Aeonium 'zwartkop' dormancy

keltic_pickleApril 26, 2012

I just recently acquired a small Aeonium zwartkop. I had one of these a few years ago and it did not thrive for me. I've read in several places that this plant is dormant in the summer and grows during the winter, and so watering should be sparse in the summer and more intensive during the winter.

Wanted to get some input from the users here and see what you do. What I'm unclear on is whether the plant's dormancy cycle is affected by its surroundings. For instance, while it may go dormant in the summer in its natural environment, how does being placed in a window sill in Manhattan alter things? These are beautiful plants and I'd like to succeed with this one, so I'd like to get this figured out. Your input/advice/suggestions are appreciated.

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I have been growing and sharing this plant with friends for years & years. There are a LOT of GWers that have starts of my A arborens/arborescens 'Zwartkop' because it's a very easy plant to grow and propagate. I'm not sure what it's supposed to do, but my experience is it grows little in the winter, even under lights. Maybe it's because I'm only able to keep my basement grow room in the mid-60s that it's slow in the winter - who knows. It grows extremely well in the summer.

I once took cuttings of this plant in Jan, and left them lying on my work bench in the basement - no soil - in the dry air - until April or May. The plants actually developed roots while on the grow bench & took right off as soon as they were potted up.

The key to growing succulents well, is a soil that allows you to keep moisture in the root zone at all times without ever subjecting the roots to soggy/airless conditions. I water my succulents every 3 days in the winter, right along with my other plants, because I CAN, and it's convenient not to have 100+ plants all needing water on a varying schedule. I never have problems associated with over-watering/compaction/poor aeration - because of soil choice.

Taking the time to educate yourself, and using good judgement when it comes to soil choice, determines whether or not you'll need to fight tooth and nail against the soil for the life of the planting, or if the soil will work FOR you - an issue even more critical when the plant material is a succulent or something else that doesn't tolerate wet feet well.

We can talk more about the plants cultural wants, but they are really very simple beyond soil choice. Watering habits - something inextricably tied to soil choice, sun, warmth, an appropriate fertilizer at appropriate fertilizer at appropriate intervals are about all you need to worry about to grow the plant well.


    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 9:55PM
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Thanks. That's what I was hoping to hear. I do very well with succulents in general. This was the one exception for me. Not sure why the last one didn't thrive, but I'll treat this one as I do my jades, echeveria, etc. And I use a high quality bonsai soil mix for all of my plants, which works/drains extremely well. Thanks again!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 10:02PM
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