Echeveria Subsessilis f. variegata

Synonyms:

Echeveria desmetiana
Cotyledon desmetiana
Echeveria peacockii
Cotyledon peacockii
Peacock Echeveria
Mexican Peacock Echeveria

Habitat:

E. Subsessilis is native to Mexico Central, Mexico Southwest and later was introduced into Dominican Republic. In its origin1al habitat the plant grows in semi-desert and rocky regions at high altitude. The variegated form is a plant that has the stem or leaves with patches or stripes with two or more different colours, even distinct shades of green.

Description:

E. Subsessilis is a fast growing succulent belonging to the Crassulaceae botanical family. The plant has a sessile rosette of 60 leaves in 6-8 spirals and can reach 11 cm in height. Leaves are fleshy, elongated obovate, pointed at the apex, of a dull green color that fades to creamy yellow on the edge. Blooming occurs in early summer and the plant produces up to 24 flowers. Flowers are pink orange and are borne by long persistent stalks; at first they are inclined and then they turn upward and become erect. The plant has been called peacock for the wonderful colors of the leaves and flowers that resemble those of a peacock’s tail.

Cultivation:

E. Subsessilis is a fast growing succulent, easy to cultivate. The best sun-exposure is full sunlight, 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.

Propagation:

Echeverias are one of the easiest succulents to propagate. Propagation can be done only by cutting, to not lose the mutation of the forma variegata. 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. Is advisable to use fungicide on wound of cuttings to prevent plant disease.

Curiosity:

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. E. Subsessilis was named by the Belgian horticulturist Louis de Smet (1810-1887), owner of a nursery and specialist in succulent plants. The variegation is due to the loss of the ability to produce chlorophyll in some tissues of the plant, so that this tissue is no longer green. Chlorophyll-free tissues are usually white or pale yellow coloured (due to carotenoid pigments) in contrast to the normal green tissue.

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