Growing Aeonium Cyclops: Caring For The Cyclops Giant Red Aeonium

Aeonium ‘Cyclops’ (ee-OH-nee-um SY-klops) isn’t one of the 35 Aeonium species native to the Canary Islands and Africa, but is instead a hybrid of Aeonium undulatum and Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkop’.

This perennial masterpiece of famed California horticulturist Jack Catlin is a perfect addition to the Crassulaceae family and extremely popular among home gardeners.

Succulent Aeonium
Aeonium growing in the landscape | elroce-DepositPhotos

It is sometimes referred to by the common name giant red aeonium and features dark bronzed burgundy rosette petals with a vibrant electric green “eye”.

Aeonium ‘Cyclops’ Care

Size & Growth

This plant takes the name “giant” seriously, producing 12” inch diameter rosettes of dark reddish-bronze leaves with a lime center that rival many flowers.

In the proper conditions, the stems of these evergreen plants will grow to approximately 3′ to 5’ feet tall and 3′ to 4’ feet wide.

As with many other succulents, the plant has shallow feeder roots, as the leaves serve as water storage.

However, it also includes deeper anchoring roots which give it increased stability due to its height.

Their growth season is from winter through spring, and the plant becomes dormant during the hotter summer months.

Flowering and Fragrance

With the incredible display of foliage, you may miss this plant’s bloom time, which occurs in both spring and fall.

The small yellow flowers are roughly pyramid-shaped.

While not impressive on their own, the flower color compliments the burgundy and lime perfectly.

Light & Temperature

Cyclops prefers full sun but will tolerate partial shade, especially in desert regions.

While it is mildly drought tolerant, too much heat or dryness will cause leaf curl or even dormancy, so you may need to shelter the plant in light shade during these conditions.

This plant is best grown in USDA hardiness zone 9 to 11 when kept as a garden plant, although container plants may be brought indoors prior to frost.

The ideal growing temperature range is from 65° to 75° degrees Fahrenheit.

The plant is not frost tolerant but will withstand brief drops in temperature as low as 25° degrees Fahrenheit.

Water Needs and Feeding

Cyclops needs very little water to thrive due to the shallow feeder roots, and it can store large amounts in its leaves. To prevent water loss the leaves have a tendency to curl.

For container plants, the general strategy is to allow the soil to dry at least two inches down, then water until it begins to drain from the bottom holes of the container.

Established plants should be watered when the soil is dry at least two inches deep and should not be overwatered.

Plants in high humidity locations will need watering even less frequently, and this process may be replicated in dry regions using drip irrigation.

You may choose to mist the plant occasionally to simulate higher humidity. 

While Cyclops doesn’t require much in the way of food, you may wish to provide it with a ½ strength balanced fertilizer once per month during the growing season.

Soil & Transplanting

Being a succulent, Cyclops has a shallow root system that’s easily damaged by standing water.

Aim for either a sandy loam or a well drained mix with some regular potting soil with perlite.

Adding moss to garden beds will also help keep the soil more porous.

When grown as a container plant, you should repot Cyclops every 2 to 3 years.

Grooming And Maintenance

Requiring very little care, Cyclops will require the most attention when you are living in desert conditions or a frost-prone area.

In these cases, you may find it necessary to move the plant frequently to prevent damage or death.

Other Popular Aeoniums

How To Propagate Giant Red Aeonium

While some species of Aeonium are monocarpic (i.e. they die after flowering), Cyclops is known to produce roots along the stem.

These roots will produce new plants if they touch the soil and are kept watered.

You may easily propagate the species using either cuttings or leggy branches that have fallen off.

Be sure the cutting contains a rosette and allow the cut three days to heal in a shaded area.

Once healed, place the stem into a pot just deep enough to maintain balance and sit in bright indirect light, watering lightly once per week.

Once the roots are well-established, you may reduce the watering frequency or transplant to a more permanent location.

Aeonium Cyclops Pest or Disease Problems

Cyclops is non-toxic to pets, making it an excellent choice for indoor use.

Root rot is the primary concern, as with all succulents.

Common succulent pests include ants, aphids, mealybugs, and slugs. Details on Succulent Pest Control.

It is deer resistant, mildly drought-tolerant, and salt resistant.

Suggested Used For Aeonium ‘Cyclops’ 

This succulent is an amazing choice for porches and patios, and will provide the perfect backdrop to smaller container plants.

It is also a good choice for indoor use, as it’s non-toxic to pets.

When used in conjunction with its sister hybrid Aeonium ‘Voodoo’, the combination of burgundy and black foliage will produce a guaranteed conversation starter.

The plant is a great addition to both Mediterranean gardens and rock gardens.

When adding to a succulent garden, remember Cyclops needs more water than other species of the succulent plant type.

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