Aeonium saundersii Bolle
Martian Heads Aeonium, Martian Heads, Gomera Dwarf Aeonium
Aldasorea saundersii, Sempervivum saundersii
Aeonium saundersii is a densely branched succulent shrublet that forms small rosettes on delicate stems. It grows up to 12 inches (30 cm) tall. Rosettes are up to 2.4 inches (6 cm) in diameter and have 10 to 15 fleshy green rounded leaves with hairs and a hint of red along the margins showing from the hairy red underside. The leaves are up to 1.4 inches (3.5 cm) long and up to 0.5 inches (1.3 cm) wide. They are pleasantly scented when crushed. Flowers are lemon-yellow and appear in mid-spring. They are followed by the leaves darkening and curling inwards to ball up like a fist to conserve moisture for summer dormancy.
USDA hardiness zones 9a to 11b: from 20 °F (−6.7 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Aeoniums do not like hot or dry weather. Therefore, they may go dormant in summer and not require any water, except in arid conditions. In extreme heat, their leaves will curl to prevent excessive water loss. Growing them in moist shade will keep them growing, but their true growth season is winter to spring, when temperatures are cool, 65 to 75 °F (18 to 24 °C), and damp. In the winter, water whenever the soil has dried out. Test by poking your finger down into the soil an inch or 2 (2.5 to 5 cm). Too much moisture or allowing them to sit in wet soil will cause root rot.
A sandy loam or regular potting mix is better than a mix specifically for cacti and succulents since Aeonium needs some moisture. If you grow them in containers, repot every 2 to 3 years with fresh potting soil.
Feed during the growing season with a half-strength balanced fertilizer every month or so. Do not feed while dormant.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Aeonium.
This species grows naturally on steep slopes, sometimes north facing, on the Island of Gomera in the Canary Islands.
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