Topsy Turvy Echeveria Care: How To Grow A Topsy Turvy Plant

Topsy Turvy Echeveria Care: How To Grow A Topsy Turvy Plant

By: Mary Ellen Ellis

Succulents are varied and come in a lot of different shapes and colors. What they all have in common are the fleshy leaves and the need for a dry, warm environment. A Topsy Turvy plant is a stunning type of echeveria, one large group of succulents, that is easy to grow and adds visual interest to desert beds and indoor containers.

About Topsy Turvy Succulents

The Topsy Turvy plant is a cultivar of Echeveria runyonii that has won awards and is simple to grow, even for beginner gardeners. Topsy Turvy forms rosettes of leaves that grow up to between 8 and 12 inches (20 and 30 cm.) in height and width.

The leaves are a silvery green color, and they grow with a lengthwise fold that brings the edges downward. In the other direction, the leaves curl upward and toward the center of the rosette. In summer or fall, the plant will bloom, producing delicate orange and yellow flowers on a tall inflorescence.

Like other types of echeveria, Topsy Turvy is a great choice for rock gardens, borders, and containers. It grows outdoors only in very warm climates, generally zones 9 through 11. In colder climates, you can grow this plant in a container and either keep it indoors or move it outside in warmer months.

Topsy Turvy Echeveria Care

Growing a Topsy Turvy Echeveria is pretty straightforward and easy. With the right start and conditions, it will need very little attention or maintenance. Partial to full sun, and soil that is coarse or sandy and that drains very well are essential.

Once you have your Topsy Turvy in the ground or a container, water it whenever the soil dries out completely, which won’t be that often. This is only necessary during the growing season. In the winter, you can water it even less.

The bottom leaves will die and brown as Topsy Turvy grows, so just pull these off to keep the plant healthy and attractive. There are not many diseases that attack echeveria, so the most important thing to watch out for is moisture. This is a desert plant that needs to stay mostly dry with only occasional watering.

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Echeveria runyonii 'Topsy Turvy'

Topsy Turvy Echeveria flowers

Topsy Turvy Echeveria flowers

Other Names: Hens and Chicks

This variety is very drought tolerant, producing rosettes of spoon shaped foliage that is blue-gray with silver highlights distinctive yellow and orange flowers on tall bracts in late summer or early fall ideal for containers indoors or out

Topsy Turvy Echeveria features unusual bracted orange tubular flowers with yellow overtones rising above the foliage from late summer to early fall. Its attractive succulent oval leaves remain powder blue in color with hints of silver throughout the year.

This is a dense herbaceous evergreen houseplant with tall flower stalks held atop a low mound of foliage. Its relatively fine texture sets it apart from other indoor plants with less refined foliage. This plant should not require much pruning, except when necessary to keep it looking its best.

When grown indoors, Topsy Turvy Echeveria can be expected to grow to be only 6 inches tall at maturity extending to 14 inches tall with the flowers, with a spread of 8 inches. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 20 years. This houseplant will do well in a location that gets either direct or indirect sunlight, although it will usually require a more brightly-lit environment than what artificial indoor lighting alone can provide. It prefers dry to average moisture levels with very well-drained soil, and may die if left in standing water for any length of time. This plant should be watered when the surface of the soil gets dry, and will need watering approximately once each week. Be aware that your particular watering schedule may vary depending on its location in the room, the pot size, plant size and other conditions if in doubt, ask one of our experts in the store for advice. It is not particular as to soil pH, but grows best in sandy soil. Contact the store for specific recommendations on pre-mixed potting soil for this plant.

There are many factors that will affect the ultimate height, spread and overall performance of a plant when grown indoors among them, the size of the pot it's growing in, the amount of light it receives, watering frequency, the pruning regimen and repotting schedule. Use the information described here as a guideline only individual performance can and will vary. Please contact the store to speak with one of our experts if you are interested in further details concerning recommendations on pot size, watering, pruning, repotting, etc.


10 Most Popular Types of Echeveria

Echeveria is a genus of flower-shaped evergreen succulents native to the mountain ranges of Central America and South America. They come in a variety of stunning shapes and colors and are widely regarded as some of the most beautiful succulents. Echeverias are also some of the most prolific succulents, reblooming several times a year (under the right growing conditions) with orange, yellow, and red flowers. They're popular among florists, interior decorators, wedding planners, gardeners, and houseplant enthusiasts alike.

Succulents are some of the easiest plants to care for as they require very little attention, making them great for gardeners of all skill levels. These versatile plants can tolerate growing both indoors and outdoors, although most are not frost-tolerant. As with most succulents, echeverias require bright light, infrequent watering, and well-draining soil in order to thrive.

Echeveria is a large genus, with approximately 150 species and more than 1,000 cultivars. Among these are several varieties that are especially beloved due to their attractive appearance and easy care.

Here are 10 of the most popular echeveria varieties, all of which can be grown as houseplants.

Gardening Tip

When watering echeveria plants, always water the soil directly and avoid allowing water to sit on the rosette of the succulent, which can lead to rot and fungal disease.


'Topsy Turvy' (Echeveria runyonii) (Kimnach): Gray-blue rosettes with wavy, curvy leaves. This unique variety is a stable genetic sport of the species and has wonderfully distorted leaves. The leaves have a powdery coating of natural wax (farina). It produces lots of new rosettes at its base and does not grow a tall, bare stem like some Echeveria cultivars. It will develop into a nice clump and send up tall bloom stalks with orange to pink flowers in summer.

Echeveria need bright sunlight to maintain their colors and compact rosette form. They will not survive a hard frost, but if there is a risk of freezing temperatures they can be brought indoors to grow on a sunny window sill or under a grow light.

Like most succulents, they need great drainage and infrequent water to prevent rot. Pick containers with drainage holes and use well-draining cactus and succulent soil with 50% to 70% mineral grit such as coarse sand, pumice, or perlite. Water deeply enough for water to run out the drainage hole, then wait for the soil to fully dry before watering again.

Also known as "Mexican Hens & Chicks", Echeveria can produce new offsets or "chicks" around the base of the mother plant. These chicks can be left to form a tidy cluster or removed and transplanted. Additionally, Echeveria can be propagated from stem cuttings or mature leaves. Look to our Succulent Cuttings Guide for more information.

Plants→Echeverias→Echeveria (Echeveria runyonii 'Topsy Turvy')

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit:Cactus/Succulent
Life cycle:Perennial
Sun Requirements:Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Soil pH Preferences:Moderately acid (5.6 – 6.0)
Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Slightly alkaline (7.4 – 7.8)
Plant Height :6 inches
Plant Spread :6-10 inches
Leaves: Glaucous
Unusual foliage color
Flower Color:Other: Bright orange, apricot and pink on tall arching racemes
Flower Time:Late summer or early fall
Suitable Locations:Xeriscapic
Wildlife Attractant:Hummingbirds
Resistances:Drought tolerant
Propagation: Seeds:Other info: will not come true from seed if the plant is a hybrid
Propagation: Other methods:Cuttings: Leaf
Other: Let the cut ends dry for overnight or up to a week before potting up.
Containers:Suitable in 1 gallon
Suitable in 3 gallon or larger
Needs excellent drainage in pots
Parentage :Sport of: Echeveria runyonii
Child plants:4 child plants

Does xeriscapic mean boring and dry looking? Absolutely not! You'll never believe what beautiful blooms are available for the non-irrigated landscape. Come in and see.

Echeveria runyonii 'Topsy Turvy' is one of the true monstrose forms of Echeveria that "breeds true" and won't revert back to its natural form.

Echeveria runyonii is a Mexican native to rocky cliffs, discovered in the wild by Yucca Do Nursery in 1990 and named in honor of Dr. Runyon, who brought a Mexican garden specimen into the US in the early 1900s. Echeveria 'Topsy Turvy' is a unique form, named by former Huntington Gardens Director Myron Kimnack.

Dry soil and good drainage in winter are keys to survival in cold climates.

Common and stable monstrose variant of Echeveria runyonii, named by Marlon Kimnach. Like the species, a prolific offsetter and bloomer. Powder blue leaves and pink flowers in a double shepherd's crook. Distributed by the ISI in 1986 as ISI 1647. Several monstrose hybrids have been bred from this plant. Reversions exist and some have been named.

I've had my plant 3 years and it's filled a 6" quart size pot. I love its blue-green color. Mine hasn't bloomed yet. It grows well on a baker's rack shelf under my south-facing porch, where it gets bright light all day and filtered morning sun only. I let the soil dry out before watering it about once a week with rain water I collect in a nearby rain barrel.

Watch the video: Topsy Turvy: Care Guide