A very popular succulent, Echeveria pulvinata or the Chenille plant, comes from the Crassula plant family, in the Echeveria genus, famous for succulent, evergreen rosettes.
Echeveria pulvinata is a lovely plant which is covered in silvery hairs from leaf to stem, and this curious characteristic has given the plant the common name chenille plant.
Here’s everything you need to know about the chenille plant, including how to recognize it, how to care for it, and how to propagate it.
At a Glance: What You Should Know about the Chenille Plant
You can recognize a chenille plant not only for its silvery down covering the plant, but there are other characteristics, too.
The leaves are oblong, and depending on the variety, the hair may be nearly unnoticeable, or it may be a thick coating.
These hairs, while greatly ornamental, are actually functional. They stop too much water from evaporating from the leaves, which is especially important in its native Mexico, growing where the water is scarce.
This rosette succulent can reach 30cm tall, producing offsets readily, usually growing wider than taller. But given time, the growth will sprawl outward.
It’s not a look that everyone likes, as some prefer echeverias that stay close to the ground, but it does look striking.
The chenille plant is also capable of flowering. Once the plant matures, it can produce bell-shaped flowers in warm shades of yellow and orange in the winter months.
The first sign of flowering is a stalk which can reach a foot tall, towering above the rest of the plant. If the light levels are a little low, this flower spike may bend or grow towards the light.
There are many varieties to choose from, some of which are tinted with pink or purple, and some of which remain a deep, rich green, except in higher light levels.
How to Ensure an Echeveria Pulvinata Thrives
Like a lot of succulents, the chenille plant is easy to look after. It’s fairly undemanding, and as long as you get the watering and sunlight needs right, it should thrive for years to come.
Sunlight and Position
The chenille plant can live in partial shade, but it really requires full sunlight in order to thrive, especially if you are keeping it as an indoor plant.
Too low light levels will result in leggy growth, and misshapen foliage, and washed out leaves (see also Plants For Windowless Rooms). Brighter light will ensure regular growth, and red tints on the leaves
If you live somewhere warm where you can grow your Chenille plant outside year-round, you will need to protect it from fierce sunlight, as the leaves can burn.
A Chenille plant doesn’t need high humidity, and in fact, it does better with drier air, which makes it the perfect houseplant. You will need to keep it out of drafts, as it cannot stand cold temperatures.
When to Water an Echeveria Pulvinata
As a succulent, Echeveria pulvinata stores its water reserves in its leaves, and they can go for extended periods of time without any water at all.
As a result, you don’t need to water this plant very much. In fact, it’s better if you only water it when the soil has completely dried out, as this prevents the risk of root rot and plant death.
It’s the perfect plant if you are busy, forgetful, or if you travel a lot. Avoid letting any water touch the leaves, as the fine hairs trap moisture, and it can lead to the foliage rotting.
Well-draining and porous soil will help the Chenille plant thrive. Mixing grit into nutrient-poor sandy soil or a commercial potting mix for succulents and cacti will help improve the root system of the plant.
Should You Feed a Chenille Plant?
It’s not necessary to feed a Chenille plant, but it does benefit from once or twice in the growing season.
Use a specially formulated cacti and succulent fertilizer in a very weak strength, and make sure to water the plant afterwards to prevent any root burn.
How to Repot an Echeveria Pulvinata
You won’t need to repot a Chenille plant very often, only when it has become root-bound, or the top growth is substantially bigger than the size of the pot.
Wait until the soil is completely dry, and gently ease the plant out of the pot. Prepare the new pot with fresh soil and grit, and place the plant into the new pot, being careful not to disturb the roots too much.
How to Propagate an Echeveria Pulvinata
One of the easiest succulent plants to propagate, you can use either stem cuttings or leaf cuttings to make new Chenille plants.
Stem cuttings generally have a better success rate than leaf cuttings, but whichever you decide, take a few cuttings, as some may not root.
Choose a healthy stem on the plant, and take a cutting a few inches long. Remove the lower leaves to encourage the cutting to put its energy into forming roots, and let the open wound form a callus.
Grab a small pot, preferably a clay container, and fill it with a mixture of grit and succulent-appropriate soil. Put the cuttings into the mix, avoiding watering it until about two weeks later.