Aeoniums are beautiful flowering succulents that look great in a variety of settings. They’re also relatively easy to grow and care for, as long as you know what you’re doing.
This guide will help you learn how to keep your Aeonium Arboreum ‘Atropurpureum’ healthy and beautiful by providing information on proper watering techniques, sunlight requirements, fertilization schedules, and more.
in this article:
About Aeonium arboreum ‘Atropurpureum’
Aeonium arboreum ‘Atropurpureum’ is a succulent plant native to the Canary Islands.
It supports a head of dark purple rosettes colored bright green in the middle. It is among the most striking species in the entire Aeonium genus, with the unique coloration of its succulent leaves. It is commonly known as the Purple Rose.
Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkop,’ an immensely popular Aeonium, is a selected variety of Aeonium arboreum ‘Atropurpureum’ with an even darker shade of leaves.
|Botanical Name||Aeonium arboreum ‘Atropurpureum’|
|Common Name||Purple Rose|
|Origin||Gran Canaria (Canary Islands)|
|Light||Full sun, Partial shade|
|Soil||Well-Drained, Loamy, Sandy|
|Tolerant||Deer, Drought, Salt|
Aeonium arboreum ‘Atropurpureum’ Care
Aeonium arboreum ‘Atropurpureum’ is an easy-to-care-for succulent. As long as it’s provided with some necessities, it can thrive all on its own.
Aeonium arboreum ‘Atropurpureum’ is a light-demanding succulent that can thrive in full sun or light shade. The plant will grow more compact in full sun, and its leaves will be healthier and more colorful than when grown in partial shade.
If you’re thinking of growing Aeonium arboreum ‘Atropurpureum’ outside during winter (meaning your climate allows this), choose a location where it gets at least 4 hours of direct sunlight each day.
If you’re growing your succulent indoors under artificial lighting, aim to mimic natural daylight by using grow lights with fluorescent bulbs that emit 5500K color temperature (cool white). This will ensure that your succulents get all the necessary light wavelengths for optimal growth.
Aeonium arboreum ‘Atropurpureum’ is very adaptable in terms of soil type.
They do best in sandy, well-draining soils that have been amended with organic matter such as peat moss or compost.
You can also use a cactus/succulent potting mix if you’re growing your Aeonium indoors; this will help retain moisture and nutrients while allowing the plant to drain properly.
You can buy the cactus potting mix at most garden centers or hardware stores. If you opt to craft your own potting medium, use equal parts of perlite, vermiculite, and peat moss. Add in some compost (1 cup per gallon of soil).
This will ensure that your Aeonium has plenty of nutrients while allowing it to drain properly.
Watering is often the most challenging aspect of growing Aeoniums. The best way to water your plant is when the soil is dry to touch, but always ensure it doesn’t stay completely dry for too long. If you do, your Aeonium arboreum ‘Atropurpureum’ will lose its leaves and die from dehydration.
Shallow roots like those found in Aeoniums need more water than plants with deep roots. Therefore, you might find that your Aeonium needs more water than something like a Haworthia succulent.
How much you water your Aeonium depends on many factors:
- how hot or cold it is outside (water less during winter)
- how big your plant has grown (water more as it gets bigger)
- how much rain falls where you live (if there’s been a lot of rain recently, then don’t worry about watering).
It’s also important to keep an eye on whether your soil dries out between watering sessions; if it does, give it some more water until things level out again!
Again, you’ll want to monitor this carefully over time, so one day isn’t too different from another – consistency goes a long way towards keeping healthy plants!
Temperature and Humidity
The ideal temperature for your Aeonium arboreum ‘Atropurpureum’ is between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. While it can handle temperatures as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit, it will grow more slowly and may not look its best if the temperature drops below this range.
The optimal humidity level is between 40 and 60 percent. Still, this plant does not like high humidity conditions such as those in bathrooms or kitchens with running hot water faucets.
Temperature-sensitive plants require special attention during periods of extreme heat or cold weather. It’s essential to know how to safeguard your plants from heat waves and sudden freezes so you can prevent damage from occurring, then repair any damage that does occur quickly enough so that it doesn’t cause permanent damage to your plant’s health.
Make sure you’re prepared for hot summers by relocating your container to an area with plenty of air circulation:
- balcony or patio with many windows/doors leading outside
- near an open window where cool breezes will come through periodically throughout the day
- near an evaporative cooler (such as one designed specifically for gardening).
Fertilize in spring or fall. Pick a balanced liquid fertilizer from your local garden store for the best results. This will help to keep it healthy and vigorous as it produces new growth.
The amount of fertilizer depends on the plant’s size: The greater the mass, the more nutrients are required.
If you’re starting with a young plant, using about 1/2 teaspoon per foot of stem length is recommended by most growers (including us).
Aeoniums grow okay without fertilizer too! Your succulent may still thrive even when not getting any supplemental nutrients. There’s plenty of nitrogen already available in the succulent soils, and repotting will replace it naturally.
We recommend keeping the plant looking compact and bushy when it comes to pruning.
But, if you want a tall, narrow plant that can be used as a finisher in mixed containers or as an accent in landscape beds, you may need to prune the plant back quite a bit.
If you have a compact specimen and want it to stay that way, only remove dead flower stalks.
Avoid pruning during the summer months when Aeoniums are dormant; this is when they’re resting after blooming and storing energy for next year’s growth cycle and aren’t as responsive to being cut back at this time of year.
Propagating Aeonium arboreum ‘Atropurpureum’
Using Stem Cuttings
To propagate Aeonium’ Atropurpureum’ using stem cuttings, you will need a sharp knife, a pot, and well-draining soil.
Before taking a stem cutting, select a healthy plant that has been growing for at least one year. Then, choose a branch with a robust rosette growing on it for maximum success rate with propagation.
You can take them at any time of year, but it’s best to do so in spring or fall when the danger of frost has passed and the plant is in its growth phase.
- To take a cutting, cut off a healthy branch from the plant at an angle, approximately 4 to 6 inches long.
- Remove any leaves from the bottom half of the cutting, and then place them in a dry spot until you are ready to plant them.
- Give the cutting some time to callus over and let the wounds heal. This will prevent root rot early on in the propagation process.
- Once the wounds have healed, take your cutting and push it into a potting soil mixture. Make sure the tip of the cutting is covered with soil, but leave an inch or so above ground level to support the rosette.
- Keep your cuttings moist, but not soaking wet, until they begin to grow.
- Once you’re sure the plant has taken root, you can transplant it into its permanent home.
Using Leaf Cuttings
Aeonium arboreum ‘Atropurpureum’ is also easily propagated by leaf cuttings. However, this is a much slower process when compared to stem cuttings. So get ready to strap and wait.
To undertake the propagation process using leaf cuttings, follow these steps.
- Take a leaf cutting with a sharp knife or scissors, making sure to include a portion of the petiole (the stem attaching the leaf to the plant) and the blade of the leaf.
- Allow cutting to callus over for a week before planting in well-drained soil in a pot.
- Place your cutting in a warm, sunny spot where it will receive good humidity and keep moist soil around it at all times.
- Aeoniums are slow growers and need at least three months of care before being transplanted into their permanent location outdoors or indoors.
- Optional: Use a rooting hormone at the beginning of this cycle to promote faster growth.
Tips on Using Hormone Powder
If you use rooting hormone powder or liquid, mix each product with water according to package instructions before pouring over your prepared stems in pots filled with moistened soil.
You may also choose not to use any products if you wish. Simply place your stems into the soil without adding anything else and cover them slightly below ground level so that only about an inch remains exposed above ground level (this allows air circulation).
Once inserted into their new homes, they will grow roots quickly as long as conditions remain favorable. This includes plenty of light (indirect sunlight), warmth (70 degrees Fahrenheit), and humidity levels between 50% – 85% relative humidity—allow cuttings at least five days before watering again; do not overwater them!
Potting and Repotting Aeonium arboreum ‘Atropurpureum’
The best time to repot is in the spring as Aeonium arboreum ‘Atropurpureum’ tend to go dormant during the summer, so repotting should be carried out either before or after this period.
After every two to three years, they grow too big for their pot and need repotting to grow further.
The first step to repotting your Aeonium ‘Atropurpureum’ is choosing the right soil. Aeoniums love fast-draining, gritty soil that allows their roots to breathe.
Use a commercial cactus mix or a homemade blend of sand, perlite, or pumice if you can. The pot should be at least 9 inches in diameter but no more than 12 inches across, as the plant will grow larger over the years.
How to Repot (Step-by-step)
- Remove the pot from the tray and set it aside.
- Remove your Aeonium arboreum ‘Atropurpureum’ from its existing pot and gently shake off any excess soil. Use a trowel as needed.
- Discard old soil from the root ball, being careful not to damage roots.
- Fill a new pot with a fresh medium-grade cactus mix or another well-draining growing medium (see Prepare section) and place in an area where temperatures are between 65°F/18°C – 75°F/24°C (ideal temperature is 70°F/21°C) with bright light but no direct sunlight. Use a heat mat or grow lights in colder climates if nighttime temperatures are below 65°F/18°C.
- Hold off on watering until the roots become established in their new home, then continue the regular care routine.
- Placing under harsh sunlight
- Using poorly drained potting mediums
- Fertilizing during dormancy
Aeoniums are monocarpic plants, meaning they will only bloom once before dying. This typically occurs after three or more years of growth, but it can take even longer in cooler climates.
When your Aeonium arboreum ‘Atropurpureum’ begins to flower, it will send up a relatively dense raceme above the foliage to bear the flowers. The flowers will be yellow and star-shaped, arranged in a cluster around the stalk’s tip.
Once the blooms are finished, you’ll immediately see a decline in the health of the rosette that bore the flowers.
Luckily, this death is only contained to that specific rosette. All the other rosettes on the multiple stems are completely fine until it’s their turn to flower.
Aeonium arboreum ‘Atropurpureum’ is not listed by ASPCA as toxic to cats, dots, or other animals.
NOTE: This page is not intended as a substitute for veterinary advice. The toxicity of an ingested substance varies depending on the amount ingested, the animal’s weight, and its sensitivity to specific allergens. Contact your veterinarian or local animal poison control center immediately if you think your pet may have ingested a toxic substance.
Aphids, mealybugs, and scale are common pests in the aeonium family.
Aphids can be a problem for all succulents, and Aeoniums are no different.
They feed on the sap of plants and cause distorted growth and plant death if left unchecked.
They are small, soft-bodied insects with pear-shaped bodies that usually appear in green or black colors.
We recommend using insecticidal sprays, which you can order online or make yourself using dish soap and water.
Mealybugs are another common pest found on succulents, but Aeonium is particularly prone to them because its waxy leaves provide an ideal habitat for this type of pest.
Mealybugs look like cotton balls with wings (they do not sting!) and tend to congregate around crevices around the base of your plant’s stems or leaf axils (where new leaves emerge from).
We recommend spraying these pests off with insecticidal soap spray every few weeks until all signs of infestation have been eradicated.
Scale insects can be identified by their oval shape and hard shell. They usually congregate on the underside of leaves or stems, although you may also find them near the base of your plant.
These pests are difficult to get rid of once they’ve set up shop on your plant—but if you catch them early enough, they’re relatively easy to control with soap spray.
Overwatering is the most common cause of Aeonium arboreum ‘Atropurpureum’ death. The plant roots hate being waterlogged, so make sure they’re not submerged in water for too long.
You can also check your plant’s soil every week or two to ensure it’s not getting too much water. If you notice discoloration or wilted leaves, this may indicate that your plant needs less water.
If you find that your Aeonium arboreum ‘Atropurpureum’ is starting to wilt, place it in a slightly brighter spot. This will help dry out its soil faster and prevent any additional damage from occurring if you’ve been over-watering it recently.
However, if the problem has progressed too far, you might need to remove the affected portions of your Aeonium that have been damaged by overwatering (mainly roots).
Underwatering is one of the most common mistakes new or inexperienced aeonium owners make. Because of their shallow root systems, these plants require more water than other succulents. As a result, gardeners tend to overestimate the ability of an Aeonium to handle droughts.
To correct this issue, you need to water your plant more often.
It’s best to do this slowly so as not to shock the plant and cause any damage, though you may need to do so in stages until the plant is accustomed to receiving more water than usual.
If you notice your Aeonium’s leaves turning yellow and dropping, it may be due to overfertilization. Overfertilization is a common mistake that gardeners make when trying to encourage new growth in their succulents. However, too much fertilizer can harm the plant instead of helping it.
If you suspect that your Aeonium is over-fertilized, stop adding any new fertilizer immediately.
Frost damage is the destruction of plant tissue caused by sudden exposure to subfreezing temperatures.
Frost damage presents as frost burn or whitening of the leaves around the edges. This is discoloration caused by chlorophyll death, and these portions of the leaves won’t recover.
If possible, prune away the affected parts to make way for new growth and be more careful in the future.
Underwatering or too much sunlight can sometimes cause Aeoniums to shed their leaves early. However, keep in mind that it’s normal for aeoniums to shed leaves during their summer dormancy, so if you notice your plant is dropping them during this time, don’t worry—you’re doing everything right!
Aeonium arboreum ‘Atropurpureum’- Care Guide (Video)