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‘Sunburst’ aeonium
‘Sunburst’ aeonium

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Zones 15-17, 20-24
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Full, Partial
Regular WaterMinimal Water
Moderate, Minimal


Cacti and succulents, Perennials

Most aeoniums are native to the Canary Islands. Their fleshy leaves are held in rosettes at branch tips. After several years, the rosettes may produce a single large flower stalk in spring or summer; branches that have flowered die. These cool-season growers go dormant in summer to save water. During dormancy, they may appear sick and lose leaves—but when the weather cools and the plants get a little water, they perk up and regrow leaves.

Plant in well-drained soil; cut back on irrigation in summer. With age, most aeoniums grow leggy. To encourage branching, cut back branches several inches below rosettes anytime except during summer dormancy. Rosettes tend to be smaller after growing out from pruning. Cuttings are easily rooted: let dry for a few days, then plant in sandy soil kept barely moist until new growth appears.

Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkop’ (photo courtesy of E. Spencer Toy)
Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkop’ (photo courtesy of E. Spencer Toy)

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Aeonium arboreum

Grows to 3 ft. tall and wide. Each branch tip carries a 6–8-in.-wide rosette of bright green, fleshy leaves. Yellow flowers in long clusters. ‘Atropurpureum’, with magenta-and-green rosettes, is more striking and more widely grown than the species. Hybrid ‘Zwartkop’, sometimes called black rose, has very dark purple (nearly black) rosettes up to 10 in. across; it can reach 5 ft. tall.

Aeonium canariense

Forms a low mound of large rosettes (to 18 in. wide) of light green leaves that are fuzzy in some forms, smooth in others. The tips of mature leaves take on salmon tones. Pale green to white flowers.

Aeonium ‘Cyclops’

Resembles A. arboreum ‘Zwartkop’, but its leaves are deep red rather than black, and each rosette has a green center, or eye. Plants grow to 4–5 ft. tall and 3–4 ft. wide, with an open, branching habit.

Aeonium ‘Sunburst’ (photo courtesy of Monrovia)
Aeonium ‘Sunburst’ (photo courtesy of Monrovia)

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Aeonium ‘Sunburst’

Showy plant with 12-in.-wide rosettes of green leaves variegated in light yellow or creamy white and edged with red. Usually grows 1 1/2–2 ft. high and wide but can mound up to 4 ft. high. Flowers are cream-colored. Does not respond well to pruning. ‘Starburst’ is similar, but with less yellow in the leaves.

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