Aeonium

The genus Aeonium consists of 35 species indigenous to the Canary Islands and coastal North Africa. Popular for their ease of culture and the general appeal of their cool rubbery, fleshy-leaved rosettes. A succulent, drought tolerant, version of the flamboyant dinner plate Dahlia but without the work or fleeting bloom. Form varies, but most grow as medium to tall branched shrubs with rosettes appearing at the ends of bare stalks. Grow them for their geometric form, striking colors, and often, large pyramidal flowers. Aeonium grows in a kaleidoscope of colors and configurations depending upon the species and cultivar. ‘Zwartkop’ (black head in Dutch) is arguably the best known due to its outstanding architectural form and dramatic purple black rosettes. Dark leaved and variegated forms like the carnival colored A. ‘Sunburst’ display best color and largest leaves in full sun near the coast and part shade inland. Most will require some protection from frost. Aeonium work exceptionally well in succulent and rock gardens and as focal point shrubs incorporated into the mixed border. They are standouts as potted specimens. Requirements: Zones vary by species. Well-drained soil. Full sun to part shade. Require little to no water once established, but best with supplemental irrigation in the summer to keep a fresh appearance.