Native to the delightful volcanic archipelago Canary Islands, the Houseleek tree within its natural habitat enjoys growing within hillsides and well balanced temperatures of this part of the world.
There are other varieties with slight differences including the var. Artopurpureum (burgundy leaves) and var. Zwartkop/Schwarzkopf (much darker leaves).
Flowering: When this plant matures in growth it can produce a panicle of small yellow blooms that grow above the rosette of leaves. Flowers appear during winter and when they die so does the stem.
Foliage: The foliage of this plant is the main feature. Rosettes of shiny leaves form at the tip of woody stems (unlike many other succulents). The rosettes can be green to very dark purple in color (the Zwartkop is near black) depending on which variety the plant is. The Housetree leek can grow up to 3ft tall when matured.
Displaying: Where you display this plant will depend on its size and where you can provide enough sunlight. They enjoy being housed in greenhouses and conservatories because of the amount of light they can receive. When short in height - windowsills are suitable.
|Names:||Housetree Leek, Black Rose Tree (common). Aeonium Arboreum - var. Atropurpureum and Zwartkop/Schwarzkopf (botanical/scientific).|
|Max Growth (approx):||Max 3ft tall.|
|Poisonous for pets:||Not known.|
|Temperature:||Temperatures averaging 70°F/21°C - 85°F/29.4°C. Avoid below 50°F/10°C. During summer this species will appreciate being taken outside and then brought back in when colder weather sets in.|
|Light:||Provide at least a few hours sun each day. If you have south facing space to place the plant then great. West and east if south is not available, although growth may be slower.|
|Watering:||During spring and summer provide a good watering when the top soil of the pot has started drying, to the touch. During winter cut down the water supply and allow longer periods of the top soil to dry out.|
|Soil:||I would use a cactus soil mix already made. This soil provides enough drainage for the roots and air. Your own mix would need to be 1 part non peat soil and 1 part course sand (one option).|
|Fertilizer:||From April - August I would use a weak liquid feed diluted only once every 2 weeks.|
|Re-Potting:||The Housetree leek is quite a fast growing plant. You may need to repot every year at first then when growth slows down every 2 years. A clay pot is best used that will allow water to evaporate easier than plastic pots.|
|Air Humidity:||The humidity within most homes are suitable.|
|Propagation:||2 - 4 cm stem tip cuttings can be taken then propagated with one rosette intact (use rooting hormone powder on the cut to encourage growth). Only allow the water to be moist (not soaked) then when you see new growth after a couple of weeks or so you can care for it as you do the parent plant. Also provide warm temperatures (end of spring..start of summer). You can also propagate using seeds, however, this is tricky for many growers and you will require temperatures to be between 70°F/21°C - 80°F/26°C.|
Sudden wilting: This can be caused when overwatering or underwatering has taken place. It should be easy to distinguish because the soil will be dry or maybe very damp.
Foliage becomes soft and mushy: This is a not a good sign and is most likely caused when a grower overwaters a plant during winter. Fast action is required to save the plant. Remove all affected leaves and stems...remove from the pot and repot in only lightly moist soil, then do not water until the soil becomes very dry.
Sudden leaf fall: This can happen at certain times when this plant has its dormancy periods, during summer and maybe a short period when winter sets in (it is fine at these times and normal). If they fall during winter check the plant is not being overwaterd and the temperature is not too low.