Brown spots on echeveria

I bought an Echeveria 'Ruby' at my local grocery store. It was blooming when I got it but the blooms dried up quickly and have not returned. Now the leaves have acquired a number of brown spots and some of the lower leaves are turning yellowish and falling off.

Do you know what kind of Echeveria this is? I have it sitting on the window sill, so it gets some direct sunlight. I water the plant once a week. Is that too much? Too little for this plant?

Drought Smart Plants reply:

Echeveria pulvinata 'Ruby' is one of the Echeveria hybrids with velvety leaves, with tiny hairs coating every surface.

The brown spots you are seeing could possibly be a result of using cold water, or water that has been run through a water softening unit. I recommend using rain water, as this doesn't have any chemical or mineral residue that can mark the foliage of this type of succulent plant.

As the damage appears to be on the older growth, I suspect that some of it is caused by rough handling from the supplier or in transit. The new growth is free from the spots, so whatever you're doing is the right thing.

The flowering cycle is only once a year, and unfortunately, the conditions that the plant may have been in can make the flowers dry up and fall off - not to worry, next year it will bloom again.

Cold temperatures, fluctuating temperatures, low light levels and certain other factors can make these plants drop leaves to try and survive. If there are long periods of time when the plant is too wet, they will lose leaves too, and generally, they will rot in the roots and lower stem.

It sounds as though you have it in the right conditions as long as it doesn't bake in the hot sun, or get too cold at night right against the window.

In the winter, generally, they will go dormant and not require watering at all - sometimes for as long as several months. See the page on how to grow Echeveria for more information.

See also this page on Daves Garden website to see more.

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