Aeonium is one of the most sought after succulents for houseplant keepers. And it is understandable why — with its spoon-shaped foliage rich in shades of burgundy and green.
With fleshy leaves forming dense rosettes, Aeoniums can easily be confused with Echeveria or Sempervivum.
A distinct feature that sets it apart from its relatives is how the flowers bear free petals. The free petals are divided into either six or twelve sections.
What is Aeonium?
This succulent plant is a genus of about 35 species of succulents belonging to the subtropical plants of Crassulaceae family.
Aeoniums are little green succulents with a hint of bright color, usually burgundy. They do not grow larger than an average houseplant and make great additions to your windowsill.
The name Aeonium comes from the Greek word ‘aionos’ which means ageless.
This name matches the succulent very well: this plant produces lots of offsets before it blooms, and hence lives on even though the flowering rosette dies.
How Big Does an Aeonium Grow?
Aeoniums are mostly low growing rosettes.
These succulents are mostly 1 or 2 inches, sometimes up to 4 feet in diameter. Some plants branch out and get up to 3 or 4 feet tall, with rosettes over their branches.
These varieties, when maintained at the desired height, can look like bonsai.
Are Aeoniums Suitable for Indoors or Outdoors?
Most succulents originate from the desert areas, and they are accustomed to hot and arid weather. Aeoniums are no different.
They prefer Mediterranean climate — not too hot, not too cold, and not too dry.
These succulents cannot survive frost or really cold temperatures and prefer an indoor environment. They can be placed outside, given that you bring them indoors for winter.
They prefer full sun to partial shade, so make sure to keep them in a bright, sunny spot, preferably a windowsill with good ventilation.
Choosing the Right Soil Type
For any succulent, the choice of potting soil type and a pot to go with it is extremely important. As like all other succulents, Aeoniums hate standing in water.
However, they need some moisture more than other succulents. Just use sandy loam or a regular potting mix to plant them.
Properly Watering Aeoniums
Watering is the key to growing healthy and happy succulents.
When it comes to any succulent in general, the fool-proof way of watering them would be to use the drought-and-flood method.
Aeoniums are summer dormant and require very rare watering in summer, maybe even none at all. However, that does not mean that you can completely forget about them.
Check for signs of dehydration in the leaves. When you notice the leaves are wrinkled and creased, water them. But don’t give them too much water.
In extreme heat, the leaves will curl up in order to prevent loss of water. This is a normal reaction of Aeoniums on very hot days, so don’t try to ‘correct’ the situation whatsoever. Understand and respect your plant’s natural cycle.
The true growth season for Aeoniums is winter to spring when they grow actively and might even bloom! Water them whenever the soil dries out.
Even though Aeoniums prefer a little bit of moisture, they hate standing in water for too long. This can lead to root rot and eventually the death of your lovely succulent.
Although it is not absolutely necessary, Aeoniums can use a little boost of nutrients during their growing seasons. Succulents, including aeoniums, can go a long way with a mild and balanced fertilizer.
The basic rule to fertilizing is not to use too much and to never fertilize in the dormant period. For Aeoniums, never fertilize them during summer, they like to rest during the heat.
Fertilize them with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer in the fall, just when their growing season is starting. Do it every month or once in six weeks. Stop fertilizing in late spring.
How to Propagate Aeoniums
Propagation of Aeoniums can be done by either leaf propagation or through cuttings. To propagate through a leaf, gently take off a healthy leaf by wiggling it back and forth, up and down.
Allow the leaf to callus over for a few days. Then, place it on a tray of dirt, and it will start forming a baby plant after a few weeks.
To propagate Aeoniums through cuttings, take a cutting just below the terminal rosette. Let it callus over for a few days and plant directly in a pot. You could also place it on a tray of dirt and let it develop roots before planting.
It is also possible to grow Aeoniums through seeds. Aeoniums are self-seeding in an ideal outdoor environment. When you are starting your own seeds, you have to remember that succulent seedlings can be quite delicate.
They need protection from the harsh sunlight and require more frequent watering than a developed succulent.
Whatever technique you use for propagation, make sure to do it in August, when they are actively growing.
It is easier for baby plants to develop roots and establish themselves in the growing season than in dormant.
Flowering in Aeonium
The flowering phenomenon in aeonium can be viewed as a bittersweet experience. When an aeonium rosette flowers, it dies. Thankfully, not all rosettes flower at the same time.
So you will have offsets to replace the dying rosette, and your plant lives on.
These plants start blooming in late winter to spring.
Unlike other rosette succulents, Aeoniums have flowers with free petals that are normally in either six or twelve sections.
They have tiny daisy-like flowers arranged naturally in a pyramid shape.
Is Repotting Necessary?
Typically, Aeoniums do not have an extensive root system and require very less amount of soil. So, repotting can be done every two to three years.
When repotting, make sure to water them a day or two before.
Always repot Aeoniums in the fall, at the start of their growing season. Tap away any old soil and clean the roots with clean water if necessary.
Use fresh soil to repot them in a slightly bigger pot. Easy, right?
Brown Marks on Aeoniums?
Aeoniums are tender succulents and are highly susceptible to get bruised. Any form of impact on the leaves can cause it to bruise.
Harsh afternoon sunlight can also cause sunburns. So if you see brown spots on your Aeonium leaves, those aren’t a big threat but you can minimize the bruises by handling them carefully.
Easy to Care for Aeonium Varieties
One of the easiest to grow aeoniums, aeonium arboreum have bright green rosettes that form on a branching stem.
Aeonium arboreum “Zwartkop”
They are also known as the black rose since they have a deep, almost black shade of burgundy.
Aeonium haworthii “Kiwi”
These varieties can grow up to 4 inches wide. The rosette is green colored with a hint of red on the tips and yellow center.
The rosettes grow up to 1 foot wide under ideal environment. They have pale yellow colors, mostly with white and green stripes and pink tips.
Aeoniums are a fantastic type of succulents to own.
They are relatively low-maintenance and really brighten up any room.
With little care and setting up the right environment, Aeoniums thrive without any intervention from their human friends.