Aeonium Smithii (Smith’s Giant Houseleek)


Native to the Canary Islands (Tenerife), Aeonium Smithii is one surprising Aeonium. Generally speaking, a lot of Aeoniums tend to die after flowering (monocarpic) and can only live on via the offsets they produce during growing season (winter). Aeonium Smithii is an oddball – it will continue to grow even after blooming!

Smithii can grow up to 60cm tall with rosettes as large as 15cm in diameter. Be sure to cut the spent blooms off to give the plant more energy to focus on producing offsets. Spring is the season for bright yellow blooms. In my experience, this variety is more reliable for blooms than other Aeonium variety.

Not only is this Aeonium not monocarpic, it also has a very unusual appearance. Each leaf and stem is covered in fine white hairs and the underside of each leaf is spotted with dark green with a velvety texture. If I didn’t know better, I would swear it is a Sempervivum rather than an Aeonium. Some succulent websites actually do refer to it as Sempervivum Smithii given they share similar characteristics to Semps (e.g. the fine hairs on the leaves).

As the leaves age and receive harsher sun conditions in summer they turn a lovely orange/red hue which is a nice contrast to the pale green of the new growth (see ‘New Offset after Flower Removed’ image). Smithii is best kept in morning sun, afternoon shade as the older leaves can burn significantly in the summer sun. 

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