Echeveria peacockii, also known as peacock echeveria or Peacock Succulent, is a beautiful plant with rosettes up to 5 inches in diameter. Thick, succulent leaves arise from the center of the rosette and are sparsely covered with small softer blue-green leaves that look like a powder blue shag rug.
Small yellow flowers adorn the plant from spring to summer, followed by purple-red berries that last into fall. Echeveria peacockii is challenging to grow indoors since it requires well-draining soil and a lot of sun for optimum health, while outdoor plants are hardy down to 20 degrees Fahrenheit if frost does not burn the leaves.
Origin and description
Echeveria peacockii is from Mexico and Guatemala where it grows on limestone rocks at about 2,000m. It cannot tolerate temperatures below 12ºC.
The plant has a bright green stem that supports dark green rosettes of fleshy leaves which are covered in white hairs – the origin of its name “peacock”, referring to the white hairs. The leaves are thick, fleshy, and succulent with central veins.
At night plants go through a ‘rest’ period similar to many cacti and succulents, closing their leaf bases together. In bright sunlight, Echeveria peacockii will survive outside in warm climates, but for optimum growth, it must be grown in a cool, bright-lighted environment and kept from temperatures below 12ºC.
Echeveria peacockii propagation
Allow the seed capsules to dry on their own, then break open gently and remove the dark brown seeds. Soak for 24 hours in warm water (70-85 degrees F), then sow the seeds at a depth of 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch in a very succulent soil mix. Keep moist but not wet. Most seeds will germinate in about a week to 10 days.
Allow the rosette to dry on its own, then cut it off with a clean straight edge and allow to dry out for about 7-10 days until the leaves are hard and have lost their plumpness; store in a cool dry place. Once you are ready to propagate, remove the lower leaves and dip in rooting hormone powder (use a powdered rooting hormone for cuttings, NOT liquid); then bury in an inch or so of very succulent soil mix; keep moist but not wet.
This method should be done every two years just before new growth starts in spring. Use a knife or single sharp spade to dig up the plant; remove larger chunks of soil with the roots and shake off excess soil from the leaves; replant each chunk into its own pot, disturbing as few leaves as possible while doing so.
Wait until new growth begins in spring (early April in the south of France), and then select a stem that has at least three or four leaves; if it has no flowers, then it is easier. Make a clean cut just below one leaf, dip this section into rooting hormone powder and bury it under 1 inch of soil in a very succulent soil mix (with perlite added); keep moist but not wet.
Extra Tips: Cactus soil is great for growing Echeveria peacockii; adding 10% perlite to the soil mix is a good idea if it has been collected outside of your own property as birds will have pooped in it.
Echeveria peacockii care
Echeveria peacockii is a succulent plant that is easy to grow indoors and outdoors, as long as it has the right amount of bright light. Outdoors, Echeveria peacockii can be grown in full sun or partial shade. Indoors, give this plant moderately bright direct sun or very bright indirect light (some sun).
Echeveria peacockii is not picky about the intensity of the light or quality of it. However, too little light will result in long spear-shaped leaves and less compact rosettes, while too much light can cause leaf tips to turn brown and lead to sunburned spots on the plant’s leaves. In addition, too little light will prevent the leaves from having a reddish coloration, while too much light will cause them to be bleached out and lose their bright coloration.
Echeveria peacockii is more tolerant of sunburn than many other echeverias because it has deep green fleshy leaves that are somewhat leathery. However, this plant does not tolerate full sun year-round. In order to protect it from wilting and possible sunburn, gradually introduce Echeveria peacockii to more sun over the course of a week (for example, give it an hour of direct sun on day one; two hours the next; three on day three; full sun from day four on).
If your plant begins to look droopy, it needs more sun. If the leaves start to pucker or curl, too much sun is being received and the plant should be moved indoors or partially shaded. In general, most echeverias are also not as tolerant of direct afternoon sunlight and the sun’s heat as many other succulents are.
[Hint: more water in summer, less in winter]
Water Echeveria peacockii when the soil is slightly dry to touch. Do not allow the plant to completely dry out between watering, because it will wilt and look stressed. However, do not over-water or allow the plant to sit in water for long periods of time, as this can cause root rot. Soil should be allowed to dry in between watering to prevent it from becoming waterlogged and overly wet.
Therefore, Echeveria peacockii requires more frequent watering in summer than during winter months. In the winter, water only enough to keep it from wilting.
[Hint: use a soil mixture of 1 part regular potting soil, 1 part sand or perlite]
Echeveria peacockii can be grown in almost any type of well-draining soil. The best potting mix for this plant is a combination of one part regular potting soil and one part coarse sand or perlite. Alternatively, use one part cactus/succulent soil (sold in most garden stores), one part coarse sand or perlite, and one part horticultural charcoal to prevent fungus gnat larvae from damaging the plant’s roots.
This potting soil should be well-draining so that it doesn’t remain wet for long periods of time, which can cause root rot and kill your plant.
Do not use potting soil that has fertilizer mixed into it because this will burn the roots of your Echeveria peacockii. In addition, do not use a common soil mixture found in most garden stores (such as topsoil) because it is too heavy for Echeveria peacockii and will cause root rot.
Echeveria peacockii does not need to be fertilized regularly. In fact, too much fertilizer can burn the plant’s roots and eventually kill it. A good rule of thumb when using fertilizer is: if you see yellowing leaves, give it time-release fertilizer; if not, do not use any.
The ideal temperature for Echeveria peacockii is a minimum of 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degres C.) up to an optimum temperature of 80 degrees F (27 degrees C.). During the winter, if temperatures dip below 60 degrees F (15 degrees C.), it may be best to bring plants indoors until spring. In summer, they can tolerate being outdoors provided that nighttime temperatures are kept below 80 degrees F (27 degrees C.).
Echeveria peacockii should never be placed outdoors during the summer months (July through September) if the temperature is expected to exceed 100 degrees F (38 degrees C.) because it will likely wilt and sunburn. In addition, it requires at least a month of pre-acclimation at 50-60 degrees F (10-15 degrees C.) in order to be acclimated to more heat and sun.
The optimum humidity for Echeveria peacockii is 13-50% (relative).
Repot every 3 years if necessary. Use pot only 1-2 sizes larger than previously used.
Echeveria peacockii are somewhat slow-growing, so regular rerooting is not required and can sometimes kill the plant due to the shock of being moved from a large to a small-sized pot with too much soil that gets compacted around the roots.
Pruning can be necessary if the plant becomes too large and top-heavy causing it to fall over. To maintain an attractive shape, prune the long, sometimes leggy stems to offset the plant every few years.
Echeveria peacockii are hardy to zone 10 but can be grown as an annual in colder zones.
Echeveria peacockii are non-toxic.
Pests and diseases
The most common pests for Echeveria peacockii are spider mites and aphids. Aphids can be controlled with a hard spray of water every two weeks; if they are not washed off by the water, they will die within 24 hours due to dehydration. Spider mites are best treated with insecticidal soap sprayed onto the affected areas every other day.