Echeveria Perle Von Nurnberg is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful Echeverias out there. The purple- pink colour and rosette leaf arrangement are incredibly attractive. But how do you maintain that purple and should you be concerned when the leaves start loosing it and turn green? This article can also be applied to Perle Von Nurnberg’s hybrid the Purple Pearl.
Echeveria Perle Von Nurnberg (PVN) can loose its purple colour and grow more green for a variety of reasons. It may be due to watering, lack of sun, recent re-potting into a bigger pot, weather and seasons. Let’s have a closer look at each of these.
To water or not to water. That is the burning question on every succulent lover’s mind. The advice can be confusing. Over the many years I have been growing succulents, I’ve heard and read a lot of conflicting advice. It also doesn’t help that many succulents have different watering requirement. While some stay beautiful and healthy on hardly any water, others can shrivel up an die.
The PVN is somewhere in the middle on this. It is a pretty hardy succulent that will withstand a drought, but if planted in a pot (especially a dark coloured pot) , it will need to be watered quite regularly during hot summers. The best rule is to let the potting mix dry out before watering again. During a hot and dry summer the plant may need watering every 2nd or 3rd day (make sure you have a premium succulent potting mix). This is also good because your potting mix will not turn hydrophobic from being too dry. Hydrophobic potting mix will repel water and although it will seem like the water seeps in, it is in fact just running out of the drainage hole not doing anything for the plant. This may cause excessive shrivelling and even death. In the garden, the plants are a lot more hardy and can last long periods without water in summer. At the end of autumn, throughout winter PVN will not need to be watered so often. Once every other week will do. If its shrivelling, maybe a bit more.
If there is, however, excess water and the potting mix is constantly wet, it may cause the plant to grow a bit faster and loose its colour. We usually see this after rain. Our plants are grown outdoors and so when it rains for a few consecutive days/ weeks the Perle Von Nurnberg can turn green with the extra growth caused by rain and also lack of sun due to clouds. You can mitigate this by putting your PVN under cover. This may also be a good idea because heavy rain for extended periods can cause fungal disease in you PVNs and even rot. With good, well draining succulent potting mix, the plants will live through lots of rain though.
Just like the majority of colourful, sun loving succulents Echeveria Perle Von Nurnberg will loose its purples to green if it is not receiving enough sun. Also PVNs are not suitable for growing indoors unless you have a particularly sunny sun room, live in a glass box or have growing lights and even then you may have trouble maintaining the colour and shape. There are succulents that can be grown indoors without exposure to sun (Sanseverias, some Haworthias, some Gasterias etc.) but the majority of succulents are likely to eventually die indoors.
In climates where the summer temperatures are unlikely to go over 35C, PVN’s can be left out in full sun for best colour. The minimum exposure to sun for these plants is about 7-8 hours every day. Less than that can lead to leaves going green.
It can be a tough balancing act to find the right spot for your PVN if you live in a country prone to very hot summers and droughts. Our nursery is in NSW Australia and this December and January alone we had several days well over 40 C (104 F) which would cause extensive burns to lots of succulents exposed to direct sun all day long. Our solution to this was to install a retractable 30% shadecloth that is pulled over our potted succulents on days where temperatures go north of 35C (95F). The shadecloth also eliminates some of the harmful UV rays. We choose 30% as it seems to be just enough shade to prevent burns but not enough to cause colour loss. For domestic purposes an umbrella can be pitched over your succulents on very hot, sunny days or a shadecloth put over some kind of posts (star pickets are most reliable). Alternatively, pot plants can be brought in shaded areas (under a tree, verandah) but if left there too long they can loose colour.
This applies to a lot of succulents as well as Perle Von Nurnberg. During the growing season (spring, summer) and when re-potted into a bigger pot succulents are likely to do 2 things. 1 grow paler and less colourful (giving way to green) for a while and also stretch out a bit as they grow larger, becoming less compact. Once the roots reach the size of the pot the plants will then transition to more compact and colourful state. This is natural and not much can be done about it other than not re-potting your PVN’s very often. We usually upgrade pots just a tad. For instance, small plants in a 5cm (2inch) pot will be first upgraded to a 7cm (2.8inch) pot, then 10cm (4inch) etc. This ensures the plant stays fairly colourful during growth, though sometimes they will grow greener, especially in Spring.
PVNs can certainly be left in a small pot for a long time to get compact and colourful plant, but they may not grow much.
Weather can also have an impact on your Perle Von Nurnberg’s colour. If the forecast is for overcast weather for a week or to with no sun at all, this may result in more green leaves.
Also if it gets unseasonally cold in spring or summer you may see pink and purple increase. Please take into account that PVNs are not frost hardy and should be kept under cover/ frost cloth when frost is expected.
In our opinion and experience the seasons are by far the greatest influencers of colour intensity. The colours are at their most vibrant when it starts getting cooler in autumn and throughout winter (given the plant is also exposed to enough sun). Perle Von Nurnberg is likely to develop some amazing purple and pink colour in the cold months.
Unfortunately it is also likely to loose that colour intensity in the warmer months. Fortunately PVN is one of those amazing succulents that hold at least some of their colour for the majority of year if they have enough sun. Some succulents such as Echeveria Violet Queen completely loose the pinky-violet colour for most of the warm season and absolutely nothing can be done about it.
Sometimes plants can change colour for no obvious reason. We can have a tray of PVNs growing in the same location, same amount of sun and water and there can be slightly different colour in each of them. We cannot put our finger on the reason why other than plants doing weird, plant things.
If you’d like to learn a little bit more about Echeveria Perle Von Nurnberg read on 🙂
Perle Von Nurnberg is a hybrid succulent with large leaves that can range in colour from silvery to purple to pink. The leaves are pointy at the end and arranged into a symmetrical rosette shape.
In good conditions the plant can grow to over 15cms in diameter when mature. The rosette is usually solitary, although it can produce an offset or two every now and again.
Purplish flowers appear in spring/summer on a tall stalk over the main rosette.
PVN can be propagated by leaf or cuttings. In our experience it is one of the easiest to propagate by leaf and has a very high success rate. It is important the leaves are intact and kept in a bright but shaded, dry spot. New plantlets and roots should appear in about a month in the growing season.
To propagate by cuttings, cut the main rosette with a clean knife but leave a few leaves below as this way you will get new rosettes growing from the stalk. Leave the cutting for a day so the wound dries and plant in succulent potting mix or seed raising mix. Roots should appear in 2-3 weeks.
We have never tried this, but have found evidence that PVN can be also propagated from seed. This may prove difficult and seed grown succulents take a long time to become full size, but it should be a relatively inexpensive experiment as seeds can be bought for a fraction of the price of a rooted plant.
It is important that propagation is done in the growing season. The best time is mid-late spring when the plant is eager to grow.
As mentioned above Echeveria Perle Von Nurnberg needs quite a bit of direct sun exposure to maintain those pretty colours. Take extra care when temperatures are forecast to rise above 35C (95F) as the plant, especially younger ones, and plants in pots can have their foliage burnt.
Water when the potting mix dries out in the warmer months, every 2-3 in winter or when the plant starts shrivelling.
PVN is well suited to grow in pots as well as the garden. If planted in the garden it shouldn’t be in a spot that floods and has stagnant water after rain.
There are numerous pests that can attack the PVN. Mealy bugs and Aphids are both big fans so watch out for white, cottony bits in-between the leaves (Mealies), little black/green bugs (Aphids) mainly in the centre or on flower stalks.
Slugs, grasshoppers, deer and possums can also munch on this plant.
Perle Von Nurnberg is said not be toxic to pets or humans and there are no reported cases of it causing any issues.
If you’re in Australia our nursery sells PVN online. They should also be quite easy to come by in Garden Centres, Nurseries or online all around the world.