In this post, we’ll discuss the differences between Sempervivum vs Aeonium succulents. Sempervivum and Aeonium are both genera of flowering plants in the Crassulaceae family, which includes a wide variety of succulents known for their ability to tolerate dry conditions. While both genera are popular choices for indoor and outdoor plants, they have a few key differences in terms of their appearance, care requirements, and growth habits.
Sempervivum, also known as hen and chicks, is a genus of flowering plants native to Europe and Asia. These plants are known for their rosette-shaped leaves and small, star-shaped flowers that bloom in shades of pink, red, and purple. Sempervivum plants are generally hardy and easy to care for, and are popular choices for rock gardens, container gardens, and green roofs.
Sempervivum are tolerant of a wide range of growing conditions. They are hardy plants that can tolerate cold temperatures and dry conditions. They are also tolerant of poor soil, high altitude, and high levels of sun exposure. They are tolerant of frost, and many can handle temperatures as low as -30°C . Some species can be grown in rocky crevices, walls, or in the crevices between rocks or bricks, that’s why they are often used in rock gardens and as ground cover. They are also tolerant of drought conditions and can survive with little water. They prefer well-draining soil and full sun or partial shade.
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Sempervivum, like many succulent plants, typically go dormant during the winter months. This means that they will slow or stop their growth, and in some cases, lose some or all of their leaves. Dormancy allows the plant to conserve energy and survive harsh winter conditions. During their dormant period, the plant will require less water and fertilizer. Watering should be reduced, and fertilization should be stopped. It’s important not to overwater the plants during this period, as this can lead to rot. Once the threat of frost has passed and temperatures begin to rise, the plant will begin to grow again.
Aeonium is a genus of flowering plants native to the Canary Islands and Madeira. These plants are known for their rosette-shaped leaves and tall, upright stems that bear clusters of small, star-shaped flowers. Aeonium succulents are generally hardy and easy to care for, and are popular choices for container gardens and rock gardens.
Aeonium are drought-tolerant plants that are tolerant of high temperatures and full sun. They are native to the Canary Islands, Madeira, and some parts of Africa, which are characterized by warm, sunny climates, and well-drained soils. They like well-draining soil, and prefer full sun or partial shade, depending on the species. They are well adapted to the Mediterranean climate and can handle heat and dryness well. They do not tolerate frost and should be protected from freezing temperatures. They have a dormant period during winter, which requires less water and fertilizer, and it’s important not to overwater the plants during this period, as this can lead to rot.
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In general, Aeoniums are easy to care for and can be grown in a variety of conditions, including as houseplants, in rock gardens, or in container gardens. They are tolerant of poor soil, high altitude, and high levels of sun exposure. They are also tolerant of drought conditions and can survive with little water.
Main Differences Between Sempervivum vs Aeonium
Sempervivum and Aeonium are both popular succulents that look quite similar at first glance, with their rosette shapes and ability to produce showy flowers. However, once you get to know these plants a bit better, you’ll notice some distinctive differences.
In terms of where they originally come from, Sempervivum hail from Europe and Asia while Aeonium are native to tropical islands in the Atlantic like the Canary Islands or Madeira and parts of Africa. Because of their differing native regions, Sempervivum seem to tolerate colder temperatures a bit better.
The growth habits of these succulents are also quite different. Sempervivum stay low to the ground, forming spreading mats of their tight rosettes. Aeonium, on the other hand, produce taller rosettes that grow on noticeably long stems, so Aeonium can stand up taller and be more of a focal point in a arrangement or garden bed.
The flowers of Sempervivum and Aeonium share some similarities, like being star-shaped, but Aeonium produce much larger and more dramatic flower stalks that really stand out. Aeonium flowers also tend to be more vibrant in colors like bright pink or yellow. In contrast, Sempervivum flowers are smaller and typically pale pink or purple.
Finally, the leaves of these two succulents differ quite a bit. Sempervivum leaves are usually some shade of green, while Aeonium can have striking red, purple, or variegated leaves. So if you’re looking to add more visual interest and color variation in your succulent collection, Aeonium may be a better choice than the primarily green-leaved Sempervivum.
Sempervivum vs Aeonium Care Requirements
Yes, Sempervivum and Aeonium do have some similar care requirements:
- They both need well-draining soil and pots with drainage holes. As succulents, they are prone to root rot if soil is too wet.
- They require lots of bright light, such as sunlight from a sunny window or grow lights. At least 6 hours of direct sun per day is ideal.
- Sparingly water when soil is dry. Only water when the top few inches of soil are dry to avoid overwatering.
- Fertilize lightly during the growing season. Use a balanced succulent fertilizer at 1/2 the recommended strength.
- Prune to shape the plant and remove dead leaves. Aeonium may need pruning of flower stalks after blooming.
- Watch for common pests like mealybugs and scale and treat if needed.
Sempervivum vs Aeonium Growth Habit and Leaf/Flower Characteristics
Sempervivum forms low-growing rosettes that spread out horizontally. Aeonium forms taller rosettes on elongated stems that can reach up to 3 feet tall.
Sempervivum leaves are typically green and rounded. Aeonium leaves can be green, red, purple, or variegated and have a more pointed shape.
Sempervivum leaves are typically smaller, less than an inch across. Aeonium leaves can grow several inches across.
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Sempervivum flowers are small and star-shaped, less than half an inch across, and borne on tall stems. Aeonium flowers are larger, saucer-shaped, and 2-3 inches across, borne on even taller branched stems.
Sempervivum flowers are typically pale pink or purple. Aeonium flowers exhibit a wider range of bright colors like pink, red, yellow, or white.
Overall, the main difference between Sempervivum vs Aeonium is their appearance and flowering habits. Sempervivum plants are known for their small, star-shaped flowers and fuzzy, textured leaves, while Aeonium plants are known for their tall, upright stems and clusters of small, star-shaped flowers. Both genera are popular choices for indoor and outdoor gardens due to their hardy nature and low-maintenance care.
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