Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkop’
Black Tree Aeonium
This tall dark red and green succulent turns almost black when grown in full sun. It branches off in clumps, becoming bushy when allowed to grow and spread outside. It provides excellent contrast to lighter colored succulents in arrangements.
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Not suited for indoor growing
Needs more water than a typical succulent
Plant grows up to 4′ (1.2 m) tall
Rosettes grow up to 8″ (20 cm) wide
Zone 9a (Minimum 20° F | -6.7° C)
Not cold hardy
Propagation by cuttings
Generally non-toxic to humans and animals
Also available from Etsy.
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Care and Propagation Information
General Care for Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkop’
‘Zwartkop’ is a tall monocarpic succulent, although it can take several years for a rosette to flower. When it does bloom, you can expect to see yellow flowers.
It is deer resistant.
‘Zwartkop’ tends to need more water than other succulents. It’s best to use the “soak and dry” method, and allow the soil to dry out completely between watering.
Where to Plant
Aeonium arboreum is not cold hardy, so if you live in a zone that gets colder than 30° F (-1.1° C), it’s best to plant this succulent in a container that can be brought indoors. It shows off its deep color in full sun.
Plant in an area of your garden that gets 6 hours of sunlight a day.
Pairs Well With
How to Propagate Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkop’
Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkop’ is best propagated from cuttings. As the stem grows taller, the lower leaves will fall off and die, leaving a bare stem. As it grows, you can behead the rosette, and a new one will form.
To behead ‘Zwartkop’, use a sterile, sharp knife or pair of scissors. Remove a stem from the main plant, and allow it to callous for several days before placing on well-draining soil. Water whenever the soil has dried out completely.
‘Zwartkop’ comes from the Dutch name meaning “black head,” in reference to the plant’s dark rosette. It can also refer to the German name ‘Schwartzkopf’ or ‘Schwarzkopf,’ both of which mean “black head.”
Commonly Asked Questions
A while ago I took a cutting of my Aeonium Zwartkop. It had been growing fine but wasn’t producing any new shoots. As it is one of my favorite succulents I had a hard time taking the cutting. At the same time I was confident that if I did take a cutting I would have more offshoots that I could then propagate and keep getting more of them!
After a little web searching and reassurance I decided to take the cut! I cut the stem in two places which left me with the base and roots, a stem and the top. It has been a few weeks now and the top and stem haven’t had any new growth. I’m thinking the stem won’t grow as it seems to be withering away. The top of the Zwartkop is shedding it’s leaves but still seems like it is in good shape although it hasn’t put off any roots yet. By my oh my, did the base start growing! I was so excited when I saw the first little sprout on the base stem. Then as time went on there began to be more and more of them! I am so excited for these to get bigger. It will be one happy little tree with so many beautiful black heads! Isn’t it exciting!
Here is the original before I made the cutting:
And with all three sections from the cutting:
And the new growth on the base cutting:
I’m not too concerned with the stem and top growing. I’ve looked into it and it seems as though the way I cut it might make it difficult for the cuttings to do much. Here is a website that talks a little bit about where to make cuts on a succulent to optimize the growth. I found this after I did my cutting (naturally…) but I’m glad mine still worked!
I’ve really loved propagating my succulents. It takes some time to figure it all out and see what works for each plant. In the end though it is so rewarding to produce more plants from the ones I already have! Not to mention it is much cheaper than buying new plants…
A long time ago I made the brave move and chopped off the top of my only Aeonium Zwartkop. It was scary but I was convinced it would result in more blooms so I went ahead and did it. I haven’t really posted and update on it so, here it is!
First off, I will say that this wonderful plant did not get as much love and attention as it should have in the last few months. Since I was in Boston I wasn’t really paying much attention to my plants, although my sister-in-law did a fabulous job caring for them. Sadly however, the top of the Aeonium Zwartkop did not make it. It wasn’t doing super well when I left so I wasn’t totally surprised. The base of the plant is doing pretty well though! It has several new heads coming off the side and (other than a lack of light, thus the green color) they seem to be doing really well!
One thing I didn’t know about this plant is that it is a “winter” grower. So it grows best during the colder part of the year rather than during the hot summer. I haven’t been giving it as much water as it has needed so the roots haven’t been doing so great. I plan to give it more attention and love in the next few weeks though. Hopefully it will have a nice strong root system by the time summer rolls around.
I am slowly learning that each succulent has it’s own idea about water and sunlight. I’m planning to delve into that more in the upcoming months so I can really understand what the ideal climate (water, light, etc.) for each type of plant is. I’ll do my best to update you along the way. If you have any request, let me know. Thanks to Bryanna for asking about the Aeonium Zwartkop!
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