Hi Guys 🙂
Here are a few of my growing tips that I want to share with you on how I grow and care for my Echeveria succulent plants 🙂 Please bear in mind that I live in Ireland and the climate of Ireland is largely wet and cool ( we do get sunshine too honestly haha! ) so my experience with growing these plants is based on growing them purely indoors behind glass rather than outdoors in the garden 🙂
What are Echeveria’s ?
Echeveria’s are succulent plants that are in the Crassulaceae family, in which there are around 150 cultivated varieties. Echeveria’s are commonly called ‘Hen and Chicks’ because of their little ‘pups’ ‘babies’ that grow easily around the base, ‘Hen and Chicks’ is also a commonly used name that is used to call other similar looking plants such as the Sempervivums and the Graptopetalums. Sempervivums can withstand much damper conditions and cooler temperatures than the Echeverias and Graptopetalums that are strictly tropical care, making Sempervivums more practical for growing outside in the garden in a cooler climate like Ireland and the U.K as long as they are planted in a well draining position such as a rockery 🙂
All Echeveria’s form their leaves in a beautiful rosette shape and their colours range from green, to blueish green, and red and purple and pink. Most Echeveria’s have a coating on their leaves that easily comes off if touched, so its always best to avoid touching their foliage as much as possible to avoid marking the foliage, although this is harmless to the plant, it does aesthetically spoil the appearance of the plant.
Echeveria’s usually flower during the Spring and Summer and their flowers come out on stalks called inflorescence’s and come in many different colours such as red, pink, peach, white, orange.
How to care for Echeveria’s
Here are my tips on what I do to keep my Echeverias looking their best 🙂
Echeveria’s love full sun and a south facing position in a sunny window or a sunny spot in your garden ( if in a warm and dry climate ) is ideal. If you don’t have a south facing window then place them in the sunniest spot you can find, these plants can adapt to less sunshine than ideal without coming to any harm, but please bear in mind for optimum flowering conditions then these plants LOVE sun 🙂
Soil /Potting medium
Echeveria love a well drained cactus and succulent plant soil medium, or any good quality well drained potting mix, I like to make my own as it works out far more economical and I am in control of what goes into the mix, I like to use 3 equal parts of Soil, horticultural sand and grit or perlite, I prefer to use a a loam based rather than a peat based one as I find that this works best for these plants. I re pot them whenever the roots come through the pot or every 3 years.
I have made a video for my You Tube channel called Desert Plants of Avalon where I show you How to make cactus and succulent compost and you can watch this video below:
I always like to water with clean rainwater when available but if you live in an area that has good quality tap water with a pH no higher than 7 then you should have no problems, I like to use rainwater because the tapwater where I live is extremely high in lime and has a whopping pH of 8.5 way too alkaline for these plants, over time watering with a high alkaline pH water can make the soil in their pots too alkaline and can encourage root rot, this is with all succulent plants including cacti not just Echeveria’s, so always use rainwater when available and if possible, however if you live in an area where their is high air pollution then obviously tap water is safe and there are various methods you can use to lower the pH of your tapwater such as suing white Vinegar. If you do not know the pH of your local water then most of the pet stores sell water testing strips and kits for ponds and aquariums and this will work for your tap water too, ebay also sell pH water testing strips.
I water my Echeveria’s all through the Spring and Summer, but I only water them when the soil medium in their pots has completely dried out before watering them again, I never leave them permanently wet or sitting in water as they will rot, and I always water them at the very base of the plant and not over the top of them as watering from above can cause water to stay in the rosettes and may cause them to rot, this is not such a problem outdoors when the fresh air movement can dry off the rain in between the rosette leaves, but indoors air is stagnant and water trapped in between the rosettes could cause the leaves to rot or even worse the whole plant to rot, if you are unable to reach the base of the plant at the top of the pot with the watering can then water from below by putting the water in a saucer at the bottom and letting the plant take it up from below, keep adding water in the saucer until the top of the soil is damp but never leave your plant/s sitting in wet water in a saucer after the top of the soil is damp.
Here is a video that I have made for my You Tube channel Desert Plants of Avalon on How to water your Cacti & Succulents and you can watch this video below :
During the winter I leave my Echeveri’a completely dry from mid October to mid March, and do not water at all, because I keep my plants cool and dry they do not shrivel and are not actively growing so do not need to be watered, but if you grow your plants in a heated room and or your plants show any signs of shriveling, then you can go ahead and give your Echeveria’s some water just enough to stop them from shriveling, but if you can keep them cool and dry in a sunny but cool position such as a sunny but unheated frost free room of a minimum of 7 celsius / 45 Fahrenheit you shouldn’t need to water them at all and the cooler dry conditions will encourage them to flower in the Spring.
I have made a very in depth video on my You Tube channel Desert Plants of Avalon on How to overwinter all your cacti and succulent plants and you can watch this video below :
When it comes to fertilizing Echeveria’s you can use any good quality cactus and succulent feed, but personally I like to use a tomato feed as the high potassium encourages blooming. The brand I like to use is by Maxicrop, I like to use this brand because it does not contain any animal ingredients and I prefer to buy the Organic one when I can get it, the additional seaweed extract helps to give the plants a bit of a boost too, but you can use any good quality tomato feed but make sure you don’t over do it as these plants only need a small amount of feed, I like to use tomato feed at just half the strength they recommend using for tomatoes and only with every 4th watering I give my Echeveria’s 🙂
I have made a video for my You Tube channel Desert Plants of Avalon on how and what I use to fertilize my Succulent plants including Echeveria’s and you can watch this video below :
Echeveria’s can take full sun and thrive in a sunny position, however please bear in mind that behind glass without ventilation temperatures can reach well over 100 Fahrenheit and these plants can scorch and their leaves can get damaged, so always make sure that when the temperatures outside are very warm and if your plants are behind glass to open the windows and doors as much as possible to create air flow and prevent leaf scorch. Ideally these plants thrive in a temperature range of 65f – 80f / 18c- 30c
During the Winter months as explained above in the overwintering section, these plants are best kept at a minimum temperature of 7c / 45F.
Echeveria’s are easily propagated from leaf cuttings, and root very easily simply by pulling off a leaf and leaving it to ‘callus’ heal over for a few days and then either gently placing the cutting on top of a well drained soil medium or gently inserting the cutting into the soil medium 🙂 I have made a video for my You tube channel Desert Plants of Avalon on How to propagate Succulents the Easy way and you can watch this video below :
If you enjoyed reading about how to care for your Echeveria’s you must check out a video I have specially made for my You Tube channel Desert Plants of Avalon on How to care for Echeveria’s and you can watch this video below :
Thank you all for reading and sending you all heaps of love and happy growing from Ireland wherever you are in the world 🙂