Are you looking for a beautiful and easy-to-care-for plant? Perhaps a gorgeous succulent to serve as a groundcover in your rock garden? If so, you’re in luck!
Aeonium decorum is the perfect balance between form and function.
This guide will show you precisely what to do to keep your Aeonium decorum healthy and happy.
We have tips on watering, temperature and humidity regulation, soil choice, fertilizer, and more!
in this article:
About Aeonium decorum
Aeonium decorum, or the Green Pinwheel, is a succulent plant native to the Canary Islands. Among Aeoniums, this succulent stands out because of the non-traditional Aeonium look. Although its leaves are succulent, they don’t resemble typical Aeoniums. Resembling flattened out Haworthias rather than most Aeoniums.
These leaves form small, pinwheel-shaped rosettes about 4 inches wide. The margins of the leaves are tinged with a fine line of red or pink colorations that deepens in full sun.
Aeonium decorum is a low-growing plant with a relatively large spread, making it ideal as a groundcover.
|Botanical Name||Aeonium decorum|
|Common Name||Green Pinwheel|
|Light||Full sun, Partial shade|
|Bloom season||Spring, Summer|
|Soil||Well-Drained, Loamy, Sandy|
|Tolerant||Deer, Drought, Salt|
Aeonium decorum Care
The Green Pinwheel is a forgiving succulent suitable for gardeners of all walks. Even the brownest thumbs can make this succulent shine as long as some fundamental rules are followed. Here are the most important ones:
Aeonium decorum thrives in direct sunlight and grows best in full sun. However, it can handle light shade and still performs well if it gets at least 6 hours of sunlight per day. Full shade is not recommended for this plant because it will not thrive in such conditions.
Potted indoor plants need more sunlight than those planted in the ground. This is because potted plants have less soil to absorb nutrients, which makes it harder for them to survive without additional light.
Potted Aeoniums should be kept in an area with plenty of direct sunlight throughout most of the day, but some shade from direct sunlight will do them a world of good.
Aeonium succulents like well-draining soil and need to be watered carefully. You’ll want a mixture of sand, perlite, and compost to provide them with both drainage and moisture retention.
We recommend using a commercial succulent mix or making your own; for more information on how to do this, read our article on succulent soil recipes here.
You can purchase a standard cactus potting mix at most garden centers, but you can also make your own potting medium by mixing equal parts of coarse sand and compost. Once your soil is prepared, fill a container up to an inch below the rim and plant your Aeonium’s root ball inside.
Water your Aeonium decorum when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. This is important because Aeoniums have shallow roots and retain less water than one might assume.
Most people find that they need to water more often than they might with other succulents or cacti, especially if you live in a hot or dry climate or during the spring months when your plant is growing rapidly.
Temperature and Humidity
The ideal growth temperature for Green Pinwheel is between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, but it can withstand lower temperatures when young and protected from freezing conditions.
If the temperature dips below 40 degrees at any point during the year, try to keep your Aeonium completely dry to avoid having any water freezing inside the plant’s body and damaging it.
Aeonium decorum prefers relative humidity levels between 40%–60%. These levels are standard room conditions that are naturally present in almost all homes. So don’t fret about humidity unless your home is particularly dry.
Aeonium decorum should be fertilized in spring or fall.
Use a balanced fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, and add it around the drip line of your plant. This is the area that you would see where water drips from a watering can or hose when you water your plant.
It’s important not to overfeed your succulents with fertilizer. Remember that larger plants need more than smaller ones: 1 teaspoon per gallon of water is sufficient for most houseplants; 2 tablespoons per gallon are recommended for larger houseplants or plants growing in containers outdoors.
If you’re unsure how much is needed for your Aeonium decorum, start by using less than the recommended amount and increase the dosage gradually until you find what works best for your plant.
Pruning is the method of shaping a succulent and keeping it compact.
Use pruning shears or sharp scissors to remove the tips of branches, which can be cut flush with the main stem. Cut back the main stem if you’re trying to keep your plant bushy. This will promote lateral growth resulting in a bushy appearance.
You can also use pruning to control growth by removing unwanted branches entirely from your plant—if you want a larger specimen that’s 3 feet tall and wide, for example—but only do this during the growth period (typically late fall through early spring).
Potting and Repotting Aeonium decorum
To pot Aeonium decorum, use a soil mixture that is half sand and half cactus mix, which is composed of equal parts coarse perlite and pumice. Use a wide, shallow pot with drainage holes that are one size larger than the old container.
Don’t use regular garden soil because it will quickly compress and become waterlogged.
Repotting should be done in spring or autumn when the plant is still growing. It should not be done when the plant is dormant (summer) because it will be difficult to recover from being disturbed.
Aeoniums need repotting every two to three years, depending on the size of the plant and whether it has been root-bound. If you notice any yellowing leaves or stems, this could be a sign that your plant needs repotting because it’s not getting enough airflow to its roots.
Before you start repotting, you must be prepared with all your tools and materials.
How to Repot
- Remove your Aeonium decorum from its old pot by gently digging around the edges with your fingers, ensuring not to damage roots or leaf stems.
- Remove the old soil from the root ball, making sure to remove all of it. Use your plastic spoon if necessary. Fill a new pot with fresh soil, making sure not to overfill it, so there is room for the root ball.
- Place your Aeonium into its new pot and gently firm up around its roots with your fingers.
- If you notice that the plant is sitting too low in its pot, add more soil.
- Hold off on watering until a week has passed and the roots have become accustomed to their new home.
Propagating Aeonium decorum
Aeonium decorum can be propagated via stem or leaf cuttings.
Propagate Aeonium decorum Using Stem Cuttings
The best time to take a stem cutting is during the fall or spring when it’s actively growing. Whichever way you decide to go, wait until after the plant has gone through its first year of growth before taking any cuttings.
- Clean your tools before proceeding so that you don’t spread any unwanted diseases onto other plants in your collection.
- Use tweezers or pruning shears to remove your cuts from their parent plants; these tools will help ensure that there isn’t any damage caused by pulling on them with your fingers alone (which could snap off pieces of leaves along with the stems).
- Once removed, wash off each one individually under running cold water for about 15 seconds until all traces of dirt have been removed.
- Once appropriately cleaned and allowed time for callusing over at least two days (this helps prevent rotting), place each cutting into moist soil.
- Cover the pot with plastic to maintain the proper environment for rooting.
- Water your cuttings once every two weeks when you check on them; this will ensure that they stay moist without making them too wet (which could cause root rot).
Propagate Aeonium decorum Using Leaf Cuttings
Aeonium decorum is one of the easier succulents to propagate, especially if you have a number of healthy plants in your garden. You can also use leaf cuttings to create new plants from old ones that are past their prime. To do this, you’ll need to follow these steps:
- Use sharp scissors or clippers to cut a healthy leaf from a rosette.
- Make sure to include the entire leaf in the cutting and make the cut right where the leaf attaches to the stem.
- Allow the cutting some time to callus over before planting it into a fresh pot; otherwise, it may rot due to excess moisture during this period.
- Be sure not to overwater it during this time either—just enough so that it doesn’t dry out completely but not too much more!
- Place the pot somewhere sunny with moderate temperatures and high humidity. Use a tarp or humidifier to increase humidity levels as needed.
- Roots will begin to grow over the next few weeks.
- Once the cutting becomes established, replant it to a new pot with the succulent potting mix and drainage holes.
Aeoniums are monocarpic plants, meaning they only grow and produce flowers once in their lifetime. Once the blooming is complete, the plant will die.
Bloom times vary for different varieties of Aeonium decorum. Still, you should expect star-shaped red or pink flowers on your Aeonium decorum sometime between late spring and early summer.
The plant will send out a tall stalk with many small, star-shaped flowers. These flowers will last for several weeks, producing a beautiful display you can enjoy indoors or out.
The rosette that produced these flowers will quickly fade away, but the remaining rosettes will continue the plant.
Aeonium decorum is considered to be a non-toxic plant.
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 insects are among the most common pests that can infect an Aeonium decorum plant.
Aphids are small, green, or black insects that suck the sap of plants and cause distorted growth. You can control them with a strong spray of water or insecticidal soap.
Mealybugs are usually white and have a cottony appearance due to their covering of wax secretions. They cluster on the stems and leaves, often under the leaves to protect themselves from predators.
To treat mealybugs with insecticidal soap, spray thoroughly every 7–14 days until all signs have been eliminated; repeat if necessary at monthly intervals until cold weather arrives in the wintertime to ensure they do not return next season.
Scale insects are tiny hard-shelled pests that attach themselves by sucking the sap from plants. They are typically gray and may have a hard shell.
There are two types of scale insects: armored scales and soft scales. Armored scales have hard shells that protect them from predators while they feed on sap; soft scales do not have this protection. You can handle a mild infestation of both types of scale insects with horticultural oils.
- Placing under harsh sunlight
- Using poorly drained potting mediums
- Fertilizing during dormancy
Aeonium decorum is a succulent plant that can be prone to overwatering. If you find that your plant has started to appear limp or to show signs of rot, you’ve likely been giving it too much water. In addition to the apparent symptoms, overwatered aeonium plants will also start producing less than ideal growth.
Prevent overwatering by ensuring your Aeonium has good drainage. Both in the form of well-draining soil and sufficient drainage holes in the pot. If the problem persists, reduce watering drastically and wait until the plant improves.
Aeonium decorum is a drought-tolerant succulent that can be grown in various conditions. However, if you notice your Aeonium is losing its leaves or showing signs of stress, it may be underwatering. To prevent this from happening again, try the following tips:
Water your plant deeply once a week and allow the water to drain immediately. Watering should occur all at once rather than gradually (it carries the risk of overwatering).
Try placing your plant in indirect sunlight so it doesn’t dry out as quickly as in other locations around your home.
Overfertilization can cause a variety of problems for Aeonium decorum. The most common symptom of overfertilization is yellowing leaves and stunted growth, but this plant can also suffer from root burn from too much fertilizer.
Fertilize these Aeonium at the beginning of the growth phase (autumn), once a year. Usually, that’s more than enough.
Frost damage occurs when a plant is exposed to temperatures of 32 degrees Celsius or below. It can happen any time of the year but is most common in the winter (obviously).
In the case of Aeonium decorum, frost damage will cause leaves to turn white around the edges. You can save your plant early by removing damaged leaves and keeping them warm indoors if caught early enough.
If your plant has already sustained frost damage and doesn’t show any sign of recovering, you may have lost this particular specimen for good—but don’t lose hope! You can try planting another Aeonium decorum cutting from the parent plant (the least damaged one it has) and see if it takes root.
Shedding leaves is a normal part of the lifecycle of an Aeonium. When these plants go dormant in the summer, they shed the rosettes’ outer rim. This leaf drop is normal and nothing to worry about; the discarded leaves make way for new growth.
However, if this leaf drop occurs off-season, you might have a case of underwatering or too little sunlight on your hands.
How to grow a Aeonium decorum – a complete guide (Video)