Difficult to grow Echeveria

Difficult to grow Echeveria

Some difficult type to grow include: Romeo, C.J.Van Keppel, Vincent Cato, Longissima Aztatlensis.

Problems with Pine Bark

I have found over the last few years that “Pine Bark” and pine bark mixes are not so good for some of the difficult succulents. Especially some that rot easily. Or get fungus in their stems.

Pine bark has a lot of natural fungus and bacteria in it as it’s decomposing. Also as more and more Echeveria have been tissue cultured. It has been found that many of them have very high rates of natural bacteria and fungus within them naturally. So therefore, they are considered dirty or difficult to culture by plant by Tissue people.

This can be seen in Tissue cultured plants which are often much larger, more vigorous, and often gross sizes. They lose their shape and appearance to their beautiful natural wild cousins. Also the growing of these tissued plants with often with far too much water and fertilizer by people who are plant growers

but not necessarily good succulent growers, who miss the point of how lovely these plants can look with very little water or food and good sun for compact shapes strong colours and thick fat leaves as they are found in nature.   

Echeveria agavoides is one of these, hence why so few tissue cultures of them are about.

This is why the majority of Echeveria agavoides Romeo are grown from seed. (I will tell you the story of Romeo at the end of this Tips section.) It seems this plant and several other “difficult” ones I have mentioned are highly vulnerable to rotting or fungal die off.


Four tips that I have found that may help to maintain these difficult Echeveria plants

Soil mixes and Compost

  • A much more gravely soil mix (minimize the pine bark). The best sand or gravels are Decomposed Granit. Hard to find But it’s the favored mix in Asia where it abounds very easily found and used. I cant get it so I use a blend of two sands, all washed river sand and extra course river sand 3 to 4 mm. With no clay. I add some perlite and Coy or coconut fiber. If you can find some real compost add some of this as well.


  • Fertilize these plants at half the rate you use Fertilizer on your other succulents.My blend is Osmocote complete with trace elements, Dolomite lime. And grow max nitrogen slow release. It’s a soft nitrogen.


  • Watering, these plants do not like water on top of them or on the foliage. I use a large tray of water about 3 to 4 cm deep with water and put my trays of sensitive plants in then for about half an hour. The water will percolate up through the soil in the pot Do not leave for hours. Water at least half the rate that you would water your other succulents


  • Another important point is ventilation of your houses I use fans these days in humid and hot times to keep the air circulating This reduces the chances of fungal attack a lot.

This is not foolproof. But a guide only which you may find helpful for the longevity, health off, and to keep these plants looking good. When you find a leaf yellowing and becoming clear. Remove it to expose the stem area affected (often going a bit black) I use AGI-FOSS 600, systemic fungicide This is also commonly used on Cactus that also gets rots sometimes.

Growing Echeveria “Comptons Carusel” Similar but different. Coming soon. Got some great tips from Korean growers who have been successfully growing this elusive difficult to grow plant.

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