Pinwheel Plants
(Image credit: Korin Iverson)

An attractive spreading plant, the pinwheel aeonium can grow happily in the ground or a container in shady to sunny spots. As winter growers, these branch freely and may reach two feet (0.5 m.) in conditions that mimic their native area.

What is a Pinwheel Plant?

The pinwheel plant is a multi-branched, shrub-like succulent and member of the Crassulaceae family. From Tenerife in the Canary Islands, Aeonium haworthii can stay outside year-round in USDA hardiness zones 9-11. It is cold hardy to about 28 degrees F. (-2 C.). In a container or otherwise in cultivation, it may only reach one foot in height (30.5 cm.) and 18 inches (45.5 cm.) across.

Also called Haworth aeonium, it has red-tipped leaves and grows in dense mounds, showing off many stems of developed rosettes of blue-green foliage. Yellowish flowers may appear in spring.

Different from the spring and summer growing succulents, the pinwheel succulent does not do well in full sun. If there is no shady area available for it, try to grow it in dappled sun or a few hours of morning sun. This will vary, depending upon your location.

If you grow the plant as an annual in conditions where summers do not get so hot, you can grow it in a sunnier spot. If your winters get cold enough to freeze the roots, be sure to take a few cuttings to grow indoors. This provides a start for growing outside next year. Occasionally, frost may cause dieback. If roots survive, however, they will regrow in spring.

Pinwheel Plant Care

Grow a pinwheel plant in fast-draining cactus and succulent soil. Amendments may be added for faster drainage, such as coarse sand, pumice, or perlite. Limit watering, as this succulent is drought-tolerant.

As a winter grower, expect new growth to begin in late summer. Pinwheel info advises limited water during summer, just enough to keep the leaves from wilting. This is said to harden the plant off and prepare it for growth. When new growth begins, water well. Continue to allow the soil to dry between waterings.

Other care of this plant often includes pruning on the mature specimen. When preparing to take cuttings for indoors, take the top few inches (7.5 cm.) of well-developed foliage. Allow to callous on the cut ends. Replant into dry soil and allow roots to develop while it’s in a partly sunny spot.

This aeonium provides attractive, low-maintenance foliage to grow indoors in a brightly lit window. Enjoy this easy-to-grow plant in all seasons.

Becca Badgett

Becca Badgett was a regular contributor to Gardening Know How for ten years. Co-author of the book How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden, Becca specializes in succulent and cactus gardening.