Common Echeveria Black Prince Problems & How To Fix Them

The dark chocolate colour and chubby leaves arranged just like a flower make Echeveria Black Prince a very desirable succulent. While succulents have a reputation for being easy to look after, and this is usually true, some are a little more difficult and need just that bit of extra TLC to stay beautiful. Echeveria Black Prince is one of these succulents, but fortunately, there is an easy fix.

The most common problems with Echeveria Black Prince are

  • Leaves growing warts
  • Black spots on leaves
  • Leaves turning mushy
  • Deformed leaves
  • Colour loss from dark chocolate to green
  • Stretched leaves
  • Leggy growth

Although this seems like rather a long list, just a few changes can address all of these issues.

Leaves Growing Warts, Black or Brown Spots & Leaves Turning Mushy

Echeveria Black Prince is susceptible to these problems, and they all stem from too much water and humidity. Warts tend to appear after days of rain that are accompanied by high humidity. A few rainy days here or there should not affect this plant but more than three or so days of consecutive rain without a chance for the plant to dry out properly before another rainy spell hits will. If lots of rain is forecast, the Black Prince should be moved under cover where the roots can stay dry

The spots here have appeared because we left this plant out in the rain during heavy downpours over 2 weeks. After bringing it in the greenhouse and spraying with a fungicide, the spots have now stopped appearing on the new growth and the plant will eventually grow out of them.

The black or brown spots are usually a result of a fungal disease. Spraying your plants with a fungicide after rain can help curb their appearance.

Mushy leaves can be a result of too much water, but also, sometimes, burns during heatwaves. To prevent mushy leaves, make sure that the potting mix is well-draining and that the plant is protected from too much rain but also from strong sun of over 35C (95F).

For some weird reason, plants in the ground are much less susceptible to these problems than plants growing in pots.

Deformed Leaves

Deformed leaves on Echeveria Black Prince (or other succulents for that matter) are usually caused by pests. Unfortunately, the Black Prince is very susceptible to Mealybugs and aphids. These little pests feed on the leaves and make tiny marks that, as the leaves grow, cause oddly shaped leaves.

This Black Prince has been attacked by mealybugs and they are the reason for the deformed leaves.

Mealybugs can be squashed if there are only a couple present or sprayed with 70% isopropyl alcohol solution if there is an outbreak. For Aphids, pyrethrum based sprays work best. The plants will need to be checked on a regular basis as these pests are very persistent and can be hard to spot at first.

Colour Loss, Stretched Leaves and Leggy Growth

These are also caused by one common factor- lack of direct sun exposure. The great majority of Echeverias will need over 5 hours of direct sun and are not very good indoor plants. In fact, we would not recommend growing any Echeveria indoors, unless overwintering during snow and frosts or if its in a sunroom or behind an extra-large window getting over 5 hours of sun. Echeverias also prefer an airy spot, which may prove difficult to find indoors.

This is what Echeveria Black Prince can look like if it gets enough direct sun light.

The best spot for this slightly sensitive plant would be on a sunny, covered patio or in a greenhouse. Outdoors in the open is fine too, but it should be brought under cover when weeks of rain are forecast.

Colour loss may also happen when the plant is in its growing stage and during the summer months. This is natural and not much can be done about it. Echeveria Black Prince has the best colour in the cooler months, exposed to direct sun.

Now let's have a closer look at this plant & how to best care for it.

Description

Echeveria Black Prince is a succulent plant growing to approximately 15-20cms across in the right conditions. The rosettes are quite low growing (5-10cms height) and form small clumps.

The leaves are pointy and shiny. Their colour can range from green, light brown to dark chocolate. The centre of the rosette is often green, with the leaves maturing to dark brown/chocolate. During winter or if the plant is stressed by lack of water or being rootbound, the whole rosette, including the centre, can turn dark chocolate/ almost black.

The reason for this amazing dark chocolate colour is a combination of factors. It is winter (the colours are always better when cold), it hasn't rained for a while (we haven't watered either) and the plants have been left rootbound. Once they are re-potted into a larger pot, they are likely to grow green in the centre.

Offsets or chicks appear at the base of the mother plant and will grow on to produce chicks of their own, in time.

Echeveria Black Prince has fantastic blooms every spring-summer. Red flowers will appear on long stalks and last for a couple of weeks.

Position & Care

As mentioned above, Echeveria Black Prince can be a little more sensitive to rain and therefore susceptible to dark fungus spots, warts and rotting leaves. It may be best to keep this plant undercover outdoors, but in a spot that will receive direct sun for over 5 hours. Alternatively, the Black Prince can be brought under cover if a rainy spell is expected.

Echeveria Black Prince is not frost-tolerant and therefore should be grown in pots in climates with harsh winters to be able to bring it inside. This plant will tolerate low temperatures to 1C (33.8F), but once that goes below the freezing point, the plant will slowly start freezing (because of the high water content) and eventually die.

If you’re lucky enough to live in a country with mild winters, the Black Prince can be grown in the garden too.

A good quality succulent potting mix should be used in pots as this can make a real difference to how the Black Prince will cope with rain. Well, draining and light potting mix will allow water to flow faster, not clogging the roots with water and allow them to breathe better.

The best way to water the Black Prince is to wait until the potting mix has dried up between waterings. Do not mist this plant. It will not do it any favours. The water needs to get to the roots, and so a good soak is the best way. As long as you wait for the potting mix to dry, you won't need to be worried about how much water to administer. To make sure the plant gets enough, more water is generally better. We sometimes give our plants a good, deep soak of about a litre per pot, especially during droughts and heatwaves.

Another thing we touched upon above is the sun in summer. Black Prince can suffer burns if exposed to direct sun on particularly hot days. Our solution is to pitch a 30% shade-cloth over our plants during the worst of summer. Here in Australia, we often get temperatures well over 40C (104F) which can burn a kill a lot of plants. A slightly more straight forward solution would be to move plants in a spot where they only get morning sun and shade in the afternoon for the duration of the heatwave.

Propagation

Echeveria Black Prince can be propagated by cuttings, leaves and seed.

The easiest way is by cuttings, though you will have to wait for chicks to appear and grow big enough that they have a stalk that can be cut off. The cuttings will need to be left to dry out for a day. They should then be planted in a succulent potting mix and placed in a spot with some morning sun and afternoon shade or under 30% shade-cloth. Best time to do any propagating is spring after the danger of frosts has passed.

Echeveria Black Prince is also extremely easy to propagate by leaves and has a very good success rate. The leaves will need to be taken off the plant and then left in a dry and bright spot until tiny plants and roots start emerging. Once this happens, they can be transferred into a small pot. The trick with leaf propagation is to take the leaves clean off the stalk, without breaking them or leaving bits on the stalk. It is always easier to start at the bottom of the plant. The first leaf may prove hard to take off without breaking it, but once there is a gap, it should be slightly easier to gently pull to the side and dislodge. The new plants should start emerging in about a month.

We wouldn’t recommend propagating from seed as this takes a long time and can be unreliable with low germination rates. But it is possible.

Pests

There is a bit of list here as Echeveria Blue Prince seems to be tasty to a range of animals.

The above-mentioned mealybugs and aphids, snails, slugs, caterpillars and grasshoppers all seem to like this Echeveria.

Larger animals can have a go too. Animals like possums or deer have the ability to raze this plant to the ground.

Toxicity

There is no reported toxicity for Echeveria Black Prince for either humans, dogs, cats or other pets. We do not, however, recommend eating this plant.

Where Can I Get It?

Echeveria Black Prince is quite a widespread plant, and it is not unusual to find it in garden centres or plant nurseries. Online nurseries, Amazon & eBay are very likely to stock these plants as well.

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