Succulents are becoming increasingly popular, and the Echeveria plants (ech-eh-VER-ee-a) genus is among the most desired.
These members of the Crassulaceae family are native throughout Mexico and Central America but have become popular imports in both North and South America.
But sometimes you need just a little more out of a plant, and Renee O’Connel of California-based Altman Plants decided that echeverias were missing something.
As a result, he created Echeveria ‘Chroma’, a stunning perennial hybrid that changes colors with the seasons.
As with all echeverias, the plant is sometimes called the mother hen and chicks plant due to the way offshoots cluster around the mother plant.
Echeveria ‘Chroma’ Care
Size & Growth
Chroma is a moderately slow grower that tends to grow in clumps.
It can achieve a mature height of 3″ to 5” inches with the rosette cluster stretching 7″ to 8” inches across.
Individual rosettes generally measure around 3” inches in diameter and branch out to give the plant its shrub-like appearance.
The thick leaves have a shiny, almost metallic purple to a black base, which shifts with the seasons and may even display seasonal variegation.
Some of the potential colors that you might enjoy during the year are apricot, blue, blue-green, bronze, copper, gold, green, orange, peach, pink, red, and yellow.
Many enthusiasts describe the center of the rosette as resembling a sunset during the summer, and the plant remains stunning in winter while dormant.
Flowering and Fragrance
In the spring, your chroma will produce bright orange to yellow dangling, bell-shaped flowers on tall, arching stalks.
The flowers are a major draw for pollinators such as bees and hummingbirds.
Light & Temperature
Chroma needs full to partial sun for its colors to truly shine, but avoid too much direct sunlight around noon when the weather gets really hot.
6 hours of direct sunlight in the morning and light shade or dappled sunlight around noon works well in more southern climates, especially during the summer.
Indoors, the plant will need plenty of light and should either be kept by a bright window or supplemented with grow lamps.
Rotate your indoor plants to ensure it gets even lighting, as too little light may result in etiolation, and intense, hot lights may result in scorching.
Echeverias are used to arid conditions, so humidity will not be an issue.
On the contrary, getting the leaves wet can result in scorching or rotting.
Chroma can be grown outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11, but can easily be grown indoors and brought out during warm weather in colder zones.
Be warned, that this is a tropical plant and will not survive deep frosts.
It can handle 20° degrees Fahrenheit for brief amounts of time but will die with prolonged exposure.
Indoors, try to keep your echeveria in temperatures between 65 and 80° degrees Fahrenheit.
Watering and Feeding
Use the soak and dry method during the growing season, saturating the soil once it’s completely dry.
Never let your Chroma sit in water, as it can easily die from root rot. Make sure the growing pot has a drainage hole.
This succulent plant only needs feeding once per month in the summer with a balanced, diluted NPK fertilizer to encourage longer blooms.
Soil & Transplanting
As with all succulents, your echeveria chroma will need porous, well-draining soil.
Any good cactus or succulent soil potting mix will work when mixed with an aggregate such as coarse sand or perlite at a ratio of 1:3 or 1:1.
Avoid too much organic material as this plant’s used to poorer soil conditions and most humusy materials retain water.
It’s generally best to repot the plant annually in the spring, providing fresh soil.
The pot should be slightly larger than the root ball, so upgrade one container size if it appears your succulent is becoming root-bound.
It’s generally best to allow the soil to dry for about a week after transplanting to reduce the effects of transplant shock.
Grooming And Maintenance
As the rosettes grow, the older, lower leaves will begin to die back.
Be sure to remove these dying leaves, as they can attract pests.
You should also deadhead any spent blooms to encourage foliage growth.
In the event your plant suffers sunburn, behead any damaged rosettes.
This will not only encourage new, healthier growth, but you can salvage leaves from a severely damaged plant to propagate new ones rather than lose the plant entirely.
How To Propagate Chroma Echeveria?
Your echeveria can be propagated in three main ways:
- leaf cuttings
Of these, leaf propagation tends to be very similar to seed propagation, while offshoots tend to be the easiest and most common method.
Echeveria Chroma Pests Or Diseases
This plant has a relatively poor cold tolerance, although it will survive very brief exposure to temperatures down to 20° degrees Fahrenheit.
It is also mildly drought tolerant.
The primary concerns are mealybugs and fungal infections, the latter of which can happen when the lower leaves begin to die back towards winter.
Unlike many succulents, this echeveria is considered non-toxic to both humans and pets.
Echeveria ‘Chroma’ Uses
These plants are a popular gift at weddings, due to their smaller size and spectacular coloration.
In recent years, it’s become increasingly common to give succulents as housewarming gifts or presents, and this specimen is one that will surely flatter the recipient.
If you plan to keep it for yourself, it makes a perfect addition to any succulent arrangement, as well as rock gardens or planters.
It also makes for a great companion to Aloe ‘Firebird’ and pussy ears (Kalanchoe tomentosa)
While not suited for enclosed rooms normally, a shelf with a grow lamp will bring life to your cubicle or office.
Finally, put the plants in hanging baskets or individual pots so you can sit them on your porch, deck, or patio during nice weather.
Related Echeveria Reads
- Pests Getting FAT From Your Echeverias? Learn how to control Echeveria pests and diseases and keep your succulents healthy, vibrant, and problem-free!
- Echeveria Neon Breakers, is a perfect choice! Looking for a colorful and lively succulent for your patio, rock garden, or dish garden? Our guide shares how to grow and care for this hardy, drought-tolerant houseplant.