Echeveria shaviana or Mexican hen is a beautiful succulent plant with special features and needs. Even though you can grow this plant outdoors, it is not easy to grow it with other succulents as it has different light and water requirements.
In this article, you will learn how to grow and care for echeveria shaviana and prevent any issues that might arise while it grows.
- What Is Echeveria Shaviana?
- Echeveria Shaviana Care
- Background Info About Mexican Hens
What Is Echeveria Shaviana?
Echeveria shaviana is a popular plant in the genus “Echeveria.” It is best known for its wavy leaf edges that resemble Mexican hens, hence the name. Moreover, this plant can also be called pink frills, echeveria succulent, Mexican hens, or Mexican hens and chicks.
Echeveria shaviana is so elegant-looking that it has gained the Royal Horticultural Society Prestigious Award of Garden Merit.
Echeveria Shaviana Care
You should note that this Mexican succulent plant is a slow grower. This means that you may notice other succulents growing quickly, but your Mexican hens not showing any sign of growth. Don’t worry, if this is the case. When your echeveria shavianas become mature, you will enjoy the sight of your beautiful plants growing.
– Getting Your Echeveria Shaviana
Echeveria shaviana seeds and seedlings are available in gardening shops.
If you know people with Echeveria shaviana in their garden, you can easily collect some offset or propagate new Mexican hens from growing ones.
As a first-time grower of Echeveria shaviana, you should start with seedlings or offset instead of seeds and fresh cuttings as seedlings and offset are already growing and will give you fewer challenges.
While you can grow echeveria shaviana plants in your succulent garden, you should start with growing them in pots as they have slightly different light and water requirements from other succulents.
Your Mexican hen pots should have holes at the bottom for proper water drainage. These holes should be larger than the holes in other pots, or the pot should have multiple holes. You should also buy a regular cactus potting mix for your Mexican hens then mix the substrate or soil with grit or perlite.
Add wood shavings or other organic materials that permit drainage of water. As the organic materials decompose, they can act as a slow-release fertilizer for your echeveria shaviana and they might be enough fertilizer for your plants throughout the growing season.
Unlike most succulent plants, echeveria shaviana prefers partial sunlight so four to six hours of direct sunlight, or bright indoor light. If you are growing your Mexican hens outdoors, you should give them filtered light by growing them under a tree or anything that can block some rays of light from reaching the plants.
You can successfully grow Mexican hens on the east-facing windowsills of your home or a north-facing area of your place.
Echeveria shaviana is best grown in USDA hardiness zone 10, but can also grow in zones nine and 11. If you live in a frost-free region you can grow your Mexican hens outdoors year-round. You should not expose the plants to a temperature below 30 F for long as it can kill them.
If you think that succulent plants don’t like water, wait until you grow echeveria shaviana. Mexican hens love a very dry substrate and prefer drought more than other succulents. You should water your Mexican hens by misting them once every ten days.
Water the plants in the morning so that the day’s sun can help remove the excess water on the leaves of your echeveria shaviana through evaporation. Due to the rosette pattern of Mexican hens, they can easily trap water, so you should not water the plants regularly. Remember that when it comes to succulents, dry soil is better than a moist one.
Echeveria shaviana can grow in nutrient-poor soil or substrate. If you must give fertilizer to your Echeveria shaviana, give it to them at the beginning of the growing season. You should use an inorganic fertilizer that is very low in nitrogen. Apply a slow-release fertilizer in the substrate sparingly.
Echeveria shaviana grows very slowly, so giving it too much fertilizer is a waste and can even give the plant stunted growth.
Since echeveria shaviana has leaves growing in a tight rosette pattern, you have to trim off dead or dying leaves. Dead leaves on the soil can increase the moisture content and increase the chance of your Mexican hens dying from root rot. You should make sure that every leaf is healthy. Also, you should remove offsets if you do not have enough space for them.
If space is what you are considering, you do not need to re-pot your echeveria shaviana. The major reason why you should re-pot your Mexican hens is because of the quality of their substrate. Most potting mixes made with wood shavings and other organic materials can lose their water-drainage abilities before the year ends.
To keep your plants in a suitable substrate that ensures fast drainage of water, you should re-pot them yearly in early spring. Take note of their roots before you do so. If the roots look clumped or are tangling, you should use a bigger pot for the plants.
There are several ways to propagate echeveria shaviana plants. If you have an already-growing Mexican hen, you can have even more when you carefully propagate that one. Here are the different propagation methods for echeveria shaviana:
Do you know that echeveria shaviana leaves have the ability to produce new plants? Simply pull a large healthy leaf and keep it on a substrate for some days. In less than five days, you will see new Mexican hens growing from the leaf.
When the new plants have formed a rosette and have developed roots, you can cut them from the leaf and plant them into the substrate or you can simply bury the leaf in a thin layer of the substrate if the pot is large enough to accommodate all the new plants.
Carefully prune the rosette from the middle, to propagate the echeveria shaviana by cuttings. You should also make sure that there is a considerable amount of stem in the cutting.
Before planting the cutting, you should dip it in a rooting hormone. Something else you can do is leave it in a clean glass of water for some days before planting. Carefully observe the growing cutting and remove dead leaves if there are any.
You can plant the seeds of Mexican hens to get more plants. Note that Echeveria shaviana seeds germinate slowly and have a low germination rate, so you should plant a lot of seeds in order to get the number of plants that you want.
Keep the seeds on the suitable substrate and cover them with half an inch of substrate or sand. Water the seeds once every three to four days. The viable seeds should germinate and grow in less than a month.
When your Mexican hens become mature enough, they will produce offsets. Offsets are little plants, also referred to as Mexican chicks, that grow from the mother plant. If you brush off a thin layer of substrate, you can see the point where the Mexican chicks are attached to the mother plant. Simply twist off the offset, including the roots if there are any, and plant them in a new pot.
When you are growing echeveria shaviana, there are some challenges that you may face. Watch out for the following:
– Lack of Air Circulation
When there is not good air circulation, moisture may build up in your Mexican hens and it can lead to root rot. Make sure that there is proper air circulation or ventilation in the room where you are growing the plant.
The most common pest of echeveria shaviana is the aphid insect. You can use pesticides to remove unwanted insects from your plants. Note that insects help pollinate the plant when it is flowering.
Root or leaf rot is caused by excess moisture. When you give too much water to Mexican hens, they can be attacked by fungi and they will become brown. You should stop watering your plant if you notice rot and you should cut off dead leaves and roots to prevent the whole plant from dying.
Background Info About Mexican Hens
– History of Mexican Hens
The “Shaviana” in echeveria shaviana refers to the Missouri Botanical Garden which is also known as Shaw’s Garden, named after Henry Shaw 1800-1889. This plant is indigenous to temperate and subtropical regions such as the ones found in South America.
Echeveria shaviana is very common amongst succulent lovers as it is very easy and cheap to grow, does not require excess watering and fertilizing, and also beautifies the garden.
You can easily recognize echeveria shaviana plants when you see them. Here are some features of the plants:
- Rosettes: Echeveria shaviana has a very short stem in which the leaves are arranged in a rosette pattern. The plant can grow three inches tall and five to six inches wide.
- Leaves: The leaves of echeveria shaviana are blue-green and have pink edges. The leaves have a powdery coating made of a natural wax that is called farina, while the edges are crinkled and wavy. Notably, the leaves become purple or silver-blue as they age.
- Flowers: Echeveria shaviana flowers in spring. The plant produces one to two bloom stalks and each stalk bears bell-shaped flowers.
Mexican hens are truly beautiful. If you’d love to grow the plants, you absolutely should as they are very easy to care for. Continue reading our guide to get all the Echeveria shaviana caring tips.
Echeveria shaviana is easy to grow when you stick by the rules. Here are some important tips that you should remember:
- Unlike other succulents, echeveria shaviana needs partial sunlight or filtered light
- Water your Mexican hens once every ten days, by misting it
- You can propagate your Mexican hens by leaves, cuttings, seeds, and offsets
- Echeveria shaviana is well-adapted to USDA hardiness zone 10 but can grow in zones nine and 11
- You do not need to add extra fertilizer for your Mexican hens
These plants are quite cheap to get and have effortless maintenance, so they are ideal for those of you that don’t care much for difficult-to-take-care-of plants. Our guide will come in handy when you decide to get the echeveria shaviana and are ready to nurture it the right way.
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