Species Spotlight ~ Aeonium Rosette Succulents!

All About Growing Aeonium

Aeonium (Ay-OH-nee-um) is a genus of about 35 rosette succulents, native to the Canary Islands, Morrocco and East Africa. The name comes from the Greek word “aionos” meaning ageless. In my mind, I always think of these beauties as ageless roses. Like echeveria and sempervivum, they produce leaves arranged in concentric circles – around a common center. This gives them the appearance of a rose. Unlike these two, aeonium rosettes are formed on long, curving, woody stems. Aeonium care is a snap, especially in mild climates, though they can be over-wintered indoors. Let’s take a closer look at these flower-like plants.

{Please note, some links in this post may be affiliate links to sites that pay me a small commission if you click on the link and make a purchase. This commission is at absolutely no cost to you. I only recommend products and companies that I have worked with and truly love! ~Kat}

Aeonium – Tree Houseleeks

green aeonium aurea looks just like roses

Aeonium are commonly referred to as tree houseleeks. The “houseleek” refers to its resemblance to sempervivum. The tree part is due to the long and branching trunks forms by the woody stems. New growth emerges from the center of the rosette. Older leaves are sloughed off, from the ever-elongating stem. Some varieties form extremely long, tall stems, reaching four feet or more, with rosettes the size of dinner plates. Others have a more compact form, branching nicely, with smaller rosettes. The coloring is typically green, sometimes accented with cream, rose or pink in variegation. Some varieties produce striking rosettes in red so deep that it appears black.

The rosettes formed by aeonium often look so utterly perfect, they do not seem real. If you cannot help touching the plant to be sure, feel free. There are no spikes or spines to be wary of. But do take care when handling the plant, The leaves are easily marked, though the damage does not show up for a day or so.

The remarkable aeonium aurea is available to order here.

Aeonium – Rosette Succulents

variegated aeonium sunburst shows a lot of pink in its rosette succulent form

The flower-like rosettes of aeonium tinged with pink and yellow make for a beautiful, floral note in your succulent garden. They are long-lasting and lovely, whether you grow them in a container or in the ground. Just as in a bouquet of flowers, the rosette succulents look their best planted with others that contrast and compliment their form and color. Slim, verticle or trialing succulents like crassula, portulacaria or senecio look wonderful with aeonium.


Aeonium Hardiness

black rose succulent aeonium arboreum

Aeonium are generally hardy to USDA climate zones 9-11. They can typically withstand a light frost, and are most active in the winter months, when cooler weather and moisture are more prevalent. They will go semi-dormant in the hottest summers. This is not the best choice of succulent for fiercely hot regions. If you have your aeonium in lots of sun while temps are fierce, and the leaves begin to curl, withhold water. The curling leaves are a sign the plant has shut down many of its normal systems in an effort to conserve water. When the return of more moderate temperatures, you will see the leaves open again. This is the time to resume your regular watering.


Aeonium Care

tricolor aeonium kiwi is a lovely rosette succulent

Even more than most succulents, aeonium thrive on benign neglect. Ideally, they prefer to be protected from extremes of temperature and sun exposure.

Aeonium Kiwi, above, also develops yellow in the leaves in spring and summer, and is available to order here.

Aeonium Sun Exposure

While aeonium tolerate a fair range from full sun to partial shade, bright light typically brings out the best coloring in their leaves. Full sun in the hottest regions will burn an aeonium’s leaves.

Watering Aeonium

black rose succulent aeonium arboreum with water on the leaves

Like all succulents, aeonium store water for the plant’s future use, as an adaptation to growing in very dry climates. As such, proper watering for these plants is crucial. Be sure to plant your aeonium in a fast draining, gritty succulent soil.There are many terrific recipes online, or you can get great results with a cactus and palm mix found at the local home improvement store. Then, water only when the soil is dry. Let the plant make full use of the water provided before adding more water to the soil. If you are gardening in a coastal region, or one with a lot of dew or fog, you may find you plant seldom needs irrigation. For an in-depth review of how to water succulents, and how to recognize the signs that they need more water or have too much, please read here.

The stunning, black rose succulent aeonium arboreum is available to order here.


Color Changing Aeonium

variegated aeonium sunburst showing yellow stress

The green rosette above with yellow markings, and those that are predominantly yellow with just a few hints of green, are from the same plant. Aeonium change color throughout the year, or even on a single plant in response to light, temperature and hormone cues. In general, more sun, and more heat, often combined with a bit less water tends to bring out the most dazzling color in your aeonium.

The lovely aeonium variegated Sunburst is available to order online here.

Aeonium Flowers

aeonium flowers

Aeonium flowers are spectacular and last for weeks at a time. Like the sempervivum, aeonium are monocarpic plants, meaning they flower just once before the blooming rosette dies. Many aeonium take years to fully mature to the point of flowering. And most will be well-branched, with many rosettes to survive the one that blooms. It is just the single rosette that blooms that will then set seeds and die. In the picture above, many more rosettes are not blooming and will continue to thrive on this beautiful plant. Be sure to take cuttings – aeonium propagation ensures you will enjoy this beauty for years to come.

Aeonium Propagation

aeonium propagation cutting showing how to propagate aeonium

Aeonium propagation is easier than for any other rosette succulent. Do you see the spots on the stems in the photo above? Each is the point where a leaf had grown and was then discarded as the plant grew. Each node where a leaf once grew will develop roots if the stem breaks and drops to the earth. This is how the plants propagate themselves in nature. A branch may break under the weight of a large rosette. Where it then touches the ground, it roots and grows a whole new plant.


While you certainly can propagate them by a single leaf, the easiest method is simply to cut the stem a few inches below a rosette. Slip the bottom two inches of the bare stem into dry soil, out of direct sun. Leave it to callous over for a couple of days. Water lightly, and allow the soil to dry. In a short few weeks, you will find the cutting has begun new growth. You can then slowly acclimate it to more light, and enjoy your new plant!

variegated aeonium sunburts rosette succulent

For a beautiful, colorful rosette succulent that is easy to grow, it is hard to beat aeonium! And if you are new to propagating succulents, this is a terrific place to start. You can find aeonium at most home stores and nurseries. I gave you links to a few of my favorite varieties above. Or take a look at varieties offered by Mountain Crest Gardens. Enjoy growing your succulent rosettes!

You can do this!

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all about growing aeonium rosette succulents

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4 thoughts on “Species Spotlight ~ Aeonium Rosette Succulents!”

  1. I can’t tell you beautiful your plant are I have a few but I like color and having trouble finding we don’t have them here where can I get the different colors

    1. Hi Velma,
      Are you looking for more varieties for your own garden? I can certainly try to help you with that! Where are you located? There are likely some online vendors that offer a wide range of varieties and colors. You might also want to look for a local cactus and succulent society. Groups like this often have “plant swaps” that are a great way to get some fun new varieties, and to meet others nearby who share your passion! 🙂
      Please let me know if I can help! Thanks for reading!
      ~Kat

    1. Hi Judy,
      Thanks so much – and for the opportunity to clarify this important point.
      Yes, if the root structure of the plant is healthy, it typically will form 2 new stems (occasionally 3!) at the point where you cut off the rosette. This is a great way to encourage a good amount of branching for a fuller, denser plant.
      Thanks!
      ~Kat

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