How to grow and care for Echeveria Plants Indoors

Houseplant, Echeveria Plants

Botanical name: Echeveria spp
Family: Crassulaceae
Subfamily: Sempervivoideae

Echeveria Plants are easy to grow houseplants which form a rosette of short, beautiful and tightly packed leaves on short stems. The leaves are covered with a white bloom, short hairs or a waxy coating. Flowers on short stalks (cymes) arise from the compact rosettes of fleshy leaves. The species are polycarpic; they may flower and set seed many times over the course of their lifetime. Numerous offsets are produced and are commonly called hen and chicks; this name may also refer to other genera like Sempervivum. Echeveria is a large genus of flowering plants, native to semi-desert areas of Central America, Mexico and northwestern South America.

Houseplant, Echeveria Plants Some Echeveria Plants are low growing as flattened rosettes and others like Echeveria gibbiflora and Echeveria harmsii (Red Echeveria) grow as rosette-topped trees. Many gorgeous hybrids have been developed and there is a wide selection to choose from. Their leaves are 1-3 in. long and each popular species or variety has its own distictive feature. Some popular Echeverias include Echeveria glauca, Blue Echeveria bears bluish waxy, hollow spoon-like leaves. Echeveria elegans which bears a ball-like silvery rosette. Echeveria carnicolor which bears pinkish-tinged leaves. Echeveria setosa (Firecracker Plant) which bears red-tipped furry leaves. Echeveria derenbergii (Painted Lady) which bears silvery-green leaves. Echeveria agavoides (Lipstick Echeveria) is an exception as it bears plain-surfaced, brown-tipped pointed, 2 in. long leaves.

How to Grow Echeveria Plants

Light

Echeveria Plants prefer bright light with some direct sunlight. Avoid exposing the plants to too hot sunlight before acclimatizing them as they can get sun scorched. Learn how to ensure your plant receives the correct light in this guide on understanding light for houseplants

Water

Water Echeveria Plants thoroughly during the growing season and allow the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings. Reduce watering during the cold period to maintain the soil barely moist. Avoiding wetting the center of the rosette as it can lead to rotting. Watering from the bottom is safer. Use room temperature water to avoid plant shock. Avoid waterlogging as it can lead to rotting. Learn more on how to water houseplants.

Temperature

Average warmth between 16-280C during the growing season is ideal for Echeveria Plants. Learn more on temperature for houseplants.

Humidity

Average room humidity is ideal for Echeveria Plants. They have no need for high humidity. Ensure good air circulation for Echeveria Plants to prevent fungal diseases.

Feeding

Feed Echeveria Plants every 2 weeks during the growing season with a succulents fertilizer. Withhold feeding in the dormancy stage. Find out more on how to feed houseplants.

Repotting

Echeveria Plants have a small root system so frequent repotting is not necessary. Repot the plant at the beginning of the growing season only when it becomes crowded in its current pot. Use a pot 1 size larger and one that has a drainage hole to prevent waterlogging as it can lead to rotting. Use a shallow pot and be careful not to bury the stems to prevent rotting The best soil should be loose, free-draining and rich in organic matter.

Pruning

Pruning Echeveria Plants is easy. Remove dead or diseased leaves. If the plant becomes straggly with a nice rosette sitting on top of a long woody stem; cut off the rosette, allow to dry (callous) in dry potting soil and it will root and grow into a new plant. The woody stem can also be used for propagation where plantlets will form at the top of the stem. These plantlets can be seperated from the stem when about 4-6 leaves have formed and grown in their own pots.

How to Propagate Echeveria Plants

Echeveria Plants can be propagated at the beginning of the growing season from offsets which form at the base of the plant or leaf cuttings.

Propagating Echeveria Plants from offsets
Seperate the offsets from the mother plant. Allow the offsets to dry for 1-3 days before potting. Use an offset which has several leaves. Pot each offset in its individual pot in moist free-draining soil. Water sparingly, only when the soil is dry and avoid waterlogging as it can lead to rotting.

Propagating Echeveria Plants from leaf cuttings
Echeveria leaf cuttings root easily. Allow the leaf cuttings to dry for 1-3 days. Lay the leaves on moist soil and do not allow the cut end to touch the soil. Place in a warm, well-lit place. Maintain the soil moist by light misting. Roots will grow into the moist soil. Soon after, new plants will develop. Carefully lift the new plants and pot in individual pots while taking care not to damage the delicate roots. Maintain the soil slightly moist until well established.

Common Problems in Growing Echeveria Plants

  • Sudden leaf loss
  • Watering Echeveria Plants with very cold water is one cause of sudden leaf loss. Use water at room temperature to avoid shocking this tropical plant. The other cause of sudden leaf loss in Echeveria Plants is underwatering. Water Echeveria Plants moderately and allow the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out but never allow the soil ball to dry out completely.

  • Elongated stems and misshappen
  • Elongated stems and misshappen in Echeveria Plants the cause is too little light; Echeveria Plants prefers bright light with some direct sunlight. Too little light will cause the plant to grow weak, elongated stems in an attempt to reach the light source.

  • Brown leaf tips
  • Brown leaf tips in Echeveria Plants are due to underwatering; water Echeveria Plants thoroughly during the hot season while allowing the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings. Do not allow the soil to dry out completely.

  • Leaves wilted and discolored
  • Overwatering during the cold period is the cause of wilted and discolored leaves in Echeveria Plants. Reduce watering in the cold season and maintain the soil barely moist.

  • Rot at base followed by stem collapse
  • Rotting plant base and stems collapse in Echeveria is an indication of basal stem rot disease which is brought about by overwet conditions. Avoid overwatering during the cold season. Use the upper stem to propagate new plants and discard the infected parts.

  • Brown, soft leaf spots
  • Brown, soft leaf spots in Echeveria Plants are an indication of Leaf spot disease. Avoid wetting the center of the rosette and improve air circulation.

  • Diseases
  • Common diseases in Echeveria Plants are Powdery Mildew and Leaf Spot.

  • Pests
  • Common pests in Echeveria Plants are Mealy Bugs, Scale Insects and Spider Mites.

Toxicity

Echeveria Plants are non-toxic to humans and pets. They are safe to grow indoors.

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