Echeveria is a large genus of flower-shaped succulents native to semi-desert areas of Central and South America. They are extremely popular houseplants and under the right conditions are pretty low-maintenance. Here’s how you can keep Echeveria happy indoors.
Light, Water, & Soil
Echeveria are desert succulents and need lots of bright, direct sunlight every day. What does that mean exactly? The sun’s rays should fall on the leaves of your Echeveria for at least 6 to 7 hours a day. So while these little succulents may look cute in the middle of your coffee table, or on your desk next to your computer, if you want to keep them looking their best they should realistically be directly in front of a west or south-facing window. Echeveria that don’t receive enough sunlight will start to elongate and get a ‘leggy’ appearance, with large spaces between each leaf along the stem.
The number one reason that Echeveria succulents die when grown indoors is overwatering. These succulents are drought-tolerant and extremely susceptible to root rot if they are overwatered. The soil should dry thoroughly between waterings. I usually wait until the leaves of my Echeveria begin to ‘pucker’ slightly before watering to ensure I don’t overwater. During the summer, this usually means I’m watering them every 1 to 2 weeks. During the winter when the plant is dormant I’m sometimes only watering it once a month.
These succulents appreciate sandy, well-draining soil that wicks excess water away from the roots efficiently. A soil mix designed for cacti and succulents is perfect for Echeveria, or you can throw together your own DIY mix at home. All you need is potting soil, perlite, and sand. Mix together equal parts of each for a well-draining soil mix that your Echeveria will thrive in.
Echeveria are super easy and fun to propagate and almost every part of the plant can be used for propagation. The best way to propagate these succulents is by leaf cuttings and division.
Steps for Leaf Propagation
- Gently remove a few leaves from a healthy succulent. To remove a leaf, wiggle it back and forth gently until it pops off the stem. The entire leaf should remain intact. If the leaf rips and some of the leaf is left on the stem, the propagation will not work.
- Set the separated leaves aside for 24 hours to allow the ends to callous over.
- Once the ends are calloused, place the leaves on top of a tray of soil and place them in a location that receives bright, indirect light.
- After a few weeks, roots should begin sprouting from the ends of the leaves. Once roots begin to grow you can start lightly watering the roots every couple of weeks.
- Eventually, small pups will begin to grow from the ends of the leaves. After a few months the leaf will begin to shrivel and the new succulent will separate from the leaf.
- Once the new succulents are separated from the leaf they can be potted in their own small container. Congratulations on your new succulents!
Steps for Division Propagation
- Mature Echeveria succulents will begin to grow pups from the base of their stem. With a pair of sharp scissors or pruning shears, carefully cut the small succulents from the mother plant.
- Remove the bottom few leaves from the separated succulent to expose the stem. Set the succulent pup(s) aside for 24 hours to let the end callous over.
- Prepare a pot with sandy, well-draining potting soil.
- Press the succulent pup(s) down into the soil, so the exposed stem is fully buried.
- Place them in a location that receives bright, indirect light.
- After a few weeks, the succulents should begin to grow roots, at which point you can begin lightly watering the succulent.
- After a couple of months you can move the succulent(s) into a location that receives direct sunlight.
Types of Echeveria
There are well over 100 different species of Echeveria and many different cultivators. The following are some of the most popular and commonly grown:
- Echeveria glauca
- Echeveria ‘Perle von Nurnberg’
- Echeveria ‘Topsy Turvy’
- Echeveria lilacina (Ghost Echeveria)
- Echeveria ‘Doris Taylor’
As long as they are given the right conditions, Echeveria are pretty low-maintenance. The most important things to keep in mind are ensuring that your succulent receives enough light, and that it is not overwatered. These desert-dwelling succulents do best in warm, dry conditions and are not frost-tolerant. Echeveria are relatively pest-free, but can be susceptible to mealybugs.
Can you use ice cubes to water succulents?
Using ice cubes to water plants is sometimes advised as an easy way to monitor the amount of water you are giving your plants every week. However, I would not recommend it since using ice-cold water can shock the roots of many desert-dwelling and tropical plants.
Should you mist succulents?
Echeveria should never be misted since they prefer dry conditions.
Can Echeveria survive under a grow light?
If you don’t have enough sunlight in your home for your succulents you can supplement the light with a grow light. Full-spectrum LED grow lights are a great choice.