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PlantFiles: Purple Crest Aeonium, Black Tree Aeonium
Aeonium arboreum 'Zwartkop'

Family: Crassulaceae (krass-yoo-LAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Aeonium (ee-OH-nee-um) (Info)
Species: arboreum (ar-BOR-ee-um) (Info)
Cultivar: Zwartkop
Additional cultivar information: (aka Schwarzkopf, Schwartzkopf)

Synonym:Aeonium manriqueorum
Synonym:Aeonium arboreum var. atropurpureum f. nigrum
Synonym:Aeonium arboreum var. atropurpureum f. cristata
Synonym:Aeonium arboreum var. atropurpureum
Synonym:Aeonium arboreum

5 vendors have this plant for sale.

37 members have or want this plant for trade.

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Cactus and Succulents

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)
4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From herbaceous stem cuttings
From seed; germinate in vitro in gelatin, agar or other medium

Seed Collecting:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed

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7 positives
2 neutrals
2 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive tonischumacher On Oct 9, 2012, tonischumacher from GLENEDEN BEACH, OR wrote:

We grow aeoniums by the hundreds here on the Oregon coast...beach front! My husband is the primary cultivator here at our home. We do, however, have to bring all of them 'in' over the winter because they will turn to mush when frozen. Most are bare-rooted on sheets in the garage - others come inside the house with us. One warning here, however, you will be bringing in some pests with them, so your houseplants can take a beating :( We have several different kinds of aeoniums, including Zwartkop, and green hues, as the colors are magnificent!

Negative trub On Oct 7, 2010, trub from Marthasville, MO wrote:

My experience is not totally negative. I like the plant except I would like to know why it always loses it's lower leaves, I mean all the way to the top row. It is a houseplant for me . I live in Mo and of course it won't grow outside but I did have it outside during the summer, in sun part of the day. What can I do to help it?

Positive AmyMorie On Feb 19, 2010, AmyMorie from Green Cove Springs, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

Easy grower here in Los Angeles. Striking plant that can maintain 6" - 8" size in a small pot, or get 2 feet+ high in the ground. Cuttings almost effortless to date

Negative Cixi On Jan 23, 2010, Cixi from Addis Ababa
Ethiopia wrote:

I moved house 6 months ago and found this in the garden - didn't like it but wanted to know what it was before I despatched it to the compost heap. Thanks to all who provided pictures to enable me to identify it. I now realise part of the reason I don't like it is that it's in shade so not growing as well as it would in sun. But I think I'm going to get rid of it anyway - I like purple/black plants but this one gives me the creeps!

Neutral Joan On Feb 12, 2009, Joan from Belfield, ND (Zone 4a) wrote:

Editor's Note

There appears to be some long running controversy over the the cultivar name as well as the specific epithet. For that reason we have chosen to not list a specific epithet for this cultivar. However, we have listed all of the synonym cultivar names and the specific epithet variations.

The controversy surrounding the cultivar name is whether the Dutch name "Zwartkop", or the German name 'Schwartzkopf' (or 'Schwarzkopf') is correct.

Along the same line... this plant has been considered to be a cultivar of Aeonium arboreum, originating in Holland. Recently it was determined to be from the Canary island, therefore it cannot be a cultivar of Aeonium arboreum, since that species doesn't originate from the Canaries. Most recently it has been suggested that it could be a cultivar of Aeonium manriqueorum.

Positive baiissatva On Oct 14, 2008, baiissatva from Dunedin
New Zealand wrote:

ZONE 9B Coastal Otago, New Zealand.
These dark beauties are hard to beat in the coastal garden, providing much needed height and colour in a succulent or foliage-based setting. Like many succulents they require a decent amount of regular watering to look their best, and the many straggly bloodless looking specimens you see around are suffering overly dry conditions. I cannot overstress the REGULAR part of their watering requirements; I have many aeoniums in a range of different settings and have discovered that producing those really showstopping, profusely branched and well fleshed ones takes dedication with the hose. Keep their heads in the sun, tho'- too shady and moist and you can rot them out in jiffy.
To get the darkest glossy black foliage you need bright hot sunlight for at least half the day, otherwise you will find they stay more red with a green core. Mine fade during winter and blacken up by mid spring, as they are doing now. They are happy around other nonsucculent plants- I underplant them with daylilies and eucomis (pineapple lily) to get a tropical look.
Mine get so large that I find stabilizing their roots with large stones reduces the risk of toppling in exposed windy sites, and is helpful in retaining moisture around the rootball, which is never very large.
I clip off most of the acid-yellow flowerheads as they begin to emerge- its my experience that all large aeoniums are heavily taxed by flowering and lose their lush plumpness if allowed to flower every year- it can cut their lifespan in half.
A small amount of bonemeal around the roots once a year hasnt killed them and Ive found many succulents enjoy animal-based ferts, applied with discretion.
Drop a frost cloth over them during hail, which can mark them badly (takes around half a year to recover), and if youre getting into a medium type frost, though once theyre over about waist height only those very crispy nights will hit them hard.

Positive JamesPark On Jul 1, 2008, JamesPark from Auckland
New Zealand (Zone 9a) wrote:

Easy to grow, attractive and quite hardy, even with wet winters! Managed to grow when other succulents would die.

Positive palmbob On Apr 25, 2008, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is indeed a great cultivar... Aeonium arboreums are all pretty easy and forgiving plants, being a tad more sun hardy than many of the more sensitive Aeoniums. These, and most Aeoniums, are not as drought tolerant as one might suspect with those thick succulent stems and succulent leaves.. their roots are super wimpy and thirsty, and will die if not watered routinely. Some even recommend NOT planting these in cactus soil, but regular potting or garden soils, ones that retain moisture a bit better. It is hard to overwater an Aeonium except for a few species that truly go dormant in the summer... this is not one of those. Water this one regularl especially in the summers or it will wilt and look unhappy.

Positive plantarella On Feb 7, 2006, plantarella from Valley Village, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

One of my all time favorite plants. This unique species has a flair for the dramatic. Its dark appearance truly stand out against my other greenery. This plant is easy to propagate and in less a year, you will have many stems growing. Looks wonderful next to any blue turquoise succulent.

I water once a week in the summer and three times a week in the winter. I fertilize once a month with a synthetic. Very happy with that routine, the plants have grown over a foot in one year.

Positive Kelli On Oct 12, 2004, Kelli from L.A. (Canoga Park), CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

This is a very easy plant to grow in my region. (I don't know how important the acid soil requirement stated in the listing is. Mine grow in alkaline soil and I have alkaline tap water.)

My plants go sort of dormant in the summer and look a little tired sometimes, but they perk up again in the fall. Summer is the natural dormant season for this species in its native land.

Neutral albleroy On Feb 3, 2003, albleroy from Wavre/ greenhous +/- 2500 species, IA wrote:

As the plant belongs to the series arboreum it flowers yellow, and the plant can reach up to 5/6 feet high.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Tucson, Arizona
Belmont, California
Brea, California
Brentwood, California
Cambria, California
Canoga Park, California
Castro Valley, California
Clayton, California
Fairfield, California
Fontana, California
Fresno, California
Garden Grove, California
Granite Bay, California
Hayward, California
Los Angeles, California (2 reports)
Manhattan Beach, California
Mission Viejo, California
Oak View, California
Palm Springs, California
Pittsburg, California
Pleasant Hill, California
Reseda, California
San Diego, California
San Jose, California
San Marino, California
Santee, California
Simi Valley, California
Thousand Oaks, California
Valley Village, California
Vista, California
Brooksville, Florida
Orlando, Florida
Sumterville, Florida
Titusville, Florida (3 reports)
Lawrence, Kansas
Metairie, Louisiana
Marthasville, Missouri
Cushing, Oklahoma
Gleneden Beach, Oregon
Mapleton, Oregon
Toone, Tennessee
Spring Branch, Texas
Olympia, Washington

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