Scientific: Aeonium arboreum
Common: aeonium, tree anemone, pinwheel desert rose
Family: Crassulaceae
Origin: North Africa and Canary Islands (naturalized in southwest Australia)

Pronounciation: A-e-ON-ee-um ar-BOR-ee-um

Hardiness zones
USDA 9-11

Landscape Use: Accent succulent, excellent in containers, novelty plants, entryways, atriums, partially shaded rock gardens. Colorful aeoniums work well with prostrate, low growing junipers as a bank cover in coastal southern California landscapes.

Form & Character: High impact novelty succulent plant, stiffly upright and branched, sprawling with age, informal.

Growth Habit: Moderately vigorous, upright and branched to 3 feet with a 2 feet spread when young to sprawling with age; stems produce adventitious roots when in close contact to soil. In the lower elevation southwest US including Phoenix, Aeonium is biologically active from October until April. In contrast, during the hot time of year Aeonium is generally dormant.

Foliage/Texture: Rosettes of oblong-shaped succulent leaves on thick brittle stems, green to purple, leaves simple and sessile, stems succulent yet brittle; medium coarse texture.

Flowers & Fruits: Aeonium flowers are usually in the form of large pendant racemes comprised of many, many small yellow flowers, flowers attract bees; fruit are insignificant.

Seasonal Color: Flowers in winter

Temperature Frost and heat sensitive; grows best between 40oF and 100oF. In Phoenix, aeonium needs winter protection from freezing temperatures and is nearly impossible to keep alive outdoors throughout the summer - it just gets TOO hot here folks!

Light: Partial shade to full sun (no western sun).

Soil: Tolerant of most soil types, but does best in a light, well-drained soil.

Watering: If container grown, then regular irrigations are needed. If grown in the ground then water sparingly throughout the warm season and during winter if winter rains are insufficient. On balance, do not overwater this plant as root rot might occur.

Pruning: Removal of spent flower stalks and selective reduction pruning and some heading is all that is needed.

Propagation: Stem cuttings (extremely easy to root during the cooler time of year).

Disease and pests: Rarely scale and thrips, generally pest free. Root rot if soils are chronically wet. If grown as a container plant in a controlled environment, then mealy bugs can be problematic.

Additional comments: Aeoniums are bold plants of great interest that are best suited for dry landscapes along the coast and coastal valleys of southern and central California where they thrive. In Phoenix, they are curiousity plants that are best suited for container or pot culture in high light indoor atrium and/or patio environments. There are many curious looking cultivars including:

'Albovariegatum' (white leaf margins)
'Atropurpureum' (purple leaves with some green toward the leaf base)
'Atropurpureum Crest' (like 'Atropurpureum' but with fasciated stems)
'Chocolate' (brownish purple leaves)
'Green Beauty' (densely rosetted green leaves)
var. holochrysum (green young leaves changing to dull red with age)
'Luteovariegatum' (yellow leaf margins to about 30% to 70% of leaf surface)
'Magnificum' (green with some reddish-purple tints at the apices)
'Mint Saucer'
'Schwartzkopf' (German) or 'Zwartkopf' (Dutch) (all dark purple leaves)
'Variegatum' (cream colored leaf margins means only shade locations in Phoenix)