Aeonium

Aeonium flowers

A tender succulent greenhouse or conservatory perennial bearing rosettes of attractive fleshy leaves. Aeoniums are becoming increasingly popular as houseplants as they need very little care and attention.

Family: Crassulaceae (stonecrop or orpine family)
Botanical Name: Aeonium
Common Names: Tree houseleek, Irish rose

Foliage: Long branching stems topped with an round array (rosette) of green or dark purple, glossy leaves.

Flowers: Established plants can produce clusters of small yellow flowers if growing condition are good.

Flowering Period: Late winter or spring.

Soil: Well-drained, light open soil (sand or loam). Acid, alkaline or neutral pH. Avoid waterlogged conditions.

Conditions: Best in full sun. Grow in a west or south facing aspect, in a sheltered position.

Habit: Open bushy.

Type: Tender Perennial.

Origin: Madeira, the Canary Islands and North Africa.

Hardiness: Tender in the UK - protect from frost.

Planting and Growing Aeonium

These low maintenance plants will thrive in bright, warm conditions. Group them with other succulents or cacti that enjoy a similar growing environment.

Pot them in loam-based compost with 50% grit or horticultural sand added. Aeoniums can be stood outside in a sunny spot over the summer but need to be returned indoors in September, before the first frosts.

In ideal conditions they can reach a height and spread of 6ft (1.8m) or more, although they will grow much smaller if the roots are restricted in a pot.

Taking Care of Aeonium

Water sparingly over the summer and keep them even drier in winter while the plant is dormant. Apply a balanced liquid fertiliser a few times during the growing season.

The stems are brittle so take care not to let pot grown specimens get blown over and damaged. Heavy clay pots make ideal containers for these plants, providing good drainage and stability. Any stem sections than break off can be used as cutting material to propagate new plants.

Pruning

Not necessary.

Pests and Diseases

Generally disease free but prone to aphids and mealybugs when grown under glass.

Propagating Aeonium

Aeoniums can be propagated from seed, but it is much easier to cut off a bit of stem with a rosette of leaves, which can be planted up in light, free draining compost. Keep at 19°C (65°F) until roots form. Do not overwater.

Popular Varieties of Aeonium

Aeonium arboreum (tree aeonium) is the main species available for sale in the UK. Good cultivars include:

  • 'Atropurpureum' is a shrubby form with dark, fleshy leaved rosettes. For sale at Thompson & Morgan.
  • 'Schwartzkopf' has rosettes of deep burgundy on palm-like trunks. Pretty little yellow flowers in spring. For sale at You Garden.
  • 'Tip Top' produces bright green rosettes, darkening to deep burgundy at the outer edges. For sale at Thompson & Morgan.
  • 'Velours' has striking, dark purple leaves, which contrast beautifully with its bright yellow flowers. For sale at Crocus.
  • Zwartkop is a popular form with succulent black-purple leaves.