Sadly summer is coming to a close here in Southern California. Starting next month many of the plants in my garden will start to show the effects of the shorter days and cooler weather. To combat this I have planted a lot of winter growing and flowering plants to steal attention away from the plants eagerly waiting for spring to come again. While aloes become the focal point in my winter garden, I do have a few others that show best in the colder months as well. Echeverias are a great example. While most have grown well in the summer, it is in fall and winter that their colors are the boldest. But does this mean they don’t attract much attention when competing from summer standouts like hibiscus, palm trees and many of the flowering tropicals in my garden? Nope. Not at all. You just have to show them correctly in the garden so they do not get lost. I like to plant them in groups in rock gardens like shown below.
You can probably tell from the pictures that I am a big fan of Echeveria agavoides. Almost all the Echeveria in that rock garden are Echeveria agavoides hybrids or clones. My preference is for plants to be simple to manage and to involve little to no maintenance. Not all Echeveria fall into this category. Some are clumpers and need to be thinned out over time like this Echeveria elegans. Echeveria elegans clumps slowly, so it really doesn’t prove to be a hassle. Some species can grow into large mounds rather quickly though.
Those that involve the most maintenance tend to be the fast growing, stem-forming Echeveria like this Echeveria ‘Arlie Wright.’ Every year I must cut the heads off and reroot them in my garden. Echeveria ‘Arlie Wright’ is a fast grower, so if the heads are not removed the stems will eventually fall over and the plant will start to crawl around the ground.
Echeveria agavoides hybrids or clones are never a stem-forming flopper, and in most cases they are not a mounding, multi-branched shrub. Although over time, some Echeveria agavoides can form beautiful clumps. Although most people don’t wait that long and instead pull off the pups to trade, sell or plant elsewhere in their garden. Echeveria agavoides generally stays a stemless, beautiful rosette of plump, colorful leaves. In fact, the species name “agavoides” basically means “looking like an agave.” Just like many Agaves, Echeverias are native to rocky areas of Mexico and can be just as easy to maintain.
Echeveria agavoides show their best colors during the cooler autumn and winter temperatures. Some of these Echeveria agavoides hybrids or clones can have some intense winter coloration, especially when planted in full sun. This post shows off the more subdued coloration found during the active summer growing season.
First up is most likely the most commonly grown Echeveria agavoides clone – Echeveria agavoides ‘Lipstick.’ The red leaf edges will become bolder during the winter.
The most famous Echeveria agavoides clone has to be Echeveria agavoides ‘Ebony.’ Here is one of my newest seedlings. This is a tissue-cultured clone from a Huntington Gardens plant.
This Echeveria agavoides ‘Ebony’ was shown in an older blog post I wrote a few months ago. The most desirable trait of Echeveria agavoides ‘Ebony’ are the maroon to burgundy leaf tips. In perfect specimens, its winter coloration extends around the entire top half of the leaf. The plant in the pot below is bordered by two Echeveria ‘Tippy.’
The easiest ways to propagate an Echeveria are by leaf cuttings or removing pups. This Echeveria agavoides ‘Ebony’ has two pups ready to be removed.
This is an Echeveria agavoides ‘Ebony’ crossed with an Echeveria colorata.
Purchased as an unknown Echeveria agavoides hybrid, I have my doubts it has any agavoides in it.
This unknown Echeveria agavoides hybrid came from a much more reliable source. The person I bought it from said it was from seed of his Echeveria agavoides ‘Lipstick.’
This large unknown Echeveria agavoides hybrid still needs to be planted. In the winter the entire back of the leaves turn red while the tops are green.
Echeveria agavoides x colorata “Mexican Giant” hybrid. This one is really growing into something special.
The real Echeveria colorata ‘Mexican Giant.’ This has proven to be difficult to grow in the ground for me. This one seems to be on its way, however. It even has a few pups emerging.
Two more non-Echeveria agavoides to show. For me personally, this is the hardest of all the Echeveria to grow outside in the ground. I have planted 6 of these Echeveria lauii and this is the only one that hasn’t died of rot. I might have finally found a spot in the garden where I can grow this. It has been here going on two years now. Echeveria lauii is a slow growing plant but easily one of the most beautiful in the genus.
Another favorite of mine is this Echeveria ‘Blue Bird.’ This plant continues to grow taller and taller but still manages to keep all of its leaves. Basically it is forming a tower of blue leaves.
Well, that is all the Echeveria agavoides hybrids or clones I have currently. But I am always on the hunt for more, starting with Echeveria agavoides ‘Romeo.’