Echeverias are succulent, rosette-forming evergreen plants. They’re native to Mexico and central and southern America, making them ideal for a hot, sunny spot. These plants thrive on neglect and cope well in drought. They’re ideal for containers both inside and out and the smaller varieties are often used as part of carpet bedding schemes.
Yellow-tipped flowers held on flower stalks appear in summer. These tender, perennial plants are grown primarily for their fleshy, evergreen leaves and are popular as a low maintenance house plant.
Get the best from echeverias with the help of our useful guide.
Where to plant echeverias
Echeverias thrive in a well-drained soil. Although described as tender, they are pretty tough. They can tolerate cold but can’t cope with wet and cold, so plants should be moved to a frost-free place over winter.
A south-facing, sandy, slightly acidic soil is ideal. Echeverias don’t need that much room for their roots and can cope in small pots and even small cracks in paving.
How to plant echeverias
If planting in a rich, water-retentive soil, improve the drainage by digging in plenty of horticultural grit. It might be easier to plant echeverias in a pot in a compost that has plenty of grit added. Choose an unglazed pot with generous drainage holes in the bottom. Only water in newly planted echeverias if the soil is very dry.
Echeverias produce offsets that can carefully be removed and planted on. New plants can also be produced by taking leaf cuttings in spring or summer. Simply break off a leaf and place the wounded part of the leaf in a pot of cutting compost. Leave cuttings to take in a greenhouse or on a sunny windowsill and wait for a new plant to form at the base.
Echeveria: problem solving
Plants are trouble free if kept on the dry side. However, mealy bug can cause a problem if plants are grown as house plants. These plant sucking pests appear as small white spots on the leaves. They look a little like cotton wool.
If you spot mealy bugs, isolate the plant from other house plants. Wipe the foliage to remove the mealy bug and in extreme cases, dispose of the plant or turn to an insecticide.
How to look after echeverias
It’s essential that plants are not overwatered. If they are left to grow in wet soil, the roots will quickly rot. After watering, allow the soil to dry out before watering again.
Plants don’t require any pruning. Remove damaged and faded foliage by simply peeling them off. Faded flower stems can be cut back.
Move plants to a light, frost-free place for the winter.
Echeveria varieties to grow
- Echeveria agavoides – pale-green leaves with red tip. In May and June red, lantern-shaped flowers with yellow tips on tall stems. Height 12cm
- Echeveria elegans – Large silver leaves that look they are covered in soft down. Yellow tipped pink flowers in summer. Height 50cm
- Echeveria ‘Blue Frills’ – frilled, blue, green foliage with a pink edge. No sharp point to this foliage. Height 15cm
- Echeveria secunda var. glauca ‘Compton Carousel’ – red and yellow flowers in summer over rosettes of two-toned foliage. Height 15cm
- Echeveria ‘Violet Queen’ – Silver green leaves, flushed with pink on the undersides. Height 15cm