Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’ is a hybrid or cultivar produced from Aeonium arboreum. It is sometimes also called Aeonium ‘Schwarzkopf’ and goes by the common names of Black Rose, Black Beauty, and Black houseleek tree.
It’s a stunning succulent with large, flattish rosettes with dark purple leaves that almost appear black when in very bright light. The leaves may appear more green in winter, however, once the sun starts to shine again, they will revert to their dark purple color.
How to Grow Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’
Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’ is a hardy succulent with the most striking dark-colored leaves. It looks great planted in a rock garden along with other green-leafed varieties. It also creates a stunning display indoors in a pot as long as the plant gets plenty of light. Make sure that the soil or potting mix that you use is friable and free-draining.
How to Propagate Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’
Because this Aeonium plant is a hybrid or cultivar, it must be propagated from stem cuttings with rosettes at the top. To harvest your cuttings, just cut or break off smaller rosettes with about 5 inches of stem.
Leave these cuttings out to dry and allow the ends to callus. After a few days, your cuttings should be ready to plant into a pot or tray filled with potting mix or cactus mix. You can dip the cut ends of the stems into a rooting hormone to assist root formation.
Keep your planted cuttings in a warm spot and keep the soil just moist but not wet. After a few weeks, the plants will have produced roots and are then ready for planting on.
Care and Maintenance
Apart from regular watering, Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’ really doesn’t need too much attention. Make sure you water the plant when the soil dries out but never overwater as this could lead to root rot.
To intensify the color of the leaves, make sure that your plant receives plenty of sunlight during spring, fall, and winter. In the summer, the plant does benefit from a little afternoon shade.
Well-drained soil is all that Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’ requires. There should be some organic matter in the soil but it should be open and friable.
When growing in a container, use a quality potting mix with some added coarse builder’s sand or perlite. You could also mix some cactus mix with regular potting mix to get the correct soil structure.
Like most Aeoniums, this variety likes a little more water than other succulents. You should water your succulent if the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. If you’re growing your ‘Zwartkop’ outside, use a layer of pebbles as mulch rather than composted wood chips. This will increase the drainage and not hold in too much moisture.
If you’re growing your Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’ outside, there’s no need to add additional fertilizer because this could lead to excessive soft growth. The plant should be able to get the nutrients that it needs from the soil.
On the other hand, if your Aeonium is growing in a pot, you can supply the plant with some liquid fertilizer once a month during late winter and spring. Make sure you use a balanced fertilizer and dilute it to half-strength.
Being a hybrid of Aeonium arboreum, this variety also likes to grow in direct sunlight. However, if you get really hot summers, it’s best to give this plant some respite from the hot midday and afternoon sun. Provide a little shade for your plant during this time and it will continue to grow happily and thrive.
This plant also grows quite happily indoors when placed near a north-facing window that lets lots of light in.
Temperature and Humidity
Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’ likes warm temperatures but not too hot. If you live in a hot climate, then give your plant some protection from the afternoon sun.
This plant is also not frost-tolerant and doesn’t like temperatures below 25 – 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, if your winters are cold, move your plant inside for the winter. Alternatively, build a cold frame to put over your Aeonium for protection from snow and frost.
There’s no need to prune your Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’. However, if your plant does start to get a bit leggy, you can give it a light trim. Remember, you can use the rosettes that you snip off to propagate some new plants.
Pest and diseases
The only pests that your Aeonium might encounter are aphids and mealybugs. You can control these with a spray of insecticidal soap or neem oil.
Aeonium ‘Swartkop’ is a stunning succulent to add to your collection. It will grow happily either outdoors or in a pot indoors near a brightly lit window. Other than regular watering, this plant is relatively care-free.