This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V18", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Probably few plants of late have attracted so much attention for this purpose as those of the genus Echeveria, and deservedly so; as they may be used in a variety of ways, either as carpeting, where larger plants, such as Agaves, Aloes, Cactuses, etc, are used in the bed; or for mounds and pyramids; or geometrical figures on nearly flat surfaces. This being the case, perhaps a few remarks on the mode of "getting up a stock " of plants will not be amiss to beginners. Although easily propagated, either from seeds, suckers, or leaves, yet such a large number are required for effect in any of the above mentioned modes of planting, that it is well to begin as soon as possible. Echeveria metallica and varieties are best grown from seed, as they make few suckers. E. secunda, and E. secunda glauca, the latter being the best, make offsets freely from the old part of the stems, and these may be taken off and pricked into shallow boxes. E. sangidnea, as the plants get large, has a tendency to drop its leaves; these, if cut into pieces and placed on a surface of damp moss, will make plants quickly.
This variety, however, seeds as freely as most others.
The above modes of propagation would be applicable only when the grower had already some plants on hand. For a start, seeds would be the easiest and cheapest. These should be sown in pans as soon as ripe and dry enough to rub out of the capsules, and under favorable circumstances would be up in about a month. The seed should be sown on the surface of the earth, covering with a piece of paper until the plants begin to come up. In watering, care must be used so that the surface shall not wash, which causes the seedlings to come up in thick patches, therein' increasing the risk of "damping off," which they are liable to do if watered carelessly before they gain considerable strength. As soon as the young plants have made the second pair of leaves proper, they are fit to transplant. If this should be in spring, which would be preferable, a frame or old hot-bed makes a capital place to grow them in, as they can be protected from the fall frosts,"and they should be kept out as late as possible, as they winter better when grown cool, late on. The soil should be forked up and left quite light.
The plants need only to be dropped on the surface at a distance of two or three inches apart, according to the size of the variety planted, watered with a light rose watering-pot, and covered with a mat until they are established, after which the mat may be gradually removed. They will make fine strong plants by December, and should then be taken up and stored away in a light potting-shed, around the path of the greenhouse, or any convenient place where they can get light without much heat, thus preventing the plants being in a great measure spoiled by having the centres "drawn," which is apt to be the case if kept dark. They should be kept perfectly dry, if cool, until spring, when they may be removed to the frames again until wanted for bedding.