You’ve probably seen this dainty evergreen showcasing its thick carpet of rosettes on a well-manicured rock garden. It has been known to shine as a centerpiece in a wedding bouquet, as well as being functional when planted on rooftops to keep tiles in place. There is a folk tale that people in Mexico would grow this succulent forming glowing silvery blue-green borders, believed to ward off evil spirits. Maybe that’s how this succulent got its title, The Mexican Snowball.
As the name indicates, this plant has its origins in Mexico. It stems its roots across the eastern state of Hidalgo, around the Pachuca mountain region, and through Peña de Jacal and adjacent areas. The Mexican Snowball’s fleshy rosettes are impressive on the rocky outcroppings in the Chihuahuan-Tehuacán Deserts. It thrives in semi-arid habitats (desert-like).
Forms And Hybrids Of Echeveria Elegans
The plants of the genus Echeveria stand out for being the type of succulents that are not cacti but store water. One of the Echeveria family members is the Echeveria Elegans, also called “Alabaster Rose”.
It is a small, coarse, and stemless plant that can form rosettes of about 2 inches in diameter. It has fleshy leaves arranged in the shape of an artichoke with a bluish color with whitish edges. However, the color they can present is varied, from intense green to pale blue, to gray-blue, to pinkish green. Its flowering time ranges from late winter to late spring. When this stage begins, the “Alabaster Rose” produces pink stems approximately 7 inches tall, from which the rosettes often produce pink and yellow flowers.
The “Alabaster Rose” is a long-lived plant that can live up to 7 years, and wide varieties, over the years, can form trunks over 2 feet high. However, we must remember that its growth is slow compared to other species. Due to its condition as a succulent plant, the “Alabaster rose” does not require much care and does require little attention. This plant is very decorative because it is usually used as an outdoor plant.
One of the most widespread uses given to the “Alabaster Rose” is to cover or pad small surfaces in rockeries or pots. Thanks to their tolerance to pollution, they are suitable for coastal gardens and large cities, although they also perform surprisingly in rural gardens. With its appearance and resistance to poor conditions, “Alabaster Rose” is an excellent option to plant anywhere in the garden as it adapts easily to any terrain and does not need much care. The only thing to remember is that it is imperative that the land is well drained and does not accumulate any water logging.
Caring For The Mexican Snowball
This plant can grow even if it is in a state of neglect. However, if we give these plants the necessary care, they will reward us with spectacular growth, and not only will they survive. As for sun exposure, the “Alabaster Rose” requires a lot of light in all seasons of the year, although it is not recommended to keep it in direct light for a long time, especially at noon during the summer seasons, as it can suffer burns mild, especially if you are not used to being outside. We cannot forget that we have to constantly clean our plants of withered flowers and leaves to achieve a much more vigorous growth.
Our “Alabaster Rose” can tolerate watering well when they are abundant, but only if it is found outdoors, in rockery or gardens. If it is grown in a pot, we must be careful with how much water we use to water it and avoid excesses so there is no possible root rot. It is best to have moderate watering during the summer, only when the substrate is dry and in the case of being in the garden, when about an inch of soil is dry. It is best if this is zero or almost zero during the winter.
When we water our “Alabaster Rose”, we must avoid wetting the leaves at all costs. A powdery substance covers the leaves of many species of Echeveria, it is important not to remove it since this ruins a substance that protects them from dehydration. Alabaster roses can survive in varied climates; they can withstand being outside at temperatures up to 23 ° F as long as it is not an area where it freezes or rains very often. During the summer seasons, they can withstand temperatures from 59 to 70 ° F in full sun, but if there is no partial excess, they can withstand up to 85 ° F.
#3. Temperature And Humidity
Your Echeveria Elegans prefer a daytime temperature between 55 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. During the night, it is advisable to avoid dropping the temperature below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. In terms of humidity, Echeveria Elegans prefers a high level of humidity at around 40 to 80 percent. This is still within the normal range of humidity preferred by the majority of succulents.
The most suitable substrate for the remarkable growth of our “Alabaster Rose” should be a mixture of sand or fine gravel and leaf mulch mixed with ordinary garden soil. Since it can thrive in poor soil, we can use more minerals than plant material to ensure good drainage. The soil must be loose and aerated, adding washed sand or river sand, sandstone, or similar to a universal substrate base. However, we can also resort to the most straightforward solution and use a commercial substrate mixture for cacti.
Propagating The Echeveria Elegans
We mentioned earlier that Mexican Snowballs like to spread around by sprouting small offsets in Spring. It may take several years for the plant to reach maturity and start producing offsets. The offsets develop around the base of the succulent and can be removed from the mother plant and grown separately.
Using a sharp knife, slice the offset away from the main plant and brush off excess soil from it. Leave it to dry in the sun for a few days, allowing the offset to be callous. Create a shallow hole in your moist succulent mix or homemade substrate and place in the dried-out offset, ensuring the roots are covered. Let your re-planted offset have a drink only after the soil dries out.
Echeveria elegans can also be propagated from leaf and stem cuttings. Select a healthy, firm leaf that is not damaged in any way. Twist the leaf from side to side gently yet firmly while tugging it from the stem. Ensure that you pull out the entire leaf from the stem otherwise the leaf will not propagate. For stem cuttings, slice off about 2 inches from the stem with a sharp clean knife and dust off extra soil. Like the offsets, let the leaf or stem dry and callous before replanting in well-draining soil.
Potting And Repotting
Thanks to the fact that it is a plant that is not demanding in terms of nutrients, it can grow in soils without many of them, but it is advisable to fertilize something from time to time, especially in flowering times, with this, our Echeveria will grow and bloom more abundantly. We can use a diluted cactus fertilizer once a month. After its flowering period is over, we can suspend it for a while. We must avoid exceeding the dose of liquid compost since an overdose can burn its roots and avoid compost during winter.
We must transplant our “Alabaster Rose” periodically, preferably during spring. This should be done every two years or if the roots have taken up all the available pot space. To prepare land for transplantation, we must use a specific compost for cactus, which we are going to mix with washed sand or gravel, in the proportion one to one, since they make the substrate more porous, facilitating the drainage of irrigation water to avoid any ponding that could be lethal for our Echeveria. If we are going to transplant to another pot and not direct soil, it is best to use terracotta pots instead of plastic ones since terracotta allows the soil to perspire and reduces soil moisture more quickly. These pots should be broad and not too deep since the roots grow wider than deep.
The “Alabaster rose” is not a plant that needs pruning, it should be enough to remove the leaves that dry as it grows to prevent them from attracting diseases or pests. To do this, we must make a clean cut with a clean and disinfected blade. Since this plant can be multiplied using cuttings, this would be a good time for us to collect some.
It is best to do it at the beginning of summer, we cut the cuttings and plant them in a mixture of soil and sand, we keep it moist, but without watering, the leaf will wither, giving way to a new sprout. Finally, we have to transplant it into a pot when it has grown to a size that exceeds the current one.
Another method that we can use is the suckers, these are carefully removed from the base of the plant stem in the spring and allowed to dry until the wound closes, this should take about a week. When this happens, we plant it in a mixture of peat and sand, slightly fertilizing it.
It is also possible to multiply Echeveria Elegans through seeds, although it is more complicated. A seedbed must be prepared to maintain the substrate’s humidity and temperature. We must keep them to spare, but in good light, temperature over 45 ° F and humid, until they germinate. The care must be taken regarding the amount of humidity and temperature is considerable.
Pests And Diseases
Like most succulents, the “Alabaster rose” does not suffer significantly from diseases, fungi, or infections. However, we must be vigilant and control low temperatures, humidity, excess water when we water it, and the remains of dried leaves and flowers. They can suffer attacks from aphids and mealybugs on the leaves, especially on the roots. To solve this, we only have to rub pharmacy alcohol with a swab on the affected areas.
ALSO READ: The Mexican Firecracker ‘Echeveria Setosa’
Hats Off To The Award-winning Echeveria Elegans
The Mexican Snowball is a versatile succulent that catches your eye with its intense hues and tightly packed rosettes. The simple needs of aerated soils and water once in a while have earned this succulent the Award of Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society in the United Kingdom. It is unforgettable, whether in a pretty pot on a windowsill or sprawled around a rock garden. We enjoy the company of the Mexican Snowball.
This article hopes to shed some knowledge on properly taking good care of your Echeveria Elegans. There are a variety of succulents available for you to take good care of as your new plant baby. Every succulent can brighten up each space given the different appearances and needs. We hope that as you look for the perfect plant for you, you may consider Echeveria Elegans after reading this article. Generally, this is an easy-to-grow plant that can add character to any given space. We can’t wait to see your own Echeveria Elegans thrive!
Richard | Editor-in-chief at Succulent City
Hey everyone! I’m Richard. Welcome to my blog, which is all about succulents, cacti, and a bit about air plants. Ten years back, in 2013, I began my journey with succulents. It started as a simple hobby, crafting and selling charming succulent-themed pins and decorations. But as time passed, my fascination with these remarkable plants grew, and I gained extensive knowledge about them. Therefore, Succulent City is the blog as you see it is now. Enjoy your visit and happly planting!