The Black Rose Aeonium (Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkop’) is a beautiful plant native to dry, sunny environments such as Madeira, North Africa, and the volcanic Canary Islands.
This stunning succulent has gained large popularity amongst plant enthusiasts, which is unsurprising. The Black Rose Aeonium is well-known among succulent lovers for its dark-colored, fleshy leaves and long, leggy stems.
Keeping one of these beauties in your garden will surely turn some heads and likely be the center of the conversation.
They look stunning as outdoor plants in rock gardens, large plant pots, or indoor plant collections. Luckily for us, this hardy plant is widely available, and it can be found and grown in countries all around the globe.
If you are lucky enough to have a mature plant and keep it in the right conditions, you may notice yellow flowers at the tip of the rosette.
These are beautiful, but sadly, this type of succulent is a monocarpic species, which means that the rosette will die back after flowering, which is why Aeonium blooms are often referred to as ‘Death Blooms.’
But once you have a full-grown, healthy Black Rose succulent, you may be wondering if and how you can propagate it to create new plants.
Homegrown plant propagations are one of my favorite gift ideas to give to loved ones, friends, and family.
Table of Contents
Black Rose Succulent Overview
|Scientific Name||Aeonium arboreum|
|Common Name||Black Rose Tree, Black Beauty, Black Top, Black Tree Aeonium, Irish Rose, Purple Crest Aeonium, and Tree Houseleek. Often called by the Dutch name “Aeonium Zwartkop.”|
|Origin||Africa, The Canary Islands, and Madeira.|
|Size and Dimensions||2-4 feet tall and 1-2 feet wide if in the ground; when planted in a pot, it will not grow as large. The individual rosettes measure approximately 2 inches wide when fully grown.|
|USDA Hardiness Zone||9-11. It is deer resistant.|
|Distinguishing Features||Deep, dark purple to red colored, waxy leaves. It develops tree-like features, with long, bare stems as the lower leaves fall off, leaving only the black head of the large rosettes. With proper care, it can produce yellow blooms that emerge from the centre of the rosette.|
|In-Home Placement||Full sunshine and bright light are essential to maintain the black color of the leaves. Move indoors in winter if the temperature drops dramatically, as it is not frost-hardy.|
Black Rose Succulent Care and Maintenance
If you’re looking for a low-maintenance but visually stunning plant to add to your collection, this black Aeonium plant may be just what you’re looking for.
Before we jump into the propagation of this plant, I’d like to tell you a little about how you can grow a beautiful and mature Aeonium to take cuttings!
Being a part of the succulent family, the Black Rose plant is sensitive to overwatering and constantly wet soil. They have a delicate and shallow root system, which will quickly rot when you water too often.
You’ll want to ensure the soil is completely dry before watering again to prevent the roots from rotting and killing your precious plant.
Aeonium Black Rose stores moisture inside its black succulent leaves, which helps it withstand short periods of drought in its natural habitat. Due to this big water reserve, the plant needs little water as a houseplant.
Remember that your succulent will need to be watered more often during the warmer months. Cheek the soil every few days and water it when it feels dry.
If your Aeonium goes dormant due to extreme heat, cut back on watering and only moisten the soil once a month until it starts growing again.
The Recommended Light Conditions
Give it as much sunlight as possible to bring out the best in your Black Rose plant! When you grow this plant indoors, give it a sunny spot inside the brightest window of your home, preferably on the south- or west side of the house.
Outdoors, place your Aeonium in a spot where it plenty of light. It will thrive in the direct morning sun and partial shade during the afternoon.
Too much harsh sunlight during the summer may burn the foliage, so be wary of placing your succulents in full sunlight during the entire day.
Temperature and Humidity
Your Black Rose Aeonium grows best in temperatures between 70F and 80F. Aeoniums are known to be hardy plants, but they do not tolerate freezing temperatures and cold weather.
If you keep your Aeonium outdoors during the summer, it’s recommended to move it indoors before it gets below 30F, as the plant cannot tolerate cold below this point.
This plant naturally occurs in a dry environment, so they do not appreciate high humidity. Avoid misting the leaves of your Aeonium.
This may inhibit airflow and raise the humidity to the point where the plant is prone to rot and fungal infections!
The Best Soil Mixture
When choosing the right soil mix for your Black Rose Aeoniums, think about the native, dry climate of these plants.
In the natural habitat of Aeonium Black Rose, it grows in arid, sandy soil. To increase your success, try to provide a similar mix for them at home!
Standard potting soil is not optimal, as it is often mostly made of peat moss. If you want to use regular potting mix, amend the soil with sand, gravel, and small stones to create a well-draining soil mix for your Aeonium.
My favorite potting mix recipe contains two parts of coarse sand, one part of gravel, and two parts of potting soil with two parts perlite or pumice. If you prefer, you can also use a store-bought succulent potting mix.
In addition to the right soil mix, use a pot with drainage holes in the bottom! Without these holes, water will remain in the bottom of the pot, causing the roots to be submerged in water and thus leading to root rot.
Is it Easy to Propagate Black Rose Succulents?
Yes! Like all other succulent plants, Black Rose is easy to propagate. Your chances of success will improve if you take cuttings from established and mature plants with lots of rosettes and leaves.
It also helps if your plant has a bare stem that needs pruning. As you remove the rosettes, you can tidy up the rest of the plant while giving you several new babies.
What Is The Best Time To Propagate Black Rose Succulents?
For the best results, you should take cuttings in late winter and early spring, which is Aeonium’s growing period.
During their active growing season, the propagations can access plenty of sunlight and warmth to develop roots and grow abundantly!
We do not advise taking cuttings during the middle of the summer. During high heat and drought periods, Aeoniums may go dormant, which means they stop growing and rest until the environment is suitable for growth.
Similarly, your cutting will likely not perform well if you do it in the middle of an ice-cold winter.
How to Propagate a Black Rose Succulent
The most effective way to propagate your Aeonium succulents is by taking stem cuttings. This is an easy process, but the steps must be executed properly to prevent the risk of failed cuttings.
You can even propagate a piece of broken stem that got knocked off the mother plant.
If you follow the method below, you can be assured that your cuttings have the biggest chance of survival!
- Sharp pruners or scissors
- A piece of clean cardboard or cloth
- A terra-cotta pot or plastic nursery pot. As many as needed for the number of cuttings you plan on taking.
- Succulent- or cactus-specific potting soil.
- Water the plant the day before you make the cuttings. This helps to prevent the propagations from drying out as they are rooting.
- Hygiene is really important. Wash your hands first and clean your pruning shears before and after use. Sharpen them if necessary so that you can make a clean cut.
- Prepare a small pot (4 inches) with well-drained soil. Ensure that the pot has drainage holes!
Stem Cuttings (Step-by-Step)
1. Observe your mother plant carefully to see if any shoots are leaning over to the side of the main stem. These can be pruned to tidy the overall shape of the succulent. Pick stems with an intact healthy rosette and at least 4 inches of stem if none stand out.
2. If there are several leaf rosettes, these can be made into separate cuttings.
3. If the stem is very curved, you may need to cut it smaller and try to get a straight stem so that the new plant will grow straight upwards. Leave enough stem on your rosettes because half of it will go underground.
4. Remove any dry, old leaves at the base of the black rosette, leaving only a healthy rosette and a piece of stem.
If you want to use hormone rooting powder, now is the time to dip the end of the cut stem into this.
5. Do not plant your cuttings yet! Lay them on the cardboard to dry in a cool location out of direct sunlight. In summer, overnight may be enough, but in the winter months, you need to wait a few days until the end of the stem looks creamy brown and feels dry.
6. When the cut ends of the stems feel dry, place each cutting in prepared soil and do not push them in very hard. Submerge about half of the stem underground. Now you can gently press the soil around the stem.
7. Lightly water the soil when you plant them, then check every 2-3 days around the edge of the stem. When the soil is dry, give the cuttings just enough water to moisten the soil lightly, but avoid drenching the soil completely.
8. Place your cuttings in bright but indirect light. They need enough light to grow, but direct sunlight may burn the young shoots. If you don’t have access to enough natural light, consider using an artificial grow light instead.
9. After about three weeks, gently tug the stem to see if the roots are developing. You know the roots are growing beneath if there is a little resistance. Before you know it, new leaves will begin to emerge!
Indoor vs. Outdoor Propagation (Pros and Cons)
The Black Rose Aeonium can be propagated both indoors and outdoors. Either method has its benefits but also its downsides.
Picking the best method is mostly a matter of preference. Below are the comparisons to help you pick the best option for your propagation.
Growing your Aeonium cuttings indoors has a few important benefits. The first is that, contrary to outdoor propagations, your plant has less risk of becoming infected with diseases and pests as it is trying to grow.
Additionally, indoor cuttings are protected against harsh outdoor conditions, which makes them less stressed, and lowers the risk of complications during the growing process.
Indoor propagations also come with some downsides. The light inside tends to be less bright when compared to outside conditions.
As a result, your cutting may take longer to root. It also makes the plant less strong, as it’s not used to the outdoor climate.
If you plan to move your propagation outdoors, letting them acclimate slowly is crucial to prevent sunburn or environmental shock.
Depending on your area’s climate, outdoor propagation may be more suitable. This lovely succulent naturally grows in hot, arid climates.
You can easily propagate it outside if temperatures do not fall below 70F (21C). If you’re expecting colder temperatures, we recommend starting your cuttings indoors indoors.
As mentioned above, outdoor propagation comes with a few risks. Outside, your plant is exposed to the elements. It may fall prey to pests, sunburn, wind damage, or watering issues from rain.
It’s a good idea to place your young cuttings in partial shade rather than full sun to prevent them from burning to a crisp immediately!
Common Problems When Propagating Black Rose Succulents
Although propagating Aeonium Succulents is easy, not all propagations are successful. Especially if you are new to propagation, you will likely encounter some issues during the process.
Below are the most common problems that you may face with Aeonium propagation.
Cuttings Begin To Rot and Turn Black
Rotting cuttings is the biggest reason for failed propagation. This problem is often caused by using the wrong kind of soil or watering the soil too much.
For your cuttings to thrive and develop healthy roots, they require decent oxygen levels.
Using a dense, poorly drained soil mix will increase the risk of rot significantly. These soils inhibit airflow, making it hard or impossible for your cuttings to access oxygen.
Similarly, giving your cuttings too much water can cause rot. Due to constantly wet soil, all the air pockets in the soil are sealed by water, inhibiting airflow and drowning your cuttings.
Another reason for rotting succulent propagations is when the cuttings were not allowed to callous before planting them in soil.
It is crucial for the cut ends to dry out before you plant them because it prevents bacteria and fungus from entering the cut end.
Carefully remove the plant from the soil and support the stem. Examine the roots and chop off any brown or black parts.
If the base of the stem has rotted, then cut this off too. Wash your pruning shears so the rot does not spread to the next plant you prune.
Place the affected plant on a piece of old, dry cloth or paper to dry out. Turn it over every few hours so all parts of the plant dry out.
After 24 hours, check the roots, cut away any brown or black areas, and ensure you have the right soil in a pot and replant it.
Ensure that the soil you use has good drainage and that the new pot has holes in the bottom to allow excess water to drain from the pot and prevent overwatering and root rot.
Shriveled and Dried Up Propagations
If you notice your propagations are beginning to dry out too much and appear wilted or wrinkled, you’ve likely underwatered your Aeonium propagations.
For successful propagation, you need to provide the cuttings with moisture. Roots will not grow without it!
If the cuttings are shriveling, please check the soil with your finger. It will likely feel dry and brittle if the cuttings are dry and shriveled.
A simple but thorough watering will solve a lot of the shriveling. Even though these plants appreciate dry conditions, cuttings need moisture to grow roots!
Remember that the more sunlight and warmth your cuttings receive, the more frequently they need to be watered.
If you keep your propagations in full sun during the hot summer months, consider moving them into the light shade to protect them against drying out.
Scale is a common houseplant pest that can affect any type of plant. When your succulent is infested with this pest, you’ll notice small brown or black-colored bumps on the stems and leaves. These are not abnormal growths but insects!
Scales are characterized by their shell-like armor. Once the bugs mature, they attach themselves to your plant and feed. Once stuck to the plant, they can be hard to remove, as pesticides cannot penetrate their armor.
Badly-infested leaves are better off removed. Ensure to discard the leaves far away from the other plants after removing them!
You can treat smaller infestations by scraping the bugs off one by one and applying insecticidal soap or neem oil solution to prevent them from returning.
You may need to repeat this process once every two weeks for a few months until the pest is gone.
Spider Mites thank their name to their most obvious characteristic: small, silky webbing. If you notice webbing in crevices and tight spaces on your plant cuttings, you can be assured that you are dealing with spider mites!
These microscopic bugs feed on the chlorophyll in your succulent, slowly draining it of energy and nutrients. As they feed, they leave behind patchy yellow spots.
Spider mites can be treated by rinsing your plant in the shower or with a garden hose. The pressure from the water will knock the bugs off your plant and drown them in the process.
To effectively treat spider mites, rinse the plant thoroughly, allow it to dry, and apply a pesticide. Repeat once a week until the pest is completely eradicated.
Cuttings Won’t Take Root
Sometimes, it may seem like your Aeonium Black Rose cuttings will never develop roots!
This can have multiple causes, such as a lack of soil moisture, light, or wrong temperatures. However, the most common reason is a simple lack of patience!
Succulents are slow-growing plants, and Aeoniums are no exception. Sometimes, it can take months before your cutting begins to develop roots.
You can try to speed up propagation rates by ensuring the plant gets the right conditions, such as temperature, moisture level, and light exposure.
Another possible cause could be that your Aeonium cutting was unhealthy and does not have sufficient energy storage to grow roots.
If this is the case, likely, the cutting will never root and, at some point, begin to rot or dry out, as mentioned before. In this situation, you’re better off tossing the propagation completely and trying again.
Propagating Black Rose Succulents FAQ
Do Black Rose Succulent Stem Cuttings Need Fertilizer?
Because these chubby succulents originate from dry, sandy, poor soil conditions, we do not recommend fertilizing your Black Rose Aeoniums.
Store-bought succulent soil typically contains fertilizer granules or compost sufficient to keep your Black Rose healthy for at least a year.
If your Aeonium has been growing in the same pot for over a year, you may apply a balanced fertilizer in early to late spring to kickstart the growing season.
Do I Need a Rooting Hormone to Propagate Black Rose Succulents?
Hormone rooting powder can be a great choice for impatient plant parents, as it speeds up the root development process. However, your Aeonium cuttings will be fine without it.
These plants are not very fast-growing, so remember that if you don’t use rooting powder, you may wait a long time to see roots develop.
Can I Propagate a Black Rose Succulent in Water?
Propagating your succulent in water is not a good idea. When exposed to too much moisture, these plants are prone to rot, and water propagations almost always end in rotting stems and leaves.
The best way to propagate your Aeonium Black Rose is in soil. That said, it is possible to grow cuttings of the Aeonium species in water, but the success rates are not very high.
Why is My Black Rose Succulent Turning Green?
Black Rose Aeonoums will lose their signature deep, dark color when they don’t receive enough sunlight.
The more light their get, the more intense their color will be. To help your Black Rose succulent turn back to black, move it further into the light.
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