Tuesday, 21 June 2011

A prince amoung aeoniums

Of all the succulents I have collected, aeoniums have been the most up and down.  Their peak was in 2009, at which time I owned 10 - 15 different varieties.  Sadly loses over winter showed how difficult they were to keep in the UK, needing above -3 to survive. So I have not been replacing them and anyone who shows interests in one of my plants often leaves with it. Going into last winter I had 4 left, two of which have since been given away, leaving me with my cristate a.suburst (which I posted about here) and a. nobile.

It was actually a.nobile that got me interested in aeoniums in the first place.  They are a little different to most of the varieties not really growing a stem but having huge very thick leaves. These leaves form much slower than other forms and get really big.  In time they develop huge heads, one of the biggest of the group.  They also change colour depending on water and light levels. Finally if you are lucky enough they will flower with the usual huge flowers that's one of the selling points for aeoniums.  Sadly they don't really offset or branch although if you are feeling very brave you can force offsets by cutting the top off.  But this is not for the faint hearted as unlike most form they are not easy and when a friend tried he got only two plants from the cut and said it wasn't worth the worry. To make up for it though they are easy from seed and so you need never be without as many plants as you have space for.

Personally I think they are one if not the best aeonium, well worth the pampering you have to give them over winter. This is one aeonium that is going to start in my collection, so hands off.

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