19 November 2019

Mexican Snowballs

I wish I had taken a photo or two of my first non-aloe succulent. I received it as a gift maybe four or five years ago in a tiny little pot. The Echeveria elegans was less than an inch tall and less than an inch wide. I didn't know how to care for it. (It's super easy. Just a few drops of water every three days or so.) I didn't even really expect it to survive because it was so tiny.

It soaked up the natural sunlight in my living room and outgrew its pot the next year. I'd never transplanted a succulent, not even an aloe. (Now I have!) I put it in a four-inch pot, even though it was still very small. I'd read it would grow into its pot. And that it did! It eventually grew over the side and was leaning over the side of the pot as if to swing its legs or reach for a drink of water.

One dreary day while scooping bird seed for the feeder from the oversized bag I keep below the end table where the succulent was thriving, my hair got caught in the rosette, and when I stood up, the pot literally jumped to the floor while the succulent clung to my hair. I always feed the birds, mostly house finches, during winter when the ground is blanketed with snow so they have something to eat.

I thought the plant was a goner. The pot shattered. The roots and soil fertilized my living room floor. The succulent, which I didn't even know the name of at the time, was in at least six pieces.

After cleaning up my mess, shedding a few tears because I thought the plant was dead for sure, I did some research and learned each of those pieces could be planted. I quickly rushed to the nearest home improvement center (because it was winter and no one else would have pots in stock) for a new terracotta pot. I planted four of the sections in a new 4-inch pot, and I planted some of the leaves in two tiny little two-inch terracotta pots.

I'm from New Mexico, and I'm addicted to snowflakes. How could I not love the common name for the Echeveria elegans... Mexican snowballs!

Not everything survived. The main plant went to town. New tiny little rosettes were appearing from each wound where a leaf had detached. Two of the leaves had taken off.

Since that time, several leaves have fallen off, and I've snuggled them up in the soil, too.

I'm not quite brave enough yet to break off all the new rosettes and start new plants in new pots, but that day is coming. Right now, I'm enjoying my little succulent nursery! And it's no longer kept where my hair might snare!


  1. Ah, so sweet. Look at these tiny ones. :-)

  2. So beautiful! I love that you got sentimental with a plant, as I am the same way. Life is life and it should be valued.

  3. Great that you were able to save and allow even more to grow. Sure have their own glow.


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