When I first started with succulents I had no idea how many of them produced flowers and how many they would produce. Some succulents do not produce flowers, some produce flowers and then die, some flower in spring and some flower during the winter. Some do not flower until they are mature plants and others will flower when they are less than a year old. They can be star shaped, tubular, dangle like a bell or look like any other flowering plant.
However, a large majority of succulents do flower and they flower profusely as well. Just like many other flowering plants most succulents tend to flower during Spring. Different succulents can flower from spring and summer to autumn and winter. Therefore, just as with other types of plants your garden can look beautiful in Spring (or anytime of the year) if you only have succulents in your garden.
As usual, in the amazing world of succulents there are a many and varied flowers which all look amazing with brilliant shape and colours. There is a common appearance between the Echeveria, Graptoveria, Pachyveria and other Echeveria hybrids, they are usually orange, red or yellow. In one instance, the only way to determine a Graptoveria succulent from an Echeveria succulent is by the flower it produces! (What is the difference between an Echeveria and Graptoveria succulent?)
The size of the flower depends on the size of the plant. My Echeveria Strawberry Heart is large and thus has large flowers (see below left). Conversely, a small Graptoveria Fred Ives has tiny flowers. (Below right).
Echeveria Strawberry Heart
Echeveria Strawberrry Ripple
Graptoveria Fred Ives
Graptoeria Fred Ives
As mentioned above, some succulents – such as some Agaves, Aeoniums and Sempervivums will flower and then the parent plant will die. These succulents are known as being – ‘monocarpic’. However, the plant will produce many babies/offsets during the flowering of the mother plant so it is not too devastating for the owner! (Which succulents die after flowering?)
Winter Flowering Succulents
Aeonium succulents are Winter flowering, also monocarpic (see above). You can often see them growing on the side of the road as they are very hardy. They can be quite untidy succulents while the flower and the attached stem is dying.
What should I do when the flowers die?
You can prune the dying flower stems at any time. Usually the stems start to look unsightly which is when I prune mine. If you do not prune them they will eventually shrivel up and drop off by themselves.
Do succulents flower when grown indoors?
Succulents ‘rarely’ bloom when they are grown indoors. In their natural habitat they can require high temperatures in summer to trigger flowers to grow. Air conditioned houses do not provide these high temperatures.Conversely some succulents need winter dormancy and cold temperatures to induce flowers. Light and water conditions are also conducive to whether a succulent flowers or not.
Succulents (in flower) from my Garden
The Aeonium Pinwheel is a very compact plant that is hardy and easy to establish. This year is the first time mine has flowered, (it has been growing for approximately 3 years) It is Monocarpic, so the stem from which the succulent has flowered will die, however, the rest of the plant growing from other stems should survive. Below is a photo of the flower which is quite stunning.
This succulent is usually sold for Mother’s Day as it has beautiful flowers of white, red, pink or orange. This succulent flowers in the spring.
If you love succulents you will always want more. If you love succulents you will know that it is not hard to propagate and grow more of the succulents you have. 90% of succulents will produce offsets/babies/pups at some point in their lifespan. Some succulents will start replicating themselves at a very young age whereas others will not until the parent plant is about to die.
Graptoveria multiplying in my garden
One of the many amazing things you can say about succulents is that they are the plants that keep on giving. Yes of course there are other plant species that produce new shoots and offsets but as a type of plant; succulents produce offsets in abundance. Once they are growing in their ‘happy place’ or perfect location there is no stopping them.
What methods can i use to propagate succulents?
There are a few different ways that succulents multiply. Many will naturally produce offsets which grow below and next to the parent plant. Some can be propagated by gently pulling off a leaf – which will grow into a new plant and others will produce new plants simply by pruning back the plant. Of course you can always propagate from seed but you can do that with any plant and even though it is very satisfying to do so it takes a very long time.
Not long after pruning Aeoniums start producing new offsets
Which succulents produce offsets as apposed to propagating from leaves?
The succulents that are the most prolific at producing offsets are some of the most popular. Echeveria, Aloes, Pachyphytum, Pachyveria, Graptopetalum, Graptoveria and Sempervivum genus’, just to name a few, start producing offsets very early in their lifespan. It is not unusual to buy your first plant from a nursery or store that has more than one offset already growing. However, please note that succulents that produce offsets can still be propagated from leaves!!S
Echeveria Princess Anne
What do I do when my succulent starts producing babies?
You can do absolutely nothing when your succulent starts growing a new plant from a fallen leaf or producing an offset. Nature will run its course and a new plant will grow from the leaf and/or plant. You can carry on in the knowledge that sometime in the future (maybe about 3-4 months) you will have a twin of the succulent you purchased.
The tiny balls are Sempervivum offset starting to grow
About 5 months later!
Do succulents that produce offsets also propagate from leaves?
It is important to note that just because a succulent produces offsets it does not mean that you cannot propagate from leaves as well. Satisfation wise, an offset gives you a new plant alot faster than growing it from leaf propagation. Leaf propagation can take up to 12 weeks just to form a tiny plant on the end of the leaf.
When can you transplant an offset?
You can transplant an offset as soon as it has developed its own tiny roots. I would even say you could transplant it before the roots have formed. However, success rates will be higher if you wait for the roots to form. Depending on whether you are in a hurry or not, the longer you leave the offset to develop where it is the stronger the new plant will be. Another consideration is if your offsets are numerous they may all be squashed into the pot and this can hamper growth. If this is the case it would be more beneficial to remove a few of the offsets to make room for more to grow. (see examples below).
Succulents can look amazing mass planted in your garden. See post : Landscaping with succulents
So do not be afraid to use one of the offsets to plant in your garden and start an area dedicatd to a mass planting of succulents. Most succulents that grow numerous offsets are fairly small but can still look amazing in a mass planting.
I was shocked and a bit devastated when I found out that some succulents die after flowering. It’s not something you should blurt out to a novice succulent lover! But do not worry, of the thousands of different succulents there are only a very small number that are ‘monocarpic’.
Monocarpic plants flower, set seed and then die. Other words with the same meaning are hapaxanth and semelparous. However monocarpic is the term that is used to describe the succulent process. Probably because it is easier to say!
Monocarpic plants can be divided into annuals, biennials and perennials. Annuals flower and set seed in one year, biennials two seasons and perennials sometimes take many years to flower.
So the question is: how long does a succulent live before it flowers?? The good new is: Succulents that are monocarpic can still live a long life as they are perennials. Below are the succulents that I am aware are monocarpic.
Agave – Attenuata/Americana (Century Plant)
The above monocarpic Agave’s can take 10 -25 years before the parent plant flowers. When it is ready the plant uses all its energy to produce a thick stem which grows from the centre of the rosette in a relatively short period of time – sometimes less than a week. The stem can grow up to 2.5 metres (8 feet) high. The Americana (Century Plant) has a stem that can grow to 9 metres (30 feet). Once it flowers the parent plant will wither and die, Compared to other succulents the Agave parent plant can take months or even years to die. Agave pups grow along the stem of the flower, these can be harvested and replanted. Any pups that have grown off to the side of the plant will not die, only the rosette that has produced the flower stem.
Some, but not all, Agave are moncarpic.
All succulents in the Sempervivum genus are monocarpic. At first this made me think twice about buying Sempervivum succulents. Each rosette only flowers once and then dies. However, most species produce lots of offsets which makes up for any loss after flowering. It will take 3 to 4 years for the rosette to produce a flower and die, in this time the parent plant would have produced many pups/babies to continue on in your garden.
In Europe they are known as ‘houseleeks’ but in the USA Sempevervivum are known as Hen & Chicks. However, some people call the Echeveria genus Hen & Chicks as well. Thus, it can get very confusing and people think that their Echeveria succulents are monocarpic. It is ‘only’ Sempervivum Hen & Chicks which are monocarpic not Echeveria.
There are some Sempervivum and Echeveria that look very similar, they both have rosettes. If you think your succulent is a Sempervivum and it flowers – from the centre of the rosette- and does not die – suffice to say this is an Echeveria.
The photos of the sempervivum below show small offsets from the sides. These can be mistaken for flowers. They are not flowers but new plants/pups sprouting. When a Sempervivum flowers it is from the centre of its rosette, not to the side.
Some Aeonium will flower within two years while others may take 10-20 years before they flower. They die completely after flowering but before do they will have produced offsets as well as large numbers of seeds. Not all Aeonium die after flowering, but for the one’s that do it is too late for the plant once the flower stalk starts to develop.
I found this Aeonium (below) in a nursery. It looks very pretty, but as it was flowering I figured it wouldn’t have a very long life span in my garden if it was an Aeonium that was monocarpic! Something to be aware of for monocarpic succulents.
The Kalanchoe ‘Flapjack’ is a monocarpic plant, once the Kalanchoe flowers new “baby plants” can be seen at the base of the plant and along the flower stalk. They can easily be propagated from the stalk.
So, if you have any of the monocarpic succulents you should be prepared for its dramatic flowering death at some point!
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.
The Echeveria genus of succulent is one of the most popular in the succulent world. There are websites and Facebook pages dedicated to it. This is understandable as it is an amazing plant which can grow in full sun or partial shade and is also drought tolerant.
There are approximately 150 different varieties of Echeveria. It was named after a Mexican botanist – Antansio Echeveria and is native to Central America, Mexico and northwest Southern America.
The largest Echeveria can grow to about 50 centimetres (20 inches) in diameter. Most have their growing season in the Summer whereas others grow in Spring – when they start to produce their amazing flowers. Some of my Echeveria’s produce flowers all year round.
Echeveria are happy to squeeze into small areas in rockeries and are great companion plants for other succulents. When they grow new plants (pups) they are usually squashed under the parent plant. Some varieties can grow in a carpet across your garden.
Echeveria can grow in partial shade but prefer a sunny position. When they receive too much shade they tend to stretch (etioliate). Therefore, they look the best grown in a sunny position and do NOT make a good house plant due to low light levels.
Can you grow Echeveria in full sun?
Echeveria cope well in full sun and I would go as far as saying they love full sun. Some varieties produce a fine wax/powdery layer on the leaves which is their natural protection against the suns strong rays. (see below)
The leaves at the bottom of the photo have the wax rubbed off. This leaves the leaves unprotected from the sun.
Many of the Echeveria I have grown have thrived in a full sun position. When they first grow in a full sun position they may get sun burnt leaves but most varieties will get used to the sun and the new leaves will not get sun burnt.
Problems with Echeveria
Aphids are attracted to the Echeveria flowers however I have not had many aphids on my flowers. If I have aphids I usually snip off the flower they are attracted to and it goes straight in the green bin. The aphids are more detrimental to the plant than the plant losing a flower. Mealy bugs can also be a problem and can kill a plant, growing your Echeveria in the sun can help stop mealy bugs too. Echeveria do not cope with frost or cool temperatures.
Why have my Echeveria leaves started curling?
Some of the larger Echeveria varieties have leaves which will change as they mature. The leaf edges, which start out round and flat, start to grow with curly edges – this is known as leaf curl. (examples of leaf curl below)
E. Peru- The outside leaves are flatter, new leaves start curling.
E. Strawberry Hearts – The outside leaves are round and flat and the new leaves are curling.
Why has my Echeveria changed colour?
During summer Echeveria can be one colour and a totally different colour during winter. The photo on the below left was taken in autumn/winter and the photo on the right was taken in the height of summer. It’s hard to believe its the same plant.
Stress, fertiliser and the position in your garden can also play a part in just how much any succulent might change colour during the year.
The smaller leaved varieties of Echeveria tend to produce pups/offsets whereas the larger varieties do not. The pups can (sometimes) be gently pulled away from the parent plant and replanted. If they do not pull away easily they can be snipped off with a pair of secateurs. They can also be propagated by pulling off a healthy leaf, which will sprout new roots and then develop into a plant. I still think Its quite amazing. See post: (How to Propagate Succulents.)
Echeveria Facebook Groups
As I mentioned there are Facebook pages dedicated to the Echeveria genus. One great Facebook group is – ‘Echeveria Australia’ – it has nearly 4,000 members. It is great for posting photos of your Echeveria for fun or having others help you identify the variety. It is a closed group so you will need to ask to join. I have learnt quite a lot from this Facebook page. There is another Facebook page called ‘Planet Echeveria’ which has over 7,000 members.
http://echeveriasinoz.net is a great website that lists all the Echeveria available (I assume) in Australia with an alphabetical photo gallery. It may take time but you can scroll through the photos and find that Echeveria you purchased from your local hardware store that just stated ‘Echeveria’ on the identification tag!
There are a few succulents that look very similar to the Echeveria genus and it can be very confusing. Some hardware stores/nurseries and sellers have even been known to tag a plant as an Echeveria when it is not.
Below is a Graptoveria which is a hybrid between Graptopealum and Echeveria. It was tagged by the nursery as a Graptoveria but to me looks like an Echeveria.
The good news is that the Graptopetalums and Pachyphytums genus that look similar to the Echeveria genus also like full sun, survive in part shade and are drought tolerant. So whether the plant is identified incorrectly you can grow the plants in the same conditions and they should survive.
Echeveria Agavoides is a succulent that is readily available in our local hardware stores. It is a relatively common species of the Echeveria genus. It is native to the rocky areas of Mexico, therefore does not like a lot of water, can grow well in full sun and is drought tolerant. There are a few different species – Red Edge and Lipstick are the most common.
It grows to about 8–12 cm (3–5 in) tall, 7–15 cm (3–6 in) in diameter. They will grow easily in well drained soils in full sun or partial shade. Perfect for rock gardens. They can be propagated by stem or leaf cuttings. Mature plants can produce offsets (pups) which can be transplanted. They do not produce as many pups as other species of Echeveria. Agavoides has crimson/red tips which are more prominent when grown in full sun. They have the usual echeveria flowers – a pinky orange colour on long stems.
Without sun they are 100% green without any crimson/red tips. The following plant was totally green when I purchased it. It now spends approximately 3 hours of full sun during the day but only has tiny crimson tips. I have purchased another specimen to plant in full sun for most of the day to see if the colour is more prodominent.
When I bought the Agavoides below it was light green and healthy. I believe it was grown predominantly in shade. I placed it in a sunny position which received full sun in the afternoon. A week later it looked quite ill. If I was a novice with succulents I would have thought it was dying and thrown it out. The leaves on the plant were/are sun burnt as it was not used to full sun. As there are new leaves forming in the middle of the plant (as you can see in the photo) then the succulent will survive.
Echeveria Agavoides – full sun has burnt the outer leaves.
If water sits in the rosette(middle of the plant) for too long (days) this can cause problems with fungal disease or rot the plant. As with all succulents Agavoides can be attacked by mealy bugs. If the plant has been growing in partial shade and moved to a full sun position the leaves will burn but it should recover within a few months, as per the photos below.
Looking healthy but with no red tips.
One week later, burnt leaves after growing in the afternoon sun.
Four months later after growing in afternoon sun- looking fabulous
This is another Echeveria species, like Echeveria Black Prince that is hardy, can be grown in full sun or partial shade and is readily available in hardware stores. (see post: Echeveria Black Prince Succulent )