Aeonium arboreum ‘Atropurpureum’

14 Oct

Aeonium arboreum 'Atropurpureum' (19/09/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Aeonium arboreum ‘Atropurpureum’ (19/09/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full sun

Flowering period: Mid winter to mid spring

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 1.5m

Eventual Spread: 1.5m

Hardiness: 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b

Family: Crassulaceae

Aeonium arboreum ‘Atropurpureum’ is a fast growing, evergreen, sub shrub with an erect stalked habit. Its dark purple and bright green fleshy leaves are obovate with finely spined margins, up to 8cm long and 3cm across. Its leaves are held in a terminal rosette on the end of its stems. Its stems are initially green in colour becoming brown with age. Its bright yellow flowers appear in large panicles above the plant. These flowered stems die back once the seed matures.

Aeonium arboreum 'Atropurpureum' Leaf Rosette Centre (19/09/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Aeonium arboreum ‘Atropurpureum’ Leaf Rosette Centre (19/09/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Aeonium arboreum ‘Atropurpureum’, commonly known as ‘Purple Houseleek Tree’, is a nursery produced cultivar believed to have originated on the Canary Islands.

The etymological root of the binomial name Aeonium is derived from the ancient Greek aionos meaning ‘immortal’. Arboreum is from the Latin meaning ‘tree like’. Atropurpureum is derived from Latin meaning ‘very purple’.

Aeonium arboreum 'Atropurpureum' Leaf (19/09/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Aeonium arboreum ‘Atropurpureum’ Leaf (19/09/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

The landscape architect may find Aeonium arboreum ‘Atropurpureum’ useful in an unusual almost topical looking plant, suitable for a mixed border. Once established this plant is drought tolerant.

Ecologically,  Aeonium arboreum ‘Atropurpureum’ flowers are attractive to pollinating insects, including bees.

Aeonium arboreum 'Atropurpureum' Stem (19/09/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Aeonium arboreum ‘Atropurpureum’ Stem (19/09/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Aeonium arboreum ‘Atropurpureum’ prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil.

Aeonium arboreum ‘Atropurpureum’ requires little maintenance. It may be cut back severely if stems become too long to support its terminal leaf rosettes. The cut terminal leaf rosettes (with some stem) may then be planted if a new plant is desired.

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