Time to serve up more succulent love. This go round it’s those fascinating rosette forming aeoniums which I grew lots of in my Santa Barbara garden. I was told they wouldn’t do nearly as well here in Tucson but I brought few cuttings with me anyway. To my surprise, they’re doing fine
This is all about Aeonium arboreum care, in 2 very different climates.
I was going to do a post and video about growing aeoniums in the desert but then thought: why not include the coastal regions of California (also including San Diego, Los Angeles, the Bay Area & points in between) where I lived for 30 years. Aeonium arboreums are known for being tough and I believe that’s why mine are doing so well here in the desert. Other varieties of aeoniums aren’t as adaptable.
Some sold as Aeonium arboreums are actually hybrids so you may never know which 1 you have. Mine can labeled as Aeonium arboreum and Aeonium arboreum autropurpureum (say that 3 times fast!) when I bought them years ago. You may also be familiar with the variety Zwartkop and its striking purple/black foliage. Regardless, the care is the same.
I like to take close up pictures of aeoniums because the rosettes are so beautiful. This is my Aeonium autropurpureum which is much more burgundy/red in the cooler months. In summer it’s almost completely green.
This post and video are about growing Aeonium arboreums in containers outdoors. I’ll touch briefly on how to grow them as houseplants at the end. You may want to read this if yours spends the warmer months outside.
By the way, one of the common names for this plant is Tree Aeonium. They’re in the
These succulents reach 3′ x 3′ so they need some room to spread.
They’re great in containers, alone as accent plants or with other succulents. I had many planted directly in my garden in Santa Barbara. You see them a lot in Southern California in mixed succulent plantings, even along the beaches.
Medium to fast.
Aeonium arboreum care:
Tucson: USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 9A/9B
Santa Barbara:: USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 10A/10B
My aeoniums were growing in the morning &/or afternoon sun in Santa Barbara.
In Tucson, they can take full sun in the late fall/winter/early spring months.
In the hot months,
In Santa Barbara: I’ve found aeoniums need a bit more water than most succulents. I water them thoroughly & then let them go almost dry before watering again. In the summer months I backed off on the watering (maybe once a month if that) because that’s the time for aeoniums to go dormant or semi-dormant. And, I would water even less if the fog was hanging around.
Most aeoniums are native to the Canary Islands so they much prefer the climate in Santa Barbara & the temperate coastal areas of California rather than the deserts!
In Tucson: I water my Aeonium arboreums thoroughly every 7-10 days (less if we’re getting the monsoons) in the summer. Because it’s so hot here, I’ve found they need supplemental watering during these months. In the winter months a thorough watering every 3 weeks seems to be the sweet spot.
Mine are in a larger pot & planted in my special blend so adjust for your climate, size pot, soil mix, sun exposure, etc.
Aeoniums are hardy to 25-30F. They can handle an occasional cold snap but not a prolonged one. I never protected any of my succulents in Santa Barbara because the winter temps rarely dipped below 38F.
Here in Tucson it’s a different story. When the temps. drop below 30F, I cover mine with a large sheet & that protects it just fine.
I find these
The cuttings 7 months earlier. My how they’ve grown!
Propagating Aeonium aboreums is easy by stem cuttings & division. I would heal aeomium cuttings off for 6 months & they’d be just fine. You can see me propagating the cuttings I brought from Santa Barbara here & my Aeonium arboreums here. Warning: the later is an old post & video but you’ll get the drift!
I have you covered with a dedicated post about the soil mix I use for aeoniums. And, you can see how much these plants have grown in 7 months.
I cover repotting & planting in the same post as above. The main things I need to warn you about: these arboreums get quite heavy as they grow larger & can easily break when you’re planting them. You’ll see that if you watch the video.
I’ve found that aeoniums aren’t that needy when it comes to fertilizing. Right now I feed all my container plants with a light application of worm compost followed by a light layer of compost over that in early spring. Don’t too it too late because these plants go dormant or semi-dormant in summer.
Easy does it – I top dress a plant this size with 1″ of worm compost & 2″ of compost. In case you’re interested I also use this worm compost/compost blend to feed container plants & houseplants.
I can’t recommend a specific fertilizer because I’ve never used 1 for my aeoniums. Mine look just fine so I have no need.
How my Aeonium arboreums look at the end of February.
Mine have never gotten any here in Tucson. In the Spring in Santa Barbara, they’d occasionally get orange aphids on the tender growth. I just hosed them off & that took care of them. I’ve heard they can also get mealybugs, especially when growing indoors.
It’s best to take action as soon as you see any pest because multiply like crazy. Pests can travel from plant to plant fast so make you get them under control pronto.
I’m including this because you may be growing your Aeonium arboreum as a houseplant. I consult the ASPCA website for my info on this subject. Because they’re in the same family as Jade Plants, I’d take caution.
I will say that pack rats have gnawed away at many of my plants & leave these aeoniums alone. Many plants are toxic to pets in some way & I want to share my thoughts with you regarding this topic.
Arboreum as a Houseplant
I’ve grown aeoniums as houseplants. These are the 2 most important things to know: they need high light from a natural source & to dry out between waterings. In the summer, back way off on the watering frequency. Be sure to keep them out of hot windows & away from direct summer sun. And, rotate yours every month or 2 so it gets light on all sides.
Make sure that the soil mix you use drains well & is aerated. I use straight succulent & cactus mix when I’m planting them as houseplants.
You want to hose those gorgeous rosettes off once or twice a year. Heat can blow a lot of dust around. The leaves of your plants need to breath & a build up of dust can prevent this.
Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for spider mites & mealybugs.
Aeoniums lose their lower leaves as they grow so you’ll find lots of dead leaves inside the plant.
Good to Know:
If the lower leaves start to turn yellow & droop, no worries
Don’t overwater your aeoniums, i.e. too often
Keep yours out of direct hot sun.
They’ll burn baby burn!
Aeoniums do great in pots
There are many varieties & sprecies of aeoniums.
All are gorgeous. You can see & read about my jazzy Aeonium Sunburst here.
The color of my Aeonium
arboreum autropurpereum is much more burgundy/red in the cooler months .
You might notice aerial roots coming off of the stems of your Aeonium
The rosette heads will eventually have “baby rosettes” growing off of them
The “baby rosettes” growing off
I love my large pot of Aeonium arboreums and almost everyone who comes to my house comments on them. Yes, they may be common in the aeonium world, but they’re special in my world. Give 1 a try and you’ll be smitten too!
GOT MORE QUESTIONS ABOUT SUCCULENTS? WE GOT ANSWERS!
How Much Sun Do Succulents Need?
Succulent and Cactus Soil Mix for Pots
How to Transplant Succulents into Pots
Aloe Vera 101: A Round Up of Aloe Vera Plant Care Guides
This post may contain affiliate links. You can read our policies here. Your cost for the products will be no higher but Joy Us garden receives a small commission. Thank you for helping us spread the word & make the world a more beautiful place!
I recently bought a small, unlabeled succulent that I think may be the kind in this article. It was in a small glass pot-like container (I say this because there was no drainage). It’s for a birthday present for someone, but that’s April tenth, and right now it’s dying. I think maybe I overwatered it, and the roots may have rotted, because it seems like it’s dehydrated and we’ve definitely been giving it at least enough water. The leaves are turning brownish and curling at the edges, and some of them are limp (as in, there’s not cushy water in them). Besides watering, though, I’m concerned that it could have frost damage, because I left it in the car overnight and the pot froze. Now it’s in a bigger pot with better draonage, we watered it once. Can anyone help me save it?
I have an Aeonium arboreum that got super tall over the summer last year when I had it outside/Wisconsin. There are a couple of branches but my concern is the heads of each branch are small and don’t seem to want to grow big. What can I do? It looks so odd with being so tall and skinny. Thank you!
Nell Foster says
Hi Julie – There are quite a few varieties of Aeonium arboreum. With some of them, the heads stay smaller. Or, it could be due to lack of light or too much light. Nell
Nell Foster says
Hi Noelle – It may recover, but with the freeze & too much water, the roots could very well have permanent damage. If you can salvage the stems, you may be able to take cuttings. Nell
Karen Kefauver says
Nell, this article is AMAZING and your knowledge so deep. I am new to plants! (!) I am in Santa Cruz, CA – bet you’ve visited here.
My plant had gorgeous yellow blossoms one day that seemingly went completely brown and withered atop slightly yellow/brown stalks. Very sad. THe leaves are fine tho.
Looks very sad!
Nell Foster says
Karen – I lived in SF for 20 years, so yes, I’ve been to SC quite a few times. Most aeoniums die after flowering but they do multiply. Nell