All You Need To Know About Aeonium Succulents

When it’s time to add some panache to your gardening containers, you should consider refreshing your collection with some Aeonium succulents. Thanks to a variety of species, cultivars and hybrids, Aeoniums come in different shapes, sizes and hues to suit every mood and personality.

These dramatic evergreen plants flaunt exciting rosettes perched at the tips of smooth, chunky stems and from time to time, Aeoniums will bloom bee captivating flowers. They are fairly little to no-fuss plants and they make a bold visual statement when paired with succulents that have silver or blue foliage.

We break down some of the things you may need to know about cultivating Aeonium succulents.

A peep into Aeonium’s background

While most Aeoniums are prevalently native to the Macaronesia regions of Canary Islands, Tenerife and Cape Verde, some species have spread their roots to Morocco in North Africa and some parts of East Africa. Aeoniums have been spotted growing in isolation on the rocky volcanic hillsides of the Semien National Park in Ethiopia.

A close cousin to the Sempervivum, Aeoniums are of the same lineage as the family Crassulaceae and consist of about 35 species of subtropical plants.

The Aeonium succulent is a captivating beauty

From the bright and colorful Aeonium Sunburst with its cream and yellow striped foliage to the imposing burgundy almost black rosettes of the Aeonium Schwarzkopf, Aeonium succulents stand out from other evergreen perennials with some distinguishing qualities. You can find ground-hugging Aeoniums that are only a few inches tall with rosettes the size of a coin, while other types would be up to 5ft (150 cm) tall with rosettes the size of a dinner plate. The leaves of the plant transition through shades of yellow-green to maroon or deep red and are sometimes variegated with speckles of pale gold.

The rosettes are fashioned from spoon-shaped, dense, waxy leaves that grow out of a single stem. The stems may differ in shape and size, with some being spindly and branched out while others being short and stubby. When the rosette matures, it develops an impressive 8 inch (20 cm) long flower stalk that produces conical clusters of flowers. Depending on the cultivar or species, the plant may produce tiny star-shaped flowers that are either off white, yellow, pink or red in color.

Most Aeoniums are classified as monocarpic plants, meaning that the rosette will go through one flowering phase and die thereafter. If the plant has produced side shoots, these will continue to grow. If not, the entire plant may die if it does not receive a grooming session. This however is not common because not all the rosettes on the plant will bloom at the same time.

Aeoniums display seasonal changes

Aeonium succulents are fond of long hot summers and moderately warm winters. These plants have learned to adapt to intense heat waves by going dormant during the summer and continuing their growth sprout when the weather cools off in the fall.

Aeonium succulents often shed their leaves during the summer and those left on the plant remain furled during the day as a moisture-retaining technique. In the active months of autumn, winter and spring, the leaves spread open, plump up, and are ready to produce blossoms.

Ways to help your Aeonium succulent flourish

Despite being relatively drought hardy, Aeoniums do well in areas with partial shade. They prefer warm, dry climates and would make the most of the outdoors in USDA Hardiness zones 9 to 11. Aeoniums can slightly tolerate light frost and should be sheltered from strong, cold winds. Indoor plants love a sunny spot by the windowsill and may require the help of growing lights during the cold months.

When it comes to soils, Aeoniums are not very picky. They can bear poor soils but they are in their happy place when growing in well-draining, sandy soil with dry to medium moisture levels. Cactus and succulent mixes don’t have enough moisture. It is recommended that you combine a standard potting mix or sandy loam soil with perlite and peat moss to improve porosity.

The watering needs of Aeoniums really depend on the weather; the cooler the weather, the less water the plant will need. This evergreen can comfortably go through the semi-dormant summer months with sporadic drinks. Aeonium succulents have a shallow root system because they store water in their stems and leaves. They would rather the soil be completely dry before having a thirst quencher.

Propagating the Aeonium succulent

Aeoniums can be propagated from offsets or side rosettes, cuttings, and seeds. You can cut off the head and stem of a rosette before it flowers, allow the cut to heal and harden before placing it in potting soil.

When propagating using cuttings, select a young, slender shoot and make a clean cut of about 10 cm (3.93 inches) long using a sharp pair of secateurs. Let the cutting dry in a warm, dry location for a couple of days until the wound has calloused. Place the cutting in your potting soil, ensuring that at least half the stem is above the soil level. Water every few days and keep the plant away from direct sunlight until it has fully rooted.

Grooming Aeoniums

Aeonium succulents like to branch out as they mature. You can help them out by clipping off and replanting healthy stem cuttings. You could also simply re-pot leggy branches that may have snapped off from the weight of the rosette.

These plants would value your assistance in pulling out old bottom leaves that may appear brown and wilted. When grown in containers, Aeoniums would need to be repotted and offered fresh potting soil every 2 to 3 years.

The Aeonium succulent would appreciate a half-strength dose of a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every 4-6 weeks, but only during the growing season.

Aeoniums loathe having wet roots as they are prone to root rot. Soggy soil may also attract mealybugs, aphids, and slugs. The plant would welcome a full, regular check-up to remain pest and disease-free.

Aeoniums are definitely keepers

Whether you are looking for a garden showstopper or you are planning to brighten up your kitchen table, you can’t go wrong with an Aeonium succulent. The question is, which genus will you choose?

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