Echeveria [ech-eh-VER-ee-a] is a hardy, attractive succulent member of the Crassulaceae family. Plants in the Echeveria genus do well when kept as a houseplant or when grown outdoors in a favorable setting.
These pretty, evergreen perennial succulents come in over 1000 different cultivars and varieties.
In this article, we discuss the origins, plant care, look at a few of the most popular varieties and Echeveria types plus answer some common questions. Read on to learn more.
Where Does The Echeveria Plant Originate?
These cheerful succulents are native to South America, Central America, and the deserts of Texas. Because they are desert plants, they grow best outdoors in hot, dry climates.
Most Echeveria species come from the eastern and southern states of Mexico, Puebla, Vera Cruz, San Luis Potosi and Oaxaca.
They can grow outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 9 through 11, protected from frost.
Their drought and heat tolerance makes them suitable as indoor plants in settings with warm temperatures. They can tolerate the dry air caused by central heating systems.
How Do Grow Echeveria Succulents Grow?
Most Echeverias grow in a rosette formation consisting of thick, fleshy leaves covered by a waxy cuticle. Depending upon the variety, leaves may range in color from pale green to a rosy deep purple and even some shades of blue.
When caring for these plants, you must handle the leaves carefully. Because of the waxy cuticle on the succulent leaves, it is possible to mar their surface with a firm touch of the fingertip.
Luckily, Echeveria is easy to care for and doesn’t typically need much handling or pruning. But separating pups from parent plants as necessary prevents overcrowding. Pinch off or carefully cut away dead or damaged leaves.
For more caring for Echeverias, read our: Echeveria Succulent Care Guide
What About Watering Echeverias
When watering Echeveria, be careful not to overwater. Remember, this succulent comes from a desert setting. As such, use the soak and dry watering method.
Wait until the soil is almost completely dry, and then water thoroughly. Allow the water to run through the drainage holes in the bottom of your plant’s container.
When watering, take care not to pour water directly onto the plant. Water standing in the crevices between the leaves can cause rot.
Don’t allow your Echeveria to stand in water. Do not plant Echeverias or any succulent in a pot that does not have ample drainage.
For more details, check out these Tips on How To Water Echeveria Plants
Choose a Light, Well-Draining Soil
When planting Echeveria outside, position them in a slightly elevated setting to drain any excess water off.
Use well-draining soil with a combination of good soil, coarse sand, fine gravel, and organic matter such as compost. Mulch around the plants with pea gravel or bark to protect the roots from cold in the wintertime and help retain moisture.
These plants seldom have severe problems with disease or pests, but overwatering can cause both. An overwatered plant is subject to root rot, which will kill the plant. Additionally, compromised plants are attractive to common houseplant pests such as mealybugs.
Learn more at Solutions for Succulent Echeveria Pests and Diseases
Echeveria Like Lots of Light & Warmth
When grown indoors, place Echeverias where they get lots of bright indirect sunlight. Being close to a window can subject them to extremes in temperature that may be detrimental. Additionally, direct sun through glass can cause burning.
Outdoors, most Echeveria, like full sun or very bright light setting.
Indoors or outdoors, these succulents are happiest at temperatures ranging from 65° to 70° degrees Fahrenheit.
Echeveria Propagation is Easy
This evergreen succulent produces offsets or pups at the base of the mother plant allowing Echeverias to spread.
It’s easy to propagate these succulents by separating the baby plants and replanting them into individual pots with a good cactus mix.
Use a commercial succulent or cactus mix, or create your own.
Make a simple DIY succulent mix by combining equal parts organic compost, potting soil, coarse sand, and perlite.
Echeveria also propagates from leaf cuttings. If a leaf falls off your plant, lay it on top of some fresh soil mix. Before you know it, it will set down roots and sprout new growth.
Within a few weeks, new growth should begin to form on the original leaf, and you’ll have a tiny new plant.
What are the Best Uses for Echeveria?
For the most part, Echeveria plants are grown for their attractive fleshy leaves. In favorable settings (outdoors), they produce clusters of beautiful flowers in shades of red, yellow, and orange.
The blooms are attractive to pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.
Creating an attractive, easy-care succulent Echeveria only collection is easy with so many different varieties.
Combining several varieties in one planter makes a beautiful grouping.
Place tall varieties towards the back or in the center. Towards the front and around the edges place smaller varieties.
Echeveria also is excellent for creating a living succulent wreath or for use in rock gardens.
10 Of the Most Popular Types of Echeveria
Echeveria Shaviana | Mexican Hens | Pink Frills
Echeveria shaviana is also known as Echeveria Pink Frills or Mexican Hens. Shaviana matures into a pretty, frilly, bluish-green plant with a slight lilac tinge.
The succulent leaves are thin, powder-coated, delicate, frilly, and grow in a distinctive, rounded cabbage-like formation. Shaviana does well in light settings ranging from partial shade to full sun. The plant displays more color with more sun.
Echeveria Perle Von Nurnberg
Echeveria Perle Von Nurnberg is a very popular variety with a sole rosette made up of pastel-colored, paddle-shaped leaves with a dusty, waxy coating.
The color of the leaves is dependent upon light levels. In a lower light setting, the leaves of this plant are grayish-green. In bright, indirect sunlight or full sun, they become pink or even purple.
Echeveria Runyonii or Topsy-Turvy
Echeveria Runyonii or Topsy-Turvy Echeveria has cylindrical, blue-green leaves. This is a fast grower that does well in a desert garden or an indoor setting. It is an excellent choice for xeriscaping because it is deer resistant.
Echeveria Green Prince
Echeveria Green Prince is a bright green variety with very thick, fleshy, flat leaves. Like many of its cousins, it is also called Mexican Hens & Chicks.
The Green Prince variety can differ in size and coloration depending upon its genetic background and growing condition. Generally speaking, this is a tough, rugged, adaptable version that does well in a wide variety of settings.
Echeveria Dusty Rose
Echeveria Dusty Rose is a hybrid that grows up to 8″ inches wide with powdery lavender-colored rosettes. Dusty Rose produces tall stalks and displays bright orange flowers.
Echeveria Doris Taylor
Echeveria Doris Taylor is also known as Woolly Rose. As the common name suggests, its pretty leaves are fuzzy. This is a slow-growing hybrid and a bit difficult to propagate.
NOTE: Unlike its cousins, Doris Taylor prefers partial sun to full sun.
Echeveria Subsessilis | Morning Beauty Echeveria
Echeveria Subsessilis or Morning Beauty Echeveria looks quite a bit like Peacock Echeveria. Its rosettes are quite broad and flat.
The thick, spoon-shaped leaves have an open look. They are silvery gray with pink tinges along the edges and slightly darker tips.
This Echeveria variety is native to Mexico blooms in the springtime producing attractive, bright yellowish-orange or red flowers on tall, erect stems.
Echeveria Neon Breakers
Echeveria Neon Breakers is a splashy variety sporting ruffled pale green leaves with pink edges. The rosettes grow to be about 3″ inches wide.
While the plant can grow in the landscape or indoors, it’s best to bring Neon Breakers indoors for the winter in a cold setting.
Echeveria Tippy has pretty, spoon-shaped blue green leaf with bright pink tips. The large, tight rosettes can grow to be 6″ inches wide.
During the summer, this plant sends up tall stalks bearing bright orange flowers pollinators find attractive.
Echeveria lilacina | Ghost Echeveria
Echeveria lilacina is also called the ghost Echeveria because of its silvery-gray color. Its leaves are rather delicate, spoon-shaped, and sensitive to sunlight.
This is one of the Echeveria varieties that do better in partial shade outdoors in hot climates. During the warm summer months, the leaves are greenish silver. In cooler weather, they take on a slightly purplish hue.
Fascinating Blue Echeverias
Echeveria Elegans | Mexican Snowball
Echeveria elegans is the variety with which most people are familiar. It by the common name of Hen & Chicks or Mexican Snowball.
The leaves of this succulent grow in tight rosettes of tidy, blue-gray leaves. Echeveria elegans is a good choice for a sunny, outdoor landscape setting or as an indoor plant.
Echeveria Nodulosa | Painted Echeveria
Echeveria nodulosa is also called Painted Echeveria because of its pretty, deep green leaves sporting red stripes.
Nodulosa is unusual because it grows taller than most Echeveria types reaching a height of 2′ feet tall.
Echeveria Imbricata – Blue Rose Echeveria
Echeveria Imbricata – Blue Rose Echeveria is one of the oldest hybrid Echeverias. It is a cross between the species Echeveria metallica and Echeveria glauca. Imbricata has tight rosettes with a bluish-green color and orangish tips.
Echeveria Black Prince | Black Hens & Chicks
Echeveria Black Prince, aka the Black Hens & Chicks. This hybrid has intense purplish brown, triangular-shaped leaves. Its rosettes grow to be about 3″ inches across with tightly spaced leaves.
The offsets are pale green at first, and their color deepens as they mature. In autumn, Black Hens & Chicks sprout tall stalks that soon develop deep red flowers.
Echeveria Peacockii | Peacock Echeveria
Echeveria peacockii or Peacock Echeveria is a small variety reaching a height of about 4″ inches indoors.
Indoors the rosettes attain a width of about 6″ inches. When grown in the landscape, peacockii can reach a height of 1′ foot tall.
This pretty plant has thick, rounded silvery-blue leaves with red tips.
These four plants and others in the Echeveria genus present blue coloration.
The coloration comes from selective breeding, which determines the production of the common plant pigments anthocyanin and carotenoid.
The pigments respond to environmental conditions such as:
For more on this topic, see our article: What Are Blue Echeverias and Why Are They Blue?
Other Varieties of Echeverias to Collect and Grow
- Echeveria Pulidonis – Pulido’s Echeveria
- Echeveria Pulvinata – Plush Plant – Silvery- white hairs cover the green leaves.
- Echeveria Setosa – Mexican Firecracker Echeveria – Tiny white hairs cover the leaves.
- Echeveria Agavoides – Agave Lipstick Echeveria – flower stems appear in late winter with blooms in early spring.
- Echeveria Laui
- Echeveria Derenbergii – Painted Lady Echeveria – In late winter to summer, it sends up pink-red stems bearing cup-shaped, yellow flowers with “painted” red tips.
- Echeveria Cante – White Cloud Echeveria
- Echeveria ‘Afterglow’ – Pink Edged Echeveria hybrid
- Echeveria Lola – orange-pink flowers appear in summer.
- Echeveria Chihuahuensis
- Echeveria Prolifica
Why Is My Echeveria Growing Tall?
Most types of Echeveria grow no taller than a foot high with an equal spread. When succulent plants grow tall and gangly, it is usually stretching for sunlight. This stretching is called Etiolation.
If your Echeveria is growing too tall:
- Trim it to shape it
- Start new plants from the pruned parts and leaf cuttings
- Change the plants’ location to a setting with more bright, indirect sunlight
Can Echeveria Grow Indoors?
Echeverias are popular indoor plants among succulent lovers and homeowners alike.
These hardy succulents are ideal choices for indoor settings receiving plenty of:
- Bright, indirect sunlight
- Consistently warm temperatures (65° – 70° degrees Fahrenheit).
How Many Types Of Echeveria Are There?
There are 140 Echeveria species and over one thousand cultivated succulent plant varieties of Echeveria.
Is Echeveria Toxic To Cats?
Generally speaking, these plants are not toxic at all. But, it’s a good idea to keep your cat away from your plants for the safety of both.
Do Echeveria Die After Flowering?
Monocarpic plants often produce offsets or pups to take the mother plant’s place.
How Often Do You Water Echeveria?
The frequency of watering depends upon many factors, including:
- The amount of sun the plant receives
- The ambient temperature
- The condition of the potting mix
- The size of the plant
Instead of setting a timetable for watering your Echeveria, it is better to keep close tabs on the soil dampness. When the soil is almost dry, water thoroughly. Do not water again until the soil becomes almost dry again.
What Is The Largest Echeveria?
The largest variety of Echeveria is Echeveria gibbiflora, a cabbage-head species. Native to south of Mexico City, Mexico. There are several cultivars or varieties.
- Echeveria gibbiflora var ‘Carunculata’ – delicate pastel shades of pink and lavender.
- Echeveria gibbiflora var crispata – wavy margins to the leaves.
- Echeveria gibbiflora var metallica – more bronze colored with reddish margins.
- Echeveria coruana is a new species belonging to the gibbiflora series. [source]
How Big Do Echeverias Get?
In general, Echeveria plants grow to about 12″ inches tall with an equal diameter. Plant size does vary depending upon the variety.
Some types are quite small and only grow a couple of inches high but spread in a rambling fashion. Still, others may grow a couple of feet high and exhibit an upright growth habit with a spread of less than a foot.
Where Does The Name Echeveria Originate?
Alphonse De Candolle named the genus Echeveria on February 15, 1827, in an address given on Crassulaceae at the Society of Natural History in Geneva.
The genus honors eighteenth-century Mexican draftsman and painter Anastasio Echeverria. In discussing the genus name, De Candolle said:
“I have given to this Mexican genus the name of Echeveria in honor of Echeverria, gifted botanical draughtsman, and creator of the most beautiful drawings of the Flora Mexicana begun under the direction of Messrs. Sesse, Mocino, and Cervantes.”