You’ve seen them in bouquets, buttonholes, centerpieces galore. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, and are sweeping the wedding world with their awesomeness.
Echeveria are native to Mexico and Central America. They’re highly drought resistant (like most cacti) but they actually like to be fertilized and deeply watered on a pretty regular basis. Here at the studio, we root them in wet moss and then spray then daily with a mist-sprayer, and then plant them in cactus dirt with a mixture of mushroom compost for fertilization.
Many people refer to these darlings as “Hens and Chicks” but not all are of that particular variety. Echeveria are a broad genus of cacti, a variety of 60 different plants divided into 300 genera (Succulent Plant Page) The most popular varieties used in weddings are from the Haworthia family:
The Aeonium “Decorum” family:
The Dudleya Family:
A few fun facts: you can pretty much grow Echeveria on and in any surface, as long as you can provide nutrients. A popular form of display is on wood— we have glued them on with liquid nails and then surrounded with moss and misted with nutrients, and we found this image of a wreath that is too cool for words:
They are really fun for inside of terrariums and in pots, you can grow them indoors or outdoors, and most will withstand the weather changes of the season. While you’d think they’d grow best in the southwest, they grow fairly well in most climates, and have been thriving at out studio here in the South. A few of our darlings about the store:
Fresh in, waiting to be planted— how perfect is that shape?
We have this guy planted in a footed urn— it’s pretty much a cactus rockstar. That moisture you see is from its regular misting.
When it comes to watering, there’s a direct relationship between how much light, how much heat, and how much humidity your cactus encounters daily. Everything is based on environment. A succulent that you have on your front porch in full sun is going to need to be watered often, misted regularly, and checked for sunburn. (You can tell if your cactus gets too much light because it’s leaves will blister and blacken– if that’s the case, move to more indirect light). Indoor succulents need natural light– direct or indirect– and need to be in a fairly temperature-constant environment. They actually like the fronts of windows in summer (most plants don’t like this because of temperature changes), but if you leave them in the same window come winter they will suffer. You just have to adjust according to your succulent’s needs.
Our front window is filled with different varieties of succulents.
From “Cactus and Succulent Care” from www.cactusland.com:
“Most cactus and succulents have an active period about 1/3 of the year. During this active period watering can be frequent and fertilizer applied. The most active time for most cacti is during the spring and early parts of summer. As this period passes, it is best to reduce the frequency of watering as winter approaches. They require very little water during the cold months. A good watering once a week in hot weather and once a month in the dormant period is a good point to start as you learn your plants needs. Another approach is when the soil is completely dry, water thoroughly then let dry. If in doubt, don’t water. Too much fertilizer can be worse than none at all. Use a low nitrogen fertilizer at about ½ to ¼ the recommended rate.”
We fertilize with Monty’s Joy Juice at 1/4 it’s recommended strength.
And now, some more succulent eye candy:
A potter filled with succulents:
Succulent bouquets from the Knotty Bride:
Ruby Bloom designed this darling buttonhole: