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Grow Aeonium Arboreum Sunburst in Your Succulent Garden

Aeonium 'Sunburst'

Aeonium 'Sunburst'

An Easy Care Succulent for Landscaping

Aeonium arboreum 'Sunburst' is a striking succulent plant to use as a mass planting for big impact and bright color. The plant reaches 30 inches high and has platter-sized rosettes that can be 10 inches across.

The color is light yellow with green variegation down the center of each leaf. With the right amount of sun, the rosettes blush with pink around the edges. The rosettes sit atop long curved half-inch thick stems of a neutral gray.

Plant them together and the various sizes, rosette clusters, and single rosettes appear to be bursting. I will tell you what you will need to get your Aeonium Sunburst growing like a riot in your yard.

Mass planting for big impact

Mass planting for big impact

Sunburst Aeonium

Want to go slow and not spend a lot of money? Buy one Sunburst succulent plant. The area above started as one plant. It has taken six years to propagate a four-square-foot area. Three plants would be a good start if you prefer more to look at in the beginning. Later, at the established stage, there will be plenty to throw away.

This year the mass planting was extended further and mixed with Aeonium decorum Kiwi. Breaking rosettes off the top of tall mature stems and replanting at random distances produced this bed of color.

By spring the mass planting was in gorgeous display. The patch is eye level on a slope and offers stunning beauty for the price of one plant and a little waiting.

aeonium arboreum 'sunburst'

aeonium arboreum 'sunburst'

Succulent Plant Care

During California's hot summers, water your plants once a week. They do best with partial shade for half the day. Hot sun will burn the leaves and turn the edges brown, but the ground can be dry for 5–7 days.

A freeze will make the plant's leaves wilt and then dry up.

As tall stems break or topple over, replant in the immediate area to maintain the planting.

Kiwi and Sunburst aeonium

Kiwi and Sunburst aeonium

Aeonium Decorum Kiwi

At the top of this photo is the Aeonium decorum Kiwi that is mixed with the Sunburst. The Kiwi has a far smaller rosette. In spring the Kiwi's bright red-tipped edges are striking.

In Southern California, the best time to expand your succulent garden is after the holidays when it is cool and we are getting our seasonal rain. When spring arrives your work will burst with color and variety.

I have seen the Sunburst rosettes in all yellow and in many variations of green variegation. The plant is pretty and easy to grow in pots for patios and apartment balconies.

Mass planting sunburst aeonium

Mass planting sunburst aeonium

Propagating Sunburst Succulent

When propagating allow the end of the stem to dry out for a day or two. Also, cuttings can be put directly into soil that will be dry for a couple of days.

Sunburst does well in our clay soil and the clippings do well in my mother's very sandy soil, as well. The plant will last two to three years and then topple over. Break the long stem off and replant to maintain full color and dense growth in the area.

Aeonium Sunburst

Aeonium Sunburst

Color variety with your Sunburst aeonium.

Color variety with your Sunburst aeonium.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

Question: How can I keep the leaves of my Aeonium Arboreum Sunburst from drying out?

Answer: The leaves will burn in full hot sun over 90 degrees. Also, the bottom leaves naturally dry up and fall off as new growth is added to the top. You will get dry leaf litter at the base of all aeoniums, as well as, the sunbursts.

Question: Do sunburst succulents need a lot of room for rooting?

Answer: No. Sunbursts have a sallow root system and may even topple over if allowed to get too top heavy. Pull tall plants up and clear away old roots. Break off the tops, let ends harden for a day and replant. The plants do well in pots and for landscaping.

Question: My sunburst is not forming any new rosettes and the old ones are burning off. The stem is also very tall and thick. Is it dying? Should I cut the stem and replant?

Answer: The sunburst has a growth limit. It can get two feet high and then the plant shows signs of aging out. Before it gets to this point break off young spouts and plant for a continuous display. Yes, you can uproot and break the stem of the very tall older plants. Let the stem dry and replant the next day or two. You will notice that the smaller clippings reroot and grow better. Try them all. These plants are succulents, but they do not like hot direct afternoon sun and burn easily. They will survive, but expect best displays in spring, early summer and fall.

© 2013 Sherry Venegas

Growing Succulents: Easy and Fun

Sherry Venegas (author) from La Verne, CA on July 26, 2019:

The best way to propagate the sunburst is to clip off the smallest rosettes from a healthy plant and let the end dry out over night. Put the end of the stem in a well draining pot. After you see roots forming plant in the location desired. After you are familiar with the plant and the growing location then you can break off small cuttings and place directly in the soil and water sparingly. Do not be too timid because some will take root and some will not. Some seasons will be more spectacular than others too.

WilINA on July 25, 2019:

How to get the sunburst to grow new baby sunburst ?

Kavi on August 21, 2017:


I'm from south Africa and would love to start collecting succulents.

Can you send me clippings and leaves of different varieties..

Sadly my budget isn't too big

Ruthi on June 25, 2014:

That succulent sunburst is a winner for me! What a lovely plant that I do need to add to my collection of plant beauties.

BlogsWriter on May 10, 2013:

I have seen this succulent plant in a garden, reminds me of the cactus, they make the garden look so colorful.

Mickie Gee on April 22, 2013:

I plant my succulents in a hypertufta pot. Sometimes in the Southeast USA, there will be a surprise freeze and I hate to loose a plant!

KimGiancaterino on April 16, 2013:

I love them all. My succulent garden is hit and miss, but I'm trading starters with a couple of friends now. It's fun to introduce a new member to our succulent family. The Aeonium Arboreum is next!

Anthony Altorenna from Connecticut on March 26, 2013:

I like the variegated foliage of the aeonium arboreum. I've added several freeze-resistant varieties of succulents to a rock garden, and I also grow several other varieties in containers. During the summer, I move the pots out to the deck where they get lots of sun. As the cold weather approaches, I mover them to a sunny area for the winter.

pheonix76 from WNY on February 21, 2013:

Actually succulents aren't considered a family (biologically speaking); a succulent is a type of plant characterized by fleshy leaves/stems that retain water (an adaptation to arid environments). Cacti are my favorite type of succulents, especially Mammillaria spp. I'm a bit of a botany nerd, thanks for sharing! :)

SteveKaye on February 19, 2013:

I've bought cacti so that I could take photos of their flowers. These are amazing plants with unique beauty.

Gayle Dowell from Kansas on February 16, 2013:

I don't have a succulent garden, but I think I need to make room this spring for one!

RinchenChodron on February 14, 2013:

These are beautiful. Too bad I don;'t think they would survive the winter here in Colorado.

Perrin from South Carolina on February 12, 2013:

I have one on my back porch that my son picked out as a "treat" in Lowe's for good behavior! I don't even know what it's called, though! He loves showing people his plant, though.

GardenIdeasHub LM on February 12, 2013:

I was very interested in growing aeonium arboreum and thanks for the tips.

makorip lm on February 11, 2013:

I've always admired the Succulents, need to plant some.

Stephanie Tietjen from Albuquerque, New Mexico on February 10, 2013:

Such a beautiful plant. I envy your climate that allows you to plant outside.

Ellen Gregory from Connecticut, USA on February 10, 2013:

These look beautiful. I have a few hens and chicks, but they are small and not as showy as these.

RedShoesGirl on February 10, 2013:

I don't have a garden right now, but these plants are lovely. I must say that I love that dog in the background :)