Aeonium Schwarzkopf is a succulent plant from the family Crasaulaceae. Thanks to its amazing colour, it is popular in gardens around the world
While Aeonium Schwarzkopf is a hardy succulent there are a few things to know about this plant in order to grow it successfully. The advice in this article is based on our many years growing Aeonium Schwarzkopf in our nursery Fern Farm Plants.
Aeonium Schwarzkopf grows as a medium sized shrub with the main stem branching out and ending in a rosette type arrangement. Each rosette can measure up to 20 cm, depending on growing conditions.
Plants in shade can measure wider with longer leaves whereas plants grown in full sun will be more compact and smaller. Aeonium Schwarzkopf can easily grow up to over 1.5m height and approximately 1m in width if they have quality soil when grown in the garden or big pot.
The most amazing thing about Aeonium Schwarzkopf is its colour. The dark purple, almost black leaves are eye-catching and an absolute standout in the garden. The leaves can be quite long if the plants is in the growing stage/ in a shaded part of the garden and turn slightly more stumpy once the plant goes dormant in summer.
Young rosettes form in a circle around more mature rosettes and eventually branch out creating a small tree look.
The shape of Aeonium Schwarzkopf can be managed into tall or more bushy shape by selectively clipping off offsets or whole branches.
The flowering of this plant can be random, depending on the age and location of the plant. Most of the time the Aeonium Schwarzkopf flowers in late winter-early spring. A cone of yellow flowers will grow out of the centre of the rosette. The flowers last for approximately a month then the rosette will die.
Plants in the Aeonium genus are monocarpic, meaning they die after flowering, However it is only the flowering rosette that dies off. The rest of the plant will live on and is likely to produce a round of offsets before drying out, so it can live on.
Position & Care
Aeonium Schwarzkopf is a hardy plant that can withstand poor soil and a range of temperatures. It is not frost hardy and is likely to freeze and die if exposed to temperatures below 0 degrees Celsius (32 F).
If grown in a climate where frost and snow is common in winter, this succulent should be grown in pots and brought indoors until the danger of frosts passes. Frost cloth can also be used to protect plants in the garden. Aeonium Schwarzkopf will be fine in cold weather down to 0 degrees Celsius.
The best position for this succulent is morning sun- afternoon shade in summer and full sun autumn-spring. As mentioned above, plants in shade will grow larger, longer, droopy and greener leaves whereas plants in sun will be compact and fully coloured.
Aeonioum Schwarzkopf is suitable to plant in the garden as well as in pots, though the pot should be fairly big as Aeonium can suffer in smaller pots. Re-potting every year will result in a lovely large plant with multiple branches.
Pot plants should be kept in afternoon shade during heatwaves over 40 C (104F). Plants in the ground should cope with these temperatures as their root system can stay cool, though sometimes the foliage can suffer burn marks.
Succulent potting mix should be used in pots. having said that Aeonium Schwarzkopf will also grow in any ordinary potting but may not grow as pretty and big.
Aeonium Schwarzkopf should be watered regularly, but not allowed to sit in soggy mix for too long. Aeonium are unlikely to suffer if exposed to the rain or overwatered as long as the potting mix is well draining. In the ground, do not plant in flood areas.
Aeonium Schwarzkopf easily propagates by cuttings of offsets and seed. Plants in the Aeonium genus do not propagate from leaf.
Aeonium are also summer dormant and so should not be propagated during this time. They grow best autumn to spring and the absolute best time to propagate offsets is early spring.
The offsets should be big enough so there is a good stalk to cut through. To read an in-depth article about offsets propagation, see here.
Seed propagation can be difficult and unreliable. It can take years before a decent size plant is raised from a seed and often seeds do not germinate at all. Aeonium Schwarzkopf will readily produce an abundance of offsets and the strike rate is high. A novice will not have any trouble propagating this succulent.
Aeonium Schwarzkopf attracts the usual succulent pests. Aphids usually strike at the end of autumn and throughout spring, when new leaves start to emerge, and mealybugs can attack leaves as well as roots
For a full article on animals that like to eat succulents, you can see here. We also have an in-depth post about mealy bugs and aphids.
It is not known whether Aeonium is poisonous to humans, dogs, cats and livestock.
As always, exercise caution if ingested and call a healthcare professional if concerned.
Where Can I Buy It
Aeonium Schwarzkopf should be an easy succulent to source and cheap to buy. These plants are very common and are usually available in most garden centers, nurseries or online succulent shops.
If you’re lucky, a neighbour or a friend may have one in the garden. Just snap off a rosette and plant in pot filled with potting mix.