Want to learn how to take care of echeverias? You’ve come to the right place.
Echeverias are popular house plants that can be found in a variety of colors. These lovely plants are beautiful, easy to care for succulents that have been popular since the 1800s.
Unfortunately, the Internet is rife with misinformation about how to care for these plants. In this article, we will provide you with some tips on how to take care of your echeveria and keep them healthy.
What Are Echeveria Plants?
Echeveria plants, or Echeveria spp., are gorgeous plants that grow from thick rosettes. As succulents, echeveria plants have fleshy leaves with waxy exteriors. These leaves can be colored or not - with more than 150 cultivars of echeveria for you to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect fit for your landscape.
These plants are native to dry, warm areas, preferring desert climates such as those found in Central America and Texas. They can tolerate occasional periods of moisture so long as they have the opportunity to dry out completely afterward.
There are plenty of ways you can use echeveria in your landscaping and home décor. There are so many varieties of echeveria to choose from that they lend themselves well to a group display - choose several varieties and plant them next to each other for a truly striking array.
You can also mix and match colors and sizes, with larger, more vibrant plantings in the center and duller, smaller options on the exterior.
There are several ways you can grow your own echeveria. These succulents produce baby plants that grow tight up against the center, or “mother,” rosette.
You can pull these tiny babies away and replant them in a soil mixture containing equal parts of compost, topsoil, and sand.
Another option is to propagate new echeveria plants from cuttings. To do this, you will simply lay out a leaf on the surface of the soil. In a few weeks, it will develop roots - and shortly thereafter, a tiny rosette will form next to the rooted leaf. Eventually, the original leaf will dry up and fall off the brand new plant.
Best Soil for Echeverias
As a succulent, an echeveria plant needs soil that drains rapidly. This will help prevent soil moisture from rotting the roots. You can create your own specialized soil mixture out of things like perlite and soil but another option is to purchase a store-bought cactus mix.
Ideally, when you squeeze a handful of your moist soil, it should crumble apart when released. Coarse-grained sand is another amendment you can add to your soil mixture. Do not use fine-grained sand as it can actually make the soil harder to drain - that sounds counterintuitive, but it’s true.
Choosing the Right Container
The best container for your echeveria will be one that has decent drainage and is the smallest size possible. A common mistake that people make when learning how to take care of echeverias is in using containers that are too large.
While it might seem like you want to give the roots of your plants room to grow, too much space can be damaging. The more soil a container can hold, the higher the risk of rot.
It’s a good idea to plant echeveria in something like an unglazed clay pot - this will let water evaporate appropriately.
Although echeverias are remarkably easy to care for, some growers find themselves struggling with issues related to watering. When growing echeverias, it’s important that you take care not to overwater. Only provide small amounts of water during hot, dry seasons - and let the soil dry out completely before you irrigate again.
If you are growing echeveria in a pot, make sure you do not leave it in a wet saucer. Although this might be acceptable for other kinds of houseplants, it’s a surefire way to kill your echeverias, as it leads to diseases like soft rot and root rot.
Echeverias do not need to be fertilized often. However, you can use a slow-release fertilizer at the beginning of spring or a liquid fertilizer that is diluted to about half its normal strength. Use a low-nitrogen mix or even better, one that is formulated specifically for succulents or cacti.
Remember - it is far easier to overfertilize a succulent than it is to underutilize. Therefore, it’s important that you fertilize only occasionally and only when absolutely necessary.
Other Tips for Caring for Echeverias
Finally, you’ll want to keep an eye out for pests and diseases. Mealybugs are common pests of echeveria, especially when they are grown indoors. Although mealybugs don’t usually kill echeverias outright, their feeding frenzies can seriously weaken your plants and lead to additional issues over time.
You will want to make sure your echeverias are positioned in full sun - that’s regardless of whether you are growing them indoors or outside. Mulch well around the plants, ideally with something light and well-draining like sand or gravel (and not a moisture-retaining mulch like straw or wood chips).
Mulching is a good idea, especially when the right mulch is selected. It can prevent weeds and also help the soil around your plant be better draining.
You may find that you need to repot your echeverias. This will help them stay healthy over the course of several years. You don’t need to do this often - once every two to three years is ideal.
Finally, remember to protect your echeverias from freezing temperatures. Although echeverias are known for their hardy, durable natures, they won’t hold up well to a deep freeze. Bring your plants indoors for the winter months. Pruning is not necessary but you can pinch off dead or damaged growth as needed.
Caring for Echeverias: The Takeaway
Echeveria plants are a popular choice for indoor gardens because they are hardy and easy to take care of. These long-lived succulents will grow in just about any environment - as long as it's dry!
Follow the tips we gave you as you’re learning how to take care of your echeverias and you’ll be rewarded with beautiful colors and intense visual appeal for years to come.