Aichryson laxum (Haw.) Bramwell
Tree of Love
Aeonium laxum, Aichryson dichotomum, Sedum dichotomum, Sempervivum dichotomum, Sempervivum laxum
Aichryson laxum is an annual or mostly biennial succulent with dichotomously branched stems with green leaves arranged in rosettes at the tip of the branches. It usually grows between 8 and 16 inches (20 and 40 cm), rarely up to 32 inches (80 cm) tall. The whole plant is densely covered with soft short hairs. Stems are up to 0.5 inches (1.2 cm) in diameter, with the lower branches slightly woody. Leaves are often tinged purplish-red. They are widely ovate or trullate, up to 2.4 inches (6 cm) long and 1.2 inches (3 cm) wide. Flowers are yellow, star-shaped, about 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) across, and appear in lax many-flowered clusters in spring and summer. The plant dies after flowering unless the inflorescence is removed as the flowers die.
USDA hardiness zones 9b to 12b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 60 °F (15.6 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Aichrysons grow as understory plants in the endemic laurel and pine forests of the Canary Islands and prefer to grow in slightly shaded moist soil with plenty of humus. They tolerate a cool, frost-free winter kept fairly dry. Some species are annuals or biennials, but the shrubby perennials also need to be re-started from cuttings regularly to be at their best. Many species produce volunteer seedlings around themselves after flowering.
These succulents are very tolerant of mixed conditions and will tolerate considerable shade as well as full sun. Given the right conditions, these plants will provide an incredible show of yellow flowers. Grow these plants hard with very little fertilizer because they can flower themselves to death. Aichrysons have a very structural trunk and make excellent bonsai subjects.
In winter, they require a rather sunny spot inside at moderate, cool temperatures. If they become too large, plants can be cut back. Cuttings will easily root within a few days. These ornamental dwarf plants are excellent pot plants and will thrive in any partially shaded spot at cool temperatures, e.g., on a window sill.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Aichryson.
This species is native to the Canary Islands (Tenerife, Gran Canaria, La Palma, Hierro, Gomera).
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