The Mexican Snowball is one of the most common varieties of Echeveria succulents. This type of succulent is characterized by its thick and fleshy leaves with colors ranging from blue-green to silver-green. They grow in a very fashionable way forming an attractive rosette shape.
The Mexican Snowball is a very attractive succulent plant that needs soil with good drainage, minimum water, lots of sunshine, and the smallest amount of pruning!
The Mexican Snowball (Echeveria Elegans) – Names and Origins
The Mexican Snowball is one with many names which includes Hens and Chickens, Mexican Gem, Pearl Echeveria, White Mexican Rose, and the Mexican Snowball.
You must be familiar with its other common names, so you won’t have to get confused when you encounter them someday.
As the name suggests, The Mexican Snowball is native to Mexico specifically to the semi-desert regions.
It belongs to the family of Crassulaceae and the Genus “Echeveria”. When it matures, the Mexican Snowball can grow up to 8-inch tall and 12-inch in diameter.
Moreover, the Mexican Snowball has a rich history because it plays an important role in ancient folklore.
Centuries ago, we are told that people in the past believed that this plant drove away from the evil spirits. Nowadays, it is known to make the perfect addition at the top of a wedding bouquet.
How to Grow the Mexican Snowball – Echeveria Elegans
The Mexican Snowball is one of the many succulents that are best for growing because of less maintenance required and they can still thrive even when neglected. Here are the things to remember on how to grow Mexican Snowball:
1. Soil Requirements
Like other succulents, Mexican Snowball is best grown in a cactus potting mix soil because of its draining capability. Also, because this plant originated from a sandy habitat in the semi-desert regions of Mexico, it does best in sandy soil.
However, you can also combine cactus potting mix with either perlite or coarse sand to improve the drainage.
You can start by using a 2:1 ratio of cactus potting mix and perlite or coarse sand. But gradually adjust the measurement if you live in high humid places. You can also use the three by using a 1:1:1 ratio.
Remember, succulents cannot tolerate being soaked in wet, which is why they need well-draining soil. Please avoid using humus-rich soil as it can hold water for longer periods which would lead to root rot.
It prefers to live in nutrient-poor and acidic soil with good drainage instead of waterlog-prone soil.
2. Watering Requirements
The water requirements of Mexican Snowball are almost negligent. The plant is best under than overwatered. Snowballs are drought-tolerant, which means they can survive with little water given to them.
The climate is a significant factor when watering the plant.
You can schedule the watering cycle every 7-10 days under normal circumstances. In the winter season, the plant is in a state of dormancy, and you must adjust its watering schedule to every 10-14 days.
In summer, you may have an earlier schedule depending on the temperature in your area because the water dries quicker in extreme heat conditions.
However, you need not water them once they reached the schedule.
It is important to check the soil first and if it’s dry two inches from the surface that is an indication to water the plant. Make sure the water flows through the bottom before stopping to ensure that every part of the soil is well hydrated.
3. Light Requirements
To survive, the Mexican Snowball needs an adequate amount of sunlight, otherwise, it will result in the plant becoming leggy in search of sunlight. This plant needs to be exposed to direct sunlight for 5-6 hours every day.
When grown indoors, place it near a window with enough access to sunlight. This can be achieved near the west or south-facing windows. Be careful of focused direct sunlight as it can burn the plant; so, move the plant away from the window if this happens.
When grown outdoors, the heat conditions in your area are something to be considered. For better chances, plant the Mexican Snowballs in a location that receives a combination of direct and partial sunlight throughout the day to prevent sunburn.
Since Mexican Snowballs are drought-tolerant and heat-loving plants, they don’t work well under cold and high humid conditions. The ideal climate for this plant is around USDA zones 9-11, and anywhere below this number is considered harmful for the plants.
The normal temperature indoors is enough for the Mexican Snowballs to tolerate but it might be different outdoors, especially in winter.
Hence, if you live in an area with a climate colder than USDA zones 9-11, it is best to plant them in containers so you can quickly transfer the plant when temperatures have dropped.
If planted in a growing bed, you can install a greenhouse around the plant to keep the temperature in favor of the plant. You can also use a frost cloth to cover the plant, that way, they will survive the cold weather outside.
The best thing about succulents, in general, is they don’t need fertilizers that much. But they can still benefit from them just to get extra nutrients. Use a fertilizer that is designed for succulents in the early mid-spring.
The Mexican Snowball does not need regular pruning, but they must be pruned at times, especially when they become leggy, to restore their attractive rosette shape.
Start by cutting the top of the plant that is not leggy but still forms a compact shape. Remove a few of the bottom leaves to expose the stem which will be planted in a new growing pot. Before planting the separated plant, let it dry for about a day to prevent root rot.
Once the plant has dried, gently place it in a new pot using well-draining soil. Do not water before 2-3 weeks or until the roots began to form.
Interestingly, “elegant” is a Latin adjective and in the English vocabulary, it has translated as “elegance” – which means fine and handsome.
This pertains to the outstanding appearance of the succulent because it is indeed an elegant-looking plant.
The Mexican Snowball has several forms but with only minor differences in size, the shape of the leaves, and the color of the flowers.
Speaking of flowers, Mexican Snowball can produce pinkish-red and yellow-tipped flowers from late winter to mid-summer. This plant is truly stunning.