Each succulent stands out in its own way — the variegated foliage of Aeonium, the size and grandeur of Agave, the cold-hardiness and resilience of Sempervivum. Out-of-this-world color and year-round beauty belong to Echeveria.
Hailing from semi desert regions of Mexico and of Central and South America, Echeveria thrives in the mild climates of California and the American Southwest. Its colorful, glaucous foliage and year-after-year flowering makes it one of the most popular succulent types. Cold sensitivity may be a concern for many gardeners, but conveniently enough, Echeveria makes a great container plant. Once fall rolls in, just pack up and bring it indoors. Welcome your containers back into the garden in spring.
Where it will grow: Hardy to around 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius), depending on species (USDA zones 9a to 11b).
Water requirement: Looks best with moderate water.
Light requirement: Full sun, but shelter it from harsh summer sun.
Mature size: Varies with species.
Benefits and tolerances: Drought tolerant; deer resistant.
Seasonal interest: Evergreen; flowers in summer.
When to plant: Plant cuttings or offsets spring through fall; allow the stem end to become callous.
Echeveria is rosette forming, with fleshy green leaves in colors ranging from green to gray-green to purple, with colored tips and other quirky accents augmenting its playful demeanor. The color remains strong year-round, and even in the dark grays of winter, your garden will receive a nice pink foliage pick-me-up.
Unlike many succulents, Echeverias are not monocarpic and can flower several times throughout a lifetime. In summer look for a stem of clustered flowers, often in bright pinks and yellows.
How to Use It
Plant Echeveria en masse, as a container specimen or along a rocky bank. Depending on your climate zone and style preference, the options are pretty open.
Echeverias are commonly planted in containers. Their portability makes summer and winter maintenance that much easier.
If summer climates are more extreme, shelter plants from direct sunlight. Likewise, bring your Echeveria indoors if your climate experiences freezing winters. Be sure to provide ample direct light.
Echeverias are also used in living walls for sunny locations.
Echeverias look healthiest and develop the best year-round color when planted in full, coastal sun.
Some Echeverias develop tall stalks, and eventually you may want to cut and reroot the rosette, much like is done with Aeonium. Leave the stalk and new Echeverias will sprout. Others produce offsets, which can also be used to propagate.
Try to avoid extreme light and temperature swings while providing good air circulation and good light. Give it some water but not too much, and otherwise let it do its thing.
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