Botanical Name: Echeveria species
Echeveria is a succulent from the Crassulaceae family.
It's sometimes called Hen and Chicks, although several species go by this common name and it can be difficult to tell these succulent plants apart.
All echeverias grow in a rosette 2-6 inches (5-15 cm) across on short stems. The rosette has fleshy, blue-green leaves that become tinged with red when exposed to sun. Handle it with care because the leaves break off easily.
In early summer, you can expect colorful, bell-shaped flowers on pink stems. Pinch them off when blooms have faded.
Echeveria is easy to grow. In fact, this succulent house plant produces offsets -- called chicks -- in abundance. If they get too crowded in their pot, cut them off and propagate them.
Echeveria fimbriata (shown above) has an upright, rosette form with leaves that often turn purplish-green. You can expect it to bloom in late summer with red and orange flowers.
This succulent plant prefers slightly cooler temperatures in the winter, but is not cold-hardy. If you move it outdoors for the summer, be sure to bring it back indoors when nighttime temperatures drop to 55°F/13°C.
Countless varieties are available to choose from. Choose any you like -- they're all easy to grow.
Several types of echeveria species look spectacular in a dish garden growing together, or combined with other succulents.
Origin: Southwestern U.S. and Mexico
Height: 2-4 inches (5-10 cm)
Light: Bright light with some direct sun.
Water: Keep the mix lightly moist spring through fall and water sparingly in winter. Water the potting mix and not the rosette because it can easily rot.
Humidity: Average room humidity.
Temperature: In spring and summer, average to warm 65-80°F/18-27°C. Slightly cooler in fall and winter 55-75°F/13-24°C.
Soil: Cactus potting mix, or equal parts sharp sand with all-purpose potting mix.
Fertilizer: Feed every 2 weeks spring through fall with a 2-7-7 liquid fertilizer diluted by half.
Propagation: Offsets can be cut off and potted in their own containers. Leaf cuttings can be propagated in spring and summer. Allow leaf to dry for 24 hours to stop the oozing of its sap. Push the cut end into moist potting mix. Do not cover the pot with plastic because succulents are likely to rot with excessive moisture.
Give it a rest in winter. Cut back on water and provide cooler temperatures -- a cool, sunny room is ideal.
Echeveria elegans (pictured above) is an easy-to-grow plant. It has a beautiful rosette form with tall spikes of bell-shaped blooms appearing in summer.
Echeveria secunda var. glauca (pictured above) produces blue-green ovate leaves, and tall stems with red flowers in spring.
Trying to identify echeveria? Start with this echeveria list of pictures with species names. You'll discover lots of information about these beautiful plants, too.