Looking to grow a houseplant that blooms up in a rosette pattern? Many households across North America recognize this echeveria species for its hardy traits that still remain intact even when the growing conditions are unpleasantly rough. Let’s dive in and check out everything this succulent from the Crassulaceae family needs, to look elegant all through the seasons.
Fun Facts About The Mexican Snowball
Echeveria Elegans, also known as the Mexican Snowball is a perfect pick if you want to foster an indoor plant with dramatic and eye-catching foliage, without having to intensely take care of it. It’s also commonly known as the White Mexican Rose. Most Echeverias are native to the tropical parts of Mexico and Argentina.
With a catalog of about 150 notable species and cultivars, choosing the right variety for your indoor space might feel a little confusing if this is your first time trying out pull off a gardening DIY idea. Since this houseplant is best suited for areas under USDA hardiness zones 9a through 11b, it’s only fair to say that it could get along with an environment that’s not too wet or hot. These two extremes tend to hurt the plant’s capacity to yield rose-like flowers during spring and maintain thick, dark-green foliage every season.
How Big Does It Grow?
Echeverias usually don’t grow so tall or wide. They’re petite plants that seamlessly fit in a compact growing pot. So don’t expect your Mexican Snowball to grow beyond 8″ inches in height. It also typically spans to about 12″ inches wide when it hits its golden years. In contrast to other options that you might have in mind, Echeverias are slow-growing houseplants and can take a couple of years to develop a mature look.
But looking on the bright side, the reward of being a little patient with this variety would potentially be so pleasing and all-embracing. If you treat this succulent fairly well, the payoff would be an awesome rosette made of blue-green or gray-green leaves that take the shape of small plastic spoons. While this plant struggles with growing as tall as other varieties in the family, it has a jam-packed potential to spread over the growing medium, especially if you’re using a compact container.
Other Gorgeous Echeveria Varieties
- Painted Echeveria: The Painted Echeveria is a variegated succulent that produces feeble, but healthy leaves with red margins on the edges. It blooms a few coral-pink and yellow flowers around summer. Being a Mexican native, this indoor-friendly succulent grows best in nutrient-rich, sandy soil that’s steadily permeable—which allows water to drain through quickly. This variety also prefers bright but filtered light.
- Lola Echeveria: The Lola Echeveria stacks up as one of the most sought-after varieties in the Crassulaceae family since it forms evenly layered rosettes made of dark-green leaves with a purple outline on the edges. This succulent isn’t fussy and features a thick, waxy coating on the leaves to protect it from harmful pests and diseases. It also has stalks that later bloom into pink flowers during summer and make a perfect spot for pollinators.
- Black Prince: You’ll also find this variety in most gardening retail stores going by Black Chicks and Hens. One feature that makes it poles apart from other varieties is its purple-green foliage made of triangle-like leaves. Same as the Mexican Snowball, the Black Prince is a slow-growing plant and develops in compact rosettes that don’t widen any further than 3″ inches. During its early sprouting stages, it forms lighter offsets that darken as it ages.
- Doris Taylor: There are solid chances you’ll probably find this variety labeled as the Woolly Rose in many gardening stores that sell such hybrid succulents. The Doris Taylor variety produces bushy rosettes that develop from the stems and reach up to 5″ inches. One thing that makes the Doris Taylor houseplant strikingly different from other varieties, is it takes much longer to show any tangible results after propagating it. It also just needs a few hours of filtered light from the sun.
- Neon Breakers: It’s no secret that there are just a handful of varieties that can match the kind of aesthetic and evergreen leaves this plant flaunts all year round. The Neon Breakers features an overly impressive rosette of purple leaves with pink edges and this radiant color hardly deteriorates even under seemingly intolerable conditions. And as it’s most often the case with many succulents, this variety doesn’t put up with overwatering or frosting temperatures. So long as you position the container in a setting where the plant gets enough light access, you can grow it indoors without too many struggles.
Echeveria Elegans Care Guide
Soil & Transplanting
If you’ve nurtured a succulent houseplant before, it’s needless to say that for the most part, you need to keenly take care of the drainage threshold of the soil that you’re planning to use when potting your Echeveria. If too much moisture gets stuck in the soil, the plant’s roots will begin to decay. It’s worth noting that prolonged exposure to excess water tampers with the aeration of the roots.
So the most fruitful measure to keep this from happening would be to prepare a regular potting mix made of these three essentials:
- 6 parts of pumice or perlite
- 2 parts of sand to make the soil permeable
- 2 parts of worm compost
Or better still, you can purchase 4 quarts of cactus mix and blend it with ordinary potting soil. And if you’re growing it indoors, you can also use normal soil mixed with perlite and peat moss.
Since the Mexican Snowball rarely outgrows its first growing pot, you don’t necessarily need to transplant it. But if the need arises, be so gentle with the roots since they tend to be quite sensitive and on the grind to adapt to newer grounds during or after the whole transplanting process.
Although succulents store water in their leaves, you don’t want to neglect your Mexican Snowball for longer periods, especially during summer. While it’s so obvious that this houseplant is drought-tolerant, you need to water it quite often when the temperatures are warmer and conducive for the growth hormones.
You’ll, therefore, need to water your plant once per week and leave the soil to dry out thoroughly before watering it again. During winter, you want to lessen the number of times you water your Mexican Snowball. Most plants experience a stunted growth rate during the colder seasons when the air is dry and the humidity levels are quite low.
You need to gently keep the soil moist when it’s winter to keep the leave from shrinking. Take some time to observe your plant’s tendencies so you can figure out how the watering intervals should look like.
Your Mexican Snowball doesn’t necessarily need any form of fertilizer to become fluffy and grow cheerfully. But over time, all the essential nutrients in the soil will fade off. So fertilizing your houseplant would help rejuvenate all the minerals that help keep your plant from looking pale and lanky.
If you’re planning to use bagged garden soil to plant your Mexican Snowball, you need to wait for 1 year to lapse before spraying it with synthetic fertilizer. Use 2-7-7 fertilizer twice a month every spring till the first quarter of fall and remember to dilute it with water.
This kind of fertilizer is not only suitable for cactus plants but also succulents since it’s easy to measure and dissolves in water to effortlessly get absorbed by the plant through the roots. Avoid using a fertilizer that’s made of nitrogen compounds exceeding 5%. When the nitrogen concentration is above this mark, it tends to disfigure your plant’s natural shape.
Light & Temperature
One thing you’ll notice with most Echeveria varieties is they don’t withstand direct sun rays for so many hours. So it’d be best to place the growing medium under partial shade. The leaves will turn yellow due to too much heat. When it’s summer, 3 hours of direct sunlight would be enough for this variety.
Since your Mexican Snowball has a low tolerance to frosting conditions, you might want to move it indoors if the temperatures fall below 10°C. The much it can stand firm against is 20°C and anything below that would be so detrimental to your plant’s optimal growth.
Apart from plucking off the dead leaves, there’s nothing much to do when it comes to grooming your Mexican Snowball plant. If you want to control the size of your plant, you can trim the tips of the stems anytime they grow taller. But you’ll rarely need to do this since this plant grows at a slow-moving pace.
How to Propagate The Mexican Snowball
This part is so useful mostly if you’re looking to have a few more Echeverias in your garden or indoor space. Propagating them would be the most effective way to go. You need to wait till it’s spring since this is when this variety begins to produce offsets. They tend to sprout at the base of the parent plant.
You can also use leaf cuttings from the parent plant. To propagate your Mexican Snowball using this method, you need to:
- Pick out the healthy leaves from the parent plant. Avoid using leaves that seem to have spots or suffering from excessive thirst. Use a sharp knife to carefully dissect the leaves from the stem.
- The leaf should have a solid base attaching it to the stem. If the base of the leaf is missing, it’ll not develop firmly.
- Put the leaves outside for a day or two, to give the wounds some time to dry, but avoid putting it under direct sunlight. The surrounding conditions need to be warm and dry to quicken the healing process. Before planting your leaves, make sure the skin has hardened to keep them from rotting.
- You can dip the base of the leaves in a rooting hormone solution to accelerate the root growth. This, however, isn’t necessarily important.
- Prepare the potting soil using the cues we listed out earlier in this guide.
- Plant the leaves but don’t bury them so deep in the soil. Space the leaves out to give them room for growth. This also allows the offsets to develop without getting choked by the mother plant.
- Keep your newly planted Mexican Snowball far from direct sunlight during its early sprouting stages. Leaf cuttings tend to wither and get scorched when prematurely exposed to full sunlight.
- Mist the soil using a spray bottle if the room humidity levels are low.
- After 4 weeks, the roots will begin to grow.
Pests & Diseases Control Tips
What’s more gripping about this succulent is it’s broadly not prone to threatening pests and diseases. The only alarming issue it struggles with is overwatering. Wait for the soil to exhibit signs of being too dry before watering your plant. This helps to keep it from root rot and bacterial infections. Some of the common pest you’ll need to watch out for include root aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites.
Where Should I Grow My Mexican Snowball?
Your Mexican Snowball plant will look incredible indoors. Use a small container so it can grow in a compact and even pattern, but make sure the medium has space for new offsets. And since it also yields so many offsets throughout the year, you can leave it to grow and spread wildly in the garden. Make sure you grow it on the side of the garden that doesn’t get more than 6 hours of direct sunlight.