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Aeonium Arboreum – Zwartkop

by Sofia Lara
Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkop’

Aeonium Arboreum “Zwartkop”, also known as Black Rose and Black Tree Aeonium is a fast-growing evergreen shrub succulent with captivating foliage.

It has rosettes of dark purple spoon-like fleshy leaves that nestle on top of stems that grow up to 91cm (36”). When grown and frequently exposed to full sun, the leaves turn almost black.

Mature rosettes grow up to 20 cm (8”) wide. During spring, the summer-dormant succulent blooms racemes of star-shaped yellow flowers which give a beautiful contrast to the foliage’s dark hue.

Aeonium Arboreum originates from the Canary Islands, Africa. It belongs to the Aeonium genus from the Crassulaceae family. This scintillating succulent is a recipient of the Royal Horticultural Society’s “Award of Garden Merit”.

General Information:

Also known as: Zwartkop, Black Rose, and Black Tree Aeonium
Plant Family: Crassulaceae
Origin: Canary Islands, Africa
Height: 91cm (36”)
Exposure: Partial sun to full sun for up to 6 hours.
Water Needs: Prefers the “soak and dry” method of watering
Soil Type: Regular potting mix or sandy loam combined with gritty materials such as coarse sand and perlite.
Soil pH: 5.6–6.0

How to Grow and Care for Aeonium Arboreum “Zwartkop”

Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkop’ plant

Aeonium Arboreum is an easy-to-care-for perennial succulent. It is an excellent addition to your rock gardens or Mediterranean gardens because it’s dark hue provides a good contrast to lighter-colored succulents.

If you place Black Rose indoors, it will blend perfectly with your floral arrangements in container gardens.

Aeonium Arboreum is not tolerant of extreme cold weather. It grows best in temperatures of 4°C to 38°C (40°F – 100°F).


Aeonium Arboreum needs plenty of bright but indirect sunlight to grow healthy and robust. If you grow it outdoors, place it in an area where it can be exposed for 6 hours to partial sun in the early morning and the afternoon.

Indoors, place your container in a spot that gets a lot of bright light. Choose the brightest window in your house so your plant can get 5 to 6 hours of partial sun every day.

If your Black Rose does not get the right amount of sunlight, the leaves will lose their dark color and turn green. The plant will also undergo etiolation where the stems stretch out and elongate as if seeking out a light source.


Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkop’ succulent

Aeonium Arboreum has shallow roots so it’s better to keep the soil barely moist and not completely dry.

Use the “soak and dry” method to prevent root rot caused by overwatering. Before you water your succulent, test the soil’s moisture level by poking your finger or a stick into the soil.

The soil has to be at least 2-inches-deep dry before you can water again to keep the color vibrant and plant healthy.

During summer, water your Aeoniums every 7 days and when the weather starts to get cooler you can water every 12 days.
During winter, there is no need to water your succulents frequently because the soil retains moisture much longer.

Pot and Soil

The best container to grow your Aeonium Arboreum is made of terracotta or ceramic with drainage holes. Breathable pots allow the soil to dry faster between waterings.

Black Rose requires well-draining soil. Combine regular potting mix or sandy loam with gritty materials such as coarse sand and perlite. A 2:1 combination would be perfect for growing your Aeonium.

You can add a balanced fertilizer every month when it is actively growing in winter to late spring. Refrain from using fertilizer during summer, its dormant season.

How to Propagate Aeonium Arboreum – Zwartkop

Aeonium Arboreum can be propagated from stem cuttings which will take root in a few weeks.

Method 1: Cuttings

Step 1: Choose young, slender stems because they root more easily than old, thicker stems.

Step 2: Use a sterile, sharp knife to cut the stems around 10cm (3.94”).

Step 3: Leave the cuttings in a dry, warm area for a few days until the wounds have become callused.

Step 4: Place the cuttings in 5cm to 8cm (2” – 3.1”) deep pots filled with soil-based potting mix combined with equal parts grit. Add compost at the base of the cuttings leaving half of the stems above the compost level.

Step 5: Add 1cm (.40”) of perlite on top of the compost after watering all your cuttings. Place your containers indoors and uncovered. Keep them in a well-lit spot but away from direct sunlight at a temperature of 18°C-20°C (64.4°F – 68°F).

Step 6: Water the soil sparingly and make sure to keep it barely moist all the time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Aeonium Arboreum “Zwartkop” Toxic to Cats and Dogs?

Aeonium Arboreum is not included in the list of toxic plants on the website of the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

Why is my Aeonium Arboreum “Zwartkop” Dying?

If your Black Rose is showing signs of poor health, you need to determine the cause and treat it quickly to save your succulent from dying.


Overwatering is the number one cause of succulent health issues. It causes the roots of the Zwartkop to rot which can lead to a fungal infection that spreads from the root up.

Can you still save your overwatered plant? Yes, you can still save your sick plant with timely treatment.

Remove your Aeonium Arboreum from where it is planted. Dust off the wet soil from the roots.

Cut out all the damaged parts with a sterile, sharp knife or pruning shears. Leave your plant to dry in a warm, shaded area.

Fill a terracotta pot with fresh soil mix with gritty materials. Repot your Aeonium Arboreum and water the soil. Make sure that the soil is barely moist before you water again.

Pest Infestation

Keep an eye out for mealybugs and spider mites because they can shorten the life of your Aeoniums. These pests multiply quickly so you need to treat your plant before it is too late.

Spray your plant with diluted neem oil or 70% rubbing alcohol.

Slugs also love to feast on Aeoniums. Scatter crushed eggshells around the base of the plant or pot to prevent them from gnawing on your succulents.

Does Aeonium Arboreum “Zwartkop” Produce Flowers?

Yes, Aeonium Arboreum blooms racemes of bright yellow flowers during spring.

Last Updated on June 9, 2022 by Sofia Lara

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