Aeonium smithii is a beautiful, branching succulent, small shrub that grows up to 60 cm high. Its stems have whitish bristly hairs, giving them a shaggy appearance, though older stems tend to lose these hairs. During the winter-spring growing season, the rosettes of leaves are up to 15 cm across. The spoon-shaped or paddle-shaped leaves are velvety to the touch and glossy on the upper surface. They have wavy margins, with the waviness varying from slight to pronounced. The leaves also have lengthwise purple or brownish dashes, especially on the undersides, and these are thickened water-storing structures. The flower stalks are up 15 cm above the rosettes of leaves. They bear yellow flowers are 2.5 cm across.
Scientific Name: Aeonium smithii (Sims) Webb & Berthel.r
Synonyms: Sempervivum smithii (basionym), Sempervivum foliosum, Sempervivum hispicaule
Common Names: Smith’s Giant Houseleek
How to grow and maintain Aeonium smithii:
It thrives best in full sunlight to part sunlight in a sheltered spot, but the bright light enhances the rich hues of the darker Aeoniums.
It grows well in humus-rich, moist but well-drained, any good potting mix soil.
It prefers ideal temperatures of 65ºF – 75ºF / 18ºC – 24ºC and no lower than 50ºF / 10ºC.
Water moderately but consistently during the growing season, Keep the soil moist but not soggy. Allow the top one inch of soil to dry out between waterings. During the winter reduce watering to a minimum.
Fertilize your plant once every 2 weeks during the active growth period with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted by half. Do not feed while dormant.
It can be easily propagated by seed or by stem cuttings. Sow seed at 19-24ºC in spring. Take cuttings of rosettes in the spring and kept at 18ºC and barely moist until rooted.
Pests and Diseases:
It has no serious pest or disease problems. Slugs can do some damage and the occasional bird may take a bite.