Aeonium is a genus that comprises around 35 plants belonging to the family Crassulaceae, including Echeveria plants. The popular landscape plants are well known for their rosettes of fleshy green foliage.
These succulent plants hail from the Canary Islands, Madeira, and Morocco. In contrast to most succulent plants, such as agave and aloe, aeoniums are not resistant to drought because of their shallow root systems. In addition, Aeoniums usually are monocarpic, meaning that they die after flowering.
The roundish leaves of rosette structures are so perfect that they are sometimes confused with artificial plants. The signature rosettes may be solid or variegated in white, yellow, red, and green. Small star-shaped flowers grow in clusters from the center of the rosettes, but they are not especially conspicuous.
Aeoniums can be grown in the garden anytime. However, these plants grow relatively slowly, and it can take up to five years before they produce the small clusters of flowers in the center of the rosettes. Most aeoniums are monocarpic, which means the mother plant dies after flowering, but the small ones (shoots) will continue to produce more projections, too.
Varieties of Aeonium Plants
Among the most popular types of Aeonium plants are:
● Green pinwheel (Aeonium decorum)
The green wheel can reach up to two feet tall, recognizable by its thick, dark green rosettes that reach four inches in diameter. The leaves are frequently variegated on the edges and get about two inches in length—the plant blooms in late spring and summer, with small white or pink star-shaped flowers.
● Tree houseleek (Aeonium arboreum)
It is characterized by thick, waxy rosettes of leaves that form at the top of stems that reach 3 feet high in containers or 6 feet tall in a garden. From the end of winter to early spring, the leek forms yellow flowers and grows in vessels or rocky gardens. Once it blooms, the rosettes die.
● Black rose (Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkop’)
The black rose has tufts of brown stems that hold terminal rosettes that vary in color from dark purple to black and reach up to 8 inches in diameter—the plant blooms in summer, forming star-shaped yellow flowers in conical bouquets.
● Copper pinwheel (Aeonium ‘Sunburst’)
Also known as the copper pinwheel, this branched Aeonium has large variegated fleshy rosettes that can be up to 16 inches in diameter. The green leaves have yellow variegations, with coppery points that give the plant its name. The copper pinwheel is monocarpic so that after its white star-shaped blossoms, the plant dies.
How to grow and look after aeoniums
If planted in an appropriate environment, aeoniums require minimal maintenance.
Light Requirements for Aeoniums
Aeonium plants generally grow in hot weather with plenty of direct sun semi-shade. Therefore, during hot summers, we recommend partial shade.
If you keep your Aeonium arboreum plants indoors, then you should place them next to the brightest window in your home.
Outdoors, these plants prefer partial shade to full sun, especially during the summer months where the sun beats them. They do better with bright but indirect sunlight, so give them a little shade to keep them from burning in the scorching sun.
Select a pot with adequate draining. Aeonium plants grow in vessels as they require less soil. If you are planting in a container or pot, choose one with drainage holes, which help prevent root rot due to stagnant water.
Although most succulent plants do well when planted with a cactus blend, Aeonium plants need more moisture. Therefore, use some potting mixture and modify it with perlite. A sandy potting mix or a regular potting mix modified with perlite is preferable to a specific blend for succulent plants and cacti because aeoniums require some moisture.
Feed your Aeoniums throughout the growing season with a balanced, semi-strong fertilizer monthly. Fertilize your plant throughout the growing season. Do not fertilize your Aeonium while it is still dormant in summer.
Aeonium plants need more water than the majority of succulent plants. In winter, water the plant when the top 2 cm of soil is dry. Test the soil moisture by pressing your finger into the ground, a thumb or two, and water if your fingertip is dry. Excess moisture or allowing them to sit in the damp soil will cause root rot.
Do not water too much because too much humidity can cause root rot. In summer, Aeonium does not need to be watered because it is dormant during those months.
Aeonium arboreum plants usually dislike cold temperatures. They can survive for short periods at 25 degrees, but they cannot deal with extended wintering freezes. Therefore, if you live in a freezing area and it snows a lot, bring your Aeonium arboreum plants for the winter.
Although plants can grow all year long, animals often go dormant during the summer months and do not need to be watered except by extreme heat. So don’t worry if their leaves begin to curl during the summer months – it’s a mechanism to prevent excessive water loss.
You do not have to trim aeoniums for size or shape because they naturally remain tidy and trim. Instead, cut the flat leaves or spindle stems at the base with scissors or sharp shears. Before pruning aeoniums, dip your pruning tools in a powerful household sanitizer for five minutes and rinse them thoroughly.
The fallen leaves and other garden debris sometimes find their way between the curved and close Aeonium leaves. Instead of picking it up by hand, use a compressed air canister to remove any residue.
Steps for Aeonium propagation.
As with most succulent plants, aeoniums are easy to propagate from cuttings in spring.
Even stem fragments that fall from the plant can easily take root in the surrounding soil. Use these steps to cultivate new Aeonium plants from cuttings:
● First, use a sterile knife to cut a piece of stem with a leaf rosette attached. Then, using a clean, sharp tool, cut a younger stalk with a rosette of leaves.
● Let the severed end dry for several days by putting it in a shaded area. Then, place the cutting on its side and place it in a dry, warm, shady spot for approximately three days to allow the cut end to heal.
● Place the severed end of your succulent cut in regular potting soil modified with perlite so that it stands up. Ensure the cutting gets bright and indirect light and give it a light spray once a week.
● Gently water the new plant until it takes root, then let the top two inches of potting soil dry between waterings. Once the plant has established solid roots, let the top 2 inches of the soil dry before watering. Repot into an enormous container if necessary.
Potting and repotting Aeonium.
Aeoniums are perfect for container growing as they need such little soil. Containers also give you a glimpse of their unique features so you can have greater control over their growing conditions.
Select a container with a drainage hole to prevent standing water and root decay. To help maintain the required humidity levels, use a regular potting mix rather than a succulent/quickly draining cactus mix. When growing aeoniums in containers, repot them every two or three years with fresh potting soil.
Common issues with Aeonium.
This succulent can be challenging to maintain because some of its normal behavior can make you believe that the plant is dying. Below are some tips for taking care of aeoniums.
Aeoniums attract aphids, mealybugs, mites, and typical mealybugs, as well as ants. Use a water spray or mild insecticide soap to treat the plant to eliminate these insects.
The sun will scorch the leaves if the plant receives too much sunlight. You may remove the burnt leaves or wait until they drop naturally. Then, shift the plant to a slightly less sunny location.
Plant Leaves Falling Off
Naturally, the leaves at the bottom of the rosette are lost. The rosette may also close slightly. Although the plant appears to be dying, it is probably in dormancy. Dormancy happens during the summer and is the wrong time to harvest cuttings from the stem.
In extreme heat, their leaves curve to avoid excessive loss of water. You can see the subtle difference if the plant is stressed or not if the rosette closes or coils simultaneously with the leaves. If so, give the plant some water and see if the rosettes open a bit and unravel.
Dying Parent Branch
If you have an Aeonium branched with the main parent plant that bloomed, the branch will seem to die. You can save the plant by using a sharp and clean tool to trim the head where the rosette and flowers have already bloomed.
Adding this beautiful succulent to your garden sounds exciting, but remember that the plant needs proper care for healthy growth. Then, following the advice mentioned above, you can take care of your Aeoniums and watch them grow up happy and healthy.