Aeonium Madi Gras - Succulent Care
How to care for Aeonium ‘Mardi Gras’
Aptly named after the explosion of colour that is the Mardi Gras festival, Aeonium ‘Mardi Gras’ does not disappoint. This succulent goes through dramatic changes in colour throughout growth and dormancy phases. With warm weather comes growth and a striking gradient of red so deep it’s almost black, to orange, green, and cream. Cooler temperatures brighten the rich, dark red leaves to reddish pink, and the variegated colours liven up the rosette.
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As a variegated species, Aeonium ‘Mardi Gras’ produces pups that don’t always have the variegated mutation. These offshoots should be cut off because they grow quicker than the variegated form, they will take over the plant. Mardi Gras is not one of the faster growing Aeonium due to the lack of sugar-producing, growth-inducing chloroplasts in the variegated leaves.
LIGHT: Generally, variegated forms sunburn easier than non variegated plants. Colours are richer with more sun, but keep an eye out for sunburn while finding the right balance.
WATER: From autumn through spring, water when the soil is almost dry. Let it dry out during winter dormancy. The rainy season of autumn helps wake plants from their summer dormancy.
SOIL: Use a well-draining soil mix. This succulent is tolerant of low-nutrient soil.
PLANTING: For vibrant colours, outdoors often provides a better combination of temperature and sun than glasshouses. Mardi Gras is suited to pots 20 cm or larger, or in the garden.
FERTILISER: Mardi Gras grows strong despite low-nutrient soil, so fertilise only if growth halts or the plant begins to look lackluster. Otherwise, if fresh soil is used, nutrients will be replenished when the plant is ready to go up a pot size.
BLOOMING: Aeonium is a monocarpic genus, blooming just once and dying some time after. Flowering occurs in fall after a long, strong growing season.
DORMANCY: Mardi Gras is dormant in summer. If they are kept in the sun during the growing season, they will go into dormancy and the heads will shrink a bit as they dry out. If they are kept in the shade during the growing season, they tend to not rebound into dormancy and the heads have the chance grow larger. They are mildly tolerant to frost.
PROPAGATION: Aeonium are not one of the succulent genera which propagates via leaf, but cuttings work well. Rosettes growing along the stem can be taken and rooted in their own pots.