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Echeveria Plant Care

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Echeveria Plant Care

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Overview

Echeverias are a group of around 150 species, the most popular of which is the "Hen and Chicks" plant (E. elegans), according to information published by the University of California's botanical garden. Echeverias are desirable for their blue-green color, attractive arrangement of foliage and for their hardiness. Home gardeners often grow them in containers and cultivate them as houseplants. In general, echeveria plants require only basic culture.

Soil

Fast-draining soil is a must for these plants, according to information published by the University of California, and soil that contains organic matter is also needed, which means that some commercial cacti mixtures may not be rich enough in nutrients for your echeveria. A loamy soil mixed with coarse sand or perlite and peat moss will work well for this plant.

Water

Water these plants every 2 or 3 weeks. Even in the winter, the soil should not be allowed to dry out completely. Watering deeply and slowly until the root ball is wet is best, according to information published by the Master Gardeners of Santa Clara County.

Light

Although they are desert plants, native to parts of Texas and Mexico, the tender leaves of these succulents can be damaged by too much direct sun exposure, according to the University of California. Instead, place your echeveria where it will receive a half-day's worth of sunlight, preferably morning sun followed by afternoon shade. Or, provide bright but indirect light, such as that filtered by a curtain. Too little sun, and the showy colors of the leaves, which can range from maroon to purple to blue, will fade to green.

Fertilizing

These hardy plants are not heavy feeders, but they can benefit by a dose of fertilizer once each year at the start of the growing season (spring). Choose a fertilizer formulated for indoor succulents, and follow the directions on the label according to the size and age of your plant. Dilute the amount, however, by half, as these plants have sensitive roots.

Problems

Echeveria plants are remarkably hardy, but they can suffer from common indoor insect pests such as mealybugs. Monitor your plant for signs of insect activity such as tiny white or black specks on the stems or leaves. Many insects can be dislodged by a powerful spray of water, but severe infestations may require an application of insecticidal soap or spray.

Keywords: hen and chicks, Echeveria plant care, growing echeverias, succulents

About this Author

April Sanders has been a professional writer since 1998. Previously, she worked as an educator and currently writes academic research content for EBSCO publishing and elementary reading curriculum for Compass Publishing. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in social psychology from the University of Washington and a master's degree in information sciences and technology in education from Mansfield University.