Aeonium Arboreum ‘Zwartkop’
Aeonium Arboreum ‘Zwartkop’ is a nursery produced cultivar from Aeonium Arboreum, so borns from gardening. Aeonium arboreum is native of continental Portugal and Madeira.
Aeonium Arboreum ‘Zwartkop’ was selected from Aeonium Arboreum to produce a plant with really dark red leaves, almost black. Leaves are grouped in rosettes which grow on tall stems, taller than the ones of the likely cultivar, Aeonium arboreum ‘Atropurpureum’. Actually, A. arboreum “atropurpureum”‘s red is less dark, and its rosettes are smaller than the ones of the cultivar ‘Zwartkop’. With the exception of these features, the cultivar ‘Zwartkop’ is really similar to the cultivar “Atropurpureum”. Flowers are also yellow, grouped in racemes: the blooming season is in summer. The plant is evergreen, perennial, and take the shape of a shrub, more towards a tree in A. arboreum than in other Aeoniums.
Put Aeonium Arboreum ‘Zwartkop’ under direct light to enhance its purple colour. Its growth season is spring: in summer the plant use to go dormant to bear the hot and dry climate. It curls the leaves in the case of excessive drought. In winter, water it only when the soil becomes completely dry. In summer, water it more or less twice a week. It needs a well-draining, sandy substrate. It doesn’t bear temperatures going below 0ºC.
Propagation can be realized form cuttings or seeds. Cuttings have to be taken in Spring or either autumn, when you have to cut the apical rosette and put it into the soil.
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.