“Love Tree” is the name of this pretty plant. Perhaps due to the shape of the leaves resembling a heart. But soon species with completely different leaves became known, and the popular name remained. Maybe this happened because the scientific name of this succulent was too difficult to remember. One way or another, among the gardeners, the belief that this plant brings happiness and love to the house where it lives and blossoms has firmly established itself.
Aichrison is a small succulent, many species of which grow in the form of a miniature tree, although they reach a height of only 30-40 cm. Its trunk can be slightly lignified only at its very base, and even then adults have 4-5 year old plants. Its stems willingly branch, even without the usual pinch. Leaves are found in the most diverse shapes, they look chubby, often pubescent, as if plush. Both the leaves and the stems are quite fragile, with a break you can feel a not very pleasant smell.
This succulent comes from islands in the Atlantic Ocean: Canary, Azores, Antilles, also found on the island of Madeira and eastern Africa, where it lives in crevices of rocks.
At the very beginning of the 21st century, only 8 species belonged to the genus Aichrison. At the moment, there are about 15, among them there are both perennial and annual plants. But in their taxonomy there may be many more discoveries. These plants are often confused with eoniums, which are their close relatives. And, indeed, many Aeoniums and Aichrison are so similar to each other that only a sophisticated grower can distinguish between them. However, there are differences:
- The leaves of Aichrison are pubescent, and in Eoniums they are smooth.
- Aikhrizon in good conditions can bloom up to six months, and the flowering period of Eonium is about a month, a maximum of two.
- The stems and trunk of Eonium quickly lignify, while in Aichrison remain green.
The most common species is Aichryson domestic (Aichryson x domesticum).
The flowers of this plant have a pleasant aroma. Among its many varieties there is a decorative variety “Variegatum” - it is attractive with green leaves with a cream or white stripe.
In second place in popularity is Aichryson open or loose (Aichryson laxum). Already from the name it is clear that his rosettes are more friable, long petioles shine through them. The leaves in it can change color depending on the amount of lighting: become bronze with an abundance of light or dark green with its lack.
Conditions of detention and care
Aichrison needs bright light, but it must be diffused. Direct rays of the sun cause burns on the leaves. Ideal would be the western and eastern windows. On the southern windows, it needs shading, and on the northern windowsills, lighting may be lacking. Ideal for him would be a hit of light from above. If this is not possible, then the pot with the "tree of love" must be regularly rotated so that the crown develops proportionally.
As for the temperature, the Aichrison will completely endure the usual room conditions (+ 18 ° C - + 25 ° C) and will feel great. But only in winter would he prefer a period of relative rest, with a decrease in temperature to + 10 ° C. If this does not happen, then the Aichrison will easily survive, only its stems will stretch out and become bare and it will not bloom.
Aichrison, unlike most succulents, does not like completely dry contents. In the period from April to September, watering should be regular, but with the drying of the soil. But during the rest period it is better to limit it to once a month.
Dry air, like all succulents, aichrison tolerates remarkably.
Pruning and flowering
By trimming it is possible to form the crown of Aichrison either in the form of a tree with a stem, or in the form of a bush. Beginners of bonsai can practice on this plant, as it will make any experiments. After a warm winter, you also need to cut out particularly thin, weak or elongated stems.
In room conditions, the flowering of Aichrison occurs approximately in the second or third year of the plant's life, in spring or early summer. But this may not happen if you do not observe the conditions of a cool and dry wintering. It blooms for a long time and abundantly, yellow.
At the end of the process, the loss of most of the leaves is quite possible, since the rosette with the peduncle dies. Do not worry about this - with proper care and after trimming all faded shoots, the plant will quickly grow a new leaf mass.
Transplantation, nutrition and reproduction
The plant is transplanted only if necessary, if the roots will peek out from the drainage holes. Indeed, in a cramped pot, Aichrison will more readily bloom. And his root system is so small that it is better to pick up a shallow pot. Drainage is required. It is better to take the soil ready for cacti, however, it will grow in any, most importantly, so that it has a minimum of nitrogen and organic matter.
From April to September, Aichrison is fed with standard fertilizer for cacti once a month. In winter, it is better to do without top dressing.
Aichrison propagates easily, both by cuttings and seeds. You can use the shoots obtained after pruning.
It is enough to dry them a little in the air and stick them in a mixture of vermiculite and sand. The roots appear after about a month.
If you manage to get the seeds, they are sown on the surface of light sandy soil, covered with glass and placed in the light. The first sprouts appear after 2-3 weeks.
Aichrison is practically not affected by pests, the main diseases result from errors in care: excess direct sunlight, excessive watering, insufficient lighting.