Sempervivum and Jovibarba forum: Growing and Keeping Track of your Semps

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Name: Kim
DC area (Zone 6b)
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twowee
May 14, 2012 4:01 PM CST
Questions:

Currently I have all my semps in containers. I'm curious of how the others organize their collections. I would think the best way to keep track of semps is to put them in alphabetical order (visually, it's not the best). Anyone else does it differently? And how about planting them and keeping track of them? Confused
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
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valleylynn
May 14, 2012 4:56 PM CST

Moderator

We all have different ways of keeping track of them. Almost all of mine are i raised bed with permanent type markers to keep them ID. I also try to plant them so neighboring plants have a different look.
I definitely plant the rollers away from each other. It is amazing how far they can roll from the parent rosette.

I also keep a spreedsheet of the plants I have, with the date and source of where they came from. I also record which of the raised beds the plant is in.

And now we have the most amazing List feature Dave has been building for us. Look at the tabs across the top of the page. There you will find List. You can make a list of all your plants. Then you can decide if you want to mark them as available for trade and other options that are there. Including Want This Plant. : )
It then automatically links to that plant in the database. Hurray!
And this is just the beginning of what this new feature will be able to do. Lovey dubby

If you go here you can read all the threads talking about the new feature.

Give it a try Kim, I think you will love it.

Example of how I grow them.
Thumb of 2012-05-14/valleylynn/9dd502
Name: tabby
denver, colorado zone 5
Charter ATP Member Clematis I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Daylilies Irises Plant and/or Seed Trader
Cat Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Region: Colorado Ponds Roses Sempervivums
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tabby
May 14, 2012 5:04 PM CST
I don't have much trouble with the ones in pots, but I have had trouble with tags with those planted out in the gardens so I made a map of what is planted where. I did this by taking a picture and then editing the photo with the name of the plant over top of the plant.

I also try and plant contrasting semps next to each other so that when they grow together I can really tell which one is which. I also try and take a LOT of pictures. Besides showing the individual characteristics of the semps, the picture shows what pot it's in or where in the garden it is.
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
May 14, 2012 5:15 PM CST

Moderator

I agree Great tools Tabby. Thumbs up

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
twitcher
May 14, 2012 6:13 PM CST
My collection is exclusively in pots/comtainers. Because the pots are different sizes, plants get arranged mostly by container size or type. For example, I have wooden planters along a sidewalk so that when I trim the grass, the trimmer strikes the wooden pots which are not damaged. Behind the wooden pots are plants in smaller plastic containers. that would be destroyed if the trimmer hit them. Big box stores like to throw out the trays that they use to hold pots for sale. I always ask for spares that will fit my smaller pot sizes, so I can fit maybe 15 pots in a single tray for easy moving and management. It's recycling, so they almost always cooperate.

Each year, I do a complete inventory of what I have that includes pot type and size. I enter this information in a spreadsheet and do not sort it. Keeping it in order helps me locate a plant by searching for it on the spreadsheet and then seeing, by context, where the pot is located in the inventory (near more easily identified ones). When I want it sorted, I copy the unsorted list into another worksheet and sort that one.

Of course, I'm always repotting or occasionally moving something, so everything is not static. That is why I repeat the inventory each year. While doing the inventory, I get to look at every single plant I have and make decisions about how its doing, does it need repotting, is there enough to trade, do I need to thin, etc.

Some semps do need special conditions. The mini's tend to need less light and more moisture, so there is a spot in the yard for them. New arrivals that are small need more attention, so they go the place I affectionately label the "semp nursery", where they get easy living conditions and more attention.
Name: Audrie
Parker, CO (Zone 5a)
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t1nkerbelle
May 14, 2012 7:14 PM CST
Thank you all for the organizing info!!! Will be very useful to me as I'm barely starting my collection. I have my newly given chicks in whiskey barrels right now. My plan is to place them all in a retaining wall bed that I have next year. Figured I'd give them this year to establish and root. Is that a good idea?? As far as a 'semp nursey' what kind of care should I be giving my newly acquired semps? Little sun? Keep wet? Or let dry out? Etc.. Also, hope to get some small semps... What care do they need? Thanks in advance for all your feedback! Group hug
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
May 14, 2012 7:40 PM CST

Moderator

Audrie, the best two people to help you with that info is Tabby and picklepuff. Living in your area they would really understand the special needs of semps growing in your conditions.

I have seen Tabby's wonderful semp beds and I have seen picklepuffs photos of her wonderful gardens. They are seasoned semp growers. Thumbs up
Name: Audrie
Parker, CO (Zone 5a)
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t1nkerbelle
May 14, 2012 8:05 PM CST
Hello Lynn, thank you!! I just wasn't sure if there were some general guidelines to follow. Being a newbie, just wanted to cover my bases!! *Blush* I've seen Sandi's semp beds and they are gorgeous!!! Need to make a visit to Cheryl's to see hers!! I'll touch base with them if they don't chime in here. Thanks again!! Thumbs up
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
May 14, 2012 8:33 PM CST

Moderator

Main thing is making sure the soil they are planted in drains well. Wet feet will rot them.
You also might want to give some protection to young plants trying to get a healthy root system developed. Bright light, but not direct sun. Water in small amounts in the evening, that way the water will be gone by the next day when the heat arrives.
Never water the leaves directly during hot weather, it can fry them.
These are the things I do, but it might be different in your Denver conditions. Thumbs up
Name: tabby
denver, colorado zone 5
Charter ATP Member Clematis I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Daylilies Irises Plant and/or Seed Trader
Cat Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Region: Colorado Ponds Roses Sempervivums
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tabby
May 14, 2012 9:15 PM CST
If I'm going to plant my semps in the ground, I like to get them in early in the year so they can be established by winter. But sometimes they've come from places that don't have my kind of sun and they can sun burn. Or they don't have much root system and would dry out too much in our sun. So, last year, I made little shades out of plastic pots that worked very well. New semps do need water more often than the old, well established ones do. I give them little bits in the evening.

Thumb of 2012-05-15/tabby/57599f

Wow, that area has filled in quite a bit since last year. I need to take another picture.

Just extended the area in my terraces for more semps. It was 1 part sand, 1 part old horse manure and 1 part really nice 20 year old compost mixed in with the native clay. It gives it some drainage but not too much since we are rather dry here. I watered it in really well and the water didn't puddle for more than a few minutes, which is a good thing. I know the semps will grow a bit big because of the horse manure but it's more available to me than my precious old compost.




Name: Sandi
Denver, Colorado (Zone 5b)
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picklepuff
May 14, 2012 9:33 PM CST
Kim:
I have an urban garden, so every inch in my garden is important. I have my collection in pots and beds. I have one xeric bed and the rest are perennial beds. I have one very small bed ( 16 inches by 5 ft) that is dedicated to only semps. Otherwise, all of my plants are mixed together.
I also use a spread sheet in excel that organizes my semps in alphabetical order with info on the source of the semp, when I received it, approximate # of chicks produced, particular characteristics, location in garden and a note section for anything that I might want to note ( like struggles with drought, etc)
Audrie:
As a rule of thumb for me.....if a semp is purchased locally and rooted. It goes directly in the ground in full sun unless it is an arachnoidium. I usually give the small webby semps more shade by planting under the ledge of a rock or behind a rock. The nice thing about semps is that if you plant them in a not so ideal area, you can easily move them.
If my semp comes from out of state or is not fully rooted, it goes into my semp nursery. Basically the nursery is an area close to my back door under the covered patio where I can watch closely. All of my nursery plants are in small plastic pots that are placed in the plastic trays that you see at the garden nurseries or Home Depot. I give them very small sips of water at night. Small sips so not to disturb the semp and help promote root growth. I sometimes will keep plants for several weeks in the nursery until I notice active growth. Then I gradually introduce them to sunny areas, watching carefully for any signs of sunburn. I also try to move semps from the nursery in early spring or late fall to avoid sun burn. I hope this helps. Lovey dubby
Name: Kim
DC area (Zone 6b)
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twowee
May 15, 2012 6:10 AM CST
AHHHHHH. Thank you so much for the info, everyone. I'll work on the spreadsheet in Excel this week.

Regarding to:
Sun--I've been moving my new semps in trays around the yard to introduce to more sun. Insofar, I've been rotating them in a spot with morning and evening sun under a small tree. But most of my garden bed areas are sun to full sun (and getting mostly noon sun). I believe the semps will acclimate to full sun. But how will they look? Is this a good idea to put them in full sun?

Water--Giving them a sip at night, so I read. How often to water and feed them?

Again, thank you.
Name: tabby
denver, colorado zone 5
Charter ATP Member Clematis I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Daylilies Irises Plant and/or Seed Trader
Cat Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Region: Colorado Ponds Roses Sempervivums
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tabby
May 15, 2012 6:31 AM CST
Most semps do fine in full sun once established, especially when in the ground. With us being a mile high, our sun is famous for its ability to burn.

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
twitcher
May 15, 2012 6:42 AM CST
Full sun produces the best color, but can dry the plants out, so they tend to need more water. Just watch them for signs that they are getting too dry. Outer leaves will dry up if not enough water or too hot, just make sure they are not in standing water when/if you need to water.
Name: Kim
DC area (Zone 6b)
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twowee
May 15, 2012 7:33 AM CST
Keep posting your photos of semps!!! Hurray!

I scrolled back to view old posts and photos and really enjoyed looking at the photos. At first it was the ohhh and ahhh and then envy came to me. But then more photos of rock gardens made me really excited and inspired to start my own. Your plants are beautiful. They are like the fireworks!!! Lovey dubby
Name: tabby
denver, colorado zone 5
Charter ATP Member Clematis I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Daylilies Irises Plant and/or Seed Trader
Cat Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Region: Colorado Ponds Roses Sempervivums
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tabby
May 15, 2012 8:00 AM CST
I'm going to take a picture of my nice new EMPTY bed and post it just to make Sandi jealous. Hilarious!
Name: Audrie
Parker, CO (Zone 5a)
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t1nkerbelle
May 15, 2012 9:45 AM CST
Thank you Cheryl, Sandi & Twit!!!!!! Thumbs up

I think a couple of my new ones got sunburned. I'll try and take a pic and post. I'll need to find a way to shade them. They are on the East side of my house and get full sun most of the day till the sun sets or our house shades them. On a positive note, several of the chicks I got from Sandi are sprouting chicks!!!! Yay!!!! Hurray! Sandi, is there somewhere I can purchase some of those trays with plastic pots? I'm going to need some way to build my nursery. Also, any info on good gardening tags would be helpful. Right now I'm just using some plastic ones. They'll work for the time being. I'm hoping to get some better ones once I build my semp beds in the fall.

Cheryl & Sandi, will it be ok for me to plant my new semps that I acquired this year and have in pots into my semp beds in the fall? Or should I leave them where they are and transplant next spring?
Name: tabby
denver, colorado zone 5
Charter ATP Member Clematis I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Daylilies Irises Plant and/or Seed Trader
Cat Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Region: Colorado Ponds Roses Sempervivums
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tabby
May 15, 2012 9:53 AM CST
I've always had better luck with them planted in the ground in the fall.

Did you see my little sun burn protection pot kludge? If you want to try it, I have a LOT of free 1 gallon pots you can cut up. It works pretty well.
Name: Audrie
Parker, CO (Zone 5a)
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t1nkerbelle
May 15, 2012 10:45 AM CST
Thanks Tabby!!!! That sounds like a plan!! I need to come visit you & make a trip to Timberline!! Send me a tree-mail with what days work for you this week and in the next week or two. Smiling
Name: Kim
DC area (Zone 6b)
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twowee
May 15, 2012 12:02 PM CST
Okay then...I'll work on a bed for only semps this summer to be ready for transplantation in the fall. Thanks so much for the info regarding best time for moving them.

Semps do not need a lot of maintenance but I cannot stop mothernature from dropping leaves in the fall or dropping dead flowers from trees in spring. I'm amazed of how clean of the gardens in your photos. You guys must have put a lot of labor for the love of your semps.

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