If you’re looking for a beautiful succulent plant to add to your collection, Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkop’ is a perfect choice. With its beautiful leaves and gorgeous appearance, this succulent will be sure to add some style and color to any space.
The following guide will help you learn all the steps necessary for growing Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkop’ plants at home to keep them looking their best!
in this article:
About Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkop’
Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkop’ is among the most striking succulents ever to grace a garden. It is a cultivated variety of Aeonium arboreum.
Deep purple, almost black succulent leaves form wide, loose rosettes. Multiple thick, grey to greyish brown stems hold the rosettes up high on full display. This coloration immediately contrasts with the regular mid-greens in a typical garden.
Under direct sunlight, the color of the leaves darkens into a deeper black.
The insides of the rosette are a dark shade of green that gets lighter or darker depending on how much sun the succulent gets.
Yellow, star-shaped flowers appear on fully mature rosettes in the spring or summer, spelling death due to their monocarpic nature.
This succulent can get relatively tall, reaching 4 feet in height while remaining compact and bushy laterally.
Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’ is a recipient of the prestigious Award of Garden Merit by the Royal Horticultural Society.
|Botanical Name||Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkop’ or Aeonium ‘Schwarzkopf’|
|Common Name||Black Rose|
|Origin||Hybrid, Garden origin|
|Light||Full sun, Partial shade|
|Bloom season||Late Spring|
|Water needs||Low to Average|
|Soil||Well-drained, Loam, Sand|
|Tolerant||Drought, Salt, Deer|
Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkop’ Care
Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’ is a forgiving succulent requiring little care beyond the basics. So get started on a basic care routine and watch the rest become easier and easier over time.
Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’ is a succulent that prefers full sun. Direct sunlight, with no shade, is best for this plant.
If you don’t have the option of placing your plant in full sun, it will still grow normally in light shade, but the leaves colors might not be as vibrant.
If you do not have any natural light—perhaps because your house faces north or is obscured by buildings or large trees—it might be best to grow this plant indoors under artificial light.
You should avoid full shade as much as possible: although Aeonium’ Zwartkop’ can survive deep shade, it will do so in dire straits. Therefore, a good amount of sunlight is essential for a healthy Aeonium.
Aeonium succulents are tolerant of most soils, though they will do best in well-drained soil that has little organic matter.
If you’re planting your succulent in a container, choose one with plenty of drainage holes to prevent over-watering.
Add extra perlite or vermiculite to the soil to improve drainage and aeration. And if you’re planting your succulent in the ground, choose a spot that drains well—you don’t want it to sit in water.
Water the Aeonium when the soil is dry to the touch. Aeoniums need more water than many succulents because they have shallow root systems. Therefore, you should water more often when it’s hot out; in cold weather, less so.
In summer, when the plant is dormant (eating up most of its energy stores), you should still give it enough water to keep it alive but not too much so that the roots become soggy and rot.
Check your plant’s drip tray or saucer regularly to ensure it doesn’t need watering! Aeoniums require regular watering throughout the year (except in winter).
Temperature and Humidity
Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’ prefers a temperature range of 65-75°F (18-24°C), with an ideal growing temperature of 70°F (21°C).
This plant is slightly more forgiving of high humidity than most succulents but prefers a moderate humidity level of around 50 percent.
This succulent is cold sensitive, so keep it above 50°F (10°C). Try not to expose it to freezing temperatures or extreme heat.
While it can tolerate some variations in temperature, anything below freezing is a bad idea. The best way to keep your Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’ healthy is to provide it with a consistent temperature and humidity level, but if you have a heat spike or cold snap, it’s not the end of the world.
The best time to fertilize your ‘Zwartkop’ is spring or fall. Use a balanced liquid fertilizer for the best results. If you can’t find a specific product that’s “for succulent plants,” but it looks like it’s for cacti, that’ll probably be fine as well.
Generally, any fertilizer labeled 10-10-10 is a balanced fertilizer suitable for most plants.
If you’re unsure how much to feed, just start with less and work up from there—you can always add more later if necessary.
For people who do not have a green thumb: Aeoniums are pretty hardy plants and don’t need fertilizing very often. You can grow Aeonium, like most succulents, without any fertilizer at all. They seem to grow okay without any extra help!
Pruning is rarely necessary to keep the Zwartkop compact. This is especially true if you are growing it in a container. But, sometimes, it can be helpful if the plant has grown too tall and gangly.
Plants that have outgrown their pots should also be cut back to promote new growth, or they will tend to become leggy as they grow vertically to reach for the light.
The best time for pruning Aeonium’ Zwartkop’ is at the start of their growing season, late fall through early spring. However, there are no hard-and-fast rules regarding this—it’s okay if you do it earlier or later than those times and still gets good results!
Propagating Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’
Using Stem Cuttings
This is the preferred method of propagation for Aeonium ‘Zwartkop.’
You can take them at any time of year, but it’s best to do so in spring after the last frost when the Aeonium is actively growing. Avoid doing so during the summer dormancy as that’s when the plant stops growing.
- Take a cutting from an existing Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’ by removing a branch from where it’s attached to the main plant with clippers or sharp scissors. The stem should have a healthy rosette at its apex, which will serve as the central rosette for the propagated plant.
- Give your newly-cut end 2-3 weeks before planting it – this will give it plenty of time for callusing over, so you don’t get any rot while working with delicate new roots.
- After they callus over properly – which usually won’t take long – plant them into moist soil.
- The soil should be well-draining and kept slightly moist at all times.
- Place this container somewhere warm and sunny.
- Place a plastic tarp over the structure to increase humidity and wait for the plant to get established.
Using Leaf Cuttings
To propagate Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkop’ using leaf cuttings, you will want to start by finding a healthy, established plant with at least 3-4 leaves.
- Snip off one of those leaves and allow it to callus over for a week before planting (you can do so by placing the cutting in a jar of water). The best time for taking leaf cuttings is during spring or fall.
- Place your cutting into its own pot with a well-drained soil mix.
- Never pack them too tightly together—you want to give each cutting some room to grow roots.
- Water lightly only when the topsoil feels completely dry but don’t let it get soggy!
- Once rooted, provide plenty of light (preferably bright filtered sunlight), humidity, and moist soil conditions until new growth develops and the cutting is ready for its permanent home.
Potting and Repotting Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkop’
Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkop’ needs the same potting mix as many other succulents. It is recommended to use a loamy or sandy mix, which has the following properties:
- Good drainage
- Sand or coarse vermiculite for good aeration and water retention
When choosing a pot size, remember that Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkop’ will continue growing until it reaches maturity. Therefore, choose one large enough to grow into but not too big; this plant can become quite tall! Also, remember that succulents’ roots are shallow and easily damaged during repotting. Therefore always lift the plant out of its old pot carefully so as not to damage them.
Try to repot during the early period of spring. It’s before the summer dormancy period, so your succulents will have plenty of time to grow before it sets in.
- Choose a pot. Look for one about two inches wider than the plant’s root ball. Aeoniums prefer to be potted in clay pots with holes at the bottom, but plastic or glazed ceramic will also work fine as long as they have sufficient holes.
- Choose a potting mix. The best potting mix for repotting your Aeonium should be well-draining, light, and airy—this ensures that moisture drains away from roots quickly so they don’t stay wet too long (which can lead to root rot). Use it if you have leftover cactus soil from repotting earlier in the season! If not, look for a standard succulent mix at your local garden store.
- Pick the perfect spot. Find somewhere warm and sunny with plenty of sunlight and moderate temperature. A windowsill or patio is a good option, as long as it doesn’t get too hot in the summer. Aeoniums don’t like to be moved from one place to another, so pick a spot where they can stay for several years if possible.
- Gather the tools. Once everything is ready, start gathering tools such as scissors or pruners if needed depending on how many branches need cutting off before placing them back into their new container. A trowel or small spade might also be needed depending on how stuck the root ball is in its old container.
How to Repot (Step-by-step)
- Remove the pot from the tray and place it in a sink or tub.
- Carefully remove the plant from the pot, taking care not to damage the roots. If you accidentally damage some of your Aeonium’s roots, don’t worry—any minor damage will grow back!
- Remove all of the old, flaky soil from around your plant’s base by hand or with a trowel and discard it in an outdoor trash bin.
- Keep grass clippings away from houseplants, as they can cause mildew problems for indoor plants if left at room temperature for extended periods (this is especially true during hot summer months). Don’t worry about removing every last bit of soil—it’s okay if some remains stuck on your cutting; just make sure there isn’t any other debris clinging to its roots before moving on next steps!
- Prepare new planting medium by adding this mixture into a container(s) until filled right up overtop existing drainage holes: one part peat moss mixed with two parts perlite (or vermiculite), plus enough water until moistened but not soggy (about 1/4 cup per 5 gallons).
- Place your Aeonium in its new home. Once settled into its new growing medium, let the plant rest for a few days before watering again. It’s essential to keep your Aeonium well-watered but not soggy or overwatered.
- Fertilizing in the summer
- Pruning when your plant is dormant
Aeoniums are monocarpic plants, meaning they die after flowering.
After the Aeonium has finished blooming, it will begin to die. You can cut off the stem at this point or allow it to wither naturally on its own.
If you choose to remove the dead stem, wait until it begins to turn brown, and then cut it clean off as close to the base as possible.
Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’ produces yellow-colored flowers. These are small and star-shaped and only appear after the Aeonium has matured, usually after 3-5 years.
Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkop’ is not listed as toxic to pets by ASPCA.
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.
Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkop’ is generally pest-free. But a few pests can become the occasional nuisance. The most notable examples are:
Aphids are tiny insects that feed on the sap of plants. Usually, they’re more of a nuisance than anything else, but large infestations can weaken your plant by draining it of its resources.
To prevent an aphid invasion in the first place, try to keep your plant’s leaves clean and free from debris that could harbor aphids. You should also remove any dead or damaged leaves.
If you see what appears to be large numbers of greenflies on your plant’s stems or leaves (or if they seem to be causing some damage), spray with an insecticidal soap mixture every seven days until you no longer see signs of them.
Mealybugs are probably one of the most common pests that affect succulents indoors—and for a good reason:
- Mealybugs are very small, so it’s easy for them to hide;
- They also secrete sticky honeydew, which attracts ants and encourages mold growth;
- Finally, mealybugs tend not only to feed off the plant itself but also attack its roots, where it can cause severe damage over time!
Prevention is key here!
Keep regularly checking for any signs of an infestation, like a spattering of white goo on the leaf surfaces! Remember never to overwater because doing so provides ideal conditions for these pests to thrive.
Scale insects are another common problem. They’re small, round, and have a hard shell appearance—making them easy to spot on your succulent!
Unfortunately, like mealybugs, they tend to feed off the plant itself and attack its roots, which can cause serious damage over time!
They’re easy to eliminate if you can catch an infestation early. You can use a cotton swab dipped in alcohol to remove any scale insects, but make sure you’re thorough! Any leftovers might become an issue down the road.
Overwatering is the most common issue with succulents. If you’re a beginner, it’s best to err on the side of caution and underwater rather than overwater your plants.
Here are some signs of overwatering:
- Leaves are droopy and curled downward.
- Roots are soft and mushy, with no sign of new growth at their tips.
To treat overwatering:
- Remove the plant from its pot and check for any signs of root rot. If you see soft mushy roots, cut them off as close to the base as possible.
- Repot your succulent in a new container with fresh soil that drains well.
- Don’t forget to fix your routine and only water sparingly going forward!
An underwatered plant will have dull, light green leaves that begin to fall off early. Your plant might also have a weakened stem that is drooping or wilting. If this sounds like your Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkop,’ you need to water it more often than you currently do.
To correct underwatering in your Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkop,’ water it more often but ensure the soil has good drainage so excess water can drain out of the pot quickly.
You don’t water to overcorrect and end up with a case of overwatering on your hands.
One of the most common problems with Aeoniums is over-fertilization. Using too much fertilizer on an Aeonium can cause yellowing leaves, dropping leaves, and leaf burn.
The best way to prevent this is by starting with a relatively small amount of fertilizer during spring and increasing it gradually over time to promote growth.
Stop fertilizing when you find that Aeonium isn’t taking advantage of the nutrients it’s given efficiently anymore.
Frost damage is a common problem when growing Aeoniums. The leaves of this succulent often turn brown and brittle in the frost, which can be devastating to the plant. Fortunately, there are things you can do to prevent frost damage.
The trick to preventing frost damage is to protect your plant from freezing temperatures before they occur.
One way of doing this is planting in a greenhouse or other protected area during winter. Another option is wrapping your plant with burlap or plastic during frosts, so it doesn’t freeze outright and remains safe from frozen over condensation.
Additionally, placing your plants near heat sources such as fireplaces or radiators can help prevent them from freezing overnight if they’re outside during cold weather; however, remember that these methods aren’t always effective at keeping temperatures above 32 degrees F (0 C).
Dropping leaves is not a sign of poor health. Rather, it’s a natural part of the plant’s life cycle.
If you notice that your plant has begun to drop leaves, do not panic! Aeoniums shed their old foliage to grow new ones. During this time, your Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkop’ will be shedding the outer rim of leaves on each of its rosettes.
Aeonium Arboreum ‘Zwartkop’ – Best Way to Take Care Of (Video)