Echeveria ‘Black Prince is a dark succulent that will definitely add some mood to your garden. It may be small, but the imitation black leaves stand out in a sea of green.
Black Prince’s rosettes have spirals of wide and pointed leaves. The leaves turn very dark purple as they mature – so dark that they appear black! The coloring depends on how much sunlight this succulent receives.
The Echeveria genus comes from Mexico and has many hybrids. ‘Black Prince’ is a hybrid of Echeverias affinis and shaviana. It’s reasonably easy to grow indoors and out.
So, without further ado, here’s everything you need to know about adding this royal succulent to your garden.
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Quick Care Guide
|Common Name(s)||Black Hens and Chicks, Black Prince|
|Scientific Name||Echeveria affinis|
|Height & Spread||6-10″ tall and wide|
|Light||Full sun to partial shade|
|Water||Water when the soil is dry|
|Fertilizer||1/2 strength liquid fertilizer, optional|
|Pests & Diseases||Aphids, mealybugs, rot|
All About Black Hens and Chicks
Zones 9-11 are perfect for growing Black Hens and Chicks outdoors. In all other zones though, it will be happiest on a windowsill during the cold months. This black succulent grows from spring to fall, although slowly.
Once it’s mature, Echeveria Black Prince grows vivid red flowers in the late fall. These flowers are supported by tall, leafed stems that rise from the center of the rosette. They may invite hummingbirds to visit your garden.
If you’re growing Black Prince in a rock garden, consider using light-colored rocks so the dark leaves will stand out. If you’re growing in a container, fill the soil to the very top so the low-growing succulent will be visible.
Types of Black Prince
While most black prince echeveria is similar in coloration, there’s one variety which we should mention. Compared to others, it’s a multicolored variant and quite striking.
Echeveria ‘Bess Bates’, Variegated ‘Black Prince’
A rare find, Bess Bates is the colorful spinoff of Black Prince. Its leaves are striped with yellow, green, and dark purple. This beautiful succulent has the same needs as Black Prince.
Echeveria ‘Black Prince’ Care
Like most Echeveria, Black Prince is low-maintenance. Once you understand its needs, you should have no problem taking care of it.
Light & Temperature
Echeveria ‘Black Prince’ needs 6 hours of sunlight a day. However, it can get burned in high heat. Choose a spot that gets plenty of sun in the morning and shade or indirect light in the afternoon.
If your Black Prince lives inside, it will need as much sunlight as possible. South-facing windows are preferred if you live in the Northern hemisphere.
Black Prince can tolerate light frost but should be kept at a minimum temperature of 20° F.
Water & Humidity
Because this is a desert plant, only water when the soil is completely dry.
Black Prince needs the most water in spring to summer and less during the winter. When in doubt, pay attention to the leaves. If they’re mushy, you’re watering too often and need to cut back. If the leaves are withered or wrinkly, your plant needs a drink.
When watering, water at the base of the plant. If the leaves are constantly wet, they may start to rot.
When it comes to succulents, you can’t go wrong with a decent, well-draining soil. Specialty succulent soils usually have the perfect sandy ratio for Black Prince.
If you’d rather mix your own, add one part soil to one part perlite or sand.
Black Hens and Chicks doesn’t require fertilizer. However, if you feel your succulent needs a boost, try out some liquid fertilizer. It should be diluted to ½ or ¼ strength and low in nitrogen.
Fertilize during the spring and summer, but less often than the bottle recommends. Overfertilizing can burn the leaves.
The Black Prince succulent is small, so it probably won’t outgrow its container. If you have your heart set on a new pot though, transplanting is easy. Repot when the soil is dry so you can easily dust off the roots.
After replanting, keep the soil dry for a few days. This will allow the roots to settle in and heal from any damage. It will also lessen the likeliness of rot.
Black Hens and Chicks easily propagates from offsets without any help. These ‘chicks’ shoot out from the bottom of the plant and root themselves. You can move them to a different container by cutting them off the ‘hen’. After letting the cut dry out, plant them in their new home. Mist the soil until new roots are established.
You can also take stem cuttings, which are ideal for etiolated succulents. After clipping them off an inch below the rosette, follow the same process for offsets.
Finally, leaf cuttings are a common and easy way to propagate Echeveria. Gently twist a healthy leaf off the stem without leaving any pieces behind. Let your new cutting dry out for a few days and then place it on well-draining soil. Instead of watering, consistently mist the soil. In time, your cutting will grow roots and a baby rosette. As the rosette grows, the cutting will die and eventually fall off the new plant.
Black Prince Echeveria naturally drops its old, lower leaves. If these leaves look clearly dead but are still hanging on, gently pull them off to maintain a clean look. Throw away the dead leaves as they can attract pests if left in the pot.
Dying leaves caused by overwatering or rot should also be removed.
Pests and diseases are a rarity in Black Hens and Chicks. However, this succulent isn’t invincible. Be on the lookout for any warning signs that the following problems are occurring.
One of the last things you want is for the leaves to fall off your Black Prince. While this is normal for old leaves, new ones should not be dropping. This is usually a sign of overwatering. Prevent this by watering sparingly and always repotting with dry soil.
Etiolation is another problem you may come across. The stem of your Black Prince will stretch out if it isn’t getting enough sunlight. Once stretched, the stem won’t shrink back down. What you can do though is behead the rosette and propagate from it.
A succulent that’s harboring pests may wilt, yellow, and eventually die. This can be prevented by keeping your Black Prince dry and free of dead leaves. In the case of infestation, here are the most common pests and how to remove them.
Mealybugs are small, white insects that love to dine on succulent sap. They lay their eggs in pouches that look like bunches of cotton. The honeydew they secrete attracts ants, which will need to be removed as well.
Remove mealybugs with:
- A q-tip soaked in rubbing alcohol
- Insecticidal soap
- Neem Oil
- Ladybugs and lacewings
Aphids, a common menace, feed on sap like mealybugs. Their honeydew looks like a sooty mold and invites ants as well. Large groups of aphids usually live on the underside of leaves.
Remove aphids with:
- Insecticidal soap
- Orange Guard Spray
- Ladybugs and lacewings
- Diatomaceous Earth
- Neem Oil
Rot and fungal diseases are a possibility in Echeveria ‘Black Prince’. Rot occurs when the succulent is constantly wet. Sections of the roots, stem, and leaves turn black or brown and mushy. If nothing is done about it, the rot may grow bacteria and kill the whole plant.
Once you notice your plant is rotting, you’ll need to take immediate action. Remove your Black Prince from the soil and cut off all the rotted parts. Then, let the plant dry out for a few days. Replant it in new, dry soil and don’t water for a few more days. From then on, be more careful with your watering so this won’t happen again.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What’s the difference between ‘Black Prince’ and ‘Black Knight’?
A. Black Knight has long and slender leaves, while Black Prince has wide, almost circular leaves. The Black Prince rosette is usually more opened than Black Knight. When it comes to color, Black Knight is the darkest.
Q. Why are there black spots on my Echeveria ‘Black Prince’?
A. This is probably just a sunburn. It won’t do any damage to the plant as long as you move it out of direct sun and heat. If the black spots are mushy, they may be patches of rot.
Q. Is Echeveria ‘Black Prince’ toxic?
A. No, this succulent is safe for pets and humans.
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