Aeonium, Black Tree Aeonium, Purple Crest Aeonium 'Zwartkop'

Aeonium arboreum

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)
View this plant in a garden


Cactus and Succulents

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Grown for foliage

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us



Bloom Color:

Bright Yellow

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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


This plant is said to grow outdoors 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

Long Beach, California

Los Angeles, California(2 reports)

Manhattan Beach, California

Mission Viejo, California

Oak View, California

Oxnard, California

Palm Springs, California

Pittsburg, California

Pleasant Hill, California

Reseda, California

San Diego, California(2 reports)

San Jose, California

San Marino, California

Santee, California

Simi Valley, California

Thousand Oaks, California


Vista, California(9 reports)

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

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


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!


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?


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


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!


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 ... read more


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 sunlig... read more


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.