A few years ago, another garden blogger asked readers what they'd call their garden if they were to assign it a name. As I recall, I blithely responded "Lizardville" or possibly "Aeoniumville" but actually, while lizards are present year-round, they're most invisible during the cooler months, while succulent Aeoniums are always readily evident. When collecting photos for my recent February foliage post, I found myself snapping a lot of photos of Aeoniums. I decided they deserved their own post so here it is.
I've often described Aeonium 'Kiwi' as my "gateway succulent" and indeed it was the only succulent I grew in my former tiny garden but I'm going to start off this post with Aeonium arboreum, a larger and more varied group introduced to my current garden soon after we moved here in December 2010. A good friend brought me a few, as cuttings if I recall correctly. I wasn't immediately sure what to do with them so those first specimens went into what I now call my Aeonium nursery. From a few rosettes planted beneath three citrus trees, they grew into large clumps.
As my husband and I pulled out lawn and later dying shrubs, creating new beds, Aeonium arboreum cuttings gradually migrated into one spot after another. In fact, they became my go-to plant to fill blank spots for which I didn't have more specific plans.
|This stem, with a rosette larger than my head standing outside my office window, explains its species name. It develops tall stems with many branches.|
|The plants flower too, although I can't say I like them much. The rosette from which a flower springs dies back, although the other rosettes in the clump live on.|
|I've even stuck rosettes into pots. These cement shoes have very small cavities to contain soil but, as you can see, they survived and even branched.|
I've also mixed Aeonium arboreum with other Aeonium species, as well as other succulents.
|This vignette across from my shade house contains Aeonium arboreum, A. 'Kiwi', and Crassula lycopodioides|
|Aeonium arboreum and 'Kiwi' flourish on the moderate slope here. I lot of the Aeonium rosettes were stuck directly into the dry stack wall.|
|One blogger told me that it looked like the Aeoniums were climbing up the side of a low wall here alongside our back patio but actually they've simply formed tall clumps|
Like the plain green Aeonium arboreum, I use a lot of Aeonium haworthii 'Kiwi', partly because it's prolific and partly because it contributes a little yellow and red color to the mix.
|Close up of 'Kiwi'|
|If 'Kiwi' doesn't get much sun, it doesn't develop red edges|
|It works particularly well planted along the edges of beds as shown here in the dry garden on the northeast side of the house|
A few years ago, I picked up a handful of Aeonium haworthii 'Kiwi Verde' in 4-inch pots and discovered that it's even more vigorous than its 'Kiwi' cousin.
|It develops a red edge like 'Kiwi' but it's otherwise green in color|
|It forms large clumps very fast!|
|As I have a ready supply of 'Kiwi' and 'Kiwi Verde' to provide cuttings, I used these when I planted this cat topiary|
As much as I love the color green, splashes of other colors are always welcome. If you like red, there are lots of red-toned Aeoniums, many of which are hybrids of Aeonium arboreum.
|This is Aeonium 'Zwartkop', perhaps the most popular and readily available dark-colored Aeonium|
|I think this one is Aeonium 'Cyclops'|
|Aeonium 'Garnet' in a pot by our front door|
|I believe this one is Aeonium 'Silk Pinwheel', purchased by mail order in 2019 in a 2-inch pot|
|Aeonium 'Velour' is mostly green at present because it's in a shady spot|
|Aeonium 'Cabernet' develops red edges later in the season when it gets more sun|
|I bought this Aeonium 'Jack Catlin' by mail order 2 years ago but it's so well shaded between large Agaves and a Metrosideros it hasn't developed 'Jack Catlin's' characteristic color so I'm going to take cuttings to place in a sunnier setting|
The conditions in which Aeoniums are grown often have a significant impact on their color. This seems particularly true in the case of those with large rosettes - or at least that's been my experience.
|I believed that the Aeonium arboreum cuttings I used here when I replanted the succulent bed in front of the garage were a plain solid green variety and I was startled when I found them changing color soon after I put them in|
Aeoniums also come in variegated forms.
|Aeonium 'Sunburst' is one of the most dramatic of the variegated forms|
|Aeonium 'Mardi Gras' may be the flashiest one I've seen. Unfortunately, it's very slow to produce offset rosettes.|
|My Aeonium 'Fiesta' lost its characteristic variegation in the shade of a tree stump so I probably need to move it|
There are a few other Aeoniums in my garden that are harder to find.
|I believe this one is Aeonium canariensis, sometimes referred to as a "tea cup" variety. The rosettes are very large and slightly fuzzy.|
|These are Aeonium nobile, which develops a rusty orange color and large, thick-leaved rosettes. I recently rescued these from areas in which they'd been squeezed and shaded by other succulents. It develops an interesting flower but, as it's monocarpic, I'm in no hurry to see it.|
|This is Aeonium leucoblepharum, which I found at a succulent society sale years ago. It's in a small pot so it hasn't gotten very big.|
|In the front here is Aeonium 'Lily Pad', a relatively small specimen with flatter rosettes|
That's my collection. I may have missed one or two varieties but this is as complete a run-down as I can provide. If you've found an Aeonium you love, let me know!
All material © 2012-2021 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party