Echeveria Glauca “Blue Echeveria”

Echeveria glauca
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Echeveria glauca is a slow-growing plant, eventually reaching around 6 inches (15 cm) tall. It grows from a basal rosette of fleshy blue-green leaves that are up to 3 inches long and 1 inch wide.

The leaves are fleshy and succulent, with a glossy appearance and a slightly wavy edge. The rosette grows at the end of a long stem that bears smaller side branches near the top. These can be cut off as they age to keep the plant compact.

The flowers are pollinated by sphinx moths in the evening. The flowers are single-petalled and can vary from blue to pinkish purple, becoming lighter as they age.

The leaf edges are often white or slightly pink, with a noticeable translucent border that allows light into the interior of the leaf where it can reach chlorophyll-containing cells (this is called ‘window’ transparency). This makes Echeveria glauca a great plant to use in decorative displays and one that can be used as an educational tool.

Echeveria glauca grows naturally in dry, exposed areas of Mexico at altitudes up to 8500 feet (2550 m). The soil is sandy and it receives relatively little rainfall so it is important to make sure that this plant is not allowed to dry out.

A close relative, Echeveria glauca subsp. abietina (Echeveria Blue Prince), can be grown outdoors in frost-free climates and has a faster growth rate, reaching up to 6 inches (15 cm) tall and wide after around 1 year. It is also a good choice for a low-maintenance succulent that requires little or no watering.

Echeveria glauca is closely related to Echeveria porteri and hybrids between the two are common in cultivation.

Origin and description

Echeveria glauca

Echeveria glauca is a succulent plant, native to Mexico. It can be grown outdoors year-round in frost-free climates or as an indoor houseplant. It will develop bright pink flower spikes that reach 3 inches high and wide for several weeks in the autumn. These plants are closely related to Echeveria porteri and are sometimes referred to as ‘blue echeveria’.

The plant originates from high-altitude deserts in Mexico and Guatemala. In its native habitat, it grows into a dense mass.

Due to the regular occurrence of frost, Echeveria glauca has extremely thick leaves that are partially rolled for protection against freezing temperatures. The rosettes are up to 6 inches (15 cm) wide with large, succulent leaves that are up to 9 inches (22.9 cm) long and 3 inches (7.6 cm) wide. The leaves have an undulating margin and are arranged in a beautiful fan shape with the base of the rosette surrounding a thick stem. The smooth, dark green leaves are covered with a waxy coating called Echeveria glauca var. grandiflora, which contributes to the plants’ frost resistance.

The plant produces aerial roots that can grow up to 6 inches (15 cm) long and are covered with hairs. The flowers change from green to pink as they age; in autumn, white star-shaped flowers are produced on top of tall (12-18 inches), flower spikes that are densely covered with glassy hairs.

To provide the plant with the best conditions for optimal growth, use a mix consisting of 1 part potting soil and 1 part sand or perlite. The potting mixture should drain well because the roots producing aerial roots can create very dense rosettes full

Echeveria glauca propagation

Echeveria glauca

Echeveria glauca can be propagated by dividing sections of the rosette, or by seed. Echeveria is easily propagated from leaf cuttings and single leaves on long stalks. The seeds should be sown in spring or early summer indoors before placing them under glass to germinate.

Division of rosettes

Dig up the plant and remove as much of the old potting mixture, old roots, and dead leaves as possible. Shake or sieve to get any remaining soil off the roots. Now cut through the central part of one side of the rosette (the wider end). The cut should be just above a leaf. Make sure that this leaves enough room so that the two parts can each grow into individual plants. Kit (1989), suggests leaving an end bulb on each division, but I found that seedlings that grew from such bulbs were weaker than those grown on from leaf cuttings.

Planting instructions

Echeveria glauca can be planted in containers or in the ground. If planting in the ground, choose a location with full sun. Echeveria glauca can be grown from seed or stem cuttings. To propagate by seed, sow them on top of the soil and keep moist until germination occurs.

Plant spacing instructions

Echeveria glauca looks its best when it is planted in groups. It also grows well in containers that are at least 8 inches deep. If it is grown in a container, space the plants 2 to 3 inches apart.

Echeveria glauca care

Echeveria glauca

Light requirements

Echeveria glauca can tolerate full sun. The more light it receives, the larger it grows. In the wild, Echeveria glauca is found in a number of habitats including coastal plains and mountainsides at altitudes above 2,000 feet. Therefore it is not surprising that this hardy plant tolerates some shade. If grown in low light, however, Echeveria glauca tends to grow smaller and remain compact.

Soil requirements

Echeveria glauca prefers soil that is well-drained, but it can tolerate very dry conditions as well. If its shallow roots are allowed to remain continually wet, Echeveria glauca develops root rot. Therefore this plant should not be planted where water tends to pool around its base.

Use a cactus or succulent mix (sometimes called Soilless mix) for your Echeveria glauca. This will allow the soil to drain well while providing plenty of nutrients. It will also help to prevent over-watering (which is a common cause of Echeveria glauca deaths).

Water requirements

Echeveria glauca is not a drought-tolerant plant. Water regularly, allowing the top inch of potting mix to dry out between waterings. Echeveria glauca can tolerate light frost, but it should be well watered in advance of an expected hard freeze.

Fertilizer requirements

Echeveria glauca benefit from regular fertilization with a balanced liquid fertilizer throughout the growing season. Fertilize every two weeks during the growing season, or use slow-release pellets at the beginning of the season.

Temperature and Humidity

Keep the temperature range from 65 to 75 degrees F. (18-24 degrees C.) and high air humidity levels for best results (you can use a terrarium). Water, when you see the top centimeter of soil is dry (but do not let them sit in water for long periods of time). Grow Echeveria glauca in full sun or partial shade.

This succulent is considered by many as a “cactus-like” plant, meaning it needs the same conditions as cacti to do well, little water and direct sunlight. Needless to say, this is not true (I have Echeveria glauca that are over 10 years old, and they are still growing) however, the main care that should be given to this plant (and all succulents) is a well-drained soil mix.

Echeveria glauca can survive at very low temperatures as long as it’s dry. If left outside during cold weather, cover them with something to protect them from frost.

Humidity

The perfect humidity for Echeveria glauca is around 70%. In some cases, this can be helped with a humidifier.

Repotting

It’s best to repot annually. You can also remove some of the older leaves for a fresh new look. Repot in early summer, using potting soil mixed with sand and perlite.

Pruning

If you want to make Echeveria glauca bigger, just remove some of the leaves (especially in spring). The best time for this is when there are new leaf buds forming. Never cut more than one-third of the plant stem at a time. You can also propagate it by cuttings or seeds.

Problems and Pests

Echeveria glauca

Echeveria glauca is resistant to spider mites, but it may get aphids.

To prevent these pests:

Spray the plant with water every few days. It dilutes the concentration of your plant’s specific odor that attracts these bugs.  Use a soap spray (soap mixed with water). It is very effective against aphids, as the soap leaves a film on their bodies, which dries them out.  Hand-pick them off and dispose of them. They’re not hard to get rid of and can be avoided altogether with routine checkups for infestation.

You may find an Echeveria glauca attacked by scale.  This problem is caused by a type of mite called Urticating Hairs. The Echeveria glauca’s purpose is to get rid of these pests, but in very rare cases, the plant infested itself.

How to Avoid Infestation

Scale surrounds themselves with a dense layer of waxy covering that protects the mite underneath from water. To avoid this, do not overwater.  Remove their protective covering by rubbing them with a soft brush. If you use soap to wash your plants, know that it can leave a film of residue on your plant’s leaves. This attracts urticating hairs and invites scale to come down and settle in.  Put yellow sticky traps around your plants , you’ll be able to see the scale.

To get rid of Scale

It is hard to reach the mite underneath the waxy layer, and it’s even harder with Urticating Hairs, so you need to make them come out in order to kill them before they return back under their covering.

Do the following to remove the covering and make them come out (the plant’s defense mechanism):

  • Cut off some of the top leaves until you see a thick layer of waxy covering. This will make them think it is summer, and they will leave their winter shelter in order to seek brighter weather in other places.
  • Before they find another location, use a Q-tip to gently rub the waxy layer off.

Conclusion

Echeveria glauca, also known as silver leaf echeveria, is an ornamental plant belonging to the Crassulaceae family (although not an agave ). It is a succulent with silvery-green leaves, native to Mexico.


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