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Echeveria, like cacti, are not just something for friends of exotic houseplants, but also for everyone who is rarely at home and/or who lacks a green thumb. Because as succulents, the attractive window sill ornaments are largely self-sufficient.

The Echeveria is an extremely easy-care houseplant

Characteristics / Species

In garden centers mostly hybrid forms from different Echeveria species are sold. In general, however, they are categorized according to the approximately 150 species belonging to the genus Echeveria. The most popular and commonly encountered species and breeds are as follows:

Echeveria agavoides

This species is very representative of its genus, with its approximately 10 cm long, triangular, pointed leaves forming a neat, neatly structured rosette about 12 cm in diameter. It remains fairly low at around 10-12 centimeters in height. In particularly sunny locations, the edges of the bright, fresh green leaves turn reddish.

The flowers appear in bell-shaped racemes of orange-red to pink on tall stalks between March and April.

Known cultivars of this type are, for example, the varieties E. a. Multifida with numerous, luxuriant, amber and brick-red-edged leaves and E. a. Prolifera with orange leaf margins.

Echeveria harmsii

The E. harmsii stands out from other Echeveria species due to its rather loose, not so compact growth. Its leaves are slender, inverted-ovate in shape with a moderately pointed tip and are loosely spaced in an airy rosette. In addition, they are covered with a silvery hair and appear fluffy.

E. harmsii has a shrubby habit with a slender trunk and grows to a height of around 30 to 50 cm.

In May to June, tall inflorescences about 15 cm high develop with scarlet, yellow-tipped flowers, which are not arranged in racemes like most Echeveria, but stand alone.

Echeveria elegans

The E. elegans, on the other hand, has a very squat, stemless habit with a compact rosette of leaves about 10 centimeters in diameter. The individual leaves are also only 2 to 5 cm long and form an attractive structure with their spatula-like edge with a long point. The leaves are also relatively flat compared to those of other Echeveria species and are still closely staggered in the center of the rosette. Their color is a cool, gray-blue green that shimmers slightly through the short, white hair. The tips stand out in a contrasting Bordeaux red.

In summer, the E elegans forms racemose flowers in pink-red or yellow on about 30 cm long stalks.

breeds

Countless individual cultivated forms, some with squiggly names, such as E. Afterglow, whose leaves turn a powdery violet, or E. Arlie Wright, whose leaf edges are charcoal-like, curly and pink in color, are also available, especially in online retail.

Profile / flowers

In spring to early summer, around March to June, the Echeveria shows quite showy, pretty inflorescences that grow on a long stalk from the lateral leaf axils. The stalks can grow up to 3 cm long, so that the flowers are literally enthroned high above the low rosette of leaves. At the end of the stalk, several flowers are usually formed in clusters, mostly reddish to pink tones, sometimes also orange-yellow to greenish colors. The flower clusters hang over like bells.

Flower characteristics in keywords:

  • Flowering time from early spring to early summer
  • racemose inflorescences on tall stalks
  • Colors vary from red to orange, yellow and green

Characteristics / Toxic?

Echeveria are quite slightly poisonous, although that also depends on the species. However, the toxin content is low, so they do not pose any real danger. To be on the safe side, if you have small children or pets living with you, you should take certain precautions. For example, place the Echeveria in a high place that is out of reach of curious housemates.

The substances contained in the plant sap can cause skin irritations in particular, but there is no life-threatening risk of poisoning. If necessary, work with gloves when removing old inflorescences, especially if you are generally sensitive to skin irritation.

Characteristics / Hardy

Of course, Echeveria are not hardy. None of the different species is frost hardy - permanent planting outdoors is therefore not possible. The hibernation quarters in the house must also be frost-free, even if the plant likes it cooler there.

Temporary planting out in the summer is of course possible and, given the small, compact size of the plant, not particularly difficult either. Especially sunny rock garden designs around the terrace can be attractively enriched with Echeveria. Wait for the ice saints in May before planting. As soon as the first night frosts are announced in autumn, dig up the Echeveria again and bring them into the house.

To remember:

  • Echeveria not hardy
  • Always protect from frost
  • Can be planted out in summer between ice saints and the first autumn frosts

Profile / origin

The Echeveria is mainly native to Mexico, where it inhabits dry rocky areas from 500 to 3000 meters altitude. However, their distribution area also extends north and south of it - some species can also be found in the south of the USA, especially in Texas, or in northern South America, for example in Peru. In its rain-poor original habitats, it has adapted to the circumstances with its fleshy, water-storing leaves.

Of course, this has advantages for the local indoor plant culture, since you don’t have to worry too much about them. An ideal planting for everyone who cannot/do not want to spend a lot of time caring for indoor plants in everyday life.

To remember:

  • comes from dry rocky areas mainly in Mexico, southern USA and northern South America
  • is therefore very frugal, needs hardly any attention

Profile / growth

Echeveria belong to the succulent plant family and are usually evergreen succulents. Typical of its appearance is its low, compressed, rosette-like growth, which makes it appear as if it is snuggled up to the ground. As a rule, the Echeveria only stays 10 to 15 cm high. However, some species also grow as small shrubs.

Profile / sheets

The leaves of the Echeveria are the most important for ornamental gardening purposes. They are extremely shapely both individually and together in the rosette arrangement. About 20 of them stand together over the stocky shoot axis and mostly have a triangular to inverted ovoid shape, tapering to a point at the front. Altogether they form a 7 to 10 cm wide rosette.

Since the leaves of the plant serve as a water reservoir, they have a fleshy consistency typical of leafy succulents. They have a high water retention capacity and allow the Echeveria to survive long periods of drought without complaint. However, the succulent structure of the leaves also makes them sensitive to breakage. So always be as careful as possible with the leaf rosette. The leaves of some species have downy hairs.

In terms of color, the leaves usually appear in a dull, light green, sometimes also in greyish-bluish shades of green or in shades of red with a purple tinge. The leaf edges and tips of the green varieties are often slightly reddish.

Sheet properties at a glance:

  • mostly triangular to inverted ovoid shape
  • together form a rosette of leaves 7-10 cm wide
  • thick fleshy consistency, somewhat sensitive to breakage
  • high water storage capacity
  • light green to bluish, greyish and reddish colors

plants / location

Echeveria are used to a lot of sun from their original habitat. Therefore, give your plant as bright a location as possible in your room at home. The Echeveria has nothing against permanent sunlight and heat. A place by a large window that faces south if possible is ideal for them. You can also put them outside over the summer, but they should be protected from rain there.

In terms of temperature, the Echeveria likes it - no wonder - warm. With a year-round cultivation in a warm room you are on the safe side. During the winter she likes it a bit cooler. Around 15°C is better here, especially if you want flowering the following spring.

Site requirements at a glance:

  • warm and sunny
  • dry - so keep them protected from rain if they are cultivated outdoors temporarily in summer
  • a little cooler in winter (cold stimulus for flowering)

plants / soil

Echeveria need a permeable, mineral substrate with a moderate nutrient content. Cactus soil from specialist shops is well suited; if you mix it yourself, use some compost soil, coarse sand and, if necessary, some volcanic rock.

planting / propagating

daughter rosettes

Echeveria form a few daughter rosettes in the pot over time and thus multiply all by themselves. You can simply dig up the daughter rosettes and place them in new pots.

cuttings

If the Echeveria does not have daughter rosettes to offer at the time you want to get a cutting for your plant collection or give it to someone else, there is also the possibility of propagation by cuttings. To do this, pluck a leaf out of the rosette and place it in a planter with a peaty, sandy substrate. Set up the breeding pot warm and bright.

seed cultivation

You can also grow Echeveria from seeds. However, some varieties do not produce fruiting seeds, so if you want to be on the safe side, you should rather use seeds from specialist shops. Put the seeds in a sandy growing medium that they keep moderately moist. They germinate best at around 18°C.

care / watering

When it comes to water, the Echeveria is a true ascetic. It needs very little watering, which makes it ideal for people who travel a lot. Basically, you only need to water sporadically - and only when the substrate is completely dry. As with many other thirst-free plants, the rule of thumb also applies to Echeveria: too little is always better than too much. If it gets too much water, the Echeveria will show this quite clearly by a fading of the leaves.

The succulent doesn't like it when its leaves get a cold shower, so only water on the soil. Otherwise rot can also occur in the leaf rosette.

In winter you hardly need to water at all.

Casting practice at a glance:

  • Water very little
  • Water only on the substrate, not in the leaf rosette
  • Stop watering in winter

Care / Fertilize

The Echeveria does not actually need to be fertilized. However, if she has been in a pot for more than 2 years, you can give her some nutrient supplements over the summer months. Use gentle fertilisers, either cactus fertilizers from specialist shops or organic fertilizers from your own household and garden such as coffee grounds, compost or nettle manure. The fertilizer application frequency is based on the water application - i.e. only very occasionally. You should stop fertilizing from September.

To remember:

  • From the second year in a pot some fertilizer advisable
  • Use gentle cactus fertilizer, compost, coffee grounds, or nettle manure
  • Only over the summer months, parallel to the watering intervals

care / repotting

If you want to do something good for your Echeveria, you should treat it to a new substrate every two years. The plant rarely really needs more space, the used substrate is more the reason for the pot move. In the spring, place the Echeveria in a new mixture of compost and sand.

care / cutting

The Echeveria itself does not need a cut. Their compact rosette growth does not tempt them at all. However, what you can do to take care of the plant is to remove old and dried up parts. This includes faded inflorescences and old leaves. But you don't need to cut them with a cutting tool. It's better to just pluck them out.

To remember:

  • The Echeveria does not need topiary
  • Only remove old, dried-up parts of the plant, preferably by plucking them out

Care / Diseases

Echeveria is delightfully resistant to disease, making it more attractive to the less dedicated houseplant enthusiast. What is most likely to damage it is too much water, which can lead to mold and rot.

Care / Pests

The Echeveria is also not very susceptible to pests. During the flowering period, aphids may appear on the inflorescences. You can recognize the small reddish to blackish or greenish insects primarily by the honeydew that they secrete by sucking the plant sap and which sticks to the leaves and window sill.

The best way to combat an aphid infestation is to first mechanically spray the plant. If the infestation is more advanced, you can use neem oil-based preparations or a mixture of water and potash soap. This will suffocate the pests.

Alternatively, you can also use plant protection sticks. You just have to put them in the ground so that they gradually release their active ingredient, which is poisonous to the lice, to the plant.

frequently asked Questions

Can you eat Echeveria?

Echeveria should of course not be eaten given its mild toxicity. However, there is no real reason to worry about this either. Because even when parts of plants are eaten, irritation of the mucous membranes remains at best, but there is no risk of fatal poisoning. The consumption dose required for this would hardly be eaten.

My Echeveria has black spots

Black spots indicate overwatering or fungal infection.

tip

To protect the Echeveria from leaf rot, it is advisable to cover the top of the substrate with a layer of sand. This also underlines their exotic character.

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