Echeveria setosa [ech-eh-VER-ee-a set-OH-suh] is one of many succulent plants in the genus Echeveria.
The Echeveria genus is part of the Crassulaceae family (stonecrop).
The genus is named after the eighteenth century botanist, Anastasio Echeverria y Godoy.
There are hundreds of types of Echeverias. This particular type is a bit furry with white hairs or bristly (setosa). You may also hear the plant referred to by its common names:
- Mexican firecracker
- Firecracker plant
- Firecracker Echeveria
- Hen and Chicks
Echeveria setosa comes from Mexico and is not cold hardy. Even so, these plants do very well as houseplants in cold climates.
Keep them indoors during the wintertime. Transition them to outside to enjoy a vacation in the sun during the spring and summer.
Firecracker is a perennial evergreen succulent in its natural, hot dry climate. In cooler climates, the ‘Firecracker” is treated as an annual and planted fresh outdoors every spring.
Echeveria Setosa Plant Care
Size & Growth
These slow growing plants grow up to 4″ inches tall and with rosettes spreading as much as 12″ inches.
Flowering & Fragrance
The flowers, red with yellow tips, grow in clusters at the end of foot-long stalks. The fragrant blossoms are attractive to hummingbirds.
The cute, fuzzy, spoon-shaped leaves covered with white hairs make this an interesting evergreen succulent.
Light & Temperature
These plants like sun, warm temperatures. In summer (65° degrees Fahrenheit) and cooler temperatures in winter (50° degrees Fahrenheit)
The United States USDA hardiness zone 9B – 11B.
In their native settings, the Mexican firecracker plant grows in full sun. When keeping them as houseplants avoid setting your plant in full afternoon sunlight.
In some environments, harsh afternoon sun may be too strong and cause leaves to burn. Burned Setosa leaves do not heal.
It is also unwise to change exposure in a drastic and rapid manner. Dramatic lighting conditions cause plant stress.
This is why you should always transition plants gradually to an outdoor setting in spring and summer.
In the winter time, keep Setosa plants near a bright window. South facing windows are best. Echeveria that do not get enough sunlight will stretch.
Like all succulent Echeverias, do not overwater.
Allow firecracker plants to dry out completely. Keep a close eye on it and give it a deep watering when the soil is almost dry.
More on watering Echeveria plants
Be sure to water the soil and don’t get water on the rosette itself.
Pour water through the well-draining soil until it pours out the bottom of the pot. Do this several times. Don’t allow the plant to stand in water as this may cause root rot.
When planting or keeping your plants outdoors during the summer, mulch around the plant helps hold moisture in the soil.
These are desert plants, with a native soil not filled with nutrients. For this reason, this plant may be very subject to fertilizer burn.
Early in the growing season, give your plant a treat of a slow release fertilizer. Throughout the growing season provide a very diluted mixture of water-soluble fertilizer.
It is best to use a cactus fertilizer which has a lower nitrogen content.
Soil & Transplanting
Use a well-draining succulent or cacti succulents mix with a slightly acidic pH (6.0). Create your own succulent mix by using a 50-50 combination of potting soil and perlite.
Test to see if the soil is of the proper texture by squeezing a handful of moist soil in your hand. When you open your hand, the soil should still crumble and fall naturally.
If it holds together in a ball, you have too much soil and not enough perlite.
Sand also provides drainage, be sure to use coarse sand, not fine sand.
It is best to transplant Echeverias during the warm season of the year.
Use dry soil to prevent problems with fungal infections.
Knock off the old soil from the roots and trim away any dead or rotted roots. Use a fungicide on the trimmed places before repotting the plant.
After placing the plant in its new pot with drainage holes, fill around the plant with dry cactus or succulent soil mix. Leave the soil dry for about a week. After a week, water lightly.
Grooming & Maintenance
Regular pruning is not necessary. Pinch off any dead, damaged or errant leaves to help the plant maintain its shape.
Remove offsets as you desire.
How To Propagate Echeveria Setosa Arrow
Mexican firecracker echeveria propagation is very simple. Start new plants from a leaf, stem cuttings or offsets.
- Pick off a leaf
- Put the leaf on the surface of a well-draining soil (such as cactus mix)
- Keep the “rooting leaf” in a well lit, warm area
Before you know it, a new plant will sprout from the leaf. The old leaf will shrivel and die.
You can speed the process by keeping the container covered to hold in moisture has the leaf sprouts.
An easier way to grow Echeveria setosa is to separate the offsets (pups) that grow from the roots of the parent plant.
It is easy to pull these off and repot them in their own pot of cactus mix. Follow repotting instructions as if you were planting a mature plant. The same holds true for stem cuttings.
Echeveria Setosa Mexican Firecracker Pest or Disease Problems
Like most succulent Echeverias, setosa is easy to grow as long as you:
- Do not overwater
- Provide the plant with good draining soil
- Bright light and good ventilation
If you’re watering too much or too little, leaves will shrivel and wilt. In extreme circumstances, the leaves may fall. Improper watering can lead to root rot and fungal diseases.
Mealybugs may be experience with plants:
- Weakened by improper watering
- Dead leaves left or accumulated around the base
Plants are also subject to infestation by pests such as aphids and vine weevils when the bottom leaves are not removed as they wither.
Firecracker Setosa Best Uses
Echeveria Setosa Mexican Firecracker is a Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit winner.
- Setosa is deer resistant
- Attracts hummingbirds and other pollinators
- Excellent choice grown in pots, containers, add to green roofs, and displayed in rock gardens