so I must resort to growing echeveria indoors in the colder months.

Temperatures 

Echeveria prefers temps between 65º – 70ºF and do 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.

This contrasts with sempervivum, (hens and chicks) which are cold hardy to a much lower temperature.

echeveria loves a sunny spot in a rock garden

For that reason, unless you live in the very warmest zones, I recommend growing echeveria as a houseplant during the winter months, but bring them outside during the summer.

As long as the last frost date has passed, it’s safe to bring the plants outdoors. They love a sunny spot in a rock garden!

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.

Natural organic matter such as compost adds to the soil and it can be used when you see the succulent starting to flower.

echeveria flower bud

Leaves and Texture

Echeveria types have many different shaped leaf varieties. Some are smooth and pointed, and some have colorful margins. There are varieties with a fuzzy leaf texture and those with frilly edges.

One characteristic that seems prevalent in all of the echeverias is that the leaves are somewhat chubby, since they store water in them.echeveria topsy-turvy leaves

The leaves of most succulents can be used to propagate into new plants.  Even damaged leaves might give you an opportunity for new babies!

Echeveria Flower

The echeveria bloom is showy and something to behold.  Even though many gardeners grow echeveria for their chubby, rosette succulent shape and interesting textures, the flowers are even more spectacular!echeveria flower

The flowers of this succulent are produced on long arching stalks.  One plant may have several blooms that open, one after the other, giving you weeks of color.

Echeveria flowers are not succulent and usually pink with thin, narrow, aster-like petals. Some have stems of flowers that can grow to about two feet long.

Echeveria Propagation

Leaf Cuttings

Echeveria are very easily propagated from leaf cuttings.  Just allow a leaf to callous on the end and then place it in some perlite, sand or seed starting mix.

You can either lay the leaf on the ground, or insert the tip. Both will work. I have a whole tutorial for propagating succulents that shows how to do this.succulent leaf cuttings

Before you know it, you will have new baby echeveria succulents growing from the calloused end of the leaf!

This is great if you like to make dish gardens, like this DIY succulent planter.  It was made mainly from plants that I grew myself from leaf or stem cuttings.

Planting offsets

A single mature echeveria plant will also send out lots of babies. Each baby can be potted up into a new plant. It is easiest to do this if the baby already has roots, but those that don’t will soon grow them. mature echeveria plant with babies

These offsets are easy to separate and grow. Just pull away the little baby rosette and replant in a cactus mixture or use equal parts sand, soil and compost as a potting medium.

Echeveria seeds

If your plant flowers and you are lucky, you may even get some seeds. If the flower produces seeds, just snip the whole flower stem off once the bloom time is done and place it in a paper bag to dry out.

With a bit of luck you may get a chance try growing echeveria from seed, to get plants for free!echeveria bloom

Re potting Echeveria

Spring is a good time to re pot if needed. Let the plant dry out first and then gently remove from the pot.  Remove any dead leaves from the base of the plant. Check the roots to see if the plant is pot bound.

If it is, take off the old soil and any rotted or damaged leaves, or roots and treat with a fungicide.  Re-pot in new potting mix, in a pot 1/3 larger than the one it was in, 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.Echeveria in a pot

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, even if they are not pot bound.

Echeveria TypesTypes of Echeverias

Echeveria varieties grow in rosette shapes and have pretty leaves that come in a variety of colors. And if you can manage to get one to flower, you are truly in for a delight.

Breeders are coming up with new types of echeverias all the time with interesting new leaf forms and colors.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Echeveria domingo

Echeveria domingo. Has a lovely pale blue-gray rosettes shape, that is flushed pink at outer edges. Drought tolerant but not frost tolerant.

Echeveria ciliata

Echeveria ciliata. Fuzzy plump rosette shape with dark red leaf tips. Mature plants send out numerous offsets. The leaves are broader lwith fewer bristles at the edges of the green leaves and more on the tips.Echeveria neon breaker succulents

Echeveria Neon breaker.  Curly leafed variety with bright pink margins and a spectacular flower that grows to two feet long. See my tips for growing Echeveria Neon Breakers for a variety that will knock your socks off with their flowers.

Aeonium 'Kiwi'

Aeonium ‘Kiwi’. Delicate apple green leaf color with bright red leaf margins. It has red flowers which have a yellow tip and it blooms in the spring.

This plant is actually a member of the crassula family but the rosettes are very similar to echeveria.

Echeveria Lola

Echeveria Lola. This variety has pale green, plump leaves with very pointed red tips. Somewhat of a rosebud shape with leaves that resemble alabaster marble.

Echeveria topsy turvy

Echeveria topsy turvy. This fast growing variety has spoon shaped leaves that are a powdery blue-gray color.  The leaves are rolled in an interesting way downwards along the length of them and curled up at the ends.

What has your experience been with Growing Echeverias?  Have you been able to grow them outside in the winter months?  Please leave your comments below.How to Grow Echeveria

Pin these echeveria care tips for later.

Would you like a reminder of this post?  Just pin this image to one of your Succulent boards on Pinterest so that you can easily find it later.

Growing echeverias is easy. Watch the sunlight and water a bit and let it grow. click through to see my growing tips

Admin note: This post about echeveria care tips first appeared on the blog in October of 2013. I have updated the post to add new photos, a printable growing tips card and a video for you to enjoy.

Yield: 1 happy succulent

Caring for Echeveria

Echeveria Lola

Echeveria is a tender succulent that is easy to care for. These tips will help you get the most out of your plant

Active Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Difficulty easy
Estimated Cost $6

Materials

  • Echeveria Plant
  • Sunny Spot near a window
  • Well draining cactus soil

Tools

  • Watering can

Instructions

  1. Place echeveria in a sunny spot where it will get bright light. (near a sunny window is good.)
  2. Water it by soaking the soil and then allowing it to dry out fairly well. Water less in winter months.
  3. Echeveria likes temperatures between 65-75 degrees F.
  4. Hardy outdoors only in zones 9b and above.
  5. Fertilizing is not needed very often. Use a 1/2 strength succulent fertilizer in spring.
  6. Hold off on fertilizing in winter.
  7. Propagate by stem cuttings, leaf cuttings or planting up offsets.
  8. The plant flowers in late summer.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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Tori

Sunday 6th of October 2019

Hello. I got a succulent as a gift from my mom. I'm pretty sure it is an echevria. It is inside in a little pot with a few rocks on top of the soil. I have a few questions. :) My plant is slowly turning a reddish brown color on half of the leaves . Is this supposed to happen? The leaves at the base of the plant are the most brown. There is a draining hole at the bottom of the pot. I just watered it a few days ago and I am placing it in my kitchen whenever there is sun. (Its october)

(Last question) Will the plant grow out of the pot or know when to stop growing? There are little baby plants pushing their way and it looks a bit crowded. I'm afraid there won't be enough room for the bigger plant. Should I do something or just not worry about it?

Carol

Monday 7th of October 2019

Hi Tori, Echeverias do not normally change color too much, (although some get darker leaf margins.) It's normal for a few leaves to die off over time (and they normally turn brown.) Moving it to a sunny window is a good idea. They need quite a bit of light.

The baby plants is a good sign. Those will eventually grown larger and the plant will need repotting. Normally succulents have slow growing roots, but when they start to get pot bound they will produce babies. Just tip it out of the pot to see if the roots fill the pot. If so, plant with new succulent soil in a pot 1/3 larger.

Yasmin Gomes

Saturday 8th of June 2019

I'm just starting on growing succulents, my very first one is an Echeveria hybrid, seeming to be named "Lime N' Chile", and it's small and adorable. I got it just yesterday, and I have been taking notes from your information, I think it will do a great help in starting! I can already see that it has a damaged leaf and I am hesitant to get rid of it, the leaf looks like it has been eaten by a bug or caterpillar of sorts, and strangely enough, I got it this way and I would like to see if you can be of any advice.

Carol

Saturday 8th of June 2019

Hi Yasmine. Damaged leaves on any plants can slow down growth of a plant, since the energy will go to trying to keep the damaged part alive. It is always good to remove them. If you think it has been eaten by something, be sure to examine the underneath side of the leaves to make sure the pest is not still on the plant.

Patty Jenks

Wednesday 30th of January 2019

Hi. I'm looking for this very specific plant. https://www.reddit.com/r/pics/comments/7ir475/this_heart_shaped_succulent_in_my_garden/ I can't seem to figure out which one it is. Can you help me with the correct name so I can order this? I truly appreciate any help you could give me. Thanks, Patty

Carol

Sunday 3rd of February 2019

That is the flower of an echeveria. Most of them have similar flower stems, but not necessarily in the heart shape. Usually the stem is one long droop, not the split top into the heart.

James

Saturday 3rd of November 2018

Do you know what type this one I have is? It was an engagement present and I’ve been trying to figure out how to take care of it. Should I be trimming back these long shoots that don’t have any growth on them?

Carol

Saturday 3rd of November 2018

Hi James. It looks a bit like Echeveria plush plant from the photo (if the leaves are sort of fuzzy.) Yes some of the shoots are leggy and they won't grow leaves on the bottom part until you cut them off at some point...then the plant will push out some side shoots.

You can cut them off close to the base. It's a pretty plant. Looks as though the flowers are nice! Carol

Annie Schreck

Monday 23rd of July 2018

The photo under temperatures is of a Sempervivum, not an Echeveria

Carol

Monday 23rd of July 2018

Thanks Annie. I have updated the wording above the photo so that it makes more sense. Appreciate you letting me know. (the post has been revised and originally talked about both varieties of succulent.) Carol