How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Aeonium Kiwi

Aeonium 'Kiwi' is an incredible tricolor variety of Aeonium haworthii. Gardening expert Rachel Garcia explains how to grow and care for this beloved colorful cultivar.

How to care for Aeonium Kiwi

Contents

The vibrant colors of Aeonium ‘Kiwi’ make it an instant show-stopper. This succulent has variegated leaves with deep shades of yellow and green. When placed in the sun, its tips are crowned with brilliant red, giving it the common name tricolor or dream color.

Aeonium ‘Kiwi’s distinct looks are matched with distinct care. It demands different conditions than your average succulent. So, let’s dive into the specific care of this prestigious plant.

Overview

Aeonium Kiwi overview
The Aeonium ‘Kiwi’ requires slightly different care than most succulents.
Plant Type Succulent
Family Crassulaceae
Genus Aeonium
Species Aeonium haworthii ‘Kiwi’
Exposure Full sun
Height 12″
Watering Requirements Low
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Succulent mix

What is Aeonium ‘Kiwi’?

Close up, overhead shot of a potted plant that has dozens of rosette shaped leaf clusters with dark green leaves that have bright red edges. The image is focused in on a tall stem with a cluster of small, spiky, pink and yellow blooms.
Known for their unique, vibrant colors, this hybrid succulent will also bloom every few years.

The origin of the kiwi aeonium is a mystery. The most common belief is that it’s a hybrid of Aeonium haworthii from the Canary Islands. Because of this, it’s often called Haworth’s aeonium or Aeonium ‘Pinwheel’.

The kiwi aeonium is beloved for its impressive leaf color. After a few years, Aeonium ‘Kiwi’ also grows classic yellow flowers in the summer.

Sadly, because this is a monocarpic plant, it will die after flowering. If this beautiful omen shows up and you don’t want to lose the plant, propagate the unbloomed stems before they die.

Planting

Close up of a plant with thick stems and large rosette leaf formations. Each leaf has thick, plump and green with red around the edges.
The Aeonium ‘Kiwi’ grows in the winter and spring and will go dormant during the summer time.

Dream color is a bit picky about temperature. Unlike most succulents, it doesn’t like to be hot and dry. On the other hand, it won’t grow in temperatures below freezing. It is suited for USDA Zones 9-11 with moderate conditions. 

In colder climates, tricolor makes a great indoor plant. If you have your heart set on keeping it outside, use a container that can be brought in when needed. Because it likes moisture, this succulent is great for terrariums.

You’ll notice your Aeonium ‘Kiwi’ actively growing in the winter and spring, albeit slowly. It goes dormant during the summer, requiring little to no water. It’s completely normal for this succulent to drop its old leaves.

How to Grow

Close up of a bright yellow, leafy rosette with bright red edges.
Caring for these plants is slightly different than your common succulent.

As mentioned, Aeonium ‘Kiwi’ has different demands from other succulents. Once understood though, this plant is rather straightforward.

Light

Close up of a plant with clusters of large rosette leaf formations. Each leaf has thick, plump and green with red around the edges.
These will need at least a couple hours of sunlight each day, but will burn easily if left in the sun for too long.

The exquisite colors of tricolor are dependent on sunlight. However, this succulent also burns easily, requiring a delicate balance.

A couple of hours of direct sunlight a day should keep the plant happy (as long as it’s not in high heat). Dream color also grows fine with mostly indirect sunlight, though the colors won’t be as vibrant.

While indoors, a south or east-facing window is ideal, as long as it doesn’t receive too much direct sunlight.

Water

Close up of a small plant in a terra-cotta pot. The plant is small and its leaves are oval and pointed. The base color is green and it has a dark red edge around each leaf.
Not enough water will result in droopy, shriveled leaves and too much water causes mushy, discolored leaves.

Tricolor’s shallow roots call for lighter and more frequent watering than other succulents. Don’t overdo it though. Water once a week in the winter and spring. Aeonium ‘Kiwi’ should never be left sitting in water.

Tricolor goes dormant in the summer and doesn’t need water at this time unless it’s really dry. The leaves might curl up to prevent water loss by evaporation. This can be prevented by keeping your succulent protected during the summer.

Too little water will make the plant droop and the leaves shrivel. Conversely, too much water results in mushy, discolored leaves.

Soil

Close up of a small plant growing in a rocky area of a garden. The plan has several leafy rosettes, clustered together and the leaves are green with red edges.
Although these plants can tolerate a bit more moisture they still require well-draining soil.

Don’t let the moisture preference fool you. Aeonium ‘Kiwi’ still needs well-draining soil like every succulent and cactus.

You can use specialty succulent soil or potting soil mixed with perlite. Aeonium ‘Kiwi’ prefers its soil to be slightly acidic or neutral in pH.

Temperature & Humidity

Close up of a plant with clusters of large rosette leaf formations. Each leaf has thick, plump and green with red around the edges.
A lack of humidity and airflow can lead to fungal disease.

When it comes to temperature, 65-75°F (18-24°C) is ideal, much like the temperatures we prefer indoors. The lowest temperature Aeonium ‘Kiwi’ can handle is 20°F (-7°C). It’s not too fussy about humidity, but lack of airflow and moist conditions can increase the risk of fungal disease.

Fertilizer

Woman wearing a blue top, pouring liquid from a small glass container into a large pink watering can.
Adding a bit of liquid fertilizer during the growing season can help boost growth.

Aeoniums don’t require fertilizer but it will boost growth, especially in pots. If you decide to feed, use a half-strength balanced liquid fertilizer during the growing season.

Your Aeonium ‘Kiwi’ should be fed around once a month as needed during the growing season and not at all during dormancy.

Maintenance

Close up of a gloved hand holding a small plant that has been taken out of its pot.
Every few years you’ll need to replant these succulents to give them more room to grow.

Repotting every few years is good for your tricolor’s health. This should be done at the end of the summer, right before its dormancy ends. Choose a container with a little more room for growth and fill it with new, well-draining soil. After repotting, resume your regular watering schedule.

Pruning is only necessary if you want to change your tricolor’s shape. The rosettes of this succulent typically grow close together like a shrub. If your plant has received insufficient light, the stems may stretch out, ruining the round build.

You can prune back stray stems and offsets to retain the tricolor’s shape. If all the stems are spaced out, it’s best to propagate and start over.

Propagation

Two small, green plants that have been separated from it's main plant, laying on a table with their stems and roots exposed
Cutting and ‘division’ is the most popular way to propagate Aeoniums.

Aeoniums are easily propagated by cuttings and division. For best results, propagate your succulent in the spring or winter when it’s actively growing. You should also water your plant thoroughly before starting.

Stem cuttings are the perfect way to multiply your kiwi aeonium for yourself or to give away. The process is easy:

  • Cut: Make the cut a few inches below the stem’s rosette. Dip the ends in rooting powder if desired.
  • Dry: Let it dry – out of the sunlight – for a day or two.
  • Plant: Stick the cutting upright in well-draining soil. Water your new dream color like usual and keep it away from direct sunlight until it’s established.

Propagation by offsets or division is easy because they start the process for you.

When the stems hang low, they send out roots, expanding the plant. If you see this, you can easily cut off these offsets and plant them using the cut, dry, and plant method. You can also wait until they’re rooted and then divide the plant.

Common Problems

Close up of clusters of creamy green and orange, leafy rosettes with orange edges.
There are a few things to watch out for with these succulents.

Kiwi aeonium is usually pest and disease-resistant. However, there are a few things to watch out for.

Brown Spots

Close up of a small green and red plant in a small black container with tiny brown spots in its leaves.
Aeonium ‘Kiwi’ burn and bruise easily. Avoid leaving them in the sun for too long and handle them with care.

Crusty brown or black spots on the leaves are sunburns. You can prevent them by keeping your Aeonium ‘Kiwi’ out of direct sunlight and heat. Once the damage is done, you can’t remove the spots. Luckily, they won’t hurt the plant further if removed from the sun and heat.

Aeonium ‘Kiwi’ bruises easily. The bruises leave brown discolorations on the leaves that cause no lasting damage. Prevent bruising by handling your succulent with care.

Etiolation

Close up of a small rosette like plant, with a long outstretched stem, growing over the side of its container.
If you noticed long, stretched out stems, this could be a sign that your succulent needs more sunlight.

A common problem with succulents is etiolation – stretched-out stems. This is caused by a lack of sunlight and is easily prevented. If your dream color is already etiolated, you can leave it as is or propagate the stems for a fresh start.

Pests

Close up of tiny white bugs crawling under a thick, green leaf.
Mealybugs and or aphids are attracted these plants and can cause permanent damage if not treated quickly.

You won’t find many pests on kiwi aeoniums. On the rare occasion you do, they’re most likely mealybugs or aphids.

Mealybugs are white in color and leave cottony egg sacs behind. These nasty feeders can make your succulent droopy and discolored. Left alone, mealybugs will eventually kill the plant. Remove mealybugs by washing your succulent with insecticidal soap and by popping them off the plant with a cotton swap soaked in 70% rubbing alcohol.

Aphids are famously small insects that feed on plant sap. They live on the undersides of leaves and can cause black sooty mold growth. Eliminate aphids with insecticidal soap or neem oil.

Diseases

Close up of a gloved hand holding a plant but it root ball.
Check the soil often to make sure your Aeonium ‘Kiwi’ is draining properly to avoid root rot.

When it comes to kiwi aeoniums, the most common threat is root rot. You’ll notice that the roots become mushy and discolored. This is caused by excessive moisture and leads to other infections.

To prevent root rot, frequently check that the soil is draining properly. Your Aeonium ‘Kiwi’ should never be left sitting in water. If rot is already present on your succulent, you’ll need to repot it.

After you remove the succulent from its container, cut off the rotted roots with a sterile knife. Replant in new, dry soil and let it sit for a couple of days before watering.

FAQs

Why are the leaves falling off my Aeonium ‘Kiwi’?

This is usually a sign of overwatering. Let the soil dry out and don’t water your plant more than once a week. Take note that it’s normal for Aeonium ‘Kiwi’ to drop its old bottom leaves.

Why is my Aeonium ‘Kiwi’ losing its color?

Kiwis get their red tips from sunlight. To keep this lovely feature, give your plant a few hours of direct sunlight each day, avoiding high heat.

Why is my succulent leggy?

Succulent stems grow taller or leggy in search of sunlight. Move your kiwi aeonium to a sunnier spot to prevent it from stretching more. Stretched stems can’t shrink down but can be propagated from.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re looking for a pop of color or simply want a new succulent to add to your collection, Aeonium ‘Kiwi’ certainly won’t disappoint.

SHARE THIS POST
Close-up of female hands about to divide succulents on a blurred background. She is holding a Jade Plant in her hand. It is a popular succulent that features thick, fleshy, oval-shaped leaves that are glossy and vibrant green, tinged with red along the edges.

Cacti & Succulents

How to Divide Succulents in 6 Easy Steps

Dividing succulents doesn’t have to be a stressful process. It just takes a gentle hand and an eye for the health of your plant. In this article, gardening expert Melissa Strauss will go over methods of dividing your succulent for the best outcome.