In the Crassula family there are plants that closely resemble other plants leading to confusion. Echeverias are one of the most popular and beautiful succulents (see post: Echeveria Genus ) Often overlooked or simply confused with Echeverias are two other plants that look like Echeveria: Graptopetalums (see post: What is the difference between an Echeveria and Graptoveria succulent? ) and Pachyphytums. They have been hybridised with Echeveria and are called Graptoveria and Pachyveria. Pachyveria is a hybrid between Echeveria and Pachyphytum.
The word Pachyphytum comes from the Greek word ‘ thick leaves’. Their leaves are plumper than an Echeveria hence their name. Below are photos from Pinterest of some Pachyphytums.
Pachyphytums are similar to Echeveria. Other than their appearance they are also drought-tolerant, cope with winter rain and cold temperatures, tolerate full sun and poor soil. However, they are more delicate, their leaves can fall off with the lightest touch. The falling leaf will easily propagate. Like Echeveria they grow in clumps. Pachyphytum’s are also native to Mexico.
Below are photos of some Pachyveria from Pinterest. As you can see, to look at, some species are very similar to Echeveria. If the plant did not have an ID you may think it is an Echeveria. Also, it would not surprise me if it had been labelled incorrectly by the nursery or the store you are purchasing from.
Pachyveria Blue Haze
Pachveria Elaine Reinelt
The species traits that give away that it is a Pachyveria and not an Echeveria are:
– plump leaves. Blue Haze, and Haagei are good example of this.
– elongated leaves. Glauca and Haagei are good example of this.
What are the differences between an Echeveria and a Pachyveria?
– Pachyverias are more cold tolerant succulents enduring quite low temperatures compared to Echeveria
– Their leaves are more likely to fall off at a mere touch where most Echeveria are quite hard to pull off
What are the similarities to an Echeveria?
– their growing periods are in the summer
– they flower in spring/summer
– drought tolerant
– love full sun
– prefer well drained soil
– propagated by leaves
– native to Mexico
In conclusion, if you have a Pachyveria and you believe it is an Echeveria and you cared for it as you would an Echeveria it would not really make any difference. The plus side being that if there were some low temperatures that you were not expecting the Pachyveria would be less likely to be effected than an Echeveria would.
The only tip for when planting a Pachyveria in the garden would be not to plant them where they can easily be knocked by passing pets or humans as their leaves may be knocked off on a regular basis.
Lots of people keep their succulents in pots so they can control their environment. If you live anywhere in Australia you can grow almost any succulent in your garden. Landscaping with succulents is a great idea as once they have established they do not need a lot of attention. There are many more reasons to landscape with succulents ………
Succulents for all areas of the garden
There are hundreds of different succulent species and varieties available. There are succulents that grow and cope with full sun (see post : Which succulents survive in full sun? ). Succulents that grow in full shade. (see post: Which succulents grow in full shade? ) Succulents that cope with humidity. Succulents that can survive frost. (see post : Which succulents can survive frost? ) I think you get the idea. So wherever you live and whether you have a sunny or shady garden you can landscape with succulents.
Heights and Sizes
Succulents come in all shapes,sizes and colours. So if you require low growing ground cover or bushy succulents there should be one that suits your situation for full sun, full shade or part shade/part sun position. Remember to find out how large a succulent grows. Plant the larger growing succulents at the back of the garden bed so they do not shade the lower growing succulents in the front.
My front succulent garden with larger succulents at the back such as agave and a larger aloe. Smaller succulents at the front.
Mass plantings of any plant look great. However, mass planting of succulents looks amazing. Unless you buy succulents in bulk, which of course can be expensive you can start your mass planting with one plant and then use cuttings and offset plants to add to your mass planting. The photos below are from Pinterest of some examples of mass plantings of succulents.
Succulents are known as water wise plants but they also have fire retardant properties, so they are also fire-wise. Due to their ability to store water in the their leaves and stems succulents do not really burn – they cook, bake or boil but they do not burst into flames or spread flames. While succulents cannot stop a fire, they can help protect your property from embers and slow the passage of flames. This is a great reason to landscape with succulents. (see post: Fire-wise succulents – surviving a bush fire with a succulent garden! )
I built the Gabion wall below myself (ok with a little help from my husband-he cut the wire to size). The rest was all me. It took about 4 weekends. Along with my love for succulents I also admire gabion walls. The two look great together. I must admit the position of this gabion is not the best for succulents. The succulents only receive afternoon sun for a short while in the winter which is not really ideal. However, they have still increased in size and grown really well. A gabion has great drainage which succulents love.
Succulents love growing in walls
Below is another part of my garden that I used succulents. Many succulents grow in rock crevices in the wild. A wall is an ideal place to grow succulents due to the excellent drainage. The wall receives full afternoon sun so it will be interesting to see how they cope in the height of summer. I have used Echeveria as they have coped with full sun in my front garden.
This succulent wall is amazing but would take a lot of time and dedication. Pinterest photo.
Established Succulent Gardens
I found the following photos on Pinterest of established succulent gardens. They look amazing and its great to see that people do landscape with succulents. Succulents grow well with other succulents and also look great in mass plantings.
Tips for planting in the garden
When planting succulents in the ground make sure you plant them on a mound rather than in a depression as you would with a non succulent plant. This will ensure that rain will run off the mound rather than pool in the depression around the plant. Succulents can survive with a fair bit of rainfall as long as the water does not pool around the roots. (see post: Should I grow succulents in a pot or the ground? )