Native to Mexico and Central America, Echeverias are regarded by many as one of the most beautiful succulents. Evergreen, they form attractive rosettes of fleshy leaves and often resemble plum-petaled roses, waterlilies or ruffled lettuce. There are dozens of species, and hundreds of cultivars offering a wide array of colors, sizes or leaf shapes.
- Echeverias belong to the family Crassulaceae, a very large family containing many genera of succulents such as Aeonium, Crassula, Kalanchoe, Sedum or Semprevivum. Most of them grow in higher elevations in Mexico, where humidity is low and temperatures rarely get too hot. Soils are always well draining.
- Many Echeverias offset readily, eventually forming attractive colonies of rosettes. This suckering habit makes them particularly ornamental in pots that they will fill in no time, often attractively spilling over the edges.
- Echeverias are often confused with Sempervivums (Hens and Chicks). While they both look alike with their pretty fleshy rosettes, there are major differences. Echeverias are not as cold hardy as Sempervivums. While they are, for the most part, frost tolerant, few can survive a deep freeze for any length of time. Sempervivums can survive living in climates where it snows all winter. On the other hand, Sempervivums do not tolerate heat as well as Echeverias. Another distinction between them relates to their blooms. Echeveria flowers are bell-shaped, often born on arching stems. Sempervivum flowers usually feature narrow, aster-like petals on oversized inflorescences. Most Echeverias flower yearly while Sempervivums are monocarpic - they die after flowering.
- Echeverias are very easy to grow and low care. They tolerate heat, full sun, part shade, drought, poor or rocky soils and are drought tolerant.
- Echeverias are well behaved and make good companion plants. They rarely crowd out other plants and compliment sunny borders, rock gardens, succulent gardens or Mediterranean gardens. They are highly decorative in containers and help create terrific container compositions, living wreaths or vertical gardens. Plant Echeverias that produce copious offsets on slopes where watering is uneasy. They will create a lovely groundcover that will please your eyes.
- Echeverias attract hummingbirds, but are deer and rabbit resistant
- Echeverias are virtually disease free. Watch for mealybugs, vine weevil and aphids