How I Take Cuttings of My Aeonium Arboreum

Introduction: How I Take Cuttings of My Aeonium Arboreum

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I got my Aeonium arboreum (the variety is “atropurpureum”) at a lecture about succulents at the San Francisco Botanical Garden about 20 years ago. The curator of the desert garden at the UC Davis arboretum was speaking and brought plants to sell. This was of the very 1st succulents I ever bought and I carried it with me when I moved to Santa Barbara. I now have 3 of them in pots and a few in the garden so I want to share with you how I take cuttings of this small tree-like succulent.

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Step 1:

I’m throwing this picture in just for fun. Another 1 of my Aeonium arboreum “atropurpureums” was blooming & I wanted to show you how bright & large the flower heads are. The bees love them!

This plant, like other aeoniums, tends towards a somewhat tall and leggy growth habit. The individual stems will eventually branch at different points giving them even more interest. If they branch towards the top of the stems, the weight of the heads can cause them to bend over. And that’s exactly what happened to mine that was planted right outside my dining room window 8 years ago.

Step 2:

Here’s 1 of the stems that I cut off with the branches shooting off of it. The whole thing was completely down on the ground this past winter.

I wasn’t planning on doing a video on this particular aeonium but because it fell over, I decided why not. If you have this succulent just be prepared because it may happen to your plant too. See how I take cuttings of it in the video above.

This is 1 plant that you don’t need to take the cuttings from the soft wood or the tender new growth. I could have let that tall stem heal over for a few weeks and planted it just like that. However, the Aeonium arboreum grows relatively fast. I wouldn’t want to plant that tall stem because the same thing could happen all over again within a short period of time.

Step 3:

Here you can see I cut the aeonium into “bite size” pieces. Because the heads are fairly large, I wanted to cut the stems down which eliminates their chance of toppling over.

Step 4:

By the way, this is what the stems look like when they’ve healed over. These cuttings were taken over 3 months ago.

A few things to consider when taking of Aeonium arboreums:

1- Make sure your pruners are clean & sharp as you want to make nice, clean cuts.

2- Take your cuttings at an angle. It reduces the chance of infection & makes for a sharper point when sticking them into the mix.

3- The stems & branching stems can curve so you can either work with that or make the cut above the curve. 4- Even though the stem has been cut down, the head may still be heavy in proportion. You make need to stake the cutting.

Step 5:

3 of the heads looking nice & healthy. If you’re curious as to how I would plant these, then click right here.

My original intention with these Aeonium arboreum cuttings was to replant them back with the mother plant. I decided there were already enough stems in that particular planting so I gave most of them to my friend who lives in Oakland when she was visiting. And the couple of cuttings that remain … well, in just a few weeks they’ll be making the journey with me to my new home. Cuttings on the move!

Happy gardening,


Joy Us garden

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    Question 2 years ago

    Thank you for your clear instructable on succulents. My question is how do you tell when a plant is dry. I am unable to feel wetness so I use a meter to check for water. I usually water until it reads 4. I water when it reads 0 or 1. Most of my plants are not in pots with drainage holes. Am I doing it right? Is 4 too much? I've lost a couple but for the most part they are all doing ok.