Aeonium Mardi Gras, is a spectacular cultivar with an incredible variegation. We have been growing Mardi Gras at our nursery for a couple of years now and based on our experience we will share everything we’ve learned about this succulent, including care tips and propagation.
Aeonium Mardi Gras 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 15 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. This cultivar can grow over 50cm tall and wide.
The leaves display an amazing variegation which is lime green, cream and burgundy red. The red comes and goes based on the seasons and sun exposure. The plants in our video and photos are quite stressed by the full sun and cold. In the summer months/ in shade the red can fade away and only present at the very margins of the leaves or not at all.
Young rosettes form in a circle around more mature rosettes and eventually branch out, creating a small tree look.
The flowering of this plant can be random, depending on the age and location of the plant. Most of the time, Aeonium Mardi Gras can flower in late winter-early spring and, like other Aeoniums, 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.
Does Aeonium Mardi Gras revert?
Aeonium Mardi Gras is a very stable cultivar and the variegation does not usually revert to single colour, as it can do with other variegated plants. Variegation is a mutation and variegated plants often either grow out of it or their offsets will not grow variegated.
So far, all of our thousand Mardi Gras plants we’ve raised over the last couple of years have kept their variegation, including the offsets. Having said that, there is still a small chance Mardi Gras will revert.
To read more about how variegated plants come to be and grow you can see this article.
Position & Care
Aeonium Mardi Gras 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 frost settles on the leaves.
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. Frost cloth can also be used if only mild frosts are expected.
The best position for Aeonium Mardi Gras is morning sun followed by afternoon shade especially during hot summers, 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 Mardi Gras will grow well in the garden as well as in pots, though the pot should be fairly big and upgraded regularly so the plant can grow to its full size. 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 Mardi Gras will cope with droughts, but to prevent soil becoming hydrophobic and leaves falling off due to stress, it should be watered regularly. Aeonium Mardi Gras is unlikely to have any adverse effects when left out in the rain.
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 Mardi Gras easily propagates by cuttings of its offsets. The best time to propagate is in early spring. In moderate climates Aeoniums will grow from late autumn-spring. Mardi Gras 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.
To learn more about propagating offsets, you may be interested in another one of my articles.
Aeonium Mardi Gras 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 Mardi Gras is a variegated plant, the variegation may not be carried on to seedlings. This is often the case with many variegated plants.
Aeonium Mardi Gras, 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.
Mealy Bugs, in particular, can be a big problem with any Aeonium and plants should be regularly checked.
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.
We therefore advise to exercise caution and seek help from a medical professional if the plant has been ingested.
Where Can I Buy It
Aeonium Mardi Gras used to be hard to buy and quite pricey too. These days it should be fairly easy to source from online nurseries.
Our nursery Fern Farm Plants sells small Mardi Gras in Australia.