Echeveria Rubin has a real WOW factor to it. The colour and shape of this succulent are hard to beat and in our experience this plant is not that hard to look after. Let's have a closer look at this popular new hybrid and how to care for it.
Echeveria Rubin is a medium growing Agavoides hybrid that produces gorgeous, bright red rosettes up to 15 cm (6inch) in diameter. Agavoid Echeverias resemble some species Agave’s and have pointy, waxy leaves. Many Agavoid hybrids have been created to enhance colour and shape.
Rubin (not to be confused with Romeo) is mostly bright red, however, just like many other colourful succulents, can change colour based on the seasons, weather, sun exposure, pot size etc. In the warmer months it is very likely the part of the leaves closest to the centre will turn green. This can also happen if the plant is grown in too much shade. Echeveria Rubin should have at least 5-6 hours (best in the morning) per day sun exposure to maintain the red colour.
The leaves are shiny, as if they have been waxed. Just like with other Agavoides, Rubin’s leaves are pointy. The tip of the leaf can be burgundy red. This will mainly happen in winter as Rubin responds to cold weather by deeper red colours.
Mature plants can produce offsets or chicks, though not many and not very often either. Many will grow as solitary rosette.
Red flowers appear on a long stalk at the end of winter/ in spring.
Position & Care
Echeveria Rubin has proven to be a bit more hardy than we originally thought. They have survived extreme temperatures of over 45C (113F) (under 30% shadecloth though to keep the harmful UV out) and also one of the heaviest downpours we’ve seen in over 20 years (almost 500mm of rain just in a few days).
Rubin is, however, quite an expensive plant to buy and to be on the safe side we would recommend the ideal conditions for it. It will love morning sun and bright afternoon shade during the hot months and full sun when the temperatures do not rise over 30C (86F). If you have a greenhouse or a structure with 30% shade-cloth (over 30% is too much and the plant would start loosing colour) Rubin can permanently live there.
The shade cloth will ensure that the plant will not burn when the temperatures start climbing into high 30’s C (86F). Please remember that forecast temperatures are for shade and what you get in full sun is much higher. So if a forecast is for 35C (95F) in full blast of the sun this figure would hover around 40C (104F) or more.
Echeveria Rubin is not frost hardy and will die if exposed to frost. For those of you in cold climates, Rubin will have to be brought indoors while there’s a danger of frost or snow. Rubin will deal with temperatures as low as 1C (33F) but once they dip below 0C (32F) it is in danger of freezing.
Although it seems that Rubin is not particularly susceptible to the ugly black and brown spots that Agavoides Echeverias can get as a result of too much water and humidity, it may still get them and so it may be a good idea to move Rubin under cover during rainy spells. Rubin’s cousin Romeo, we found, is highly prone to fungal diseases and rotting when humid and wet.
If planted in the ground, Echeveria Rubin should be able to deal with rain as long as the garden bed is on a slope or raised and does not get flooded. If black or brown spots appear re-pot into fresh potting mix, keep dry and treat with a fungicide.
Water when the potting mix has dried up and do not plant in pots without a drainage hole.
In pots, plant in good quality succulent potting mix and re-pot once a year to check on the health of the roots and to provide with fresh potting mix. If you intend to leave the pot exposed at all times adding perlite to the potting mix may be a good idea as the extra draining properties of perlite will help drain water faster when it rains.
Slow release fertilizer can be added to the potting mix in spring. We sometimes just sprinkle it on top and reapply every other month in spring and summer.
Echeveria Rubin is a particularly hard plant to propagate. The rosette grows very few offsets, if any. When they do appear they can be gently pulled or cut off when they have a big enough stalk. Once off, the offsets should be left to dry for a day and then planted in a pot with succulent potting mix. In the growing season, roots should appear in approximately 3 weeks. Only take pups off in the growing season (spring/early summer).
Leaf propagation is possible, but also unreliable. Leaves are prone to breaking and the success rate of new plants sprouting is very low. We have written a separate article with a video on Rubin leaf propagation. To read more click here.
We have also seen seeds available in online stores. Echeverias can generally be raised from seed but always make sure the seeds come from a reputable seller, best if they are local.
To propagate from seed, plant in a tray of seed raising mix in spring. Germination rate is always better once it starts getting warm, so mid-late spring may be the best time. Growing Echeverias and especially the slower varieties such as Rubin from seed is only for the patient as it may take a couple of years to raise a decent sized plant.
Another option is 'beheading' your Rubin. This method can also be tricky and end in disaster as the rosette is low growing. If the cut is made too high the whole thing can fall apart. Only attempt beheading if the plant is fairly advanced.
There are various pests that like to feed on Rubin. Mealybugs can attack both leaves and roots and this is why it’s important to re-pot every year.
Aphids can attack the leaves and the flower stalks.
Slugs, snails, caterpillars and grass-hoppers can also take a good chunk.
Rubin has not been reported to be toxic to either pets or humans. We do recommend not to snack on this plant though :)
Where Can I Get It?
Our nursery sells small sized Rubins in Australia. Rubin should be available from specialist nurseries or online in most countries. If you can’t find it in nurseries try eBay or Amazon.
If you're interested in other red succulents, see this article.