Aeonium arboreum


Aeonium arboreum var. albovariegatum
Aeonium arboreum var. arboreum
Aeonium arboreum var. luteovariegatum
Aeonium doramae
Aeonium manriqueorum
Sempervivum arboreum
Sempervivum arboreum var. albovariegatum
Sempervivum arboreum var. luteovariegatum


This plant is widespread in Morocco, Portugal, Madeira.


Aeonium arboreum is a perennial subshrub, also called “Tree houseleek” or “Irish rose”. It forms clusters of purple-violet leaves, with a diameter of 10-25 centimeters. It can reach a maximum height of 60 centimeters. Its Stems are little branched, 10–40 mm thick, and its bark is smooth. The flowering period is in spring: the plant forms clusters of yellow flowers with 10 petals with a diameter of 2 centimeters. Each inflorescence grows from a rosette. After the flowering period, all the rosettes which have formed an inflorescence die. Before dying, the rosettes form new branches from which other new ones form. Leaves can be from 1 to 15 cm long, and they are oblanceolated.


The plant is quite easy to cultivate. To mantain the brightness of the colour of the leaves, Aeonium arboreum needs an intense sunlight, so you should put it in a bright spot. The minimum temperature for its survival is 7ºC. The soil should be well-drained, because the plant doesn’t bear the asphyxia caused by soil firmness. Frequent problems are the changing of the colour of the leaves, which turn green because of the lack of light, or the roll of the entire leaves cluster, which occurs generally because of the lack of water.


Reproduction is done using leaf cuttings. The cut surface has to be dry when the stem cutting is planted. Another way to propagate it is to separate the root suckers from the plant. They form a new plant.


The plants of the genus Aeonium are very efficient in the depuration of the environment and very robust. For these characteristics they are, among the plants, studied by NASA for future use inside the spacecraft. Its name derives from the greek word aionios, which means eternal, immortal, a name that has earned both for its strength and for its affinity with the Sempervivum genus. In fact the Aeonium  are plants extremely robust even for the standard of the great family of succulents; they can tolerate long periods of drought, as well as short periods of intense cold. Aeonium arboreum is also called “Tree houseleek” or “Irish rose”.

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