As delicate looking as a rose and as sturdy as a cactus: the echeveria is a very fun plant to have. Echeverias are easy to grow, easy to propagate and a great addition to any house-plant collection. Native to semi-desert areas of southern North, Central, and northern South Americas, these hardy rosettes are members of the crassula family. As such, their care is awfully similar to that of their relatives the jade and kalanchoe.

Bluey-green

Accustomed to bright sunlight for most of the day, echeverias prefer to be in a south- or west-facing window. Often you’ll find that this far north, the winter sunlight is too weak to encourage the full growth possible further south, so for the winter months you may notice a decline in new leaves. You can also supplement the light source with a grow light to help tide them over til spring. It’s also good to bear this in mind if you’re thinking of keeping an echeveria in a room where it won’t receive a lot or any direct sunlight. While it’s possible (I have one in a very bright north-facing window so it gets ambient but no direct light) it won’t grow a whole lot and if it does it will be more likely to etiolate, or stretch, which can put stress on the plant’s system and make for a gangly, less attractive plant. Pro tip: if your succulent is putting put new growth that is much leggier and less dense than how it looked when you got it, it probably needs more light.

Etiolation is not to be confused with flower spikes. They’re tall and gangly, but spikes noticeable grow from the side of the plant, not from the dead centre and the leaves have a different shape. And of course eventually they bloom!

Because they are from semi-desert areas (as opposed to full-blown, arid wastelands that cactus’s are from) they aren’t quite as hardy as their spiky cousins when it comes to drought. Far more tolerant to it than their more temperate contemporaries like tropicals and ferns, they still need to be watered about once every week or two. It’s generally a good rule of thumb to monitor them until the soil has dried out about mid-depth of the pot (stick your finger in there) and then wait one more day or two. They are far more forgiving to being watered less often than over-watered, so if in doubt, wait another day. I once forgot one of mine for a month and a half and, while it was a little wrinkly when I found him again, as soon as I resumed regular watering he perked up and looked normal in no time!

Pink! So pretty in pink!

We always love to carry a wide selection of echeveria’s and their succulent buddies at Flowers Talk Tivoli. Pink ones, green ones, silvery-blue. It’s always fun to mix and match for a subtle but stunning combination of these petite pals. Come see us at 282 Richmond Rd to see which ones you like best!

A natural succulent planter including a nice, flat echeveria on the left.

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