Black in the Garden - Aeonium 'Zwartop'

We love Aeonium ‘Zwartcop’.  It’s a tender branching succulent that can grow up to 1.2 metres high and is a perfect specimen to have as an architectural centrepiece in pots or troughs.  Lucky inhabitants of Cornwall or The Isles of Scilly will be very familiar with these stunning plants as they are often grown in front gardens where they happily survive outside all year round.

Increasing your stock is easy with these obliging growers.  A side branch can be simply cut off and potted up as a new plant.  Just make sure you leave the cut exposed to the air for several days, even a week, before potting; a callous will form before rooting can take place.  A really well draining gritty mix of compost is preferable and watering should be kept to a minimum.  If your plant becomes too big it can be simply cut off at the base.  Leave a bit of ‘trunk’ and new shoots will appear from it.  The amputated portion can be raided for its numerous offshoots that can also be potted up.

‘Zwartcop’ is an exceptionally black form of Aeonium arboreum ‘Atropurpureum’.  The darkness improves in high summer temperatures. Both will need overwintering in a bright frost free environment.  Don’t be surprised if the rosette of leaves starts to turn green and the black foliage becomes less pronounced. This is quite normal and all will return to normal as the temperatures increase in spring.