Echeveria Care Guide

We were recently asked a series of questions by a customer about growing Echeveria indoors during the winter. So, we thought we’d post the information shared to hopefully help others. We were specifically discussing Echeveria, but it applies to all tender succulents.

Young’s has colorful Echeveria varieties available for sale online.

Echeveria with Ruffled Leaves

Echeveria with Ruffled Leaves

Climate
Echeveria and other non-hardy succulents look amazing in patio planters. Echeveria are originally from Mexico and Central America. They aren’t used to the cold and will die in freezing temperatures. Just because you live where winter is a real winter doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy these colorful plants.

You can keep them healthy during the cold months by moving them indoors. Then, once the threat of frost has past, gradually move them back outside in the spring. Other people who want to enjoy these colorful plants, but don’t want houseplants, treat Echeveria like annuals and just plant anew each spring.

Light
Like they’re used to in their native growing grounds, Echeveria like full sun. However, try to avoid these two things: drastic sunlight changes and summer afternoon full sun.

Dramatic changes in lighting can stress plants out. If you are moving your plants outside in the spring, do it gradually. A couple hours in morning sun, then a few more, until they are in full sun.

Intense afternoon sun can, in some regions be too strong and the leaves will sunburn. Burned leaves will not heal and since Echeveria keep their leaves for a long time, it will look burned for a long time. If the damage is severe you will be best off to cut the head off the plant and let it re-grow from the stalk.

During the winter, when your plants are inside, put them near the brightest window in your house. Your plants will stretch if they don’t have enough sunlight. Ideally you would put your plants near a south-facing window. If that isn’t an option, though, put them near a window that gets the most light.

Echeveria plant without enough light

Echeveria stretches without enough light

Water
Echeveria, indoors or outside, don’t like to be kept too wet, but they also don’t like to be kept too dry. We typically find that succulents like more water than most people think. In a house the dry home temperatures dry things our even faster. You don’t want your soil to be bone dry or it will wither the plant’s roots.

When you water Echeveria, water the soil and not the rosette. Pour on the water until it drains out the bottom. Repeat this a couple times. Then don’t water again until the soil has dried out. You don’t want your plant to remain soaking wet all the time. To help prevent this, don’t let the pot sit in a saucer full of water. The time between watering depends on the temperatures and conditions of the plant.

The most common problems seen on Echeveria are due to poor watering habits. Over and under watering can both produce similar symptoms. Wilting, shriveling, dropping leaves. You know your own watering habits best. Keep an eye on your plants and make adjustments if needed.

Damaged Echeveria Leaves

Damaged Echeveria Leaves

Dried out leaves

Dried out leaves

 

Soil
Like all succulents, Echeveria need soil that drains quickly. This helps prevent moisture from rotting the roots. Many growers will create their own special mixture of soil and perlite. However, good quality potting soil, or a cactus mix will work fine. As a rule of thumb, when you squeeze a handful of moist soil together, it should crumble apart again when released.

You will often read “sandy” in the soil requirements for succulents. This simply means that the soil needs to drain well. If you do add actual sand to your soil, make sure that it is coarse grained. Fine sand will clog the air pockets in the soil.

If you keep your plants alive for several years, you will want to re-pot them. Getting a fresh change of soil every couple years will keep them healthy and growing well.

Blue Rose Echeveria Plant

Blue Rose Echeveria

Fertilizer
Fertilizer is not a continual requirement for Echeveria. Succulents grow natively in soil without a lot of nutrients. So, they are especially susceptible to fertilizer burn. However, they can benefit from the occasional extra boost. Use a slow-release fertilizer at the beginning of spring, or a liquid fertilizer diluted 2-4 times more than normal and used less often than recommended. Use a low nitrogen mix or a cactus fertilizer. Remember that it is a lot easier to over-fertilize succulents than to under-fertilize.

Containers
When you pot up you Echeveria, you have a wide range of containers to choose from. Generally the smallest size possible, or something that is just bigger than the root ball is the right choice. People sometimes worry about overpotting. This is when you use a large container for a small plant. The potential problem is that greater soil volume can hold more moisture and lead to the risk of rot. However, the soil you use with succulents should have excellent drainage anyway and larger pots shouldn’t pose any problem. So, find the container that you think looks great, small or large, and let your Echeveria grow.

Topsy Turvy Echeveria

Topsy Turvy Echeveria

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45 thoughts on “Echeveria Care Guide

  1. Hello! I’m trying to figure out a water schedule for my echeveria and other succulents. Right now they’re in clay pots in a window facing east (and a little bit of southern exposure, too). Should I water simply when the soil feels dry?

    • Some succulents prefer less water than others, but as a general rule your should let the soil dry out all the way between watering. So, double water the echeveria or succulent all around the plant and thoroughly until water comes out the bottom. Then take a break until the soil is dry.

  2. Lila,

    Is the root growing too high? Is this what you are talking about?

    If the root is growing too long and now the plant is hanging downward now, I believe this is fine. It just means the Echeveria is growing and you might have to behead it and re-plant it. You can search on the internet of ways to do this.

    I think propagating is one of the most fun parts of succulents!

    Hope I am not misunderstanding your problem. Hope they grow and look beautiful!

  3. Do birds eat on the leaves of Echeveria? Iwas away and came back to find one plant almost destroyed! There are no worms or root rot! Only leaves were eaten?

  4. My echeveria pulvinata hasn’t flowered since I got it in early summer, and the leaves are less fuzzy. It also hasn’t grown noticeably, but the leaves look more or less fine apart from losing their fuzz. I can’t tell if I’m doing something wrong or if the non-flowering is just seasonal. Any ideas? I live in a northern state and keep it indoors by a south-western facing window.

  5. Hi, I have a number of succulents I’ve been growing outside all summer. I want to bring them indoors for the winter, but haven’t had great success in the past. I live in Michigan and don’t have good south-facing window options. Can I put them in the basement with fluorescent lights on them. How close should the lights be? Thank you!

  6. Hi There
    My Echeveria, lost all of it’s leaves, and the new ones just fell off too. The stalk of the plant feels hollow. What did I do wrong. Can I still save it :(

    • It sounds like the plant is a goner. Your best bet is probably to cut off the head of the plant, leaving just a short stalk and it may regrow from the stump. That will also show you if the stalk is hollow… which would indicate rot or disease.

  7. I have twin echeveria that have grown from the size of a quarter to about 10 inches across each. They have become so big they now have a big long root/trunk (palm tree looking) that cannot support it. It’s bent over so much that it’s starting to break. How can I save my Barnicle? (Yes I named him!)

  8. Hello! My beloved little echeveria (my first one!) hasn’t been doing well for about a month now. It has been loosing all of its large lower leaves (which, for the most part, looked healthy, although the most recent ones to fall off have a bit of dark black/brown color where they were in contact with the stem). Now that so much of the stem is exposed, I see the stem has turned from its regular green color to that same shade of black/brown. Is this root rot? What should I do? Thanks so much for your advice!!!
    PS. I took a couple photos to show you, but it seems like I can’t paste them into this comment box.

  9. my echeveria also has been loosing its lower large leaves… at first the leaves will just turn into yellow just like normal plants when they loose their leaves… i watered it every after the soil dries, i don’t think there is root rot because its pups at the base are growing nicely… i’m very worried that it might loose them all… huhuhu any idea what went wrong? or is it just normal… i get anxious everytime i saw pictures of echeveria with plenty of leaves…

  10. I have an echevaria on my office desk with no options for windows (basement dweller). I got a grow light for it, but was wondering how high above it the light should be.

  11. I really need help figuring out what kind of succulent plant I have… I’m 99.9% sure its in the Echeveria family just don’t know which one but I could be wrong

    would you be able to help me?

  12. Is there anywhere that talks about how big succulents can grow? I can’t find much info on the web about how big succulents can get. I’ve heard that they will grow as big as the pot u put them in. I want to put multiple succulents in large pots for my patio but have no idea how to space them. One plant I just potted was in a little 2″ pot but I’ve just discovered it can grow to 2 feet!

    • Succulents is a fairly broad term. It encompasses thousands and thousands of plants. Everything from trees to groundcovers to bushes. The first step to determining how large succulents grow is to determine which species of plant you have. When you purchase a succulent the plant description should give you a good estimate of how large that particular succulent will be when mature.

  13. I have a large Echeverea Gibbeflora and I think it is the Moon one, it had about 6 long stems with flowers on it which was beautiful pink at first and then as it dried got very red. My husband cut the stems of the flowers off. I wasn’t sure this is what we were supposed to do. The plant seems like it is growing new plants which I am going to cut and try to start new ones.

    Did we do the right thing cutting off the stems of the flowers?

  14. My Echeveria has grown quite tall and shed leaves leaving small leaves on top and bare stalks down to the roots. It’s still in its original plastic pot and I want to repot. Should I cut it back?

  15. My Echeveria is in constant Florida sunlight and its bottom leaves are drying out. I water it daily but i I still find dryed out leaves constantly. What am I doing wrong?

  16. I need some guidance. My echeveria is no longer growing as a single stem but has started sending out new stems from the long stem, probably because it’s leaning into the light. I have it in a south/east window, gets sun all morning ’till 2pm. Usually watered from bottom.
    Should I cut the long stem and transplant it? it will probably make new roots, shouldn’t it?

    Thanks for your help!

  17. I would really appriciate an answer, since I cannot find it anywhere on the internet. I repotted 5 kinds of Sempervivum into a common pot. I know they are quite sturdy plants who like it on the dry side, but i just wanted to help them establish a new root system faster so i watered them until the soil was moist. Most of the chick lookl fine, but several developed droppy leaves (could be the change or watering). My question is: do droopy leaves recover and stand up again and in what time?? How long until i will know if the repotting was successful?
    Thank you very much for any information! Kind regards, -A

  18. I really want to buy succulents. I am looking for a variety of species that I can grow in the same pot and I am looking to keep them indoors. Could you please give me some recommendations? Thank you for your help in advance!

  19. I’ve had a succulent for about six years now. I’ve been growing it in a three inch deep dish and have never transplanted it. I’ve already started three puts from it already! One day I noticed that one of the branches have grown to the shape like a fan and it has serval clusters of leaves on the top of it. Could these too be transplanted?

  20. I just received my first succulent as a gift and it is an Echevaria Nodulosa. I have it inside and facing window. However, most of the leaves seem to be cut off, and when I transplanted it to a pot, the few leaves on it fell off very easily. I wonder if this is normal.

    • The bottom leaves will wither and die when the echeveria is stressed. They can also break off when handled during transplanting. It’s not something that you want to happen, though.

  21. I have an Echevaria Afterglow in my Southern California garden. It has three big heads on it, and today, one of the heads broke off. Can I start a new plant from that head? If so, would I start it in water, or put it directly into the desired soil?

    Thanks!

    • Make a clean cut on the plant head. Let the cut sit in the air for a day or so, until the cut tissue heals over. Then stick it directly into the ground. The most common problem with starts is rotting. So, don’t water much… the plant doesn’t have roots yet to pull in the water anyway.

  22. I have 4 Echevaria in a container and they are on 2 foot steams and they are not looking to happy on my window ledge they have full sun in the morning a in shade after 3pm in the afternoon i water 3 times a week, is that too much? i wish i could send a picture for you to see, can you help?

    Kind Regards
    Michael

  23. Hi, I really appreciate it if you can help me out. I have a small Echeveria that has green leaves that are rimmed in red. The first day I took it home it was in pretty good shape but needed some tlc. I watered it and then put it in my window. Everything was good on the first day. Then on the second day the sides of the leaves started curling. I’m not sure if its species is naturally suppose to curl, but I didn’t see any in the store that were curly. I re-potted it to a bigger pot because it also started getting burnt spots on the tips of the leaves. I wasn’t sure if it was too much direct sun or if it needed more water. I tired watering it more but the soil was still moist and the burnt spotted haven’t gone away and it started curling more. I have now moved it to a spot with less direct sunlight. Please if you can, can you let me know if I should be watering it more, less, move it to another spot again, etc. Thank you!

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