Aeonium Arboreum ‘Zwartkop’ (The Black Rose Succulent)

Aeonium Arboreum ‘Zwartkop’ feature image

A brilliant addition to your succulent garden is Aeonium Arboreum ‘Zwartkop’ – a succulent with dark purple foliage that will add contrast and charm. Because of their dark purple – almost black – color, they are also known as Black Rose or Black Tree Aeoniums. The Black Rose succulent, like all other aeoniums, has rosettes of waxy leaves that almost look like black flowers. Their stems can grow up to 3 or 4 feet.

Aeonium Zwartkop is fairly easy to grow and propagate, and if you’re interested in knowing more about this beautiful succulent, keep on reading.

Image from Mountain Crest Garden
  • Other Names: The Black Rose.
  • Sunlight: should be grown in full sun or partial shade.
  • Watering: Minimum water use.
  • Soil: needs a well-draining potting mix or soil
  • Propagation: easily propagated from stem cuttings.
  • Toxicity: Non-toxic.

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The Story Behind The Black Rose Succulent ‘Aeonium Zwartkop’

The genus name of this succulent (Aeonium) comes from the ancient Greek word “aionos” which means ageless, referring to the youthful properties of the Dark Rose succulent. This evergreen falls under the subtropical plants of the family Crassulaceae and is a popular horticultural succulent. Aeonium Zwartkop is a low-maintenance succulent that thrives on sunlight. They can grow in pots or containers or even as summer bedding. Aeonium Zwartkop is the plant’s botanical name and belongs to the family Crassulaceae.

The native habitat of the Black Rose succulent has been the Canary Islands, concentrating in Tenerife, El Hierro, Gran Canaria, La Palma, and La Gomera. The succulent has been prevalent in North Africa, including Madeira, the western coast of Morocco, across the Semien Mountains of Ethiopia down to East Africa. Black Rose was introduced to the Greco-Roman world along the Mediterranean Sea between the 8th century BC and 6th century AD.

Zwartkop’ is the Dutch name it was registered under in the Abbey Gardens catalogs from the early 1980s. It also goes by the German name ‘Schwarzkopf‘, both of which can be translated into ‘Black Head’. There has been a debate on whether the plant originated in Holland or Germany, but it is agreed that its seedling was raised in Europe and imported to the US by UC Berkeley Botanic Garden.

By Acabashi – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia

The unusual appearance of large, dark, fleshy leaves and stalk-like stems have bestowed the Black Rose succulent the descriptive names of Aeoneum arboreum, Aeoneum ‘Black Rose’, Black Tree Aeoneum, Tree House Leek, Irish Rose, Purple Crest Aeoneum, and Aeoneum Black Top.

This cultivar was the recipient of the Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit in 1993.


Does Aeonium Zwartkop Grow Indoors or Outdoors?

For Aeonium Zwartkop to thrive, it needs a lot of sunlight. It is recommended that the pots or containers they are growing in should be placed outdoors. They can be put outdoors as long as the temperate is on the higher side. If the temperature outside is freezing, Black Rose needs to be protected so that they do not die.

It is recommended that Aeonium Zwartkop be grown outdoors, but if your living situation does not allow for that, then they can be grown indoors, as long as you follow certain requirements.

The two most important factors that will help your Aeonium Zwartkop grow indoors are sunlight and water. They need bright light, so make sure they are close to a window. If your Black Rose isn’t receiving enough sun, its leaves will lose their purple color and turn green. If your plant doesn’t have enough light, and there is no way for you to give it the 5-6 hours of sun it needs, you will need to invest in a grow light. This will help your Aeonium Zwartkop get the light it needs, even if you do not have access to sunlight.

Aeonium Zwartkop Care

#1. Sunlight Requirements

Aeonium Zwartkop needs plenty of sunlight and should be grown in full sun or partial shade. New plants can get burned in the full sun, so slowly introduce them to sunlight by increasing exposure incrementally. If the sun is too strong and is burning your plant’s leaves, consider buying a sunshade or moving the plant to an area where there is shade.

#2. Soil Requirements

Aeonium Zwartkop, like many other succulents, needs a well-draining potting mix or soil. It is best to use loam or sand soil type. There are cactus potting mixes available that you may use, along with draining soils such as perlite, coarse sand, or pumice. The type of soil you use should account for humidity. Less humid places need less draining soil, while high-humidity places need more of it to keep the soil from getting too wet.

Photo by Neslihan Gunaydin on Unsplash

#3. Watering Requirements

Aeonium Zwartkop does not need too much water, and its watering requirements depend largely on the climate and humidity. Also, it depends on whether you have planted your Black Rose indoors or outdoors and the soil’s moisture. In places with high humidity, you do not need to water the plant often. Plants that grow indoors need less water because water evaporates faster when the plant is outdoors and slowly when it is indoors.

During summer, they need to be watered once a week or once every ten days. During winters, you may water it once every ten days or once a fortnight, depending on the plant’s location (indoors or outdoors), the humidity, and other factors.

It is important to water Aeonium Zwartkop thoroughly. Misting it is not sufficient, and the plant may not absorb the water it needs.

How To Propagate Aeonium Zwartkop

The easiest way to propagate Aeonium Zwartkop is through stem cuttings. If you want to propagate your Black Rose, cut off a stem, let it dry, and then plant it using proper soil. You may use the rooting hormone on the stem before it dries to help speed up the process of propagation. It needs water every few days and needs to keep away from direct sunlight till its roots grow. Once the roots grow fully, and the plant matures, you can decrease the watering and increase the sunlight exposure.

Common Problems

Even though they are easy to maintain, growing Aeonium Zwartkop can have certain problems. They drop the old leaves as new ones grow, and the old leaves appear wilted and dry. You can choose to let leaves fall out on their own, or you can remove them to make your plant look more aesthetically pleasing. If the leaves wilt at a quick pace, some issue with the plant needs fixing.

Most issues with this plant happen because of the water it receives. Both under-watering and over-watering can wilt the plant. It is also very susceptible to rot because of its low water needs. Too much watering or overly wet soil can set the rot in the stem. In order to salvage the plant, you will need to remove the parts that have rotted and then propagate from what is left.

Pests On Aeonium Zwartkop

Aeonium Zwartkop is a sturdy plant that is resilient to most bugs. That said, some pests might damage the plant, such as greenflies or mealybugs.

By Claudio Gratton, University of Wisconsin – Plant Health, Wikimedia


Aeonium Zwartkop is not toxic to people, livestock, cats, dogs, and birds. You can grow them if you have pets since the plants will cause no harm even if it is ingested.

What Tolerance Does Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’ Need In Low Temperatures?

When temperatures drop, while ‘Zwartkop’ can tolerate mild frosts and even some sub-zero temperatures, it should not be exposed to these for long. If it is exposed to these temperatures for too long, this can permanently damage your plant.

The best way to do this is to plant it in a pot and take your plant inside. Take it out when the cold is not so intense or even in summer. In case of planting it in the ground, you can protect them from the constant frosts and low temperatures. This is with covers or greenhouses that help conserve some heat for your plant.

Before conclusion, …

Image from Mountain Crest Garden

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* Note: We will earn a small fee when you purchase through any of the above affiliate links, at no additional cost to you.

Final Words

Thank you so much for reaching here! I think it’s pretty much everything I know and wants to write about Aeonium Arboreum ‘Zwartkop’. I wish this article will be helpful enough. If there is anything that I miss or any questions, let me know in the comment section. Thank you for visiting Succulent City and I hope to see you around soon 🙂


Richard Miller

Salute everyone. It's Richard, the author of this Succulent & Xeriscaping blog. I am a traveler and a nature lover looking for a connection with the wild green. In my journey, I found a love for succulents and xeriscaping. What attracts me is the long-lasting & unique beauty of every plant I have the chance to see with my own eyes. Welcome to my little blog and let's enjoy a good time together!

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