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Aeoniums have about 35 succulent plant species. Aeoniums are most commonly known for their striking rosettes made up of dense, glossy, waxy leaves growing out of a single stem. The foliage can be a solid color, or variegated in white, yellow, red, and green. The fleshy leaves make these plants quite similar to several other succulent plants, most noticeably Echeveria and Sempervivum—the popular hens and chicks.
These are rather slow-growing plants, and it may take as much as five years before they bloom. Flowers stems emerge from the center of the rosettes. Their small, star-like flowers grow in clusters.
Aeoniums can be grown both indoors and outdoors, either as in-ground or container plants.
In the winter, water whenever the top inch of soil has dried out. Test by poking your finger down into the soil an inch or two.
In the summer, when Aeonium is dormant, reduce watering to about once a month, or if your Aeonium is outdoors and gets some rainwater, maybe none at all. Aeonium leaves will curl and drop during dormancy to prevent water loss, so no need to be alarmed if your Aeonium looks less than stellar in the summer.
Aeonium succulents prefer sandy or regular potting soil, so as to retain moisture. And since Aeonium has a shallow root system, they can survive in fairly shallow pots. Even with big Aeonium (up to 4 feet tall), their root system is underdeveloped compared to other succulents.
Aeoniums are great for growing in containers, where you can get a closer look at their unique features and have better control over their growing conditions. In high humidity or rainy areas, you may not need to water them at all. Choose a container with a drainage hole to avoid standing water and root rot. You'll need to re-pot them every 2-3 years. The best time to repot Aeonium is in the fall.
Aeonium can grow under partial shady areas to full sun, however, if you keep them under intense sun exposure, they can experience sunburn. Indoors, give them bright indirect light.
These plants prefer a Mediterranean climate—not too hot, not too cold, not too dry. They prefer temperatures between 40 and 100 F. (4-38 C.) If they are exposed to freezing temperatures, it is very likely that your plants will not survive. In mild winters, they can grow fine even if you keep them outdoors. Aeoniums are hardy in USDA zones 9-11.
Feed during the growing season with a half-strength balanced fertilizer every month or so. Do not feed while dormant.
Aeonium is best propagated from cuttings. As the stem grows taller, the lower leaves will fall off and die, leaving a bare stem. As it grows, you can behead the rosette, and a new one will form.
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