Potted echeveria garden (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Plant an Echeveria Garden in Pots

Echeverias do great in containers, so why not plant an echeveria garden all in pots? Because echeverias have great color, symmetry and resemble fleshy flowers, my own potted collection suggests an exotic flower garden. Although a few Echeveria cultivars do OK in garden beds---notably 'Sahara', 'Blue Sky' and 'Crimson Tide'---most need and deserve TLC. Nothing is as gorgeous as a perfectly grown echeveria. Otherwise, why have them?

A year ago, after a trip to Wright Nursery (owned by famed echeveria hybridizer Dick Wright), I planted an echeveria garden in five large pots on my home's east-facing deck.

The 30-square-foot potted garden enhances my dining room view and is easy to tend. In winter I move pots closer to the railing to give them rain or greater sun. In summer, I slide them back into a north-facing corner for greater shade. Every couple of months year-round, I rotate the pots 180 degrees for balanced light exposure. This is important because echeverias lean toward greatest sun, which can spoil their symmetry.

Is it a lot of work? Not at all. The pots are lightweight, and I'm blessed with a hose bib on the deck. My biggest challenge is not splashing the window. The pots sit atop plant stands to give them greater prominence and height, and to enhance air circulation. (This also helps protect a wood deck, but ours is now a synthetic impervious to water. Over the years, potted plants rotted the original wood deck, which we had to replace.)

To celebrate its one-year anniversary, I did a 5-minute video of my potted echeveria garden. I think you'll agree it's both practical and eye-catching. As for which varieties I used, there are so many to choose from! Find specific names on this site's Echeveria page photo gallery, noted with an asterisk. But I don't think it matters much. I basically mixed what I liked and was available, then filled in with graptoverias and other common intergeneric crosses.

Echeveria garden in pots (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Refresh Your Echeveria Garden

Eighteen months after I planted it, my multipot echeveria garden was looking ratty. Over time, as new leaves formed from the centers of echeverias, lower leaves dried and clung to ever-lengthening stems. Bloom spikes I’d left intact for hummingbirds were several feet long and untidy. Watch me rejuvenate it in my new video: Refresh Your Echeveria Garden (6:31).

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Fancy ruffled echeveria

How to Behead and Replant Echeverias

Fancy ruffled echeverias—those large, flowerlike succulents—eventually need to be beheaded and the rosettes replanted. This is a bother, but it comes with a benefit: New clones will form on old, headless stalks. But not always. Here’s how to ensure success.

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Floral style succulent arrangement (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Echeveria Info, Photos & Varieties

Echeveria Info, Photos & Varieties How to grow echeverias perfectly, plus an extensive gallery, all ID’d See All Succulent Types Aeonium Agaves Aloes Cactus Crassula Echeveria Euphorbias Ice Plants Kalanchoe Portulacaria Senecio About Echeverias Here you’ll find expert advice to help you grow echeverias perfectly, with a gallery of 150+ beautiful, notable species and cultivars.…

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  1. Pat Frankenfield on June 10, 2020 at 12:21 pm

    You are the gift that keeps giving! Thank you for your excellent information.

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on June 10, 2020 at 1:22 pm

      Thank you, Pat — made my day!

  2. Edith on June 13, 2020 at 11:56 pm

    Hello. I Am new in planting succulents. My question is when to water after I plant them? Your Echeveria potted garden is absolutely beautiful. I want to plant the same style but I can’t find a big plants like yours. I order online. It came in 2 inches pot. Plus I want to let you know I live in zone 7b here in Alabama. I am not quite sure if it’s ideal climate for succulents. I appreciate it if you answer me. Thanks!

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on June 15, 2020 at 10:26 am

      Hi Edith — Anything with roots should be watered after planting to help the roots settle in. If you’re planting cuttings, that’s a different matter—insert them in the soil so they stand upright, and keep the soil barely moist to encourage root formation but not so wet it might cause rot. Growing succulents in the South is challenging because they don’t like humidity, and there’s not much you can do about that. Give them good air circulation, keep them outdoors where they’ll get half a day’s sun and the rest in dappled shade, water minimally, and shelter them in winter when the temperature drops into the 30s.

  3. Abraar Karan on August 17, 2020 at 7:44 am

    Dear Debra,

    Hope you’re well. I bought a new ruffled echeveria. I am having trouble understanding if it is over or underwatered. The leaves are drooping and the frayed edges are contracting. But, I don’t see shrivels per se. Any help would be much appreciated.

    Dr. Abraar Karan

    Thanks so much

    VIEW PHOTO: https://debraleebaldwin.com/wp-content/uploads/Etiolated-echeveria_R.jpg

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on August 20, 2020 at 11:22 am

      Hi Dr. Karan —

      Where are you located? Climate makes a difference. Even if you’re in an ideal location for echeverias, like here in Southern CA, echeverias may struggle in midsummer. Especially during heat waves, they may not be able to take up enough water to stay hydrated and leaves become pockmarked. This is normal, as is the closing of the rosettes, dormancy (no new growth) and a generally dreary look. Echeverias (here at least, they’re native to canyon escarpments in Mexico) look their best in the fall when the weather cools.

      Keep it out of direct, hot, midday sun, keep the soil about as moist as a wrung-out sponge, and by October it should be fine.

      P.S. If you’ve found this helpful, would you do me a favor and post your question on my website, so others can see it and my response? Thanks!

      • Debra Lee Baldwin on August 20, 2020 at 11:23 am

        From Dr. Karan: Thank you so much- I am in Boston! Indoor plant in my apartment which is north facing unfortunately.

        I just repotted it and have not watered it (watered it a few days ago in the wrong soil…)

        I will happily post it on your website 🙂

        So— should I water it now ?

        • Debra Lee Baldwin on August 20, 2020 at 11:24 am

          To Dr. Karan: Oh, gosh, Boston and indoors and north facing window…no wonder! Echeverias are highly light sensitive. If given less than optimal light (minimum 3 hours direct sun daily), their leaves droop to expose more surface area to available light. It’s not a watering issue, but if the soil is not getting good air circulation nor drying out rapidly, you’re better off under-watering it, lest fungal issues set in. I won’t go so far as to say “these are not house plants,” but to successfully grow them indoors, they do need a supplemental full-spectrum light source.

          Yes, please post it. The comments won’t let you post a photo so just post your original Q and I’ll take it from there. Thanks!

          Hope this helps!


          Btw, where did you buy it? Such huge specimens are too large for most mail-order nurseries.

          • Debra Lee Baldwin on August 20, 2020 at 11:25 am

            From Dr. Karan: Oh yikes ok — I will take it outside to the building roof for a few hours a day then- I bought it at Home Depot!

          • Debra Lee Baldwin on August 20, 2020 at 11:26 am

            To Dr. Karan: If you got it at Home Depot, it likely came from Altman Plants, the largest wholesale grower of succulents in the US, located 15 min. from me. ;+)

            Reintroduce it to sun gradually. It’s like a fair-skinned person getting a tan. 20 minutes the first day, increasing exposure by greater increments. Problem is, if you accidentally overdo it, the burned spots don’t go away. What I’d probably do, is put it in a spot that’s shaded but gets bright light bounced into it, maybe from a sunny wall. No danger of burning then. You also can drape it with a lightweight fabric, but expect people to be curious. “Oh, that’s Doctor Karan’s plant.” LOL

  4. Michele Layne on September 3, 2020 at 9:47 pm

    Debra how do you water Echeverias and Aeoniums in the same container if one goes dormant when the other is growing without overwatering the dormant succulent?

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on September 4, 2020 at 8:39 am

      Unless they’re continually soaked, they should be OK, even if watered when dormant. Aim to keep the soil about as moist as a wrung-out sponge. The bigger problem is keeping them cool. Excessive heat can cause edema (cell collapse). It’s not fatal but it does cause scarring on the leaves.

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