Family: Crassulaceae

Predominantly native to Mexico and the cen­tral Americas, this popular genus comprises about 150 species of attractive, perennial succulents, all typically forming rosettes. Some species offset freely from the base to form large mats; others grow on tall stems. They have very succulent leaves, some smooth, some hairy, others powdery, and bell-shaped flowers. The stems bear either a few or many blooms and droop from the apex. Many very beautiful cul­tivars have been produced.


E. agavoides, from Mexico, has thick, almost triangular-shaped, pale green leaves, with hard, reddish brown tips, resembling spines. It produces numerous, small, dark pink flowers on long stems.

E. derenbergii, a small, stemless rosette, about 6-8 cm (2½-3 in) across, from Mexico, has pale green leaves with red margins and sharp tips. The reddish yellow flowers appear on stems about 8 cm (3 in) tall. This easily grown species produces many offsets around the base.

E. elegans, hen and chickens, forms mats of tight, basal rosettes, 10 cm (4 in) across, of ice-blue leaves, sometimes edged with red. The flowers are pink with yellow tips and appear on stalks 10-25 cm (4-10 in) long.

E. gibbiflora is a quite large, loose rosette, to 40 cm (16 in) across, on a thick stem 10-20 cm (4-8 in) tall. Its red flowers are borne on a 60 cm (24 in) stem.

E. leucotricha forms loose rosettes of quite thick, blunt leaves, covered with white felt and tipped with brown, felty hairs. The large, scarlet flowers are borne on tall stems.

E. pulvinata has open rosettes of hairy, white, silky leaves, bright red in autumn, borne on brown, downy stems. It produces reddish yellow flowers on 30 cm (12 in) stems from winter to spring.

E. secunda is a stemless, saucer-like rosette, with wedge-shaped, blueish white leaves, sharply pointed at the tips, and red flowers with yellow tips. It offsets freely from the base.


In frost-prone climates, grow in an airy, intermediate greenhouse or conservatory, in pots of well-drained cactus compost, which can be bought from garden centers. Ensure maximum light. Water normally in growing period, but keep barely moist in winter. Potted plants can be stood outside for the summer. Some species are used for summer bedding. For permanent outdoor cultivation, choose a sunny spot with free-draining, poorish soil. Propagate from leaf cuttings or stem cuttings in summer, or from offsets in spring.


Zone 10.