Aeonium arboreum is a species with various cultivars that are quite common in cultivation.
Aeonium arboreum (L.) Webb & Berthel
Houseleek Tree, Irish Rose, Tree Anemone, Tree Aeonium
Aeonium arboreum subsp. arboreum, Sempervivum arboreum
Aeonium arboreum is a few-branched succulent shrub with nearly smooth stems that bear dense terminal rosettes of fleshy, glossy green leaves with curved cilia on the margins. It grows up to 6.6 feet (2 m) tall. The stems are erect or ascending, branched, and up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) in diameter. The rosettes are up to 10 inches (25 cm) in diameter, with a flattened center and the young leaves tightly appressed to each other. During the summer dormancy, the rosettes are much smaller. The leaves are spoon-shaped, up to 6 inches (15 cm) long and 1.8 inches (4.5 cm) wide.
Large conical to egg-shaped clusters of small, bright yellow, star-shaped flowers appear on up to 8 inches (20 cm) long stalks from late winter through early spring. The flower clusters are up to 10 inches (25 cm) long and 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter. The flowers are up to 0.8 inches (2 cm) across and have 9 to 11 spreading, narrowly oblong to lance-shaped petals. After flowering, the rosettes die.
Aeonium arboreum is native to the Canary Islands. It is endemic to Gran Canaria and grows in sunny or slightly shaded places on weathered volcanic soil at elevations from 650 to 3,950 feet (200 to 1200 m). The populations found on the Iberian Peninsula, the Mediterranean, and the Moroccan coast are likely to be considered neophytes.
The specific epithet "arboreum (ar-BOR-ee-um)" means "tree-like" and refers to the growth habit of the plant.
How to Grow and Care for Aeonium arboreum
Light: Aeonium arboreum thrives in full sun to partial shade, but in summer, light shade may be necessary, especially during the hotter afternoon hours. When growing indoors, ensure it receives bright indirect light as much as possible to prevent it from becoming leggy and stretched.
Soil: Unlike most succulents, this plant requires a sandy loam or regular potting soil amended with perlite. Avoid placing it in premade soil mixes designed for succulents since it needs more moisture than they typically provide.
Temperature: Aeonium arboreum does not like hot or dry weather, so it may go dormant in summer. It grows best in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 9b to 11b, with average minimum winter temperatures ranging from 25 to 50 °F (-3.9 to 10 °C).
Watering: Water the plant thoroughly in spring and fall, and allow the soil to dry before watering again. During the winter, water it more sparingly. While this plant requires more water than most succulents, too much moisture can lead to root rot. During its dormancy in summer, stop watering except in arid conditions.
Fertilizing: To promote healthy growth, apply a water-soluble fertilizer diluted to half the recommended strength. Feed only during the growing season.
Repotting: If growing Aeonium arboreum in a container, repot it every two to three years during the spring. Choose a container with drainage holes to prevent root rot.
Propagation: This plant is easy to propagate by taking cuttings in spring. Before placing ii in the soil, allow the cut end to dry for several days. It is also easy to start from seeds. For best results, sow the seeds in spring.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Aeonium.
Toxicity of Aeonium arboreum
Aeonium arboreum is considered non-toxic, so it is safe for growing around children and pets.
Varieties, Forms, and Cultivars of Aeonium arboreum
- Aeonium arboreum var. rubrolineatum
- Aeonium arboreum 'Atropurpureum'
- Aeonium arboreum 'Atropurpureum Cristatum'
- Aeonium arboreum 'Zwartkopf'
- Back to genus Aeonium
- Succupedia: Browse succulents by Scientific Name, Common Name, Genus, Family, USDA Hardiness Zone, Origin, or cacti by Genus
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