- Author: Launa Herrmann
Several years ago, as a fairly new resident of Vacaville, I was in the process of learning what grew best in the area. I was fascinated by the succulents in my friend Danielle's yard. Some grew in pots, others directly in the ground. The plants that I was drawn to most were those with long stems and the large leaves. Over time I amassed a succulent collection of my own that today encompasses a variety of Gasterias, Crassulas, Echeverias to name a few. But my favorite succulent still remains the large leafed Aeonium.
The most familiar Aeoniums are green in color. Others are red-tipped. Some are almost black like the Aeonium 'Zwartkop'. Another variety, Aeonium 'Sunburst', flaunts yellow stripes edged in pink.
Frankly, I like my simple green Aeonium with its sturdy stems and the ease with which it propagates. Each spring, after a winter growth spurt, “baby” rosettes emerge which I separate from the main pinwheel of leaves and tuck into their own pots. Then I snap the long stem of the large main rosette and plant it at soil level in another pot, beginning the propagation process over again. New growth doesn't appear until the cooler weather of winter since Aeoniums are dormant in summer.
Perhaps what amazes me most about my plain green Aeonium is that its appearance changes when I change its environment. Quite by accident I discovered that its leaf size and color can differ depending upon the size of the pot in which it is planted, its location in the garden and exposure to sunlight. The more creative I am when planting the rosettes, the more this succulent tries to out-design me with multi-branching or curved stems and flower-like leaves that either cup upward or hang loose.