Topsy Turvy (Echeveria Runyonii): A Full Guide on How to Grow & Maintain


The Echeveria Runyonii has a unique presence when compared to all succulents. It is a resilient and charming plant loved by gardeners and succulent collectors for many years because it displays beautiful colors all year round.

The Topsy Turvy (Echeveria Runyonii) is possibly one of the most revered of all succulents. They are almost impossible to kill, so they’re very easy to care for. Follow the instructions below, and you’ll have a wonderful showy succulent, rewarding you with offsets and flowers. The Topsy Turvy Echeverias are perfect gifts for friends and family.

How to Grow Echeveria Runyonii

It is straightforward to grow the Topsy Turvy (Echeveria Runyonii). Make sure you grow this succulent with the right conditions, and it will need very little maintenance and attention.

1. Soil Requirements

This succulent requires quick-draining soil. It prefers alkaline soil pH>7.0. It is best to use sandy soil such as cacti or succulent potting mix if it is well-draining.

You can also use some grit such as Perlite or coarse sand as these provide good drainage. When planted in a pot, make sure it has draining holes.

2. Watering and Feeding

The Echeveria Runyonii has a low water requirement but needs to be sufficiently watered during the summer and spring. If grown outdoors, avoid watering during the winter.

This succulent is water-sensitive, so you need to use the soak and dry method of watering. The soil needs to dry out before watering thoroughly.

Make sure not to overwater this succulent as it may develop fungal diseases or root rotting.

When watering the Topsy Turvy, give it a good soak. Make sure water passes through the soil and out of the draining holes. Allow the succulents to absorb more water that sits on the draining tray before throwing the excess water.

Never allow water to get in the rosette because it will cause the plant to rot or develop a fungal disease. When overwatered, the leaves of this succulent will turn yellow.

Root rot can be the effect of overwatering and excessive fertilization. Root rot can also be caused by dry leaves. If you notice root rotting, immediately remove your plant from its pot.

Removing all the rotten and dead parts and repot your succulent in new soil.

The Topsy Turvy succulent plant is drought tolerant. While it likes to grow in full sun, its leaves will rot and dry up when it is overwatered in the summer.

Fertilize this succulent during spring with diluted succulent fertilizer. You can use 20-20-20 fertilizer dilutes its 1/4 strength. Use fertilizer with lesser amounts of nitrogen when your succulent is still young.

Fertilize your Topsy Turvy only when planted in low fertile soil. You can also add a flower plant fertilizer to help lengthen the succulent’s flowering period.

You can use 15-15-15 fertilizer or lower during summer (once a month) when light is high, and temperatures are dry. Do not fertilize during winter.

3. Light Requirement

Echeveria Runyonii ‘Topsy Turvy’ succulents require strong light to maintain their color and rosette form.

When grown outdoors, make sure it gets full to partial sun. It will thrive best at an eastern, western, or southern sun exposure.

When grown indoors, choose a spot where it can get full sun in the north and some light shade in the south. This succulent loves to be by a sunny window.

Occasionally turn the plant to make sure all its sides get sufficient sun.   It is, however, better to plant this succulent outdoor.

This succulent will stretch and lose its color if it does not get sufficient light. Its leaves will also be sparse, and it will grow thin and long stems.

Keep your Echeveria Runyonii away from the very hot sun during mid-summer. The sudden change in sunlight will stress the plant. Gradually move your plant indoors.

When grown outdoors, your Topsy Turvy succulent plants need about 6 hours of sunlight per day. This can be a combination of full to partial sunlight as long as it consistently gets 6 hours of sun.

When grown indoors, place the plant by a window where it can also get 6 hours of bright light per day. You may consider using a grow light if your succulent is not able to get enough light.

Whether outdoors or indoors, choose a spot where your Topsy Turvy will get sufficient morning and late afternoon sun.

They dislike getting the early and mid-afternoon direct sunlight, especially during summer.

Too much exposure to heat can harm the delicate leaves of this succulent so keep it in partial shade during heatwaves.

4. Temperature

The Topsy Turvy succulent plant prefers a warm climate. It has a USDA hardiness zone of 9b-11b. These areas have 250F (-3.90C) temperature.

The ideal temperatures for this succulent are 650F – 700F (180C – 210C). It is not cold hardy and will not survive hard frost, but it can tolerate cooler temperatures.

The leaves of this succulent can easily suffer from frostbite which will make them dry and rotten in a low-temperature environment. Should this happen, treat the leaves and branches.

Keep this succulent warm in winter. Transfer the plant to an area with a more controlled temperature, preferably above 50C so it will get sufficient sunlight and grow better.

If the temperature gets in the 90s, it is best to transfer your plant indoors to prevent damage to the plant. You should also transfer the plant indoors if temperatures get lower than 200F.

5. Propagation

You can propagate your Topsy Turvy succulent through leaf cuttings, stem cuttings, offsets, and seeds

• Propagating with Leaf Cuttings

Carefully cut a healthy leaf with a clean pair of scissors or knife from the mother’s succulent. Make sure to remove the entire leaf from the stem.

Wait a few days for the leaf to be callous (dry).

Plant the leaf in well-draining soil.

Water your new plant when you noticed the soil dries out.

• Propagating with Stem Cuttings

Cut about 2 1/2 to 5 cm of stem. The stem should come from the lowest leaves of the rosette. Use a sharp, clean knife or a pair of pruning shears.

Lay the stem in a dry, warm location where it can get plenty of indirect sunlight. Leave it there for about 4 days to allow the stem cutting to callous.

Plant the stem cutting in well-draining soil.

Propagating from Offsets

Wait for the main succulent to produce an offset. This may take several years.

Remove an offset from the mother succulent using a sharp knife.

Remove excess soil from the offset.

  Allow the offset to callous for a few days.

Plant the offset in well-draining soil.

Water your new plant when the soil dries out.

• Propagating using Seeds

This is the slowest method of propagating the Topsy Turvy succulent plant. It needs more attention and a lot of patience.

You can either buy seeds from a seed retailer or collect them from the flowers of your succulent.

  Decide where to grow your Topsy Turvy – outdoors or indoors. If you live in a cooler area, grow your succulent indoors.

  Plant the seeds in well-draining soil. You can also plant the seeds in a pot with drain holes.

How to Maintain Echeveria Runyonii

When planting your Topsy Turvy, choose a bigger container or pot than the root ball to ensure the soil does not remain damp. Make sure, too, the pot has drainage holes.

Repot your new Echeveria Runyonii before it starts to flower. Succeeding repotting can be done annually during spring. Use well-draining soil amended with sand to extend the lifespan of your succulents.

While the Topsy Turvy succulent plant can be grown indoors, it is best grown outdoors where it can get plenty of light per day. Indoor growing is possible if it can get tons of sunlight or if you opt to use indoor grow lights.

When exposed to too much sun, this succulent will wilt or turn yellow. This means they are sunburned. Remove the sunburned leaves and use the untouched leaves to propagate a new plant.

Since sunlight is limited during the cold months, the leaves may tend to fall outward the pot. You can prune the wilting leaves.

Mealybugs can infest your Topsy Turvy succulent plant. So will vine weevils and aphids. It is deer and rabbit resistant, though.

Watch out for these pests especially during the growing period of your succulent. These pests will make the succulents’ leaves rot and dry. They will also affect the normal growth of your succulents.

You can use a toothpick and remove the pests from the plant. You can also wash them out with clean water.

Spray the succulent with fungicide or the corresponding treatment for insects for disease control.

You can reduce pest infestations by always removing dead leaves from your plant. If hummingbirds frequent your garden, they can also help keep your succulents free from pests.

This succulent attracts hummingbirds. You can also apply fungicide when you repot your succulent to keep it pest-free.

You can repot this succulent if it has outgrown its original pot or when necessary. Repotting should be done during summer.

You should make sure to use dry soil and gently removed soil from the roots. Make sure to also remove all rotted and dead roots. Apply fungicide before transplanting your succulents.

Your Topsy Turvy succulent plant does not need any pruning except when it has become too high for a particular location.

To prune this succulent, cut out the top. A new side branch will develop after pruning to form a new plant.

You should also regularly remove any wilted flowers. Deadheading will help promote the growth of new flowers in your succulents.

Names and Origins: Echeveria Runyonii

The Topsy Turvy is native to Mexico. It is one of the many Echeveria genera in the Crassulaceae family. It is considered one of the beautiful and most popular succulents that need little maintenance.

It is commonly known as Topsy Turvy and Upside-Down Echeveria because its leaves look as if they are in an upside-down position.

It is also called Mexican Hens and Chicks because its new offsets grow around the mother succulent in a tight group.

This succulent is also sometimes called Silver Spoons Echeveria, Mexican Hens, Mexican Hens and Chicks, and Hens and Chicks,

Joseph Nelson Rose, an American botanist, 1935 described this succulent and named it after Robert Runyon, a Texan botanist, and photographer. Runyon collected this specimen from a Matamoros garden in Tamaulipas, Mexico in 1922.

Wild populations of the Echeveria Runyonii were not known until 1990. The staff of the Yucca Do Nursery discovered its existence.

Other Useful Facts on the Topsy Turvy

The Topsy Turvy (Echeveria Runyonii) is a small to medium-sized succulent. It has a waxy greyish-green color and comes with a thick frost-like layer on its surface. It has a beautiful V-shape with tips pointing to the center of the rosette making it ideal for indoor potting.

The Topsy Turvy is a fast-growing succulent.  As this succulent matures, it can grow to a height of up to 8 inches and a spread of 10 inches in diameter.

Blooming in spring and late summer, it produces yellow and orange star-shaped flowers above a long and arching inflorescence.

When grown outdoors,  it is ideal to use in borders, beds, ground covers, green roofs, and rock gardens. It’s also one of the best succulents to be used in terrariums and dish gardens.

Topsy Turvy This succulent mainly grows in spring and summer. It will stop growing in autumn and will be in a dormant state during the winter. In April and May, your Topsy Turvy succulent plant will transition from its growing period to dormancy.

The Topsy Turvy (Echeveria Runyonii) belongs to the Crassulaceae family; Subfamily: Sedoideae; Tribe: Sedeae; and Genus: Echeveria. It has a USDA Hardiness Zones: 9-11. 

Final Thoughts

This succulent is a winner of the Award of Garden Merit at the Royal Horticultural Show in the UK.

The Topsy Turvy (Echeveria Runyonii) is easy to grow and maintain. They do not need to be watered frequently. As with any succulents, it’s not really how much you water them –  it’s how often you do it. Grow them in well-draining soil and under ideal temperatures,

When grown indoors, they are safe to be around pets such as dogs and cats. While many opt to grow this succulent indoors, they are best grown outdoors.

The Echeveria Runyonii is one of the most colorful and beautiful Echeveria succulents.

Give it ideal growing conditions, and you will be able to enjoy your Topsy Turvy succulent plant for a long, long time.

Jenny Marie
Tribal Writer

Edited By
Patricia Godwin

Patricia Godwin

Patricia has many years of experience as a content writer on various subjects, but her first love is gardening. She’s never met a plant she didn’t like and, consequently, she writes about every type of plant you can think of. Once an avid gardener with a herb garden, a succulent rockery, and a rose garden – to mention a few. Nowadays, she’s constantly on the move searching for interesting plants to bring to your attention; and explain to you all the details you need to grow, care and maintain these plants.

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