Aeonium Big Bang, is a spectacular cultivar with an incredible variegation. Below we will look at everything there is to know about this succulents, including care tips and propagation.
Aeonium Big Bang is a medium sized shrub with the main stem branching out and ending in a rosettes type arrangement. Each rosette can measure up to over 20 cm across, depending on conditions it’s grown in.
Plants in shade can measure wider and grow longer leaves whereas plants grown in full sun will be more compact and smaller, with more stubby and colourful leaves and better variegation. Aeonium Big Bang can grow over 50cm tall and wide.
The leaves display an amazing variegation which is green and dark purple, almost like an Aeonium Schwartzkopf and Arboreum blended together.
Young rosettes form in a circle around more mature rosettes and eventually branch out, creating a tree look.
The flowering of this plant can be random, depending on the age and location of the plant. Most of the time Aeonium Big Bang can flower in late winter-early spring and, like other Aeoniums, Big Bang is monocarpic. This means the rosette that has produced the flower will die after flowering. A cone of yellow flowers will grow out of the centre of the rosette. The flowers last for approximately a month then the rosette will die. The flower spike, including the rosette it is shooting out off can be cut down completely. It is unlikely the whole plant will die when flowers appear, only the rosettes that have flowered.
Can you stop Aeonium Big Bang reverting?
It is important to note that Aeonium Big Bang does not have a stable variegation and the rosettes can revert to single colour. This process is very hard to stop. Beheading the top can force the plant to grow more variegated pups, but it is not guaranteed.
Aeonium Big Bang is summer dormant and the variegation may not be as vivid in summer. Too much shade can also cause the plant to grow green. Full sun in the cooler months may help bring the variegation out.
Big Bang is not a very good houseplant and will likely lose variegation if grown indoors.
Position & Care
Aeonium Big Bang is a hardy plant that can withstand poor soil and a range of temperatures. It is not frost hardy and will freeze and die if exposed to temperatures below 0 degrees Celsius (32 F).
If grown in a climate where frost and snow is common in winter, this plant should be grown in pots and brought indoors until the danger of frosts passes. Short term frosts can be dealt with a frost cloth. This can be draped over outdoor succulents for the duration of frost and will stop frost burns.
The best position for Aeonium Big Bang is morning sun followed by afternoon shade, however, it can also be grown in full sun and bright shade. Plants in shade will grow larger, longer leaves with less colour and plants in sun will grow compact with more vivid variegation
Aeonium Big Bang will grow well in the garden as well as in pots, though the pot should be fairly big. Pot plants should be kept in afternoon shade during heatwaves over 35 C (95F). Plants in the ground should cope with these temperatures as their root system can stay cool. The foliage can burn during extreme heatwaves.
For best result, water when the potting mix/soil has dried up. Aeonium Big Bang will cope with droughts, but to prevent soil becoming hydrophobic and leaves falling off due to stress, it should be watered regularly.
Aeoniums are dormant in summer and grow in the cooler months, unlike most other succulents. It is best they are left alone in summer, though they will need to be watered when temperatures rise.
Aeonium Big Bang easily propagates by cuttings. The best time to propagate is in early spring. In moderate climates Aeoniums will grow from late autumn-spring. Big Bang will not grow from leaves and seed propagation can be difficult.
After cutting an offset or a branch, leave in a shaded, dry spot for about 24 hours and then plant either directly in the garden or in succulent potting mix in a pot. Keep the planted cutting in a very bright protected spot with morning sun/ filtered light/ under 30% shade cloth to maintain the colour and hardiness of the plant. Roots should appear in 3-4 weeks.
Aeonium Big Bang does not have the ability to grow from leaves.
Seed propagation can also prove difficult as it may be hard to find good quality, viable seeds. But more importantly, because the variegation is not stable, Big Bang seedlings will very probably not grow variegated and can be either green or dark purple.
Aeonium Big Bang, especially if grown in pots, is susceptible to mealy bugs and aphids. Mealy bugs can either hide in-between the leaves, close to the stalk or attack the root system.
Aphids often appear when the weather starts warming up in early spring and are more easily spotted as they tend to attack the centre of the rosettes, though, sometimes can also hide on the undersides of the leaves.
Caterpillars and snails are also known to feed on aeonium leaves.
Aeoniums are said to be deer resistant.
In Australia, Aeoniums will be eaten by possums if they are within their reach.
For a full list of animals that like to eat succulents you can read another one of our articles here.
Unfortunately, there is not enough reliable sources to confirm whether Aeoniums are toxic to humans, cats, dogs or other pets.
Although i have found references suggesting Aeonium has no reported toxic compounds it is best to exercise caution and seek help from a medical professional if the plant has been ingested and there are adverse effects.
Where Can I Buy It
Aeonium Big Bang is quite easy to find online and may even be available in garden centres.
Our nursery Fern Farm Plants sells this succulent here.