Echeveria Elegans: Growing Mexican Snowballs

Echeveria elegans is as traditional as succulents get. If requested to think about a succulent, we’d wager that is the one you’re picturing. It has tight rosettes of plump leaves, blue-green-grey coloring, and a wholesome coating of farina (additionally known as epicuticular wax). It’s no surprise you’ll hear this succulent known as “Mexican gem”.

Additionally nicknamed Mexican snowball, Echeveria elegans is a drought-tolerant, Mexico-native plant that’s formed like a sphere. It’s an excellent selection in succulent gardens, rock gardens, or a function in a floor cowl. This succulent additionally thrives indoors as a container plant and might be discovered at most backyard shops and supermarkets. You could have even seen Mexican snowball rosettes utilized in floral preparations! That is such a spectacular plant that it earned the Award of Backyard Advantage from the Royal Horticultural Society.

No matter you resolve to do with it, Echeveria elegans’s compact rosettes will add form and motion to your backyard. Plus, if you will get it to flower, the new pink flowers are a show-stopper. This traditional Echeveria plant is ideal for starting succulent gardeners. It’ll enable you be taught the fundamentals of desert plant care and propagation. So let’s get began on rising this stunning plant.

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Fast Care Information

Echeveria elegans is commonly known as Mexican snowball. Supply: Mauricio Mercadante
Frequent Identify Mexican snowball, Mexican gem, white Mexican rose
Scientific Identify Echeveria elegans
Household Crassulaceae
Peak & Unfold 1’ tall, 6-8” large
Mild Full or partial solar
Soil Nicely-draining, coarse sand
Water “Soak and dry”
Pests & Illnesses Aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, root rot

All About Echeveria Elegans

Echeveria elegans flower stalk
The flower stalk of E. elegans has many blossoms alongside its size. Supply: troymckaskle

You in all probability guessed this, however ‘elegans’ is Latin for elegant. And what higher time period to explain such a cultured plant? Other than Mexican snow ball and Mexican gem, you might also hear this plant go by white Mexican rose (it isn’t truly white, however it’s not a snowball both). 

Taxonomically talking, Echeveria elegans typically will get confused with many different succulents within the Crassulaceae household and Echeveria genus. Let’s face it, most of them look rather a lot alike. The nice factor is that the majority Echeverias have the identical care necessities. So, in case your Mexican snowball (Echeveria elegans) is definitely an in depth cousin, like E. potosina, you’ll nonetheless be capable of develop it.

That will help you nail down a real Echeveria elegans, right here’s a fast description. Every leaf is triangular and plump with saved water. They spiral into rosettes that fold right into a sphere or lay flat like a disk. Some cultivated varieties can produce as much as 100 leaves in only one rosette. They’ll attain round half a foot in top and unfold 12 inches large.

What actually offers this species away although is the flowers. In late winter, spring, and summer season, Mexican snowball vegetation can produce distinctive blossoms atop spindly stalks. As an alternative of the mushy, rosebud-esque flowers on many Echeverias, this species has lantern-shaped pink flowers. Every pointy petal has vivid yellow ideas, which distinction sharply with the pale rosette beneath.

You’ll be able to propagate Echeveria elegans simply by leaves, but in addition by the small offsets it sends out. In truth, this progress sample is so just like that of Hens and Chicks that E. elegans is typically mislabeled as that (regardless of being in a wholly completely different genus than Hens and Chicks). Lastly, it’s value mentioning that Echeveria elegans (Mexican snowball) is just not poisonous to people, cats, or canine. It’s a protected succulent to develop in your house – even round curious pets.

Care

Potted Echeveria elegans
Echeveria elegans does effectively as a potted plant. Supply: srboisvert

Take care of Echeveria elegans (Mexican snowball) may be very typical of family succulents. When you get the hold of it, you’ll discover this to be a really low-maintenance plant.

Solar and Temperature

Echeveria elegans wants at the least 6 hours of daylight every day. Full solar to partial shade is greatest right here. For those who’re rising indoors in pots, place your white Mexican rose in a south-facing window. If area is tight, this Echeveria plant can tolerate some partial solar.

As talked about, this desert succulent thrives in zones September 11. It’s not chilly hardy in fixed temperatures beneath freezing. Nevertheless, in the event you stay in a colder hardiness zone you may nonetheless respect this beautiful succulent. It must be introduced indoors when temperatures start to method freezing within the fall. When the chilly climate and probabilities of frost are gone, be at liberty to set your plant again exterior.

Water and Humidity

Most succulents want the “soak and dry” methodology, together with Echeveria elegans. Mexican snowball plant is a desert, drought-tolerant plant that’s used to sporadic but deep watering. To imitate these situations, wait till the soil has been utterly dry for a couple of days earlier than watering. Water the soil till the surplus water drains out the underside of the container. Within the winter months, your Echeveria plant will go dormant and wish much less water. Watch for brand spanking new progress in late winter as an indication to water your plant extra.

Preserve the leaves of your Echeveria elegans as dry as attainable when watering. An excessive amount of moisture and humidity will entice bugs and threat rot in succulents. It might be tempting to place succulents like Mexican snowball in a terrarium backyard, however the extra humidity will do them extra hurt than good.

Soil

For those who take one factor away from this text, it must be that Echeveria elegans wants well-draining soil. Good drainage permits water to run by means of it rapidly so the roots can take their fill with out sitting in water. Select a sandy soil, akin to succulent and cacti combine, that’s barely acidic. If this plant is a part of your container backyard, be sure the containers have an excellent drainage gap.

Fertilizing

Closeup of Echeveria elegans flowers
The flowers of Echeveria elegans are fairly brightly-colored and fairly. Supply: EssjayNZ

You don’t must fertilize Echeveria elegans. Mexican snowball, like most Echeverias, doesn’t want many vitamins and can develop effectively in poor backyard soil. Nevertheless, in the event you haven’t seen new progress in a very long time, you may attempt including a small quantity of balanced, slow-release fertilizer to the backyard soil.

Pruning

Mexican snowball (Echeveria elegans) doesn’t have to be pruned. In truth, it’s thought of self-pruning since Echeverias shed their older, decrease leaves to make room for brand spanking new ones. You’ll see these outdated leaves begin to flip brown and wrinkle up. You’ll be able to gently pull them off and discard them to scrub up the plant’s look.

Propagation

Identical to Hens and Chicks vegetation, it’s extraordinarily straightforward to propagate Echeveria elegans. Mexican snowball reproduces simply from leaf, offsets, and stem cuttings. All you want is well-draining backyard soil, a misting bottle, and a few endurance!

For leaf propagation, begin by choosing a wholesome leaf or two. Rigorously twist them off on the node, ensuring you don’t go away any a part of the leaves behind. Set the leaf cuttings on a paper towel for a couple of days so their open wounds can dry and callus over. Then, set them on prime of the well-draining soil and mist them each day. Inside a couple of weeks, a child rosette will develop from the tip of every mom leaf.

This similar methodology applies to stem and small offsets. For these although, you’ll have to make use of scissors to snip the stem about an inch beneath the highest of the rosette. Pluck off any leaves on that decrease portion so that you’re left with a several-leaved rosette atop a protracted, thick stem. Let the stem callus after which stick it within the soil.

When your leaf, stem, or offsets cuttings have grown their very own roots, reduce on watering and begin treating them like full succulents. In time, your new vegetation will develop into totally grown Mexican snowballs!

Troubleshooting

Thick Echeveria leaves
Some cultivars of E. elegans have very thick leaves. Supply: Hornbeam Arts

Take care of Echeveria elegans Mexican snowball is so easy that you must hardly ever come throughout rising issues. For those who do although, right here’s what you’re most definitely to be encountering.

Rising Issues

Etilation in succulents can occur in a short time and is barely mounted by propagation. When the Echeveria elegans Mexican snowball doesn’t get sufficient full solar, it stretches out looking for extra gentle. There’s no strategy to squish the rosette again down, so the subsequent neatest thing to do is reduce the stem off, strip the sparse leaves, and replant the highest of the rosette that’s nonetheless compact. Regardless that it likes numerous gentle, sunburn is harmful to Echeveria elegans. Mexican snowball plant’s leaves will scar when burned, which might hinder photosynthesis if massive areas are broken. The very best factor you are able to do is transfer the succulent into partial shade. Sunburned leaves might be eliminated for beauty functions, however the scars gained’t hurt the plant.

Pests

The great factor concerning the Mexican Snowball plant is that it’s not normally bothered by pests. For those who do discover some regarding bugs hanging round, they’re in all probability aphids, mealybugs, or spider mites.

Anybody that grows succulents must be warned about aphids and mealybugs. The prime juice saved in succulent leaves is manna to those bugs, so that they’re certain to indicate up ultimately. You’ll discover yellowing leaves adopted by stunted progress. You’ll be able to management these nuisances with insecticidal cleaning soap, diatomaceous earth (aphids), mycoinsecticide (mealybugs), or the traditional go-to of neem oil.

Although aphids and mealybugs are essentially the most well-known succulent pests, spider mites could nudge their strategy to infamy. They aren’t arachnids, however these mites nonetheless weave tiny webs throughout vegetation. Earlier than you discover the webbing although, you’ll see yellowing, shriveling, and dropping leaves. For those who don’t intervene instantly, this infestation may very well be the tip of your succulent. Forestall spider mites by clearing particles and bugs out of your succulents often (this additionally applies to aphids and mealybugs). For infestations, apply neem oil or one other plant-based oil like canola or cinnamon oil.

Illnesses

The quickest strategy to kill any succulent is overwatering. More often than not although, it’s not the considerable moisture that actually kills the plant, however the micro organism and fungi it invitations. A moist, heat surroundings is an open invitation to pythium, fusarium, and different nasty growths – all of which result in the dreaded root rot. 

When root rot settles in, it’s onerous for the plant to get better. The succulent’s shallow roots rapidly rot away so the stem and leaves are the subsequent victims. For those who act instantly although, you could possibly save your succulent. You’ll have to chop off any diseased parts after which transplant them into new soil. Destroy the diseased elements far-off out of your backyard so the illness can’t unfold by means of the soil. 

One of the simplest ways to stop root rot is to keep away from overwatering. You’ll additionally need to maintain the plant’s leaves as dry as attainable and in an area with good air circulation.

Often Requested Questions

E. elegans as a groundcover
Over time, E. elegans can fill in to behave as a floor cowl plant. Supply: Dick Culbert

Q: Does Echeveria elegans want daylight?

A: Completely! Vibrant daylight is a should with this succulent. It may be oblique or direct daylight, so long as there are at the least 6 hours of it per day. In some circumstances, Echeveria elegans vegetation can deal with partial shade if full solar isn’t attainable.

Q: How large do Echeveria elegans get?

A: These succulents can develop 6-8 inches tall and a foot large. Some varieties can obtain a leaf rely of as much as 100!

Q: What’s Echeveria elegans used for?

A: Echeveria elegans vegetation are glorious grown open air in rock gardens or amongst a dense carpet of floor cowl. These vegetation additionally develop effectively in containers when introduced indoors. That is a decorative plant in landscaping, although it’s typically utilized in bouquets. It’s a very talked-about and beloved succulent (it was even praised by the Royal Horticultural Society!).

Q: How typically ought to I water echeveria?

A: Try to be watering at any time when the backyard soil has been utterly dried for a couple of days. Relying on the temperature and daylight, this may very well be as soon as every week to as soon as a month. You’ll possible be watering much less typically if it’s a potted plant. You’ll want to chop again on watering within the winter months. Watering necessities are additionally completely different while you propagate Echeveria elegans vegetation.

Q: Is Echeveria elegans a cactus?

A: No, however it’s very comparable. Echeverias retailer water like cacti, are native to Mexico, and respect full solar to partial shade. Nevertheless, Echeveria elegans is within the Crassulaceae household and solely distantly associated to true, native cacti.


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