Aeonium arboreum is native to Atlantic Islands (Canary Islands [Gran Canaria]) and northern Africa ( west coast of Morocco), but grown throughout the Mediterranean region during classical antiquity. The tetraploid race of var. arboreum is widely grown in areas of Mediterranean climate, including California and often persisting from cultivation.
Altitude: It usually grow at altitudes below 100 metres above sea level.
Habitat and ecology: It covers the rocks, bluffs and dunes bordering the Mediterranean sea with its bright dense masses.
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Aeonium Growing Tips
Water: Aeoniums do not like really hot or dry weather. They may go dormant in summer and do not require any water, except in excessively dry conditions. In extreme heat, their leaves will curl, to prevent excessive water loss.
Growing them in moist shade will keep them growing in high heat, but their true growth season is winter to spring, when temperatures are cool (65–75 F.) and damp.
In the winter, water whenever the soil has dried out. Test by poking your finger down into the soil an inch or two. Too much moisture or allowing them to sit in wet soil will cause root rot.
Soil: A sandy loam or regular potting mix is better than a mix specifically for succulents and cacti since Aeonium need some moisture. If you are growing them in containers, re-pot every 2 –3 years with fresh potting soil.
Fertilizer: Feed during the growing season with a half-strength balanced fertilizer, every month or so. Do not feed while dormant.
If you have the proper growing conditions, Aeonium will take care of themselves and actually thrive on neglect. Otherwise, your major task will be moving them from hot sun to shade and back again or moving them indoors when the temperature drops too low.
Aeonium have underdeveloped root systems since they store their water in their leaves and stems. They have the ability to produce roots along their stems, which you may notice if the plant gets pot bound or the stems fall and touch the soil. The stem roots will quickly turn the fallen pieces into new plants.
Leggy branches do tend to fall over and snap off, from the weight of the rosettes. If this happens, you can re-plant the broken stem.
Most Aeoniums die after flowering. If the plant has produced side shoots, those side shoots will live on. If not, the entire plant will die off. That’s why it is nice to periodically start new plants from cuttings. You can also start new plants from the seed.