Aeonium “Mardi Gras”
A. Arboreum is a plant native to Canary Islands. The hybrid ‘Mardi Gras’ was created by Altman Plants.
Aeonium Mardi Gras is a rustic succulent that forms rosettes of leaves with yellow and green stripes that can turn bright pink and lime green depending on the weather. The plant can grow up to 50 cm in height and forms a woody trunk bearing the colored rosette. In the spring-summer the succulent blooms forming small whitish flowers at the apex of the rosette. The fleshy leaves take on color depending on the weather, the color change is due to the plant’s response to different stressor, such as full sun, cooler temperatures, and the growth/dormancy cycle. For example, a ruby red blush appears in cooler temperatures when the plant is in bright light and the red shades may become more pronounced as the plant is exposed to dropping temperatures. There is also another variety of Aeonium much appreciated by collectors: A. arboreum cv Zwartkop, this plant is particular for its dark leaves that tend to black.
The Aeonium Arboreum is a slow growing plant very easy to cultivate. The perfect soil is a well-drained soil that let the water to drain away and avoid root rot. For this succulent the best sun-exposure is direct sunlight, so you can place it outdoors. The minimum temperatures that the plant can withstand are 7 ° C, below this temperature it begins to suffer and going down further it no longer survives. For the watering you can water regularly in the growing season but check that the soil is completely dry before watering again. Repotting is not required, because the roots of the plant do not spread too much and the growth of the stem is poor.
Because Mardi Gras is a hybrid, in order not to lose the characteristics of the plant, propagation can only be done by cutting. By cutting you can use the offsets that grow at the base of the plant. Cut the offset as close as possible to the base of the stem and then let it dry; after a few days the cut surface will dry and a callus will form, then place the cutting in a mixture of sand, soil and pumice.
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.
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