Echeveria secunda var. Glauca also known as the Blue Echeveria or Mexican hens and chicks is a very popular succulent found in many gardens all over the world. This species is native to Mexico and has been used to create many hybrids such as Echeveria Imbricata or Echeveria Lara.
While Echeveria Glauca is quite an easy plat to grow there are a few things to know about this succulent. The information below is based on growing thousands of Glauca at our nursery Fern Farm Plants.
Echeveria secunda Glauca is an evergreen succulent with a rosette type arrangement of leaves. The shape of the leaves is a bit narrow, with a dip in the middle and a pointy end.
In winter this succulent grows shorter leaves, arranged much tighter than in spring and summer. When Glauca is in its growing stage, the leaves will be longer and looser.
True to its nickname, the Blue Echeveria, glauca is blue in colour. The intensity of blue can change throughout the year and is at its deepest in the warm months. In winter the glauca tends to turn pale blue with red tips.
The intensity of the colours and shape of the leaves will also depend on a variety of factors such as sun exposure, size of pot, potting mix and what time of the year it is. Full sun coupled with cool temperature will create more compact growth and red tips and ridge on the bottom side of the leaf.
Surface of the leaves is coated with a light dusting of farina. Farina acts like a sunscreen and helps protect against sunburn.
Echeveria Glauca grows on a low stalk, close to the ground. Individual plants can reach about 15cm in diameter and 10cm height in ideal conditions where the plant is repotted regularly into bigger pot and fresh potting mix, or has a lot of space for the roots in the garden.
The nickname hens and chicks is used to describe many different succulent varieties, but describes multiple offsets forming underneath the mother rosette, or a hen. Echeveria secunda glauca is particularly prolific and famous for its offset production.
Multiple offsets usually grow under the most bottom leaves. Depending on the size and age of the plant, over 5 offsets can form in the growing season. More mature plants produce well over 10 chicks.
If glauca has enough space, it will keep spreading and can create a gorgeous carpet of blue rosettes. In the garden, the chicks will keep multiplying and make a fabulous groundcover.
Echeveria secunda var. glauca flowers every spring. The blooms come up on a stalk where individual bell-shaped, orange-yellow 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 Glauca is quite a hardy plant that grows well in pots or garden. Mature plants should also be able to withstand strong summer sun, though we do recommend protection or move to shade during heatwaves.
Echeveria glauca is also not frost tolerant but will survive outdoors if the temperature does not fall below 1C/33F. Mild frost should not kill this succulent, but it is likely to cause burns on the foliage.
The best appearance is achieved when Echeveria glauca is grown in as much sun as possible autumn-spring. During heatwaves of over 35C/95F it can get burn marks from strong UV rays and should be moved into shade/under 30% shade cloth for the afternoon.
While Echeveria glauca will grow in a filtered light position, it is likely to not grow compact and may not produce as many offsets. Chances of glauca rotting or developing dark marks are also much higher in too much shade.
In pots, use succulent potting mix and for best results, re-pot to a bigger pot every growing season. This will help the plant to grow to its full size and produce offsets.
Echeveria glauca can also be grown in the garden and looks particularly fantastic in rockeries, succulent gardens or at the edges, where it can be admired close up. Plants in the ground are usually 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 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 times per week while in winter it can be a couple of times per month.
Echeveria glauca is not suitable to be grown indoors, 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 glauca can be propagated by offsets and seeds. By far the easiest way to propagate this succulent plant is by offsets. Leaves are unlikely to produce new plants. As for seeds, while possible it can prove difficult to raise this plant from seed.
Echeveria glauca offsets are not difficult to propagate at all. The main thing is to wait until they are big enough so they can be safely separated from the mother plant. Please read this article if you’d like to know more about offset propagation.
Glauca leaves are highly unlikely to grow new plants.
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 sell you seed that has not been contaminated with the pollen of other succulents/ sell seeds that are viable. Two, germination of seeds can also be unreliable and three, it can take a very long time (years) for a seed to grow to a decent sized plant.
Whichever propagation method is used, Echeveria glauca 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 secunda glauca is susceptible to all the usual succulent pests, in particular the mealy bugs. Aphids can attack the flowers and young offsets, but mealy bugs tend to burrow deep between the leaves and also attack the root system.
For a list of animals that like to eat succulents, you can read another one of our articles here. We also have a separate, in-depth article about mealy bugs and aphids.
As most Echeverias, glauca 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 glauca should be stocked by garden centres, specialist succulent nurseries/ online nurseries. It is a very common and popular succulent and you may even be able to score a freebie chick from friends or family, if they have a garden.
Our nursery Fern Farm Plants sells glauca online in Australia.