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Thread: Black Aeoniums

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    swords's Avatar
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    My mother has started collecting succulents (taking her on a greenhouse tour of the twin cities was how I ended up getting interested in Stapelias). Anyway, she's boughten two Black Aeoniums (they have fancy cultivar names but I dn't recall them both were about the same) and both have had their leaves dry up crispy and fall off from the bottom up. Once you water the whole plant falls apart and the stem turns to mush. This has happened with two different black Aeoniums from two different greenhouses. Any ideas on what she's doing wong?

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    Somewhat Unstable superimposedhope's Avatar
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    I would set the pot in an inch or so of water and leave it for 15-20 minutes then take it out and let it totally dry out before doing it again. They like to be drier than normal.

    joe
    \"There is nothing here of interest to any nation, as a matter of fact there is nothing here but humans!\"

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    NECPS President Dave S.'s Avatar
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    Cool plants. Here is some information I found from http://www.phoenixtropicals.com/aeonium.html

    Overview
    Aeoniums are originally from the islands off the North coast of Africa and are generally Winter-growing and Summer-dormant. Despite what many "experts" say, Aeoniums will do quite well in the Phoenix metro as long as you select suitable varieties (non tropical types) and as long as you give them plenty of sun in Winter, and light shade (and less water) in Summer.

    Heat Tolerance and Sun Exposure
    In the Phoenix metro, aeoniums thrive in partial to full sun from autumn through Spring (say, November through April or so). Once the blast furnace kicks in for Summer, they prefer partial shade to full bright shade. Aeoniums are ideal for containers which can be relocated through the seasons to adjust to these needs, and are relatively good candidates for growing in the ground under deciduous trees where they get Winter sun and Summer shade.

    Cold Tolerance
    Cold tolerance varies greatly with variety, so it is good to do some research before choosing one. Typically aeoniums are fine to 28 degrees F ( -2 C), but the more tropical types (generally with large, floppy leaves) will want to be kept warmer. I've grown the dark-leaf variety 'Schwartzkopf' outside in outer North Scottsdale for five years with no damage from cold. They're certainly are happier in warmer Winters, but many are fairly cold tolerant (for here). None will tolerate a long, hard freeze, so bring them indoors for a day or two if you expect such conditions.

    Planting
    I grow my aeoniums in basic cactus/succulent mix, which for me is about one part regular houseplant potting soil, one part pumice, and one part coarse sand. I generally grow them in porous terracotta pots. If planted in the ground, again make sure they get Winter sun and Summer shade, and keep them in a fast-draining location.

    Fertilizing, Watering, and Growth Rate
    One key aspect of culture to remember is that aeoniums grow actively during the cooler months, generally November through May or June, so those are the months to water and fertilize them regularly. Even though watering is more frequent, it is still important to let them dry out between waterings. During these active months, water once a week and fertilize once a month with a basic water-soluble house plant fertilizer, or water-soluble tomato plant fertilizer.

    Now for the tricky part. In Summer, when it's the hottest, aeoniums enter dormancy and require very little water. Watering frequency drops to approximately every two weeks. Over watering aeoniums in Summer is their number one killer. Do not fertilize them during this time. When they are dormant in Summer, they are not the most beautiful plants and will drop many of their lower leaves and the rosettes of foliage often curve in on themselves to create shade. They can look a bit like Brussels sprouts on long stems. But rest assured, as temperatures cool down, they will relax and begin active, vigorous growth again.

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