Aeonium canariense (Giant Velvet Rose)

Aeonium canariense

The Aeonium canariense, also known as giant velvet rose, Canary island aeonium, or Canary aeonium, is a succulent shrub that originates from the Canary Islands and surrounding regions of the western Mediterranean Sea.

It has thick stems covered in coarse yellow fibers that serve as protection against animals, and it bears large rosettes of thick, spoon-shaped leaves. The Aeonium canariense grows to around two feet tall and three feet wide with dense clusters of flowers that appear during late summer.

The Canary Island Aeonium may look like one of the more colorful succulents, but it isn’t as cold-hardy as most of them, only surviving temperatures below 30 degrees Fahrenheit (-1 degree Celsius).

It has thick leaves that are almost 4 inches (10 cm) long and can grow up to 18 inches (45 cm) tall in ideal conditions. The flowers are greenish-red with purplish tints and grow up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide, with pink stamens and yellow anthers.

Aeonium canariense is a succulent, flowering plant that belongs to the Crassulaceae family, and more specifically to the genus Aeonium. Native to the Canary Islands, this plant was introduced to mainland Europe in 1833 and has since become popular worldwide as an ornamental rockery plant or xeriscape garden plant.

It’s often referred to as giant velvet rose or cabbage tree due to its appearance and physical characteristics, respectively.

Origin and distribution

Native to coastal cliff regions of La Gomera, Tenerife, and Gran Canaria, Aeonium canariense is native to Europe. Unlike other species of Aeonium with tall, slender stems, Canary Aeonium has thick vines that wrap around rocks and branches in a similar manner to Philodendron or Monsteras.

This plant will thrive in pots but prefer outdoor conditions if given proper lighting. If you do choose to grow Canary Aeonium indoors, keep in mind that it prefers low light conditions. Canary Aeonium grows best in well-drained soil and requires moderate watering when first planted.

The best time for repotting your Aeonium canariense is during the spring months when temperatures are warm enough for growth. In addition to being drought tolerant once established, Canary Aeonium also thrives on neglect; however, it does require regular fertilization during its growing season from April through September.

Aeonium canariense propagation

Aeonium canariense

The easiest way to propagate an Aeonium canariense is by division. Take offsets or new shoots from around the base of your plant and remove them from their parent plant’s rosette. Be sure not to damage any leaves when removing them. Make sure that each offset has one or two leaves on it, as it needs sunlight to grow.

They like partially shady spots and will quickly wither in full sun, but they can handle some direct light after being acclimated for a few weeks. To help prevent shock, you may want to dip each offset into the water with a bit of rooting hormone before planting.

You can also take cuttings from mature Aeonium canariense plants using sharp scissors or pruners. Remove any leaves below where you are taking your cutting so that you don’t accidentally kill them while trying to root it.

Dip your cutting into the water with rooting hormone and place in perlite until roots form at which point you can transplant it directly into the soil. If your area experiences particularly cold winters, it might be best to start off with plants rather than trying to propagate them yourself.

This canary island aeonium prefers temperatures between 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit. In areas that get below freezing temperatures during the winter months, bring inside and keep warm.

Once brought inside, do not expose these types of succulents to any cold drafts or cold air coming through windows or doors as they are sensitive to rapid temperature changes and could die if exposed suddenly.

Aeonium canariense care information

Aeonium canariense

Aeonium canariense plants are resilient plants that thrive in full or partial sun. While these succulents are drought-tolerant, it’s important to water them during their active growing period, which is during spring and summer.

Care for your Aeonium canariense by placing it in full sunlight and watering it occasionally when soil becomes dry to touch. After all danger of frost has passed, put your aeonium outside where it will receive morning sun only so that its leaves don’t burn in full sunlight.

Light requirement

Aeonium canariense require full sun to partial shade. Too much shade will produce leggy plants, and too little will cause light-starved stretched growth. Aeoniums are frost-tender, so be sure to move them indoors or bring pots inside if cold weather threatens.

Soil/potting mix

All succulents prefer well-draining soil, so try a cactus potting mix. A general rule of thumb is that you should be able to squeeze a handful of soil and watch the water drain out of it immediately.

Another simple test is to fill up a glass with water and set it in your planter: if any water drips out, it’s too soggy. If you want to add extra drainage, try adding some coarse sand or gravel to your planting container.

Watering

Aeonium canariense are succulents, so they don’t need to be watered frequently. If your weather is arid or hot, you should water them every few days. If it’s colder and more humid, try watering every 10–14 days. The best way to tell if your plant needs water is to use your hands.

Shake off any excess water after you fill up a container with water and place it near your Aeonium. If it feels light for its size, that means it’s time to water. Be careful not to overwater these plants; keep in mind that too much water will kill them faster than too little.

Fertilizer

As a succulent, Aeonium canariense grows in soil that has been amended with well-rotted compost. Adding additional fertilizer is not necessary, but some growers add small amounts of diluted slow-release fertilizer to ensure proper nutrient uptake during active growth.

When grown in containers or hanging baskets, use a balanced water-soluble fertilizer monthly during warm weather.

Temperature

This hardy succulent needs to be grown in full sun but is tolerant of a wide range of temperatures. If you live in a warmer climate and are growing your Aeonium canariense outdoors, it’s important to protect your plant from the summer heat by placing it in partial shade or moving it under cover when daytime temperatures reach 80°F (27°C).

In cooler climates, shelter your plant from cold winter winds by placing it on a north-facing balcony or other sheltered location.

Humidity

In order to maintain proper humidity levels, you should allow your aeonium to bask in natural light. The giant aeonium is native to humid areas of Canary Island and thrives in full sunlight.

If you’re one of those lucky people who enjoy warm tropical weather year-round, plant your aeonium where it’ll get direct sunlight for most of each day. Keep your plant away from drafts and open windows, since drafts and sudden changes in temperature can cause brown spots on its leaves.

The ideal humidity range is between 50 and 80 percent. If your home’s humidity level falls below 50 percent, you should consider using a humidifier to increase it. If your home’s humidity level exceeds 80 percent, you should consider using a dehumidifier to decrease it.

In general, maintaining proper levels of moisture in your home will help keep your plant healthy and happy.

Pruning

Aeonium canariense

While most plants in a succulent garden do not require any pruning, if you’re going to grow Aeoniums, you should probably read up on how to trim and shape these plants. Cutting back on growth will encourage your plant to become denser, fuller, and bushier.

If left unpruned, many specimens of Aeonium sp. will naturally become bushy without any encouragement from you. The best time to trim is during late winter or early spring before new growth begins. Make sure that you are using clean, sharp tools when pruning. The last thing you want is for an infection to set into a wound!

When to repot

Your Aeonium canariense is most likely growing in a small container and will need to be repotted soon. The key to successful potting is choosing a larger pot that will leave plenty of room for your plant to grow. If you choose a pot that’s too small, there won’t be enough room for your plant to spread out its roots.

Repot into a container with at least two inches of soil space. Make sure that the drainage holes are large enough so water doesn’t collect around your plant’s base. You can also add a layer of gravel or pebbles to help with drainage if needed.

Keep an eye on how much light your plant receives each day – if it seems to be getting leggy or spindly, it may not have received adequate light. In addition, make sure you have enough water, but don’t overwater!

Dormancy/Winter rest

Due to its native environment, Aeonium canariense will go into dormancy if not provided with a cool place for winter rest. The easiest way to accomplish winter dormancy is to move your plants to a cool spot and withhold water, allowing them to dry out completely.

After two weeks or so in their resting state they will begin growing new leaves and are then ready for watering once again. If you’re unsure about how much water your plant needs during dormancy, it’s best to keep it on the dry side rather than risk rotting roots from over-watering.

This plant may be grown outdoors year-round as long as it has a protected location and no possibility of frost damage. It may also be grown indoors under lights all year round or moved outside during warmer months and brought back inside when temperatures drop below 50 degrees F.

Aeonium canariense flower & fragrance

Also known as Canary Island Aeonium, these succulents produce tiny flowers in shades of yellow, orange, and red.

The fragrance of their petals is quite unique, resembling that of rotting fruit; you’ll know if an Aeonium has flowered if you find its half-decayed blooms on your patio or deck. The fragrance also attracts honeybees and other insects to pollinate them.

Growth rate

Aeonium canariense is slow-growing, these plants don’t need to be repotted often. In fact, it is important to repot them only when they are big enough to do so without damaging their roots. After transplanting, a layer of sphagnum moss should be added as a medium for adequate drainage and aeration.

They like high temperatures and bright light so these plants must be kept on an east or west window. If grown indoors it is important to check for sufficient light levels in order to encourage blooming.

Toxicity

The Aeonium genus is toxic to cats and dogs. If ingested, it could lead to abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and blood in the stool. There is no antidote for Aeonium toxicity but treatment should be supportive until symptoms subside.

Contact your vet immediately if you think your pet has ingested any part of an Aeonium plant. Note that some plants in other genera are also known as velvet rose including several hybrids within Sedum and Sempervivum.

USDA hardiness zones

Aeonium canariense grow best in USDA hardiness zones 9b-11. If you live outside of these zones, look for a different succulent plant. For instance, if you live in zone 6, try Euphorbia mammillaris.

The two plants have similar coloring and are both drought-tolerant. Or, if you’re looking for something with a similar texture to an aeonium, consider Crassula ovata, which is also known as the jade plant or money tree.

Pests and diseases

Aeonium canariense plants are slow-growing and prone to mealybugs, aphids, whitefly, scale insects, and nematodes. Any diseased plant should be removed from your collection as soon as you notice it. Never use insecticides or fungicides on your plants.

Many growers believe that any chemical used to treat diseases will also harm their beneficial insect populations and may actually promote disease outbreaks in stressed plants.

If you want to prevent pests and diseases, try planting more resistant varieties and avoid over-watering. Also, make sure that your plants have plenty of room for air circulation around them so they don’t get too moist or too hot.

Conclusion

Native to the Canary Islands, Aeonium canariense is a low-growing succulent with small rosettes. It produces hundreds of little tubular flowers in red-violet and white colors. The flowers bloom on tall stems early in spring.

Most species of Aeonium need lots of sun exposure; if your plant starts to get too leggy, prune it back and place it near a window for a few weeks before transplanting it outside or into another container for continued indoor growth