Echeverias are the perfect combination of unique colors and amazing shapes. One of the species of this genus, Echeveria elegans, has long been an excellent houseplant for beginners due to its ornamental qualities and ease of cultivation. We suggest reading our guide on how to take care of Echeveria elegans indoors, which will be a great help for succulent lovers.
Classification and description of the Echeveria elegans
Synonyms: Echeveria tinctoria, Echeveria tinctorum, Echeveria potosina, Echeveria albikans
Common name: “Mexican Snowballs”, “Hens and chicks”, “Mexican gem”
Echeveria elegans is a perennial succulent that grows in northeastern Mexico. The flower’s homeland is considered to be the Pachuca mountain region and surrounding areas in the eastern state of Hidalgo. There is a legend that the indigenous people often grew this flower near the house to ward off evil spirits.
Echeveria elegans fascinates with its symmetrical spiral blue-white rosette and thick, succulent leaves. In its homeland, Mexico, the succulent is called “Mexican snowball”. There are other names for this flower – “White Mexican Rose”, “Mexican Pearl”, “Mexican Gem”. The epithet ‘elegans’ in Latin means ‘elegant’, thus emphasizing the beauty and elegance of the flower.
Echeveria elegans has a thick-leaved, dense rosette of almost transparent, massive leaves. It is a slow growing plant. At maturity, the flower reaches a maximum height of up to 8 inches (20 cm) and a width of up to 12 inches (30 cm). The spoon-shaped leaf blades grow up to 2 inches (6 cm) long and 1 inch (2 cm) wide, sometimes taking on a bluish tint. The leaves are succulent, with a waxy cuticle. Touching their surface can damage the skin and leave marks. “Mexican Pearl” easily produces lateral branches (or babies). The succulent often grows in dense, neat clusters, forming a beautiful cover.
From late winter to early summer, the plant produces a pink peduncle up to 30 cm long. At its tip, blush-pink tubular flowers with yellow tips bloom at the edges.
How to grow Echeveria elegans indoors
Check out some important care tips to help you grow and maintain the beauty of the succulent.
All Echeverias should be planted in quick-drying soil. Prolonged exposure of the roots to water can lead to their decay and, ultimately, to the death of the plant. Buy a good quality potting mix for succulents or cacti, or you can make your own substrate by mixing standard potting soil with coarse sand and perlite in equal proportions.
More information about caring for succulents
Most Echeverias cannot withstand direct sunlight for several hours in summer. Therefore, it is best to place the plant in light partial shade. The leaves often turn yellow due to too much heat and sun. In summer, 3 hours of direct sunlight is enough for “Mexican Snowballs”. If you keep the succulent indoors, keep it near a window that receives indirect sunlight for a significant part of the day. In winter, the plant should be provided with the most lighted window.
Maintaining leaf color stability is mainly achieved through proper lighting. Some varieties do better under different degrees of lighting. However, even if the plant changes color, don’t worry; it doesn’t mean that the flower is sick. If your blue color turns green, it will mean that you need to place the succulent in a sunnier place. A succulent that receives more light will produce other pigments to protect itself from too much sunlight.
Echeveria elegans grows well at temperatures between 39 and 78 °F (4 and 26 °C). It can withstand short-term frosts down to 21°F (-6 °C). But do not expose the flower to low temperatures.
Proper watering is one of the basic requirements for this drought-tolerant plant. In summer, you just need to water it once a week. In winter, rarely water the ground with water (it all depends on the degree of humidity).
In winter, you should moisten the soil when the leaves begin to wrinkle (about once a month).
Some growers do not water the plant at all during the winter months.
Echeveria graceful is not demanding on fertilizers and can completely do without them. If you want to feed your flower, 3 times a year is enough, apply diluted liquid fertilizer for succulents (dilute twice as much as indicated on the label).
How to transplant
For this procedure, use the following tips to ensure a successful transplant:
- Carefully remove the plant from the pot;
- Remove excess soil from the roots;
- Inspect the root system and remove any damaged or rotten roots;
- Prepare a new pot (always with a drainage hole and a drainage layer);
- Add some new substrate to the empty pot.
- Place the plant in the container and gently add potting mix to fill the pot. Make sure the plant is not buried too deeply.
The transplant should be carried out in the spring, at the beginning of the growing season.
Diseases and pests of Echeveria elegans
The plant is resistant to diseases, with the exception of root rot, which can occur as a result of frequent excessive moisture. To avoid this situation, let the soil dry well between waterings. Before adding water, check the soil in the pot for moisture.
Pests such as aphids, mealybugs, and vine weevils can attack your Mexican Snowballs. To get rid of them, use a cotton swab moistened with water or alcohol and remove the parasites. Another option is to wash them off by spraying the leaves. However, remember to use a soft cloth to remove excess water from the leaves.
Do not forget to remove dried and fallen leaves from the pot in time, which over time can become a source of disease and become a shelter for pests.
Propagating Echeveria elegans
The plant can be propagated in any of four ways:
- by leaves;
- stem cuttings;
- by offsets.
How to propagate a plant from leaves
Carefully tear off a few healthy leaves from your plant. Set them aside for a few days to allow a callus to form. Place the cuttings in a new pot on top of a well-drained potting mix of potting soil and perlite (50/50). Follow the same watering regimen you used for the mother plant, and after 1-2 weeks, roots should begin to grow from the separated leaves.
Similar to leaf propagation, you can perform stem cuttings and plant it in a new pot with the properties described above.
In addition, be sure to follow the watering and proper care rules described in the previous sections. If all goes well, rooting can occur within 2-3 weeks of planting the cutting. After the roots are anchored in the soil, the rosette grows, and the “mother leaf” dries up, the new seedling can be transplanted.
Echeveria elegans seeds can be planted in a pot with a diameter of 4 inches (10 cm). Be sure to use a combination of fertile soil mixed with perlite in equal parts. After you cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil, make sure to water them evenly. Keep the pot in partial shade. Expect the seeds to germinate after a maximum of 3 weeks.
Propagation by offsets
This method is the easiest. You need to separate the offset from the mother plant, leave it alone for a couple of days and transplant it into a new pot.
The composition of the soil mixture is described above. Watering the new plant should begin in a week.
Popular varieties of Echeveria elegans
This succulent has been grown in gardens and greenhouses around the world for over a century. The first specimens grown from the natural environment were registered in 1905 at the New York Botanical Garden. Since then, many varieties have been bred by flower growers. Let’s take a look at some of the most beautiful and common varieties.
One of the varieties of Echeveria elegans. A feature of the succulent is its silvery-white leaves with a slight green tint.
The plant is up to 3 inches (8 cm) tall. The flowers are pink with green or yellowish tips.
Echeveria elegans ‘Blue’
This variety was bred to emphasize its innate blue hue. While natural varieties mix green and blue pigments, this variety is dominated by blue pigments.
This is a beautiful variety that will look great in many color compositions.
E. elegans ‘Grey Red’
As the name suggests, plants of this variety come in two colors.
The leaves tend to be more spread out than the parent species, large rosettes and a very elegant shape with thinner and more concave leaves, may actually have a slightly different color. Some specimens are actually green with pinkish-red tips, while others may be blue with pink tips.
E. elegans ‘Gesneden’
A variety with a bluer green leaf color, much more similar to the mother plant.
This plant is rich in foliage, as the rosette is formed by many evenly spaced leaves that give the succulent a very beautiful shape.
Echeveria elegans ‘Raspberry Ice’
This variety has leaves of two colors; the central leaves will be green or blue, and the outer leaves will be orange-pink.
The springs also have a special surface texture that resembles the surface of ice, as it is very smooth and reflective. The plant’s rosettes tend to stay closed rather than opening wide like other varieties, so the leaves look like lollipops grouped together.
The article uses materials from the website gardenbeast.com
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