Friday, June 17, 2016

Foliage Follow-up - Aeoniums

Deciding what to focus on for "Foliage Follow-up," the meme hosted by Pam at Digging, presented a true challenge this month.  Just about everything in my garden seems to be blooming at the moment, including plants purchased specifically for their foliage.  Even the trees and most of my ornamental grasses are sporting flowers.  However, as Loree at danger garden recently announced her "Aeonium Challenge," I decided that this might be an optimal opportunity to take a closer look at the Aeoniums in my garden so that became my focus.

Aeoniums do very well here in my frost-free region of Southern California.  Aeonium 'Kiwi' was my "gateway" succulent, the only succulent I had in my former garden to the best of my recollection.  I brought some cuttings with me when we moved into our current house 5 years ago.  At that time, the only succulents in my inherited garden were a few large Agave attenuata.  As a housewarming gift, a friend brought me a few clumps of Aeonium arboreum and, from there forward, I was on a slippery slope with what's become an addiction to succulents.

Clockwise from the top left, some of the Aeoniums in my garden are: Aeonium arboreum, A. 'Garnet' (I think that's how it was labeled, although it doesn't match many of the photos of this variety on-line), A. 'Kiwi', A. leucoblapharum (acquired during a sale at the local botanic garden), A. nobile, and A. 'Sunburst'


I've used Aeoniums in pots.

If you look closely, you can see that the Aeoniums in the circle pot (A. arboreum and 'Kiwi') and the those in the pot on the upper right (A. arboreum with Crassula 'Campfire') are already very stressed.  In this case, crowding and limited water are to blame rather than the heat as temperatures have remained on the cool side for the last 2 months.


I've also used them to fill empty spaces when I have nothing else on hand.

I created small beds at the feet of the raised vegetable planters that came with the house soon after we moved in. (The pig was a gift from my husband years ago.)

This narrow strip of soil between the chimney and the driveway was originally populated by weeds.  After clearing those out, I filled the area in with cuttings of Aeonium arboreum, A. 'Kiwi', Senecio vitalis, Euphorbia tirucalli and other succulents I had on hand at the time.

This area off the small patio on the south side of the house was one of the raccoons' favorite hunting grounds.  After they dug around the noID Aloe several times, I added cuttings of Aeonium arboreum to fill in.  Somewhat to my surprise, they haven't dug up this area since.


I started adding Aeonium arboreum to the front slope to fill space but the plants were so happy there that it eventually became a feature.

Aeoniums are interplanted here with a variety of other succulents, including off-sets of Agave desmettiana 'Variegata' and Oscularia deltoides


My original Aeonium 'Kiwi' cuttings went into my dry garden.

I used Aeonium 'Kiwi' as a massed planting to edge the driveway at our old house but I haven't been as successful at getting it going here along the path in the dry garden.  It got more water in our old garden.


Aeoniums go dormant here when the heat builds in the summer months so I generally use them in areas that are at least partially shaded but occasionally they end up in full sun.

This west-facing bed runs along the street on the south side of our lot.  If you look closely you'll notice I have Aeonium arboreum, A. 'Kiwi', A. 'Sunburst' and A. nobile here.


After we removed the last of our lawn this past fall, I used Aeoniums in 2 newly constructed succulent beds.

In this bed next to the backyard patio, I planted what was identified as the green form of Aeonium 'Kiwi' along with Kalanchoe orgyalis, Senecio scaposus and other succulents I can't identify surrounding Cordyline 'Electric Flash'

I used Aeonium arboreum here to accent the Agave attenuata I inherited with the garden


However, to date, this is my favorite foliage combination using Aeoniums:

In this bed on the north side of the backyard patio I used Aeonium arboreum to accent Phormium 'Ed Carman' and Acacia cognata 'Cousin Itt'


If I showed every setting in which I used Aeoniums this would be even longer than my Bloom Day post so I'll end here.  I haven't decided what I can do with Aeoniums for Loree's challenge but I'm sure I'll come up with something.  For one thing, my Aeonium 'Garnet' (if that's what it is) needs to be trimmed back.

For views of other handsome foliage, visit Pam at Digging.


All material © 2012-2016 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

18 comments:

  1. How fun! Aeoniums don't do so well here, although i have some A. Mardi Gras in a pot, so we'll see how they do. I love all the different colors on yours!

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    1. 'Mardi Gras' is new to me, Renee. I've yet to see it offered locally but I'll be looking for it.

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  2. I vividly remember your vases of everlasting succulents.
    Perhaps 5 in my garden ... I need more!

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    1. I haven't even tried to count the succulent species I've collected over the past 5 years, Diana. You should definitely try more yourself - I'm sure they'll do well in your climate too.

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  3. Much to my regret Aeoniums are not winter hardy here. I did buy an Aeonium nobile last month and placed in a sheltered location in my garden. If I cover it and we don't have too many 20's next winter, maybe it will survive !

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    1. Much as I'd like to get the rain you get up your way, Kathy, I don't miss the winter frost.

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  4. They're wonderful...! And such a pretty range of colors, for instance in your south side shot. Aeoniums have so much going for them, I think it's a pity they won't last any time here. I need to find some equivalent though as I have spots that really need that kind of planting! If the raccoons haven't been back through, maybe rabbits would leave aeoniums alone too? I can't keep them out of my sedums!

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    1. I haven't figured out what puts off the raccoons - maybe it's just the closeness of Aeonium cuttings (they don't realize how easy the plants would be to dislodge before the roots take hold). However, the raccoons are diggers, not nibblers, so I'm afraid you can't draw any assumptions about what the bunnies would do, Amy.

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  5. I have to say that I'm a little bit envious when I see all your Aeoniums - they are so beautiful! I have tried a few times, and they continue to tempt me whenever I see them, but I've managed to kill them every time I've tried. Probably not enough light, and far too much water... I'll just have to admire yours from afar! The combo with Cousin Itt is scrumptious!

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    1. I'm sure they'd need winter protection too in your area, Anna.

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  6. Wow Kris...you're rich! Seriously, I didn't realize you had such a beautiful assortment. I can't wait to see what you come up with for the challenge! (and thanks for mentioning it)

    A question...did you remove the metal cable from your Circle Pot?

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    1. Hopefully, my Aeoniums won't shrivel this week. It's already over 90F here and the temperatures are only supposed to climb through Monday.

      Re the circle pot, yes, I removed the cable. My husband's promised me he can rig a replacement if I ever decide to hang it.

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  7. They are a handy temporary (and often long term) spot-filler plant. I do the same as you though without such good results. 'Mardi Gras' here and it bloomed and died without offsetting, though everyone else seems to have better results. Grrr.

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    1. I thought I'd tricked 'Kiwi" into branching out by cutting a bloom stalk. It looked as though baby plants were forming around the severed area but those babies have turned into little flowers so I'm not doing well in propagating those. Only the green form of Aeonium arboreum seems to produce lots and lots of offsets.

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  8. Your aeoniums and Cousin Itt look great together! I look forward to seeing what you come up with for the aeonium challenge :)

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    1. After the current heatwave, I'm wondering if my Aeoniums will be fill to meet any challenge, Amy!

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  9. You make such great use of succulents in your garden Kris, I have some in pots but a cold winter here could kill them if I used them very much in the garden. I may just to find a sheltered spot for some as I love the effects that you have created with them.

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    1. They'd probably need some protection in winter in your climate, Christina. Maybe it'd be a good idea to try them in a pot first.

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