Echeveria topsy turvy care

Topsy Turvy, Echeveria Runyonii succulents are often used in terrariums.

The ‘Topsy Turvy’, Echeveria runyonii is a cute and hardy succulent that has delighted gardeners for many years. It is a great addition to your houseplant collection.

Common Names

‘Topsy Turvy’, ‘Mexican Hens and Chicks’, ‘Silver Spoons Echeveria’

Scientific Binomial Name

Echeveria runyonii

Description of ‘Topsy Turvy’, Echeveria runyonii

‘Topsy Turvy’ is a cultivar, actually a mutant form, of Echeveria runyonii. Its name came about because the leaves look as if they are positioned upside-down. It is a somewhat fast growing evergreen succulent. The waxy leaves have a powdery soft blue-grey color. The glaucous leaf has a pronounced v-shape with all the tips pointing to the center of the rosette.

A specimen was first collected from a private garden in 1922 but wild populations of Echeveria runyonii were not discovered until 1990. In October 2010 it was named the “Plant of the Month” by The Garden Path. Since then they have become so popular they are sold in many retail nurseries.

Mature Size: Height 4-8 inches; Spread 6-10 inches.

Outside Spacing: 12 inches

Uses: Used outside in beds, borders, ground covers, rock gardens, Mediterranean gardens and green roofs. ‘Topsy Turvy’ plants are one of the best succulents for a terrarium. They are also ideal for dish gardens, and any small container. They always look great combined with other succulents.

Growing Conditions for ‘Topsy Turvy’, Echeveria runyonii

Light: ‘Topsy Turvy’ can grow in the full sun in the north. In the south, it should be where it has some light shade at times. These plants work very well by a sunny window.

Temperature: Summer 65ºF/18ºC – 70ºF/21ºC. In winter it can take cooler temperatures.

Soil: Prefers well-drained alkaline soil pH >7.0.

Growing Season: Spring and summer.

Flowers: Gold-orange shades that bloom in late summer to early fall. An arching stem shoots up about 8 inches tall with star-shaped flowers.

Hardiness Zones: 7b, 8, 9, 10

General Care for ‘Topsy Turvy’, Echeveria runyonii

Water: Keep watered in the spring and summer. Low water needs. Let the soil dry completely between waterings. Outside plants should not be watered in the winter. Never let water sit in the rosette part of the plant or it may develop fungal diseases or rot that will soon kill the plant.

Fertilizer: In the spring apply a diluted controlled release fertilizer. Use a 20-20-20 diluted ¼ strength on mature plants. Use a blend with less nitrogen on younger plants.

Care: Regularly remove dead leaves from around the bottom of the plant. Dead leaves will attract pests.

Pests and Diseases: Deer and rabbit resistant. Watch for vine weevil, aphids and mealy bugs.

Propagation: Separate and propagate the offsets in the spring. These plants profusely produce offsets that quickly surround the original rosette. It is easy to gently pull them away and replant them. It can also be propagated from seeds, leaf cuttings and stem cuttings.

Repotting: Repotting is not often needed, but if you decide to repot; it is best done in the warmer seasons.

Medicinal and Other Uses




Native Distribution


Other Cultivars of Echeveria runyonii

‘Dr. Butterfield’

‘Tom Allen’

‘Texas Rose’


Other Hybrids of Echeveria runyonii

‘Glade Surprise’, E. derenbergii

‘Domingo’, E. cante

‘Green Star’, E. harmsii

‘Dagda’, or ‘Frosty’, E. pulvinata

‘Exotic’, E. laui

‘Swan Lake’, E. shaviana

Other Tips

These ‘Topsy Turvy’ succulent plants will attract hummingbirds.

Scientific Name

Echeveria runyonii ‘Topsy Turvy’

Mexican Hen and Chicks

Scientific Classification

Family: Crassulaceae
Subfamily: Sedoideae
Tribe: Sedeae
Subtribe: Sedinae
Genus: Echeveria


Echeveria runyonii ‘Topsy Turvy’ is a fast-growing, rosette-forming succulent up to 10 inches (25 cm) in diameter. The leaves are pale blue-green to silvery-grey, up to 5 inches (12.5 cm) long and up 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide, often with pink tips, spatulate, strongly inversely keeled on the lower surface with leaf tips pointing inwards towards the center of the plant. The showy, bright orange flowers rise above the foliage on tall arching inflorescence, usually in late summer or fall.


USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Most of the common Echeveria species are not complicated succulents to grow, provided you follow a few basic rules. First, be careful never to let water sit in the rosette as it can cause rot or fungal diseases that will kill the plant. Additionally, remove dead leaves from the bottom of the plant as it grows. These dead leaves provide a haven for pests and Echeverias are susceptible to mealy bugs. As with all succulents, careful watering habits and plenty of light will help ensure success.

Repot as needed, preferably during the warm season. To repot a succulent, make sure the soil is dry before repotting, then gently remove the pot. Knock away the old soil from the roots, making sure to remove any rotted or dead roots in the process. Treat any cuts with a fungicide

Most Echeverias can be easily propagated from leaf cuttings, although a few are better from seeds or stem cuttings. To propagate a leaf cutting, place the individual leaf in potting soil for succulents and cover the dish until the new plant sprouts… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Echeveria


Echeveria runyonii ‘Topsy Turvy’ is a cultivar of Echeveria runyonii.

Forms and Hybrids

  • Echeveria ‘Swan Lake’
  • Graptoveria ‘Topsy Debbi’


  • Back to genus Echeveria
  • Succulentopedia: Browse succulents by Scientific Name, Common Name, Genus, Family, USDA Hardiness Zone, Origin, or cacti by Genus

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Echeveria runyonii ‘Topsy Turvy’

The ‘Upside Down’ Echeveria

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Echeveria runyonii ‘Topsy Turvy’ is sometimes named as Echeveria glauca. I’ve also seen it listed as a monstrose variety of Echeveria runyonii.

Whatever the name, the lovely alabaster ‘upside down’ leaves make this a memorable plant, and luckily for beginner growers, easy to cultivate.

The size of the plant is ultimately 15cm (6″) across, and up to 10cm (4″) high, with long flower sprays in the fall up to 20cm (8″) tall embellished with lovely peach coloured dangling bell shaped blooms.

These last for about a month and eventually shrivel up and the stalk can be cut off.

Preferred conditions are bright light, well drained soil.

Propagates easily from leaf cuttings and offsets produced on the original stem when the plant is beheaded.

Use as a single specimen plant in a mixed display, or plant several together in a large container.

How to Propagate Succulents;
Buy the Succulent Plant Propagation E-Book; Click on the picture to find out more and purchase:

Echeveria List A-L
Echeveria List M-Z
Echeveria Identification
How to Grow Echeveria
Echeveria Species
Echeveria Hybrids

Echeveria runyonii ‘Topsy Turvy’ – A fast growing rosette-forming succulent with pale blue-gray leaves that curve upwards and are strongly inversely-keeled on the lower surface with leaf tips pointing inwards towards the center of the plant. This interesting Echeveria has become a common sight in Southern California succulent collections, likely because it offsets profusely and plantings quickly become mounds with individual rosettes to nearly 1 foot across. Bright orange and yellow flowers rise above the foliage on tall arching inflorescence, usually in late summer or fall. Plant in a well-drained soil in full sun in coastal gardens with some light shade in hot climates. Water occasionally. Hardy to about 25° F. This plant was named by past Huntington Botanic Garden Director Myron Kimnack. The genus Echeveria was named to honor Mexican botanical artist Atanasio Echeverría y Godoy in 1828 by the French botanist Augustin Pyramus de Candolle (DeCandolle) who was very impressed with Echeverría’s drawings. Echeverría had accompanied the the Sessé and Mociño expedition (led by Martin de Sessé y Lacasta and Mariano Mociño Suárez de Figueroa) while exploring Mexico and northern Central America and had produced thousands of botanical illustrations. The genus Echeveria is a member of the large Crassula family (Crassulaceae), which has about 1,400 species in 33 genera with worldwide distribution. Echeveria, with approximately 180 species, are native to mid to higher elevations in the Americas with the main distribution in Mexico and central America but with one species found from as far north as southern Texas and several species occurring as far south as Bolivia, Peru and possibly Argentina. The book “The genus Echeveria” by John Pilbeam (published by the British Cactus and Succulent Society, 2008) is an excellent source of information on the species and “Echeveria Cultivars” by Lorraine Schulz and Attila Kapitany (Schulz Publishing, 2005) has beautiful photos and great information on the cultivars and hybrids. It has been argued by some that the correct pronunciation for the genus is ek-e-ve’-ri-a, though ech-e-ver’-i-a seems in more prevalent use in the US. The information on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library and from online sources as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery’s garden and in other gardens that we have observed it in. We also will incorporate comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips that might aid others in growing Echeveria runyonii ‘Topsy Turvy’.

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

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.

We were recently asked a series of questions by a customer about growing Echeveria indoors during the winter. So, we thought we’d post the information shared to hopefully help others. We were specifically discussing Echeveria, but it applies to all tender succulents.

Echeveria and other non-hardy succulents look amazing in patio planters. Echeveria are originally from Mexico and Central America. They aren’t used to the cold and will die in freezing temperatures. Just because you live where winter is a real winter doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy these colorful plants.

You can keep them healthy during the cold months by moving them indoors. Then, once the threat of frost has past, gradually move them back outside in the spring. Other people who want to enjoy these colorful plants, but don’t want houseplants, treat Echeveria like annuals and just plant anew each spring.

Like they’re used to in their native growing grounds, Echeveria like full sun. However, try to avoid these two things: drastic sunlight changes and summer afternoon full sun.

Dramatic changes in lighting can stress plants out. If you are moving your plants outside in the spring, do it gradually. A couple hours in morning sun, then a few more, until they are in full sun.

Intense afternoon sun can, in some regions be too strong and the leaves will sunburn. Burned leaves will not heal and since Echeveria keep their leaves for a long time, it will look burned for a long time. If the damage is severe you will be best off to cut the head off the plant and let it re-grow from the stalk.

During the winter, when your plants are inside, put them near the brightest window in your house. Your plants will stretch if they don’t have enough sunlight. Ideally you would put your plants near a south-facing window. If that isn’t an option, though, put them near a window that gets the most light.

Echeveria, indoors or outside, don’t like to be kept too wet, but they also don’t like to be kept too dry. We typically find that succulents like more water than most people think. In a house the dry home temperatures dry things our even faster. You don’t want your soil to be bone dry or it will wither the plant’s roots.

When you water Echeveria, water the soil and not the rosette. Pour on the water until it drains out the bottom. Repeat this a couple times. Then don’t water again until the soil has dried out. You don’t want your plant to remain soaking wet all the time. To help prevent this, don’t let the pot sit in a saucer full of water. The time between watering depends on the temperatures and conditions of the plant.

The most common problems seen on Echeveria are due to poor watering habits. Over and under watering can both produce similar symptoms. Wilting, shriveling, dropping leaves. You know your own watering habits best. Keep an eye on your plants and make adjustments if needed.

Like all succulents, Echeveria need soil that drains quickly. This helps prevent moisture from rotting the roots. Many growers will create their own special mixture of soil and perlite. However, good quality potting soil, or a cactus mix will work fine. As a rule of thumb, when you squeeze a handful of moist soil together, it should crumble apart again when released.

You will often read “sandy” in the soil requirements for succulents. This simply means that the soil needs to drain well. If you do add actual sand to your soil, make sure that it is coarse grained. Fine sand will clog the air pockets in the soil.

If you keep your plants alive for several years, you will want to re-pot them. Getting a fresh change of soil every couple years will keep them healthy and growing well.

Fertilizer is not a continual requirement for Echeveria. Succulents grow natively in soil without a lot of nutrients. So, they are especially susceptible to fertilizer burn. However, they can benefit from the occasional extra boost. Use a slow-release fertilizer at the beginning of spring, or a liquid fertilizer diluted 2-4 times more than normal and used less often than recommended. Use a low nitrogen mix or a cactus fertilizer. Remember that it is a lot easier to over-fertilize succulents than to under-fertilize.

When you pot up you Echeveria, you have a wide range of containers to choose from. Generally the smallest size possible, or something that is just bigger than the root ball is the right choice. People sometimes worry about overpotting. This is when you use a large container for a small plant. The potential problem is that greater soil volume can hold more moisture and lead to the risk of rot. However, the soil you use with succulents should have excellent drainage anyway and larger pots shouldn’t pose any problem. So, find the container that you think looks great, small or large, and let your Echeveria grow.

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