Echeveria harmsii f. crestata
E. harmsii is native to Mexico Central (Hidalgo and Oaxaca)
E. harmsii is a succulent belonging to the Crassulaceae botanical family. The plant is spineless and has a long stem, among the echeverias this is one of those with the longest stem and can reach 30 cm in height. The succulent has a bush habit and at the apex of the stem bears a rosette of leaves which can grow up to 15 cm in diameter. Leaves are fleshy, flat, narrow, slightly pointed at the apex, bright green in color and with red margins and tips. The plant is covered with wax and so it takes on a velvety appearance. Blooming occurs in late spring and early summer and blossom are borne by long stalks up to 10 cm tall; flowers are thin, bell-shaped, bright red with yellow tip up 3 cm long. The crested form usually grows in the shape of a fan.
This is a rare hybrid, easy to cultivate. The best sun-exposure is shade light, and the plant does not like temperatures below 10 °C so it needed to be placed indoors. The soil should be mixed with pumice, clay and loam to allow the drainage and prevent the root rot, the plant is prone to it indeed. Remember to use perforating pot to drain excess water. Watering can be done regularly from March to November: during the vegetative period you can water the plant (every 7 days), checking that the soil is completely dry before watering again; in winter you should stop the watering to allow to the plant to enter dormancy. If you want a faster and lush growth you can fertilize the plant once a month during the growing season with the specifics fertilizers for cacti; stop fertilizing throughout the winter. If the pot starts to be too small for the plant you can repot the plant in a pot 2 cm wider. Repotting should be done early in the growing season with fresh new potting soil. It is important to remove the dead leaves that fall at the base of the stem because otherwise the high humidity level increases the attacks of parasites, Echeverias are susceptible to mealybugs indeed.
Echeverias are one of the easiest succulents to propagate. Propagation can be done only by cutting, to not lose the mutation of the forma crestata. By cutting you can use leaf cuttings during the spring. Cut the leaves as close as possible to the stem and then let it dry; after a few days the cut surface will dry and a callus will form, then place the cutting in a mixture of sand, soil and pumice. To increase success of propagation you can cut two or more leaves at the same time. For Echeverias, is recommended for cuttings, temperatures around 20 °C.
The name “Echeveria” comes from Atanasio Echeverria, naturalist, botanist and Mexican artist of the late 1700s who painted and cooperated on the discovery and cataloging Mexico’s natural flora. Its species name was chosen in honor of the German botanist Theodor Harms. The crested form is a rare form of the more common E. Harmsii and is highly valued because this particular form is a sporadic variation that occurs among a few individuals in the population.
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