Aeonium is a genus of perennial succulents consisting of 35 different species. The plants are native to the Canary Islands and are best known for their perfectly symmetrical, colorful rosettes. Unlike some other succulent types, such as echeveria, aeonium leaves are spread out and overlapping, giving their rosettes the appearance of flower petals.
Aeonium are available in a variety of colors, ranging from green and yellow to deep reds and magenta. With their wide decorative appeal, it’s no surprise that these plants can now be found in homes all over the world.
A sad thing about these plants is that they die shortly after blooming. fortunately, they’re very easy to propagate so even with their short life spans you’ll always have one around to add color to your living space.
Caring for an Aeonium
One of the biggest reasons these plants are so popular, is that they’re low maintenance. Yes, like most succulents Aeonium are tough and don’t need much to get by. Having said that there are still a few things you should know about caring for these plants, to ensure that they grow to their full potential.
Aeonium prefers temperatures ranging between 40- and 100-degrees Fahrenheit. They are suitable to grow outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 9 to 11.
These succulents are not cold hardy and will die if exposed to frosty conditions for extended periods. If you live in a region with cold winters, you may want to grow these plants in containers and bring them inside as temperatures begin to fall.
Like any other succulent, Aeonium loves light and grows well in full to partial sun. Outdoors, they can be left under direct sunlight. If you live in a region with intense afternoon sun keep an eye out for sunburn and move the plant to a shadier spot if necessary.
Indoors, choose a spot that receives a decent amount of direct sunlight throughout the day. Near a south-facing window (if you live in the northern hemisphere) would be ideal.
If your home is dimly lit you may want to consider purchasing a grow light to supplement your Sempervivums needs. There a wide variety available online, just do your research and find one that’s energy-efficient and works well with your plant.
Aeonium has small root systems as they rely largely on their leaves and stems to store water. Being Left in wet soil for too long will result in root rot and may lead to a range of fungal infections and pest infestations.
For this reason, water your aeonium minimally. Underwatering the plant may not do it much harm but overwatering it will. The best watering technique to use is the “soak and dry method”. This involves letting the soil completely dry between watering sessions. This can range anywhere between 2 weeks to a month, depending on the climate you growing them in, as well as the time of year. Waterless frequently during the winter especially if you grow the plant outdoors.
The best way to gauge your Aeoniums water needs is to check the top inch of soil for moisture.
To grow these succulents successfully, use a soil mix specifically composed for succulents/cactus. There are a variety of different types available online, look for one that’s well-draining and light.
Unlike most other succulents Aeoniums prefer some moisture in their soil. Many owners of these plants have reported that regular potting soil or sandy loam are superior alternatives to most succulent mixes out there.
Experiment a little and see what works best for you. remember good soil alone won’t guarantee a healthy Aeonium.be sure to follow the watering advice discussed earlier.
Use a well-balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to half its strength. Feed your Aeonium only during its active growth period, every other month or so.
Do not feed your plant during its dormant period in the summer.
Aeonium does not need to be repotted as often as some other houseplants. Their shallow root systems require them to be repotted every 2-3 years.
Repotting is best done at the start of the plant’s active growth period in the fall. Use a well-draining clay pot with your preferred soil mix. This is also a good time to check for root rot. If you noticed roots that have succumbed to rot, use a sharp sterilized blade to cut them off.
Disease and Pests
Besides root rot as a result of overwatering, Aeonium is a plant resistant to most diseases. As for pests, the two most commonly known to bother these succulents are Mealybugs and aphids.
Mealybugs are hard to spot on a succulent because they love hiding in any small crevice they can find. Left untreated they can eat away at your plant and eventually kill it. A sign that your plant is infected can include misshaped new growth and a white cotton substance between the leaves and stem which the bugs are known to produce. Fortunately, you can easily rid your succulent off these pests through some simple organic methods.
The first method involves spraying the plant with 70% isopropyl alcohol. You don’t have to worry about this causing har to your plant. alcohol evaporates fast and isn’t going to stay long enough to burn any leaves.
The second method you can opt for is using diluted neem oil. Neem oil is also known to mess with the bugs’ hormones, preventing it from reproducing and causing further damage to your plant.
You may also want to look out for rodents and other mammals. These succulents fleshy water-filled leaves may attract a variety of herbivores including, rabbits, squirrels, and deer.
you may also occasionally find slugs on your Aeonium, which you can easily pick off.
How to Propagate Aeonium
Propagating succulents is super simple, and this is especially true for Aeonium. These plants can be easily propagated using cuttings. To do this just follow either one of the two methods given below.
1. Propagation through leaf cuttings
Start by gently twisting a leaf from your succulents’ stem. The pull should be clean as a damaged leaf may not propagate successfully.
Leave the leaf out to dry. This should only take a 2-3 days.
Place the dried leaf in a pot of well-draining succulent soil mix. Mist the leaf with water and let it take root. After a few weeks, you should observe new growth.
2. Propagation through stem cuttings
Cut off an inch stem from the top part of your succulent. Using a sharp, sterilized blade
Leave the cutting out to dry for2-3 days.
Place the dried stem into a pot of well-draining succulent mix, and mist using water at least once a week.
Once new growth has emerged and the plant has grown a little in size. You can switch to a regular watering schedule.
Aeonium plants are non-toxic to humans and pets and are safe to leave unsupervised around the house.
Signs to watch out for
1. Falling leaves
Aeonium loses leaves naturally during their summer dormancy. If the leaves fall out during any other time, it may be a sign that the plant has been under or overwatered.
To see whether the plant is Overwatered, check the roots for rot. If you do notice rot, cut the affected part off, wait for the wounds to callous and then replant the succulent in a pot resh dry soil.
Underwatered Aeonium are much easier to treat. Just water the plant and it should perk up in 2-3 days.
2. Faded leaves
Aeoniums get their bright coloration from light exposure. If the plant leaves look faded and green, it may not be getting enough light. To fix this just move the plant to a sunnier spot.
3. Browning leaves
Scorched leaves often appear brown. If you notice you Aeoniums leaves turning brown it’s a sign that it’s getting too much light. To prevent further damage, move the plant out of direct sunlight to a shadier spot.