Aeonium urbicum (Chr. Sm. ex Hornem.) Webb & Berth.
Saucer Plant, Salad Bowl
Aeonium pseudurbicum, Aeonium urbicum subsp. urbicum, Sempervivum retusum, Sempervivum urbicum
Aeonium urbicum is a tall, robust succulent that forms a single rosette of long leaves on an unbranched, rarely few-branched, up to 6.6 feet (2 m) tall stem. The rosette grows up to 13 inches (32.5 cm) in diameter. Leaves are spatula-shaped, smooth, glaucous or green, and often reddish along margins. After several years the plant produces hundreds of white to pink flowers packed in a spectacular, up to 3 feet (90 cm) tall, dome-shaped inflorescence. Unfortunately, it dies after flowering. Flowers are small, star-shaped, and appear in summer.
Many plants sold in nurseries as A. urbicum are hybrids of this species or something else entirely different, as they are often stemless or branching and tend to flower at the height of only a few inches. None of these characteristics are consistent with this species.
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 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.
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