An aeonium plant in the conservatory at Reveley Lodge.
  • Common name: Tree houseleek
  • Type: Evergreen succulent
  • Height and spread: 1 to 1.5 m
  • Soil: Will need overwintering in a cool conservatory or porch, can be grown outside in the summer when all risk of frost has passed
  • Aspect: South or west facing, sheltered
  • Hardiness: Tender
  • Care: Easy

Aeoniums are evergreen succulents with a dramatic architectural form.  The leaves form a dense, spreading rosette at the tip of a fleshy stalk; typically, the leaves are either green or dark purple.  

Want to find it at Reveley?  Look in the conservatory – a purple variety with lovely sulphur yellow flowers.

Aeoniums self seed freely outside in the milder areas of the Scilly Isles or South West Cornwall, they are a native of the Canary Islands where you’ll find them growing in the cracks and crevices of garden walls, between rocks and on any patch of free draining soil. 

Aeoniums, as with all succulents, have fleshy leaves produced in terminal rosettes on the shoots.  If grown in a conservatory the plant may produce racemes of small, star-shaped yellow flowers in late spring.

Reveley’s purple leaved Aeonium is in full flower now, tiny yellow daisy like flowers.  After the flowers have finished, the rosette will die back, but hopefully it will branch out from below the die back to produce more rosettes – giving the plant it’s quirky architectural form. 

During the winter resting period Aeoniums will loose their older, lower leaves – the black varieties may even turn green.  They are easy plants to take cuttings from – and you can tidy up leggy plants at the same time.   Simply cut off the top rosette with a few inches of stem, and insert into a 50 / 50 mix of compost and grit and keep at 18 degrees in barely moist compost until rooted.  The parent plant will happily push out fresh shoots from just below the cut.

Water Aeoniums sparingly when in growth and not at all when dormant. The compost should be loam based mixed with grit to aid drainage.

The Genus is generally disease free but watch out for aphids and mealybugs.

The purple varieties are particularly attractive, lookout for ‘Schwartzkopf’, ‘Merry Maiden’ or ‘Logan Rock’.