Aeonium Growing, Care and Cultivation
Aeonium are a small but interesting, and diverse, popular group of plants. Easily grown. Ideal for pots and outdoor plantings. very drought hardy, and quiet cold tolerant. They range in size from miniatures several centimeters across. To giants half a meter wide and up to 2 meters tall.
The Aeonium group of plants come primarily from the Canary Islands, Madiera, Morocco West Africa and Arabia. With just a few species all the way across the Sahara on the East side of Africa.
Aeoniums come in a riot of different forms and colours. Green grey purple to near black with some wonderfull variegates.both white, yellow and red. There are over the last few years been some very good breeding done in Japan, Europe and America. Mainly from Aeonium arboreum as the parent. Most have not yet made it to Australia's shores yet. Aeonium have large rosettes with fat fleshy stems. Some of the miniatures rosettes may only be a few cm across. to the nobelist one of all Aeonium nobil measuring up to half a meter wide
Even though Aeonium are a small group of 34 species, they are very varied in shape sizes and colour. More recently the group called Greenovia which only had 4 species have now been incorporated into the genus Aeonium. Greenovia had a different growing form but very similar to Aeoniums and flowers almost the same, making them logically to fit into the Aeonium genera.
Aeonium's are very suited to the Mediterranean climate. so are eminently suited to growing here in the southern half of Australia. being a dry climate with a wet winter and a hot dry summer. Aeonium grow from Autumn through winter to Spring. Their main dormant period being over the hot dry summer where their normally large heads can shrink and curl up to a fraction of their natural winter size. Aeoniums may continue growing over summer if given enough water and some shelter.
Some Aeonium are mildly frost tolerant or need a cooler wet winter to grow well a few are tropical. But most have adapted to poor and shallow soils or rock and gravels. In nature these will be one of the first plants to regenerate and naturalize in hollows cracks in rocks up high in the hills. They can take a high degree of sun and heat. So very suitable for exposed pots outdoors in the garden in semi shaded to full sun situations. Very adaptable.
Fowers can be huge. Up to 2 meters on Aeonium nobile. the only one to have orange to reddish flower. And near a meter on some of the others, mostly a bright yellow to a pale yellow. Aeonium are monocarpic meaning they usually die after flowering. usually flowering happens on the main or original stem. But do not worry they have normally spread and have many side shoots before they flower.
Propagation is easy with cuttings taken over autumn and winter. They will not grow from leaves as these are thinner than other succulents and appear to lack that small growing bud at the base of the leaf that other succulents have. Summer is not a good time to take cuttings as these plants seem to shut down then