Aeonium and Echeveria are two varieties of succulents that are often mixed up because, for one, they look awfully alike. But if you’re looking to improve your understanding and take one or both of them home, here’s all you need to know about the comparisons of Aeonium vs Echeveria.
Aeonium vs Echeveria: Differences
Both these plant varieties look quite alike, which is just one of the reasons why people get them mixed up. But if you’re a keen observer, there are more than a few differences, even in their appearance. And you’ll need to know the differences, especially if you’re planning to get one. Let’s take a look.
For starters, Aeoniums have leaves that are flatter, while the leaves of Echeverias are more round. The edges of Aeonium leaves also have small points like teeth, while the leaves of Echeverias don’t.
There are many varieties of Echeverias which is why they come in many different colors like silver, red, pink, orange, red, green, blue and yellow. Sometimes, the center of the leaf is not the same color as the edges.
Aeoniums, on the other hand, are limited in their colors. You will find them in yellow stripes, yellow, green, dark red or garnet and black.
Aeoniums usually grow to be about 5 feet tall when you plant them properly whereas the largest Echeverias species grow up to a foot in height when they are fully mature.
Aeoniums are originally from the Canary Islands, Africa which is why they do well in dry climates. But they need a little more moisture compared to Echeverias which are originally from Central America and have the ability to hold moisture in the leaves.
If you have a curious pet, Aeoniums can cause trouble, especially compared to Echeverias. You must keep these plants in a place where pets aren’t allowed because pets shouldn’t ingest them.
The toxicity is not lethal, but Aeoniums have saponins that are known to cause stomach problems and can irritate the skin, which can result in vomiting, diarrhea and nausea. These plants are classified as mildly toxic with respect to animals.
Echeverias, on the other hand, might taste bad but there is no problem if your pets ingest them accidentally.
Aeonium vs Echeveria: Similarities
There are a few similarities as well, which is why these plants are confused with each other. Let’s see what they are.
1. Plant Type
They are both types of succulents, which is the first similarity.
Obviously, these two plant types look very alike. For starters, both of them have leaves that are in the shape of a spoon, which makes them look alike in the first go. And their appearance is described as petal-like, which makes them look like daisies.
Both these species have subspecies that are small in size and grow only up to two inches when they are fully mature.
Both these plant species produce leggy or long branches which are unwieldy. That’s a sign of imperfect health in both these succulents.
How To Care For Aeonium and Echeveria
Despite their similarities and differences, both of these are actually different species of plants, so the care instructions for them are different in some ways. Here’s how.
Caring for an Aeonium
Here’s the lowdown on how you should care for an Aeonium.
Aeoniums need to get sunlight as well as shade. So, if you live in a desert environment where the summers can be punishing, your Aeonium should be grown indoors.
If you can’t do that, you should still try to find a place that gets some shade. Otherwise, the leaves of this succulent will burn and as a result, the leaves will develop pale spots on the surface.
These plants need a little bit of moisture in the soil. So, you need to find a balance between a high-density potting mix that can hold lots of moisture and porous soil which doesn’t do that as much.
However, if the plant is in a pot, you can use normal succulent soil. Those who are growing these succulents in relatively high-density gardening soil should add a little bit of peat moss so that the water can drain with more ease.
Since Aeoniums need some moisture, you should wait for the soil to become completely dry before you water the plant. This is so that you don’t overwater the plants and run the risk of root rot.
In the summer months, you will have to water them once a week and in the winter months, it comes down to once a month. But it’s good to stick your finger in the soil and check the levels of moisture and change the schedule accordingly.
Aeoniums could use a little bit of fertilizer once a month in spring and winter, but make sure you don’t dilute the fertilizer like you would with other plants. And, of course, they don’t need it in the summer months when the plant is dormant.
Caring for an Echeveria
Here are the care instructions to grow an Echeveria.
These plants grow well in the summer. So, you can grow it outdoors in those months to keep it healthy. They love a lot of direct sunlight on a daily basis for 4-6 hours. You know they are not getting enough of that if you see the plant getting leggy and growing extra and unattractive branches.
You also won’t see any flowers and that means you need to get your succulent some sunlight pronto.
Like cacti, these plants do well when the soil is porous and well-draining. That way the water doesn’t stay stagnant in one place. If it does, you will risk root rot because these plants are already good at retaining moisture.
You can use the potting mixes used for a cactus. If you’re making your own, you need three parts of potting soil, two parts of coarse sand and one part of perlite for better drainage.
These plants can handle a lot of dryness because they tend to retain moisture. So, if anything, you can risk giving them less water but not more. When the leaves start wrinkling, you know that it’s time to water the plant.
You can also check the soil to make sure it is completely dry before you water the plant. But before you do, make sure the water has someplace to go so that it doesn’t sit inside the pot.
If your Echeveria is growing outdoors, you should water it once a week in the summer months. In the winter, you should bring it inside and keep checking the leaves and soil regularly.
These plants do pretty well on their own, which is why they don’t really need fertilizer. Echeverias are like cacti, which means they do well in rough or coarse soil and don’t need growth supplements.
If you add fertilizer to these plants anyway, you will notice the leaves of the plants burning. That’s because the leaves will lose the nutrition that they are getting naturally.
Aeoniums and Echeverias are similar in the way they look and grow when they’re unhealthy. But there are plenty of differences in their varieties and care instructions. Now you know all about them. Happy gardening!