Aeonium are without a doubt, some of the most beautiful and sought after additions to succulent collections.
They reward our efforts with gorgeous spoon shaped foliage in shades of burgundy and green, sometimes variegated with splashes of palest gold.
Aeonium are native to the Canary Islands and North Africa, so you may be able to guess their preferred conditions - warm, or even hot would be the key word.
The name means 'evergreen' so this is a plant that never loses its leaves – until after it blooms that is, when the flowering rosette dies.
Climates that are similar to their native lands such as in California these incredible plants can give some formidable impact to the landscaping.
See the plant that Colleen found when she moved to her new home in San Jose. The flower spike alone is over 2 meters tall.
The pink, red, yellow or white flowers form from the middle of the rosette in spring or summer, after which the rosette will die. Hopefully, you will have propagated some rosettes to take its place.
Some Aeonium will form a fairly tall stand of rosettes of green, dark burgundy or variegated foliage each on the top of a slender stalk. The leaves are spoon-shaped, sometimes glossy, and occasionally matte.
They can reach a height of a meter (3'), or less than 15cm (5"), depending on the variety. Other species and varieties are suitable for mixed planters and succulent crafts as they tend to be more compact.
Easy to propagate, just remove a rosette with a piece of stem and allow to callous overnight and the stem end can be planted into a pot.
So what's the twist? Aeonium are not like other succulent plants.
They go into a summer dormancy when it gets hot in the late summer, and stay that way until the weather cools off in the fall, when they start to grow again.
While they're dormant, water them enough to keep them alive. And don't worry - they're not dying.
Aeonium grow best where minimum temperatures are about 4 degrees Celsius; they can’t take any frost, so a sheltered or indoors environment only for this plant. It requires good ventilation, and bright light – full sun is fine, or partial shade.
Aeonium prefer a little more moisture in the soil than many other succulent plants. Water as soon as the soil is dry, but don’t allow it to dry too much.
Gear the watering to the temperature; the cooler the weather, the less you need to water. Use tempered or lukewarm water to avoid shocking the roots.
Aeonium arboretum 'Velour'
The botanical term 'arboretum' refers to a tree like form, so this plant will get quite big. Luckily, beheading the rosettes to grow new plants will encourage more buds to break lower down, making it bushier.
Aeonium haworthia 'Kiwi'
Smaller in stature than the two purple varieties shown here, it will form a short clump rather than the tree like form of the others. The same conditions of soil and water apply.
Rightfully popular, even after all this time with its glossy foliage and bossy attitude.
Regular beheading will keep Aeonium 'Schwartzkopf' in bounds and give you a supply of new plants to replace the aging rosette when it blooms.
Aeonium green species, thought to be A. balsamifera, due to the sticky coating on the leaves. Somewhat unpleasant to touch, but interesting.
find out more about Aeonium below...
Do you know the name of this species?
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