Plant Common Name
Fun and easy to grow the succulent perennials in the genus Echeveria comprise approximately 150 species, most of which are native from Texas and Mexico southward though Central America to northwestern South America. The genus is named in honor of Mexican botanical artist and naturalist, Atanasio Echeverría y Godoy.
The plants are comprised of beautifully hued, succulent leaves that form dense basal rosettes. The leaves come in various shapes, including tubular, linear, spoon-shaped and triangular. They are thick and fleshy and are either fuzzy or smooth and waxy. Almost all species are evergreen, except for a few oddballs that are semi-evergreen or deciduous. em>Echeveria species tend form clumps from the offsets which can be used to propagate the plants as can seeds and leaf cuttings.<
Showy, yellow or red flowers are produced on tall spikes which rise from the center of the rosettes. They have thick, spreading, upright petals which often overlap and protrude from the calyces (outer petals). The red-flowered species are typically hummingbird pollinated and bees tend to favor the yellow selections. The fruits are inconspicuous and brown. Flowering time varies from species to species, but typically they can appear in late winter, spring or summer.
There are hundreds of cultivated varieties and hybrids suitable for garden use. Popular species include the Mexican native, Echeveria elegans which produces thick silver-blue rosettes that produce long spikes of pink and yellow flowers in spring or summer. This plant is a clump-forming colonizer that always develops offshoots. The Painted Lady (Echeveria nodulosa) is from southern Mexico. When young, it has erect growth but becomes more prostrate as it ages. Its thick, spoon-shaped leaves are edged in red and covered with prickly hairs.
Culture and use depends on the species, but generally they prefer full sun, though some will tolerate a bit of shade, are very drought tolerant and require very porous soil with excellent drainage. Most grow best with occasional applications of water while in growth, though excessive moistures from rain or humidity can induce root and stem rot. Echeveria are popular as houseplants or landscape specimens in the southwest. The majority of species are frost sensitive, though a few will tolerate limited, light freezing temperatures. These succulents are beautiful in containers and large-scale rock gardens.
Cactus or Succulent
Full Sun, Partial Sun