Echeveria Bloody Maria is a fabulously coloured Agavoides hybrid which been created in South Korea, though the parentage is unknown.
While this plant is quite hardy there are a few tricks to keep it looking its absolute best. The information below is based on growing thousands of Bloody Marias at our nursery Fern Farm Plants.
Echeveria Bloody Maria is a an evergreen succulent with a rosette type arrangement of leaves. The colour is usually shades of darker green in the warmer months but can change to maroon red during winter or when cold.
Being an agavoides hybrid, Echeveria Bloody Maria has pointy and glossy leaves. They are also quite chunky and wide. The colour that Bloody Maria is so famous for comes through during the cooler months or when the plant is stressed either by being rootbound or kept dry. It is the center of the rosette that will turn fully red first, though the rest of the plant will follow and in the end the majority of all the leaves will end up dark maroon colour. In summer, it is very likely the whole plant will be just green, no matter what you do.
Echeveria Bloody Maria grows on a low stalk, close to the ground. Individual plants can reach approximately 15cm in diameter and 10cm height in ideal conditions and are typically a bit slower to grow.
This succulent will form clumps of rosettes. Once a rosette is mature, it will produce offsets at the bottom. Each offset will then go on to produce offsets of their own. This plant is, however, not extremely prolific in growing offsets and usually produces 2-3 every growing season once the plants is mature.
Echeveria Bloody Maria flowers every spring. The blooms come up on a tall, maroon coloured stalk stalk where individual bell-shaped flowers open in a cascade. One rosette can send out 3 or more stalks out at once and the flowers can last for about a month.
Position & Care
Echeveria Bloody Maria is quite a hardy plant but can develop dark black spots in rainy and humid weather. Unfortunately, this plant is best kept in a greenhouse or on a sunny verandah, so it is out of the rain.
Bloody Maria is also not frost tolerant but will survive outdoors if the temperature does not fall below 1C/33F. Mild frost should not kill it but it is likely to cause burns on the foliage.
The best appearance is achieved when Echeveria Bloody Maria is grown in as much sun as possible autumn-spring but care should be taken not to expose it to the sun in extreme summer heatwaves. During heatwaves of over 35C/95F it is likely this plant will get burn marks from strong UV rays and should be moved into shade/under 30% shade cloth for the afternoon.
While Echeveria Bloody Maria will grow in a bright shade permanently, it is unlikely to produce that attractive dark red colour and the rosette will not be very compact.
In pots, use succulent potting mix and for best results re-pot to a slightly bigger pot every growing season. This will help the plant to grow to its full size and produce offsets.
Echeveria Bloody Maria can also be grown in the garden and looks particularly fantastic in rockeries, succulent gardens or at the edges. Plants in the ground are usually a hardier than those grown in pots and do not develop marks as much as potted plants do. Mulch or pebbles can be used as well.
Potted plants should be kept under cover and watered only when the potting mix has dried up from previous watering. Do not spray the foliage. Properly wet the roots and then leave to dry. The frequency of watering will change based on the temperature and seasons. In summer watering may be needed a couple of time per week while in winter it can be a couple of times a month. Although we recommend keeping this plant under cover, it is essential that Bloody Maria gets plenty of bright light and a few hours of direct sun.
Echeveria Bloody Maria is not a suitable indoor plant, other than for over-wintering. The only time this plant will have a chance at surviving inside long term is if it’s grown under plant growing lights or in a super bright sunroom.
Echeveria Bloody Maria can be propagated by offsets, leaves and seeds. While propagating by offsets is the easiest method, leaves also have a good strike rate but can be tricky. As for seeds, while possible it can prove difficult to raise this plant from seed.
As mentioned above, Echeveria Bloody Maria will not grow loads of pups, but the ones that do come out can easily be taken off and propagated. To read a more in-depth article on how to propagate succulent by offsets, go here.
Leaf propagation is possible but can be tricky due to the size of the leaves and their close proximity to each other. It is incredibly hard to separate the leaves from the plant so they are intact, but it can be done. A good trick is to leave Echeveria Bloody Maria dry out as the leaves come off a bit easier. For a guide on leaf propagation you can see this article.
Seeds may not be a great idea for a number of reasons. One, it can be hard to find a reliable seed seller that will actually sell you seed that has not been contaminated with other pollen of other succulents/ sell seeds that are viable. Two germination of the seeds can be also be unreliable and three, it can take a long time (years) for a seed to grow to a decent sized plant.
Whichever propagation method is used, Echeveria Bloody Maria should only be propagated in the growing season. This would be spring and summer, though do be careful young plants do not get burned in strong summer sun.
Echeveria Bloody Maria is susceptible to all the usual succulent pests, in particular the mealy bugs. Aphids can attack the flowers, but mealy bugs can burrow deep between the tightly arranged leaves and also attack the root system.
As most Echeverias, Bloody Maria is not listed as toxic to humans, dogs, cats, other pets or livestock, though it is not recommended to consume this plant as food.
Where can I get it?
Echeveria Bloody Maria can be a little hard to get but specialist succulent nurseries/ online nurseries should stock this plant.
Our nursery Fern Farm Plants sells Echeveria Bloody Maria in Australia.