This vibrant, colorful succulent grows quickly and easily. It has a few peculiarities not shared by other succulents, such as an aversion to very hot, dry weather and the desire for a bit more water.
Kiwi Aeonium has a nicely corresponding scientific name: Aeonium ‘kiwi’. It is thought to be some sort of hybrid of the Aeonium haworthii, hence it is sometimes called Aeonium haworthii “tricolor”. It is a favorite among novices and experienced horticulturists alike for that very trait – its tricolor leaves. With a little bit of sun, these gorgeous succulents display leaves that start yellow and darken into green, the edges of the leaf bordered with pink or red. During the late summer, they occasionally produce large, yellow flowers. Kiwi Aeonium is a monocarp, so it dies after flowering.
How to care for the Kiwi Aeonium
This is one of those rare succulents that are actually dormant during the summer. Instead, most of its growth occurs during the winter when conditions are a bit less harsh. While it can survive outside In summers that are not overly hot and humid, it will appreciate being indoors during that season. It may also be able to skip the dormancy phase completely, continuing growth year-round.
It is just as at home in a pot on a windowsill as it is outside, so you’ll find it hard to use the excuse that you don’t have enough space. Like many Aeonium, it can survive with very little intervention. However, regular pruning and attention will lead to more dense, attractive foliage.
How to water Kiwi Aeonium
This plant is somewhat unusual in that it prefers to be a bit moister than many other succulents. Use the finger test to determine if it is time to water: stick a finger at least 2 inches into the soil and make sure it is dry. You’ll probably end up watering about once a week, like most other succulents. During its active growing period (winter to spring), you should water it more frequently. They tend to be more forgiving of excess water than other fat plants. When it is dormant, usually in the summer, water it only if you see the leaves wrinkling. Succulents that are dormant need little to no water.
Their drinking habits are, in part, to their root system. Many Aeoniums have very little in the way of roots other than an anchor and a few thin roots near the surface to drink up water. Where most succulents desire deep drenchings occasionally, the Kiwi Aeonium leans a little bit more towards less water, more often. Don’t get me wrong – you can’t go treating this like your basil plant that demands water daily. It means every 4-6 days during the growing season.
Sun Requirements for Kiwi Aeonium
Kiwi Aeonium is a succulent. Succulents like the sun. Everybody knows that. That exquisite coloring that is unique to the Kiwi Aeonium is largely dependent on getting sufficient sun.
However, these guys are prone to burning more than other succulents might be. Where a Kalanchoe might thrive in direct sunlight all day, the Kiwi only wants direct sunlight for a couple of hours. They can even make do in environments where they don’t get direct sun at all. You might lose a bit of the vivid coloration, but that versatility is useful to people who don’t have enough space in the sun, or like to keep plants indoors. Use a grow light if you have trouble getting enough light indoors.
Note that during hot summers the Kiwi Aeoniums leaves might begin to curl. This is a behavior that reduces the area of the leaf exposed to the sun, which helps prevent water loss from evaporation. It’s not harmful to the plant, but if you don’t like it you can bring the plant inside and it should recover shortly.
Soil Requirements for Kiwi Aeonium
At this point in your succulent journey, when you are considering picking up a Kiwi Aeonium, you already know that succulents want fast-draining soil. You know that regular potting soil doesn’t really cut it, but you can amend it with sand, gravel, and perlite to rectify that. You are also aware that there are several excellent succulent and cactus soils that are ready to go straight out of the bag if you don’t feel like getting your hands dirty.
In all seriousness, make sure your soil drains well. While Aeoniums can handle a bit more moisture than other succulents, there’s no reason to push your luck. Likewise, quick-draining soil is no good if your pot doesn’t have a drainage hole. Always use containers with drainage, otherwise, your risk of root rot rises dramatically.
How to Propagate Kiwi Aeonium
Aeonium plants are fantastically easy to propagate. Simply cut off a branch, wait for it to callus, then stick it back in the ground! Propagate during winter, the season of fast growth for Kiwi Aeonium, for best results. It’s possible year-round though!
Since the plant grows two or three feet tall, you’ll have ample stem to choose from. Aeonium tend to mostly be leafy at the terminal ends of their branches, so you’ll have lots of empty space to cut. Cut a section about 4-6 inches from the end. The healthier the branch is, determined by the quality of the leaves, the more likely your Kiwi Aeonium propagation is to be successful. A clean-cut is important to the process of callusing, so be sure to use sharp garden scissors.
After its cut, leave it somewhere warm and dry for 3-5 days. The end of the branch will scab, or callus, which prevents infection or over-absorption of water. Then plant it in dirt. After a few weeks, it will grow tiny roots. You might need to support the plant while it grows its roots to anchor itself. Water it as you do the mother plant during this time. It won’t be able to absorb water until it has roots, but you can bet it will be thirsty by the time they show up!
Aeonium sometimes propagate themselves too! They often get top-heavy as they grow larger. This leads to branches bending to the ground, or even breaking off entirely. Aeonium have a habit of growing “aerial roots” along the stem, far from the ground. When the branch gets to the ground one way or another, these will continue growing and root the plant! While you shouldn’t count on this method to get more Kiwi Aeoniums, you might find it has occurred in an over-grown specimen. You can separate these offshoots with a clean snip and repot them elsewhere!
Aeonium Kiwi Common Problems
Aeonium kiwi lovers will come into problems with their plants along their growing process. From overwatering issues, issues with too much or too little sun, changes in color, soil becoming inappropriate, and much more, keeping your succulent in tip-top condition is a challenge.
Do not panic if your plant isn’t growing as much as it usually does while it is dormant. This is a very usual and natural thing to happen as dormant succulents like to be left alone.
Dormancy is a survival method that has been adapted over time to save plants precious energy during certain times of the year when they have fewer nutrients. However, other growing problems can occur due to diseases or pest issues. Take a look at the following sections for more information.
Root rot is a very common disease caused by overwatering your plant. Unfortunately, root rot goes unnoticed until it is too late. Soggy leaves and stems, yellowing, wilting, and black roots are all signs of root rot.
Mealybugs and aphids are the usual kiwi aeonium attackers. Inspect your plant regularly for insects and signs of infestation and treat it accordingly.
Where to Buy Kiwi Aeonium
If you have any friends with succulents, they will no doubt be happy to share a clipping. Following the steps above, you can easily grow your own!
Kiwi Aeonium is not an uncommon plant. You might be able to find it at large retailers like Lowe’s or Home Depot if you look diligently.
If you can’t wait any longer – order online! There are loads of vendors, here are a few.
Do you have any questions or comments about Kiwi Aeonium? Share them below!