Echeveria Topsy Turvy Dying? The Top 4 reasons & Fixes

Echeveria Runyonii ‘Topsy Turvy’ is an intriguing succulent with warped leaves that curl inwards and then up. It is also quite a hardy plant if you follow a few rules.

The main reasons Echeveria Topsy Turvy may start dying are:

1. Growing Indoors

2. Too Much Sun Exposure During Severe Heatwaves

3. Not Enough Water

4. Being Root-bound

In this article, we will have a look at all the above reasons and how to fix a dying Echeveria Topsy Turvy in each scenario. We will also cover how to care for and propagate this pretty succulent.

1. Growing Echeveria Topsy Turvy Indoors

This is likely to be one of the main reasons for Topsy Turvy to start dying. It is very hard to sustain this succulent indoors as it is a sun-loving plant and needs a decent daily dose of direct sun (4+ hours followed by bright light) to grow compact and pretty. Most succulents, including the Topsy Turvy, will also struggle with the humidity indoors and lack of fresh air.

There are only a couple of scenarios where Echeveria Topsy Turvy can be grown indoors. You will need either a bright sunroom, a giant sunny window in a super bright room or good quality plant growing lights. Otherwise, the plant is very likely to stretch/ grow leggy and eventually die after a month or two.

Echeveria Topsy Turvy is best kept outdoors with some sun exposure. We understand that it is not always possible to keep this plant outside, especially in climates with regular frosts/snow in winter. Topsy Turvy is not frost tolerant and so will need somewhere to overwinter. In most scenarios, the plant should survive the duration of winter indoors, though it should be placed on the brightest window or basic growing lights can be purchased to help it along.

When an Echeveria Topsy Turvy starts dying indoors, it should still be possible to revive it by slowly reintroducing it to the sun. The plant could get a shock and suffer burns if it is suddenly exposed to sunlight after being in the shade for too long (much like people would burn their skin in the sun after winter). Morning sun is quite mild and so the plant can be placed in a spot that gets a couple of hours of morning sun and then bright shade. Eventually the plant will be able to take more and more sun. If the Topsy Turvy has stretched too much and it looks leggy/ tall the top may need to be cut off and re-introduced to the sun in a new pot. Roots will form in approximately a month and the growth will correct itself. The good news here is that where the top part of the rosette is cut off, new offsets will appear.

2. Too Much Sun Exposure During Severe Heatwaves

Although Echeveria Topsy Turvy is a sun loving succulent, strong sun on extremely hot days can burn the foliage. In most circumstances this succulent should be ok exposed to the sun, but sun during heatwaves where temperatures climb over 35C (95F) may damage the leaves. If a plant is in a black pot it will heat up to much more than 35C. This may cook the plant alive and kill them.

At our nursery west of Sydney in Australia, temperatures often pass the 40C (104F) mark in summer at which point most plants (and other live things) suffer if exposed to direct sun. Direct sun is often much hotter than forecast temperatures as weather forecasts indicate what temperature is like in the shade, not full sun. Every now and then we even have a 45C (113F) and it is extremely hard to be outside for prolonged times. But with a help of a shade-cloth (30%) our plants always make it through the summer. Echeveria Topsy Turvy is a survivor and always gets through our difficult summers. If you do not have a shade-cloth moving plants to a sheltered position (under a tree or covered verandah) for the duration of the heatwave will do the trick.

3. Not Enough Water

This may be the opposite of what the majority of people would expect, but in our experience Echeveria Topsy Turvy does not seem to mind water and flurishes more when watered regularly. This, of course does not apply when the plant is kept indoors as the water does not evaporate as fast as when grown out in the sun.

We have also never seen Topsy Turvy suffer from fungal disease or rot if watered too much/left out in the rain (all our Topsy Turvys are left in the open during rainy spells).

When not watered enough, especially during a hot and dry summer Topsy Turvy will start loosing bottom leaves. Although it takes a lot of effort to completely kill this succulent by not watering enough, it can happen during droughts and heatwaves.

If you notice your Topsy Turvy slowly getting crispy with bottom leaves drying out, give it a good old drink. Even plants that have shrivelled quite significantly because of lack of water can be saved.

4. Root-bound Plants

Plants become root-bound when their roots reach all the way to the bottom of a pot and start growing so tightly it almost seems like all the potting mix has disappeared and roots have taken its place.

While many succulents are purposefully grown like this to become more colourful and plump, they need a bit of extra TLC to maintain their looks. Also some plants cope better than others.

When Echeveria Topsy Turvy is rootbound the bottom leaves will start shrivelling and dying off. The remaining rosette will grow tight and the leaves will become thick. If the plant is exposed to any extremes like hot sun and is not watered regularly it may completely dry out and die.

The Topsy Turvy has a potential to grow to approximately 20cms in diameter and if in big enough pot, it will also produce lots of offsets and blooms in the flowering seasons. Rootbound plants tend to save energy by not producing many offsets and by growing small and slow.

With this particular succulent we would recommend not to leave it root-bound during hot and dry months and upgrade the pot once or twice a year. There is not need to panic though, Echeveria Topsy Turvy will deal with being in the same pot for quite some time, but when the bottom leaves start drying and dropping off, it may be time for a bigger home.

How To Care For Echeveria Topsy Turvy

Topsy Turvy is quite a hardy Echeveria and if you live in a climate with no frosts, it will make a fabulous garden succulent. It can otherwise be grown in pots on its own or as a part of an arrangement with other succulents that like the same conditions.

This Echeveria should be kept in a spot with at least morning sun. As mentioned above, full sun is fine but beware of burns during extreme heatwaves.

The plant can be watered when the potting mix has dried out, though it will cope with no water at all for far longer (how long depends on the seasons and temperature etc.)

It is best to use good quality potting mix. In climates with regular rain, add a good helping of perlite to the mix for extra drainage.

Propagation

By far the easiest way to propagate Echeveria Topsy Turvy is to wait for offsets (aka pups or chicks) to appear. This plant is very prolific in good conditions and more mature plants can produce well over 10 pups every year.

Topsy Turvy can also be propagated via leaves, though it may prove difficult to take a leaf off clean and not breaking it. When pro

Seed propagation is also possible but can be very unreliable and takes a long time.

Pests

Unfortunately lots of pests can attack the Topsy Turvy. Mealy Bugs are not uncommon and Aphids usually appear when the plant starts flowering, first attacking the flower stalks and then the plant.

Snails, slugs, caterpillars and grasshoppers can also take a bite as well as larger pests such as possums or deer.

Toxicity

Echeveria Topsy Turvy, like the majority of Echeverias, is reported not to be toxic to humans, cats, dogs or other pets. We do not recommend to eat this plant, though.

Where Can I Get It?

Topsy Turvy is quite widespread and should be a common plant in nurseries specialising in succulents. Online nurseries usually stock this plant also. If you’re in Australia our nursery sells Echeveria Topsy Turvy  online.