AEONIUM - TREE HOUSELEEKS
A Potted History:
Aeoniums, with their enduring charm, trace their horticultural discovery back to 1840, when botanists Philip Webb and Sabin Berthelot documented the first-known species, A. arboreum. The names of these plants are steeped in Greek etymology, where 'Aeonium' derives from aiṓnion, meaning 'lasting an age, perpetual.' The specific epithet, arboreum, nods to the tree-like stature these succulents achieve in their maturity.
Top Tips & Useful Information:
Care Difficulty - Easy
Aeoniums (pronounced Ay-OWN-ee-um) are gems of the plant world that thrive under certain conditions. To cultivate them successfully, begin with these essential tips:
Location & Light:
Aeoniums are sun worshippers, craving several hours of direct sunlight daily. Place them in a conservatory, warm porch, or near a sunlit window to foster robust growth. Shady spots should be avoided, as they can lead to overwatering-related diseases. Adjust the watering frequency based on sunlight exposure. If you notice a white, discolored crown, it's a sign of insufficient light.
Follow the mantra of 'drenches between droughts' to water your Aeonium. These plants prefer dry spells between drinks. During winter, reduce watering to every three weeks to maintain their well-being. Prevent moisture buildup in the crown or under the pot, as it can cause problems like southern blight or black rot.
Feed your Aeonium with a 'Houseplant' or 'Cactus' labeled fertilizer every four waterings in spring and summer. In colder months, switch to a six-water interval. The 'Cactus' feed is preferred as it provides essential nutrients for optimal growth.
Repot your Aeonium every two years in spring, using a 'Cactus & Succulent' potting mix. This is also an ideal time to propagate stems, which root more quickly during this period.
Common Issues & Solutions:
- Over-watering: Yellowing stems and stunted growth are signs of over-watering. Mimic the East African desert habitat with occasional drought periods, and avoid waterlogging.
- Insufficient Light: A pale center and deformed growth indicate inadequate light. Offer at least an hour of direct sunlight, especially in winter.
- Sunburn: Scorched or browned edges result from too little water and excessive sun exposure. Transplant to a larger pot in spring to provide moister soil and acclimatize to bright conditions.
- Over-feeding: Yellow leaves and weak growth stem from excessive fertilization. Pre-moisten the soil before fertilizing and reduce the frequency.
- Poor Rooting of Cuttings: Ensure you propagate in spring, provide adequate light, use sizable cuttings, replace water weekly, and maintain moist soil for the first two months.
Aeoniums are not humidity-sensitive, but occasional rinsing can remove dust particles from their leaves.
Temperature & Hardiness:
Aeoniums tolerate temperatures between 5°C to 35°C (40°F to 95°F). They are hardy in Zone 10 but must be protected from frost.
Spread & Pruning:
Container-grown specimens typically reach heights of 0.7m and a width of 0.5m. Prune yellow or dying leaves and plant debris for better growth. Use clean tools to prevent diseases and avoid cutting through yellowed tissue.
Propagation & Flowers:
Aeoniums can be propagated from seeds and stem cuttings. For stem cuttings, take the top 10cm from healthy, undamaged growth, root them, and plant them in well-draining soil. Yellow flowers in conical clusters appear during spring and summer, with a good winter dormancy period enhancing bloom potential.
Watch for vine weevils (most common if growing outside), spider mites, and mealybugs. Common diseases include root, crown, or heart rot, sun-scald, soft rot, scabs, nematodes, leaf-spot disease, and powdery mildew.
Aeoniums are not known to be poisonous to pets or humans, but excessive consumption can lead to vomiting, nausea, and a loss of appetite.