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

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.

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

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


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 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.

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



  1. April 12, 2013    

    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?

    • April 13, 2013    

      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's Gravatar Lila
    June 14, 2013    

    Hi , i have a echeveria in my balcony and it is getting higher and the top of it it is going down :-( is it normal ?

  3. DanPete's Gravatar DanPete
    July 15, 2013    


    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!

  4. marian's Gravatar marian
    August 23, 2013    

    I am transplanting a blue rose Echeveria. did i understand you to say they dont need a deep pot?

    • August 23, 2013    

      No, they don’t need a deep pot. They should have something at least larger than the root ball though.

  5. Annalize's Gravatar Annalize
    August 24, 2013    

    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?

    • August 24, 2013    

      Birds don’t eat the leaves of echeveria. They may pick at them a little and mess up new transplants, though. Rabbits and deer are the most common culprits.

  6. R's Gravatar R
    September 14, 2013    

    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.

    • September 17, 2013    

      Echeveria flower at different times based on the variety. If I recall correctly, your variety flowers between late winter and early spring.

      • R's Gravatar R
        September 19, 2013    


  7. Lisa's Gravatar Lisa
    September 15, 2013    

    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!

    • September 17, 2013    

      Grow lights should be as close as possible to the plants, but so the light still reaches all of them.

  8. Tayla's Gravatar Tayla
    September 20, 2013    

    Can I keep my Suncup, Echeveria and Pachyveria plants on a window seal the whole year round?

  9. Kaajal's Gravatar Kaajal
    September 26, 2013    

    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 :(

    • September 26, 2013    

      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.

  10. IDA's Gravatar IDA
    September 27, 2013    

    I put a echeveria leaf in soil to experiment, it has a pink like ball shape grown at its base, do I just leave it and see what happens ?

    • Alex's Gravatar Alex
      August 1, 2014    

      Congrats, you just successfully started a entirely new plant!

  11. Molly's Gravatar Molly
    October 3, 2013    

    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!)

    • October 4, 2013    

      Cut off the head and plant it. Then leave the stem and new plants might grow from it.

  12. Linavee's Gravatar Linavee
    October 19, 2013    

    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.

  13. October 29, 2013    

    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…

    • Lilian's Gravatar Lilian
      July 23, 2014    

      It’s normal. The lower leaves dry out and new growth come from the center top.

  14. Kent's Gravatar Kent
    December 17, 2013    

    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.

  15. kaitlyn's Gravatar kaitlyn
    March 26, 2014    

    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?

    • March 26, 2014    

      We’ll do our best. Just email us a photo of the plant… tlander@youngs-garden dot com

  16. bhill's Gravatar bhill
    March 26, 2014    

    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!

    • March 27, 2014    

      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.

  17. Patricia's Gravatar Patricia
    April 10, 2014    

    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?

    • April 13, 2014    

      The flower stalks on an echeveria don’t hurt anything, but they can certainly be removed once the flowers are spent.

  18. Dianne's Gravatar Dianne
    April 10, 2014    

    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?

    • April 13, 2014    

      It sounds like it should have the top cut off, the part with leaves, and plant the top into new soil. Leave the bottom stalk part and it may produce from more plants from the trunk.

      • Dianne's Gravatar Dianne
        April 15, 2014    

        Thank U!!

  19. Jasmine's Gravatar Jasmine
    April 24, 2014    

    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?

  20. Chris Maciel's Gravatar Chris Maciel
    April 26, 2014    

    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!

  21. AnaV's Gravatar AnaV
    May 10, 2014    

    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

    • May 12, 2014    

      Follow a regular watering schedule (water whenever the soil drys out) and your plants should be fine.

  22. Christen's Gravatar Christen
    May 22, 2014    

    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!

  23. Janice Bates's Gravatar Janice Bates
    May 27, 2014    

    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?

  24. Julia's Gravatar Julia
    May 28, 2014    

    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.

    • May 29, 2014    

      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.

  25. Sarah Hilton's Gravatar Sarah Hilton
    June 14, 2014    

    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?


    • June 15, 2014    

      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.

  26. Michael Guihen's Gravatar Michael Guihen
    June 23, 2014    

    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

  27. Nicole's Gravatar Nicole
    July 1, 2014    

    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!

  28. lisa's Gravatar lisa
    July 14, 2014    

    What causes the leaves to have brown streak?

  29. melinda's Gravatar melinda
    July 20, 2014    

    Hi! I bought a big blue echeveria, and I noticed it had smaller growths on the side, I I cut those off and planted them in a mound in my garden (thier not dying, but thier not healthy is it because I just transplanted them after 3 days of drying?) but my main plant dropped all its leaves and most of its core was a purple/blue color. What was it? Was it rot? I watered my pot every 3rd day, it was over 100 degrees for a long while. It was sitting on my concrete patio and it seemed all the water went straight trought it.

  30. Anastasia's Gravatar Anastasia
    July 23, 2014    

    Hi! I have an Echeveria Azulita and when I got it, it looked fine and pretty gosh darn healthy. I put it in a west facing window and have been watering it about once a week. At first a couple of the leaves towards the base of the plant fell off, and that didn’t really worry me. Then, however, more and more started falling off and now where the leaves fell off, little baby plants are sprouting! The main part of the plant looks unhealthy and a bit rotted towards the tip, so what do I do? Should I just let it do its thing or should I pull off the little plants and try to propagate?

    Thanks a ton :)


  31. Kathleen O'Connell's Gravatar Kathleen O'Connell
    July 28, 2014    

    I received a gift a of a small Echeveria in a sort of fishbowl with what appears to be black gravel only for soil. It has a short stalk on the bottom, but no apparent roots. Will it survive like this?

  32. September 3, 2014    

    I have a Graptoveria Debbie (I think – purple succulent) and I don’t know if I’m over or under watering it!
    I used to leave it outside and only water it once a month, if that, and it grew very healthy. However, when I moved, I tried to leave it outside and found that sprinklers came on every night and were overwatering it, making the outside leaves look sickly – squishy and lumpy and some withering. So I brought it inside and I’ve left it by a window. No water for a month now, but it doesn’t seem to be showing signs of improvement. :( How long does it take for a plant to recover? Or am I not treating it correctly?

    also two mini-me’s of the plant of sprung up next to it – should i try to transplant them or leave them in the pot?

  33. Jack's Gravatar Jack
    September 12, 2014    

    I have a strange Fuzzy/Frosted Echeveria problem I could use some help on. The plant looks green and healthy but the base of the pedals have started to turn black/break off leaving the stem bare but fuzzy. Is it dying or getting ready to do something? Please help

  34. Lauren's Gravatar Lauren
    October 1, 2014    

    I was wondering if you could recommend a type of soil or a mixture maybe for me? I’m repotting myfirst Echeveria ‘Mazarine’ – Echeveria Hybrid and my Cobweb – Sempervivum arachnoideum ‘Cebenese’, I have no clue what to get other than what ever the internet may recommend, just wondering if you knew anything particular to get, thanks!

    • October 6, 2014    

      They aren’t too picky and will grow in anything that has really good drainage. Gritty stuff like cactus mixes work great.

  35. Lucy's Gravatar Lucy
    October 28, 2014    

    I have (i think…) Echeveria (hybrid) ‘Blue Sovreign’, bought it a few years ago, n’ just can’t quite seem to get it right, From what i’ve read here i think it doesn’t get enough light as is growing very long n’ twisted, the leaves are also falling off.

    I have just had to remove it from the soil as it was rotten, so i cut the “healty” bit of the plant off and now it is in a shallow bowl of water (this is beacuse it has grown squint n’ wont fit in a glass.

    So i’m guessing i have been over watering it…but i never seem to water it? its lucky if it gets a water once every 2 weeks n’ thats just a small amount of water – litratly if water comes out bottom it doesnt get anymore and gets excess water removed. I have had this bother before and did what i am doing n’ replanted it when it started sprouting (as did sone of the leaves – which turned into babies – these have all died :( )

    I am now going to research more into this plant, n’ see the correct way to replant it, As i don’t wanna loose it but whatever i do just seems to not make a difference, i seem to just do a total 360 with it lol! Any help would be great.

  36. Randal's Gravatar Randal
    November 18, 2014    

    I have an echeveria red velvet in the pot that I purchased it in, on a window sill with southern exposure. I really love it, but I’m finding that the flowers that it produces are starting to wither. Not sure if I’m not watering quite enough; and that this is the problem, or that it is the natural order of the species? What I wanted to know is if the withered flowers should be picked off or just allowed to fall off the stem? Also are there any suggestions to combat the problem? Thanks in advance for help and suggestions!

  37. BettieAnn's Gravatar BettieAnn
    November 29, 2014    

    I purchased a very small Echeveria Hybrid “chroma” a couple days ago. It is reddish and has a long (6-8inch) red stem that sprouted from the main stem. It had a few little buds on this long, vine-like stem, but now each of the buds are dried up and the long off-shoot stem is startling to dry out at the tip, moving towards the main stem. Should I cut the off-shoot stem off and plant it I the soil? Thanks for your help.

    • November 29, 2014    

      If it is an offset on a stalk then you can cut it and transplant it. However, if it is a flower stalk (which it sound like) and the flower buds are done and withering then you would just want to cut the stalk off.

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