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How to Behead an Echeveria and Cut Off Bloom Stalks

I have this gorgeous Blue Echeveria Peacockii that blooms for me every year. Everytime it blooms, it sprouts three flower stalks of beautiful, showy orange-pink flowers. It stays in bloom for what seems like months. So what do I do with it after it blooms?

Here’s how it looks after its glorious blooming days are long gone. This one is particularly sad-looking because it’s dehydrated and the potting mix it’s sitting in is old and dried up. Whenever I water this plant water seeps right through the pot, leaving the plant still thirsty.

How to Behead an Echeveria and Cut Off Bloom Stalks

That’s definitely a sign that the soil needs to be changed and the plant is most likely not getting any nutrients from the soil and also not being properly hydrated. This plant looks extra sad because I had neglected it over the summer, forgetting to water it during vacation and heatwaves. It’s time to roll up my sleeves and get to work on this sleeping beauty.

With some much needed TLC it will be restored to its former glory once again. I am confident about this because I have had this plant for years and we (me and the plant) go through this every year.

Echeveria 'peacockii' in bloom with pink flowers
Shriveled, dehydrated echeveria after blooms

This echeveria has seen better days. It’s the same plant as shown above, this one after its glory days are over and its done blooming.

What to do after it blooms

Harvest Seeds

Once still in bloom, you have a choice of whether or not to harvest the seeds from the flowers. If kept outdoors, you do not need to worry about pollination. But if the plant is indoors, you need to pollinate the flowers yourself.

You can do this by using a paintbrush and dipping it in the center of the flower. You would need to harvest the seeds from the flowers before the buds completely dry out. The best time to do this is usually right after the flowers bloom and the flowers close up again.

That’s when they hold tiny seeds in their pods. These seeds can be harvested, dried and then planted. You can propagate and multiply your echeveria or succulent collection this way.

Instead of harvesting the seeds from the flowers, I usually propagate this echeveria from leaf cuttings and have had great success using this method. Please click on this link “How to Multiply Echeverias” to see step by step instructions on how to do this.

Echeveria grown from leaf propagation

If you have no plans to harvest the seeds of the flowers, you can snip off the bloom stalks anytime you want. Echeverias are not monocarpic plants, so they do not die after blooming. They usually produce gorgeous, colorful flowers and they stay in bloom for quite some time so you can enjoy their beauty for a while. I usually leave the plant alone, let it completely bloom and wait for the blooms to dry out before I cut them off.

Some people like to snip off the flower stalks right after it blooms to help the mother plant conserve energy. It takes a lot of energy for the plant to produce flowers. Some people who are not particularly impressed with the flowers the plant produces snip them right off to help the plant conserve energy. Once the flower stalks are snipped off, the plant can refocus its energy on growth and survival.

How to trim off the flower stalks

When trimming the bloom stalks, use sharp pruning shears or scissors and try to trim off as much of the stalk without damaging the plant. Try to get as close to the base without scratching, cutting or damaging the plant’s leaves. Once you trim off the flower stalks, you can just leave the plant alone and it will continue growing.

In this plant’s case however, it is screaming to be repotted and more. Here’s what I did with this plant after snipping off the bloom stalks…

Cutting off bloom stalks from an echeveria after it bloomed

Beheading a succulent

As you can tell from the picture, this plant is starting to get leggy, meaning the stem is getting too long. There are a lot of dried up dead leaves on the bottom of the stem. If I pull those out, I would be left with a long stem at the base of the plant.

This is usually a good place to behead the plant. On a side note, sometimes when you remove dead leaves at the bottom of the stem you will find a baby plant hiding in there so it wouldn’t hurt to be gentle while pulling out the leaves, just in case there’s a baby plant hiding there somewhere.

Dried up echeveria after blooms
Dried up echeveria after blooms for beheading

Why do you need to behead a succulent plant?

There are two main reasons why we behead succulents.

One is for aesthetic reasons. When they get too leggy and long they start drooping and not looking their best. Once beheaded and trimmed, they start looking better and healthier.  

Another good reason to behead a succulent plant is for propagation purposes. The beheaded top of the plant will shoot out roots at the stem and will continue to grow. The stump you are left with is not discarded. After a few weeks or so, it will grow new baby plants (usually more than one new plant) from the sides of the stump.

Beheading takes courage to do in the beginning but once you’ve done it and seen its benefits, you’ll find it’s an easy method to propagate and multiply your plants.

echeveria stump after beheading growing new babies on the side

How to behead an echeveria

Step 1

You need a sharp, clean knife. Sterilize the knife as needed with alcohol or water and soap. Remove all the dead, dried leaves from the bottom of the stem.

Beheading an echeveria for propagation

Step 2

Find a spot on the stem you want to cut. Ideally, you want to cut one to two inches from the bottom leaves of the plant. You want at least an inch or so to keep the plant steady when planted in soil and to leave enough room for new roots to grow.

beheading an echeveria for propagation

Step 3

Let the cuttings dry and callous over before planting. This usually takes at least one full day to a few days depending on the climate you live in and the thickness of the cut stem. While drying, keep in a shaded area away from direct sunlight.

beheading an echeveria for propagation

Step 4

Prepare a suitable potting mix. I usually use a standard cactus potting mix combined with perlite. Once dry, stick the beheaded top in the potting mix. You can either leave the cut stump planted as is or replant in new soil.

beheading an echeveria for propagation

Step 5

Leave them in a shaded area away from direct sunlight to prevent sunburn or sun damage.

beheading an echeveria for propagation

Step 6

Water or mist the soil when dry, about every 5-8 days.

Step 7

Be patient. After a few weeks, you will notice new growth from the stump and new roots from the cut stem.


After 4-6 weeks, the stump has new babies growing and the mother plant seems to be doing well too!

Beheaded echeveria growing new babies
Beheaded echeveria growing new babies
Echeveria 'peacockii' in bloom with pink flowers
Echeveria 'peacockii' in bloom with pink flowers

I have used this method to keep this plant going without fail and it blooms for me every year. These are pictures of my blooming echeveria two years in a row.

To learn more about echeverias, please click on “How to Grow and Multiply Echeverias.”

How to Behead an Echeveria and Cut Off Bloom Stalks
How to Behead an Echeveria and Cut Off Bloom Stalks