Mexican Firecracker is part of the family of Echeveria which has many varieties of succulents and, the Setosa variety is one of the best in its class. This evergreen succulent displays fabulous stemless rosettes that are made up of hundreds of spoon-shaped fleshy leaves that come in fresh green color.
Like all succulents, the planting, growing, and caring for them are all very similar. They all have their special requirements but none of them are difficult and all of them are rewarding. Succulents have their own special beauty.
Just Follow the Rules As Set Out Below And You’ll See What We Mean.
How to Plant a Mexican Firecracker (Echeveria Setosa)
Planting a Mexican Firecracker can be done through the process of propagation. There are two ways to propagate the Mexican Firecracker: leaf cuttings, and stem cuttings or offsets. They are relatively easy to perform and all you need is a pair of gloves, scissors or sharp knife, and the growing pot.
For Leaf Cuttings:
• Remove The Leaf from Its Base
It might sound difficult, but it is easy to perform. Began by holding the leaf gently and apply a little amount of pressure enough to sever the leaf from the base.
This is the tricky part because you must be gentle while applying pressure simultaneously otherwise the leaf will snap into two pieces and it’s a failure.
The leaf should be intact, and it should come off where it joins the stalk. For starters, don’t be afraid to fail, your next try will surely do the work.
• Let The Leaf to Dry or Callous
Allowing the leaf to dry or callous for a few days will prevent them to suffer rot when planted in the soil. This is the most important part, so you better not get tempted to immediately planting the leaf cuttings after removing them from the base.
Just get any available container in your house and place the leaf cuttings inside and leave them in an area with partial shade and proper aeration.
Forget about them for a few days and you won’t notice the time passing by. Once dried or calloused, you are now ready for the next step.
• Plant Them in A Growing Pot
The dried or calloused leaf cuttings should be planted in a well-draining cactus potting mix. Apply minimal water to set everything. Eventually, a new plant will sprout, and the old plant will shrivel and die.
For Stem Cuttings or Offsets:
• Remove The Stem or Offset from The Mother Plant
To do this, you must use a scissor or sharp knife and wear a pair of gloves for safety. Clean the knife or scissor before cutting the stem or offsets to prevent infestation. Afterward, gently cut the stem or offset, with precision, away from the mother plant.
• Allow The Stem or Offset to Dry or Callous
Drying or allowing the stem or offset to be callous is like leaf cuttings. The purpose of this is to prevent them from getting rot when planted. Leave them in one place with partial shade with proper aeration and forget about them for a few days.
• Plant Them in A Growing Pot
Once dried or calloused, plant the stem cuttings or offsets in a well-draining cactus potting mix. Apply enough amount of water to set everything up and wait until the soil has dried before reapplying water. You will begin to see new growth in a few weeks.
How to Grow and Care for a Mexican Firecracker (Echeveria Setosa)
Now that you have properly planted your Mexican Firecracker, the next thing to keep in mind is growing and caring for them.
Thankfully, this is succulent which means they are not demanding when it comes to maintenance. Nevertheless, they still need the right conditions to grow healthily.
When Growing and Caring for A Mexican Firecracker (Echeveria Setosa), You Should Take Note of The Following:
1. Lighting Requirements
Since the Mexican Firecracker (Echeveria Setosa) came from the dry regions of Mexico, they prefer to be placed with access to full sun.
However, in areas with extreme temperatures, you should place them in an area where they can get full sun in the morning and partial shade throughout the afternoon. The burnt leaves of this plant do not heal; hence it is wise to prevent such from happening.
When grown indoors, place them in a windowsill with enough access to sunlight and turn the plant occasionally to distribute the light evenly.
However, avoid exposing them to direct afternoon full sun because it can burn their leaves. Move them a few inches away from the windowsill where they won’t get burned while getting enough sunlight.
Moreover, when moving the plant outdoors to receive sunlight, always acclimate them to prevent stress. Always do this during the spring and summer seasons. In the winter season, use a growing light to substitute natural sunlight.
2. Watering Requirements
Like with many succulents, the Mexican Firecracker (Echeveria Setosa) does not want to be soaked in water because they are susceptible to root rot.
Watering depends on the climate in your area. Some areas have high humidity while some have high temperatures.
It is important to consider the climate in your area when watering because it will affect the condition of your soil.
In high humid places, the soil will retain moisture longer than in high-temperature areas, hence there should be a gap in the watering schedule.
In summer and spring, you might have to water them for shorter time periods because the water dries quickly due to high temperature and active growth process.
In winter, you must adjust their watering schedule because they are likely to go into a state of dormancy which means less activity for them.
Then they don’t need water that much unless the soil is completely dry.
Before watering, make sure that the soil is dry 2 inches from the surface. You can use a stick or use your bare hands to check the soil.
When watering, do not pour the water on the rosettes instead pour it directly into the soil, and wait until the water has drained from the bottom to know if the soil is still draining perfectly or not.
3. Soil Requirements
Growing succulents must use well-draining soil to avoid root rot. You can use a cactus potting mix because they are designed to meet the growing requirements of succulents.
You can also use perlite or coarse sand to improve the drainage of the cactus potting mix.
While it may not be necessary sometimes, some places do need improved drainage systems due to their environment. However, if the cactus potting mix is unavailable in your local garden store, fear not because you can create a substitute for it.
You can use the natural soil in your area and combine it with perlite or coarse sand. Begin by using a 50-50 combination of soil and perlite or coarse sand.
To know if the mixture is right, you must moisten the mixture and squeeze a handful of the mixture. When the mixture crumbles after squeezing, that is a sign of a good drainage system.
But if the mixture holds together after squeezing, it means the soil does not have a well-draining system and you must add more perlite until you achieve a porous soil mixture.
4. Temperature Requirements
Mexican Firecrackers (Echeveria Setosa) love the sun and warm temperature primarily because of their origin. They are not cold hardy plants, and they can only tolerate 50 degrees Fahrenheit in winter.
In summer, they can capitalize on a temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
Unfortunately, different areas have different levels of temperatures, hence you must take the necessary steps to protect the plant from extreme winter and summer conditions.
However, if you live in an area belonging to USDA hardiness zone 9B-11B, you may not have to do anything much to sustain their temperature requirements.
Mexican Firecracker (Echeveria Setosa) Names and Origins
The Echeveria Setosa is one with many names as well just like any other succulents. Examples of its common names include Mexican Firecracker (the most popular name), Firecracker plant, Firecracker Echeveria, and Hen and Chicks.
However, its proper name is Echeveria Setosa which is inspired by the 18-century botanist Anastasio Echeverria y Godoy.
This wonderful plant is native to Mexico and belongs to the family of Crassulaceae. The Echeveria Setosa is not cold hardy plants which means they prefer to be exposed to sunlight. Nevertheless, they can still be grown indoors in areas with cold climates.
The Mexican Firecracker (Echeveria Setosa) can grow up to 12 inches wide and 2-3 inches tall in late spring. They also produce lovely flowers around this time that come in the shape of an urn and are complemented by lovely shades of red with yellow tips.
Interestingly, the leaves of this succulent are covered with thousands of white hairs which makes it not only distinct but also an award-winning succulent!
Looking out of our potting shed window, we can see exactly which spot in the garden we’re going to plant our Mexican Firecrackers……can’t wait!