The Aeonium Aboreum succulent was one of my very first succulents. It is the epitome of what I believe a succulent should be! Can be grown in full sun, survives on only rainfall in the garden(or a pot) and can be easily propagated. I have seen Aeonium Aboreum (pronounced – Ay O nee um) growing on the side of the road. However, there are numerous other Aeonium’s. In total there are about 35 different species of Aeoniums. Not surprisingly I have only seen about 5-10 different species in my State . Are all the Aeonium species as hardy and what other Aeonium’s are there?
All Aeoniums are winter growers and therefore look their best during the winter months. So don’t be worried if your Aeonium looks different during summer. This is when they are dormant and therefore do not require a lot of water. To cope with summer temperatures they can change their appearance dramatically. If you are not aware of this you can think that there is something wrong with your plant. Many, but not all, Aeoniums are monocarpic. This means that when they flower the flowering stem will die. If the Aeonium is the type that has many stems then only the stem that flowers will die. However, if the plant does not produce multiple stems then the whole plant will die – sadly. Usually the plant will not flower for about 5 years though.
Pests include aphids and mealy bugs, I have also seen snails make a nice meal out of some of my Aeoniums.
Shape: Any (can be tall and lanky)
Aeonium Aboreum is the most common of all Aeonium species. The Aboreum can grow to the height of a one story house if left to grow as it pleases and not pruned back. It is easily propagated.
Aeonium Undulatum ‘Stalked Aeonium’
Shape: Any (low growing)
One of the larger species of Aeonium with thick stems that grow about 1 metre (3 feet) from the ground. Other rosettes do not branch off the stem like most Aeoniums. The plant is monocarpic so the flowering stem will die when it flowers which is normally after about 5 years. It is easily propagated.
Aeonium Goochiae ‘Ballerina’
This Aenioum is a smaller species in that it is very low growing. It reaches about 20cm (8inches) tall at maximum height. It is slightly hairy and the leaves are a bit sticky. Some have a red tip point on them. It grows in a compact ball shape.
Aeonium Pinwheel is as hardy as the Aboreum and has the added advantage of growing in an amazing spherical compact shape. It is easily propagated and when pruned back it will replace the part of the sphere that has been taken.
Aeonium Decorum ‘Sunburst’
This is a beautiful Aeonium and one that I am reluctant to neglect as I have rarely seen it for sale (at Bunnings or nurseries etc) in South Australia. It is now nearly 2 years old and has produced only two offsets. However, this may be due to the fact that I have kept it in my greenhouse and it has not had a lot of water during its growing season. The new leaves in the centre are a vibrant and deep colour. However, as the leaves get bigger and older they can lose a bit of their colour intensity. I have no had any problems with pests of any kind and it survives with semi regular watering.
|Aeonium Sunburst – when first purchased it in 2016|
Aeonium Aboreum ‘Schwartzkopf’
This Aeonium can be absolutely stunning in the Winter and is one of my favourites. It turns a very dark purple when it is grown in the sun, however, if grown in full shade it will be totally green and look like a normal Aeonium Aboreum. (as above)
These are just a few of the different types, the ones that I have and can comment on. Are they all hardy?, I would say the above are. That is; hardy in a Mediterranean climate. Aboreum is definitely in a league of its own when it comes to hardiness however the other species (except Sunburst) have survived on rainfall only in the garden with hardly any attention or care!
It is believed that the Aeoniums that are monocarpic usually only produce a flower when they are a mature plant – say at least 3-5 years old. However, I found my Aeonium Undulatum (as seen above) had a few new stems start to grow a few months ago and these are already starting to flower!! So I am perplexed as to why they are flowering straight away and will see what happens after they have flowered. Watch this space!