Aeonium smithii (Sims) Webb & Berthel.r
Smith's Giant Houseleek
Sempervivum smithii, Sempervivum foliosum, Sempervivum hispicaule
Aeonium smithii is a small succulent that branches to form a small, up to 2 feet (60 cm) tall shrub. Its branches have whitish bristly hairs, giving them a shaggy appearance, though older branches tend to lose these hairs. Rosettes are up to 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter. The spoon-shaped or paddle-shaped leaves are velvety to the touch and glossy on the upper surface. They have wavy margins, with the waviness varying from slight to pronounced. Leaves also have lengthwise purple or brownish dashes, especially on the undersides, and these are thickened water-storing structures. The flower stalks are up 6 inches (15 cm) above the rosettes. Flowers are yellow and up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter.
USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Aeoniums do not like hot or dry weather. They may go dormant in summer and do 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 Aeoniums need some moisture. If you are growing them in containers, repot them 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.
Aeonium smithii is native to Canary Islands (Tenerife).
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