How Do You Care For Echeveria Elegans: Growing The Mexican Snowball

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Echeveria elegans [ech-eh-VER-ee-a ELL-eh-ganz] is a flowering, evergreen succulent native to the deserts of Mexico.

Its hardy characteristics and easy care earned it the Award of Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society and have helped make the Echeveria elegans a popular succulent choice throughout North America.

Echeveria elegans growing in full sun in the landscapePin

It belongs to the Echeveria plant genus and the Crassulaceae family. The common names for “Echeveria Elegans” include:

  • Mexican snowball
  • White Mexican rose
  • Hen and Chicks

This potted plant features tight rosettes of silver-green or blue leaves.

Echeveria elegans is perfect for rock gardens, ground cover, or containers, the Mexican snowball is an easy plant to grow. It does well even with neglect.

Quick Facts On Echeveria Elegans Care

  • Botanical Name: Echeveria elegans [ech-eh-VER-ee-a ELL-eh-ganz]
  • Common Name(s): Mexican Snowball
  • Family & Origin: Echeveria – Mexico
  • Growability: Easy growing and care
  • Grow Zone: USDA hardiness zone 9a to 11b
  • Size: 8” inches tall – 12” inches wide
  • Flowering: Early spring, lantern-shaped pink flowers with yellow tips.
  • Light: Full sun or partial sun
  • Temperature: 50° degrees Fahrenheit and above
  • Water: Allow the top half of the soil to dry out between watering
  • Fertilizer: Balanced liquid fertilizer 2-3 times during spring and summer months. 
  • Pests & Diseases: Avoid over-watering, vine weevils, mealybugs, and aphids
  • Propagation: Offsets, stem or leaf cuttings
  • Uses: Excellent as a potted specimen or grouped with taller cactus

Echeveria Elegans Mexican Snowball Care

Size & Growth

Echeveria elegans is slow-growing and may take several years to mature. It produces tight rosettes, typically measuring about four inches wide in size.

These rosettes feature spoon-shaped leaves with a silver-green texture. However, they are occasionally blueish.

Elegans plants typically only reach a height of 8” inches tall and may span about 12” inches.

However, it can spread quickly from the offsets that start to fill the area surrounding the plant.

When Does The Mexican Snowball Echeveria Elegans Succulent Flower?

In late winter or early spring, Mexican rose plant may produce large flower stems.

These pinkish-red flower stalks often reach up to 8”-12” inches in height and produce lantern-shaped pink flowers with yellow tips.

What Is The Best Lighting and Temperature For Echeveria Elegans?

Find a spot with full sun or partial sun for your Mexican snowball plant.

Echeveria elegans will handle some partial shade, but shouldn’t be kept completely in the shade, especially in coastal regions.

If you choose to grow the Mexican rose succulent as a houseplant, keep it near a window that gets direct sunlight during a good portion of the day.

While Echeveria elegans can tolerate a range of temperatures, it’s recommended for USDA hardiness zones 9a to 11b.

When it comes to colder temperatures, the minimum recommended range is 20° degrees Fahrenheit to 50° degrees Fahrenheit.

The elegans Mexican Snowball Echeveria can tolerate the cold better than most other varieties.

However, you should take the White Mexican rose indoors if you expect a harsh winter.

If temperatures regularly drop below freezing, the plant may not make it through the colder months.

Blue Echeveria "Mexican Snowball" (aka elegans) showing its colorsPin

Mexican Snowball Watering and Feeding Tips

Watering isn’t a major requirement with this drought-tolerant succulent. During the summer, you may need to water it once per week.

Details on Echeveria Succulent How Often To Water

During the winter, you may barely need to sprinkle the pot or ground with water.

Provide just enough to keep leaves from shriveling.

In fact, some people do not water the plant at all during the winter months.

However, you don’t want the succulents to frequently get completely dried out. Keep an eye on the soil and the leaves.

If the leaves start to develop spots or appear thinner, you may not be giving the plant enough water.

You can add a balanced fertilizer about two or three times during the spring and summer months. Try to space these feedings about one month apart.

What Potting Soil Type Does ‘Elegans White Rose’ Need For Potting and Transplanting?

The plant grows easily in a sandy succulent soil potting mix. It should have good drainage and medium to dry moisture.

However, almost any well-draining soil should provide a suitable environment for these hardy succulent plants. A simple soil mix of peat moss and perlite will work when growing indoors.

“Elegans” makes an excellent and attractive plant in a container or pot.

If you’re worried about drainage, add broken pot pieces to the bottom of your container or pot.

Does The Mexican Snow Ball Require Any Special ‘Grooming’?

Grooming isn’t necessary. The ‘elegans’ produces small, compact rosettes that rarely exceed 8” to 12” inches in size.

Some succulent enthusiasts remove the tops of the succulents when they get too tall.

However, this is rarely an issue, especially when planting Elegans for covering the ground in the landscape.

How to Propagate Mexican Rose Succulents

Echeveria elegans produces offsets in the spring. These small offsets can be removed and separately grown to propagate the plant.

These offsets are common for most cultivars of this plant.

Stem or Leaf Propagation

You can also propagate this succulent plant by taking stem or leaf cuttings from the parent plant. Take these cuttings in the spring, allow the healthy leaves to dry for several days, and then plant them in a well-draining cactus mix or even sand.

What Common Pest, Disease or Problems Does The Mexican Snow Experience?

The plant is generally ‘disease-resistant’ except for over-watering that can lead to fungal diseases.

To avoid over-watering, which may damage the leaves, allow the soil of this drought-tolerant plant to dry out between watering.

The bugs that you need to watch out for include vine weevils, aphids, and mealybugs.

Check out this article on Echeveria Pests and Diseases

Potted Elegans Echeveria growing in well-draining cactus soilPin

What Are the Most Popular Varieties?

If you want to pair the “Mexican snowball” with other Echeveria type plants, or want an alternative to this Echeveria elegans, consider one or more of the following:

  • Echeveria harmsii (Red) – grows dark green leaves with red edges
  • Echeveria agavoides (Lipstick echeveria) – Agave like rosette, dark colored leaf tips
  • Echeveria peacockii (Peacock echeveria) – produces light green leaves with orangish tip
  • Echeveria derenbergii (Painted lady succulent) – small green leaves with beautiful purplish flowers
  • Echeveria nodulosa (Painted echeveria) – features green leaves with red markings
  • Echeveria ‘Perle von Nurnberg’ – (Pearl of Nurnberg) – a hybrid with Echeveria elegans being one of the parents.

What Are The Best Ways To Use Echeveria Elegans

Echeveria elegans a Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Merits recipient is an easy succulent to manage, making it suitable for many uses outdoors.

As it produces a lot of offsets at the base of the plant, it’s a great choice for a garden ground cover and succulent gardens.

You can easily collect the offsets and plant them elsewhere to start a new colony of Mexican gem.

It also looks good in a rock garden.

Plant in containers as a stand-alone specimen or paired with taller cactus and succulents. They also make a nice addition to a succulent fountain planter!

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