In the realm of succulents, the arrival of summer often heralds a chorus of complaints from enthusiasts. Succulents, known for their affinity for cooler climates, face a formidable challenge during the scorching summer months, with many balcony gardens witnessing the withering of these resilient plants. However, amidst this struggle for survival, there exists a succulent variety that not only endures the summer heat but also blossoms into a stunning display of perpetual beauty—the "Everblooming Rose," or as it is more commonly known, the Mountain Rose.
The Origin of Mountain Roses:
Belonging to the Crassulaceae family, specifically the Echeveria genus, Mountain Roses are native to elevations above 2000 meters, with their primary habitat found in regions like the Canary Islands. During the summer dormancy period, the tightly packed leaves form a rosette reminiscent of a budding rose, a unique characteristic that has earned them the moniker "Mountain Rose." Some variations in translation may also refer to them as "Mountain Roses" or "High Mountain Roses."
Strictly speaking, Mountain Roses are not a single succulent variety but rather an umbrella term for a series of succulent species. Notable among them are Greenovia aurea ex El Hierro ('Pink Mountain Rose'), Aeonium dodrantale, Greenovia diplocycla ex La Gomera - Guarimiar, and Greenovia 'Blood cherry'. Aeonium dodrantale is a unique succulent species, traditionally given the common name Greenovia or Mountain Rose succulent. These varieties exhibit significant morphological differences, ranging from compact sizes of 2-4 centimeters for smaller species to larger ones that can reach 30-40 centimeters or more.
Growing Habits of Mountain Roses:
Due to their similar native habitats, the growing habits of Mountain Roses are nearly uniform across varieties. They thrive in well-lit, cool, and dry conditions, experiencing active growth during the cooler seasons of spring, autumn, and winter. Conversely, they enter a dormant state during the high temperatures of summer.
Mountain Roses prefer temperatures ranging from 5 to 25 degrees Celsius, with their leaves unfurling and displaying a lush green color within this temperature range. Once the summer temperature surpasses 28 degrees Celsius, the plants enter dormancy, resulting in the outer leaves drying up and the inner leaves curling into a rose-like shape.
Summer Care Tips:
Referred to as the "Never-wilting Rose," the Mountain Rose exhibits a striking beauty during its summer dormancy. Here are some essential care tips during the summer months:
Avoid Repotting in Summer:
Repotting Mountain Roses during their summer dormancy is not advisable, as the plants are not actively growing leaves or developing roots during this period. Transplanting during dormancy increases the risk of transplant shock and may lead to a higher mortality rate. If repotting is necessary, it is best done in spring or autumn.
Sunlight and Watering:
Provide partial shade during the summer to shield Mountain Roses from direct sunlight. In other seasons, ample sunlight is essential for active growth. When watering, take care to avoid splashing water on the leaves, as high temperatures can lead to rot.
Protect Outer Leaves:
During the summer, Mountain Roses naturally develop a protective layer of dried leaves on the exterior. This layer shields the plant and should not be removed. Stripping away this layer reduces the plant's resistance and makes it more susceptible to diseases.
Late Summer Awakening:
As summer transitions to early autumn, typically in September when temperatures drop below 30 degrees Celsius, Mountain Roses gradually awaken from dormancy. Increase exposure to light and adjust watering frequency, allowing the plants to resume growth.
In conclusion, the Mountain Rose stands as a testament to the resilience and perpetual allure of certain succulent varieties, defying the challenges posed by summer's intensity. Through thoughtful care and an understanding of their unique characteristics, enthusiasts can enjoy the captivating beauty of these "Never-wilting Roses" in their succulent gardens.