Pachyphytum is a small genus of succulents native to the high-altitude regions of Mexico. The plant is a member of the Crassulaceae family meaning its closely related to kalanchoe and jade plants.
While there are many varieties of Pachyphytum, the plants can be broadly identified by their fleshy tubular leaves that form loose rosettes. Many varieties also have a powdery coat coating known as farina, which gives them their light pastel coloration.
The plants are among the most aesthetically pleasing succulents out there and make for amazing home décor. as delicate as they look, they’re also super easy to care for.
Caring for a Pachyphytum
To grow this plant successfully and experience its full beauty there are a few things you should know.
Pachyphytum prefers the heat over cold and is best suited to being grown in USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b. the ideal temperature for these plants being 30 F. – 50 F.
One thing to keep in mind about this specie of succulent is that it is not cold hardy. Exposure to frosty conditions over an extended period will kill your Pachyphytum.
It is best to grow these plants in containers so that you can bring them inside as temperatures begin to fall. If you live in an area with mild winters this may not be necessary.
Pachyphytum is light-loving plants tolerant of intense sunlight. If you’re keeping them outside, choose a spot that gets full sun all year round. If you live in a region with scorching summers and intense afternoon heat, a partly sunny spot will do this plant well.
When kept indoors locate your plant to a room that receives a sufficient amount of natural light each day. A spot near a south-facing window would be ideal. A Pachyphytum that doesn’t get enough sunlight will have faded leaves and elongated stems, which would ruin its aesthetic appeal.
If your home or office space is dimly lit consider purchasing a grow light.
As a succulent Pachyphytum requires minimal watering. One thing to keep in mind is that Underwatering these plants is not an issue, overwatering them is.
These plants are designed to withstand a hot and dry climate with minimal rainfall. They store water in their fleshy leaves which they use to get by through most of the year. Their roots, on the other hand, are not the best at handling excessively wet soil. Overwatering your Pachyphytum will cause its roots to rot and will end up killing the plant.
The best watering technique for most succulents is the “soak and dry method”. This involves letting the soil completely dry between watering sessions. This can range anywhere between 2 weeks to a month, depending on the climate you growing them in, as well as the time of year. The best way to gauge your succulent’s water needs is to check the top inch of soil for moisture.
Don’t forget to Water this plant more during the winter. Unlike most succulents, Pachyphytum is winter active.
Using the right kind of soil and watering in moderation go hand in hand when growing a succulent successfully.
A healthy Pachyphytum plant requires a well-draining succulent mix. There are loads of different cactus/ succulent mixes available to purchase online so finding the right kind shouldn’t be difficult. Without a succulent potting mix, excess water will store up near the plant’s roots and result in rot.
You can also make your succulent mix using coarse sand and regular potting soil as well as a good drainage material such as perlite or pumice.
While not a necessity, you can supplement your Pachyphytums nutritional needs with diluted low nitrogen fertile once a month during the plant’s growth phase.
Pests and Disease
Besides root rot as a result of overwatering, Sempervivum is a plant resistant to most diseases. As for pests, the most commonly known to bother these succulents are Mealybugs.
Mealybugs are hard to spot on a succulent because they love hiding in any small crevice they can find. Left untreated they can eat away at your plant and eventually kill it. A sign that your plant is infected can include misshaped new growth and a white cotton substance between the leaves and stem which the bugs are known to produce. Fortunately, you can easily rid your succulent off these pests through some simple organic methods.
The first method involves spraying the plant with 70% isopropyl alcohol. You don’t have to worry about this causing har to your plant. alcohol evaporates fast and isn’t going to stay long enough to burn any leaves.
The second method you can opt for is using diluted neem oil. Neem oil is an effective solution to killing a wide range of plant pests. it’s also known to messes with the bugs’ hormones, preventing it from reproducing and causing further damage to your plant.
The simplest way to propagate these succulents is using a leaf cutting.
Just follow the steps given below.
- Start by gently twisting a leaf from your succulents’ stem. The pull should be clean as a damaged leaf may not propagate successfully.
- Leave the leaf out to dry. This should only take 2-3 days.
- Place the dried leaf in a pot of well-draining succulent soil mix. Mist the loaf with water and let it take root. After a few weeks, you should observe new growth.
Signs to watch out for
1. Soft or wrinkly leaves
Pachyphytum should be firm and fleshy. Soft leaves reassign you’re underwatering the plant. To fix this, just water the plant and it should perk up within a few days.
2. Yellow mushy leaves
This is a sign that you’re overwatering the plant. Overwatered succulents are hard to treat. The best thing you can do is cut back on watering and pluck off any rotten leaves. If the soil remains wet for too long move the plant to a new pot with dry well-draining succulent soil mix.