Sempervivum and Jovibarba forum: Semps in North-East Florida Zone 9

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Name: Andrew
North-East Florida (Zone 9a)
Andrewsreef
Jun 26, 2012 5:45 PM CST
Hi, I am new here. Is anyone having success with semps in areas where the summers are hot and humid? Any particular ones that do better in this climate? Any advice for getting these guys to thrive in this climate during the summer (or at least get by)? No issues during the winter (cool and usually a little wet). I have a backyard full of succulents (mostly in pots) but I have not had the best of luck keeping the semps looking well during the summer (my favorite succulent). Some problems with rot and others get a lot of brown leaves and shrink away.

I have been keeping them in mostly shade during this hot/wet time but i was going to try to get them some more morning sun if it will ever quit raining!

We have a tropical storm blowing over now so everything is very wet. I moved most of the semps inside until the rain passes.

Thanks for the help.

Andrew
[Last edited by Andrewsreef - Jun 26, 2012 6:04 PM (+)]
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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
Jun 26, 2012 6:47 PM CST

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Welcome! Hi Andrew. Sounds like it is the combination of heat and to much moisture.
Morning sun should be good. Sounds like you are fluctuating between to much water/rain and then not enough. Protect them from the rain and afternoon sun.

Twit should come along soon and have more thoughts on what you should do.
Meanwhile, can you post some photos so we can see what they are looking like?
Name: Andrew
North-East Florida (Zone 9a)
Andrewsreef
Jun 26, 2012 6:55 PM CST
Will do on the pictures as soon as the weather improves. We need a boat to get around right now. Yuck.
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
Jun 26, 2012 9:01 PM CST

Moderator

What part of Florida are you in? I've seen on the news that up to 24" of rain is expected. Crying
Stay safe.

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
twitcher
Jun 26, 2012 10:27 PM CST
You might want to try a really fast draining mixture for the semps. Morning sun, or sun that comes from a strong angle (not vertical) is likely the best. Also I've heard of people growing them outside, but under a rain shield. Think a carport with a roof, or an awning attached to the side of a building (but do not use those paper umbrellas that people put in drinks!).

I've grown some semps for two years now in just a pure mixture of chicken grit. Small gravel, mixed with course sand, would be what I would try there. Over time, the mixture will gradually pick up bits of dirt, leaves, etc that will provide some nutrients. I'm assuming that you are growing them in pots. If the pot is sitting on the ground, make sure water does not pool around it. I've also had a few plants sit in or under water for a few days without serious problems. They were, however, healthy plants when the problem occurred and they had a chance to dry out after.

Once the plants have established in their pot, they should do much better for you. Since your conditions are somewhat extreme, try to limit moving the plants, transplanting and propagation to the cooler times. During the heat and rainy seasons, just leave them alone, out of the rain if you can. Any injury when under that kind of stress could lead to problems. I'd find a way to get a rain shield going. Have you looked into hoop houses with plastic or a rain shedding shade cloth? Might be the easiest way to go.

Those of us in the colder climates also go through periods when the plants don't look too well, with dried up leaves or poor color, etc. Sometimes we are lucky and have snow cover, so we don't get to see and fret over them at that time.
[Last edited by valleylynn - Jun 27, 2012 8:00 AM (+)]
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Name: Andrew
North-East Florida (Zone 9a)
Andrewsreef
Jun 27, 2012 3:36 AM CST
Thanks Twitcher. Valleylynn, we are in Jacksonville, Florida. The rain should finally pass today but we will now have near record heat (97-100 degrees) for a few days when it moves on. Should I re-pot the ones not looking good now or wait a few months until cooler outside? I really like your chicken grit idea!! I moved most of them indoors due to the heavy rain. How long can they stay inside the house?

When outside I have them all under a gazebo. No direct rain just what splashes on them or is in the air. I can position them so they get a few hours of morning sun only and some late afternoon sun. I will try to take some pics once the weather is better.

I did pick up several new plants while in Ashville, NC visiting family over the weekend. I was going to keep those in the pots they came in until the weather is cooler, however, the soil mix they are in does not look ideal for around here.

Thanks for the help!

Andrew
[Last edited by Andrewsreef - Jun 27, 2012 5:38 PM (+)]
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twitcher
Jun 27, 2012 5:40 AM CST
There is a direct correlation between how much light they get and how much moisture they should get (for a given temperature). If the plants are in the house and cool, then they can stay dry for a very long time, months, possibly even a year, if there is good humidity.
so keeping them in the house, out of a lot of light, for a month or two will not hurt them much, as long as they are dry. Give them indirect bright light but do not water.

It sounds like your gazebo is a good place for them.

With regard to repotting, if they are suffering from rot, the only thing I know to do with them is to remove the soil and dry immediately. Rot tends to progress if there is no intervention and can destroy a rosette in 24 hours (at least it seems that way, but that just may indicate prior hidden damage)

Crushed gravel will work as well as chicken grit. Look for something 1/8 to 1/4" inch, and wash it if it is dusty.

Name: Andrew
North-East Florida (Zone 9a)
Andrewsreef
Jun 27, 2012 4:37 PM CST
Ok, here is a picture of some of the succulents we have around our Gazebo.

Thumb of 2012-06-27/Andrewsreef/d2fe75
Thumb of 2012-06-27/Andrewsreef/eeff9f

Here are some of the pics of the Semps that look "ok" but not growing much for me.
Thumb of 2012-06-27/Andrewsreef/32cdd3
Thumb of 2012-06-27/Andrewsreef/1662ac

Here are some with the brown leaves that are expanding while the plant itself seems to be shrinking. Please help!!
Thumb of 2012-06-27/Andrewsreef/a0e271
Thumb of 2012-06-27/Andrewsreef/67d01a


Finally, here are some pics of the new Semps I picked up in Ashville, NC (plastic pots on right side). The pots to the left has some Echeveria and Flap Jacks that are doing great in the morning sun!

Thumb of 2012-06-27/Andrewsreef/d0f895
Thumb of 2012-06-27/Andrewsreef/56d0bd
[Last edited by Andrewsreef - Jun 27, 2012 4:39 PM (+)]
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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
Jun 27, 2012 7:12 PM CST

Moderator

Very nice Andrew.
I agree with twit about them being too wet. I would follow his instruction. Clean off all the dead material, definitely all the soft/rotting tissue.
Name: Chris
Ripon, Wisconsin
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Forum moderator Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
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goldfinch4
Jun 28, 2012 4:44 AM CST

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Beautiful gazebo Andrew and some very nice plants too! Thumbs up The ones you just bought look like they've been taken care of well.
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Name: Andrew
North-East Florida (Zone 9a)
Andrewsreef
Jun 28, 2012 6:04 AM CST
Thanks Goldfinch4. Now if I can keep them that way! They all seem to be in a very "wet" soil but proably ok in the cooler temps in NC. Down here I am concerned that they will need to dry out. I am going to keep an eye on them and move them to "grit" if they start to show signs of trouble. Hopefully I can keep them dry now that the storm has passed.

Thanks

Andrew
Name: Andrew
North-East Florida (Zone 9a)
Andrewsreef
Jun 28, 2012 4:40 PM CST
Ok, I transplanted one pot to a gravel mixture. The pot was actually very dry and dusty. Yuck. This pot did not get much rain from the storm as it was near the center of the gazebo. Makes me wonder if the comment above about do dry and then to much water is the problem. With our high humidity right now, they should get by without much water. However, this pot seemed too dry to me.

I removed all the soil from the roots and dead leaves and placed the remaining healthy plant on the gravel bed. My next question is when should I water them? I can place them in the shade for a few days. No rain in our forecast but it will be very hot with a high around 99 degrees.

Thanks again

Andrew
[Last edited by Andrewsreef - Jun 28, 2012 5:39 PM (+)]
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twitcher
Jun 28, 2012 10:06 PM CST
Semps can definitely get too dry as well. Its a problem for me, mostly in the winter, or when we get an extended dry spell with no rain and lots of sun. I must confess, I've been watering my semps every other day for the past couple of weeks, because we are in an extended period of no rain and high heat (90's). The relatively fast mix they are in allows the water to drain away quickly so they don't sit in it.
Name: Andrew
North-East Florida (Zone 9a)
Andrewsreef
Jun 30, 2012 8:02 AM CST
Ok, I am continuing with the repoting (to the gravel mix) of the Semps showing signs of stress. It is really hot here and the cool mornings are all but gone. We are having highs around 100 and lows in the upper 70s (and will be moving to the lower 80s in a few weeks with very high humidity).

This is pretty much the growth time of year for my other succulents. They can take as much water as I can give them right now and they are all growing. I understand the Semps are different and really need the cool nights to do well.

With that being said, should I move the Semps indoors at night and out in the mornings? I don't have that many pots so it may work for a few months until we get a break from the heat?

Just thinking out loud as I would really like to get these guys to grow for me.

Also, I don't think I know anyone else around here with these guys. That would tell a normal person something but I am a little slow!!! Does anyone out there know of someone successfully growning these guys in Florida or a climate like mine (high heat and humidity for 5 months out of the year)?


Thanks

Andrew
[Last edited by Andrewsreef - Jun 30, 2012 8:19 AM (+)]
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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
Jun 30, 2012 10:42 AM CST

Moderator

Andrew, I hope some one posts from Florida that they are having success with semps in your growing conditions.
At this point I think you need to do some experimenting. I would bring some of them indoors at night for a cool down. Semps usually go into semi-dormancy when stress by heat and don't do much growing when stressed. That is opposite of your heat loving tender succulents.

When you repot, try different potting mixes as an experiment. Now is the time to try all methods that make sense in your heat and humidity. The ones that end up thriving will tell you what it is you need to do to be successful in growing them. I look forward to seeing how the experiments turn out. Please keep a photo journal for us, it could help others in your part of the world to grow sempervivum.
To make the experiment really useful I would make sure each cultivar is represented in the different growing conditions. As some may just be better at handling your heat and humidity and some that won't.
Hope I am making sense here?


Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
twitcher
Jun 30, 2012 10:55 AM CST
Andrew, I agree with Lynn about doing some experiments and that semps are the opposite of heat loving succulents. This time of the year, just keep them dry or, at most, get a spray bottle and mist a little every few days. If they are out of the hot sun and kept dry, they should just go on hold for a while. Watch for the outer leaves on the rosettes to start to dry up. That is a sign that they need more water, but not a major problem unless it starts to get a substantial part of the rosettes/ I would definitely mist them if you see that, just enough to get the top of the soil damp (it will darken).

Keep them out of the sun. Keep the pots in contact with the ground or even sunk into the ground a bit but dry.

I don't live in your climate, so the advice is based on projecting from what they do here. Please let us know how they do for you as others want to know as well.
Name: Andrew
North-East Florida (Zone 9a)
Andrewsreef
Jun 30, 2012 11:02 AM CST
Thank you both. I have them just getting a few hours of early morning sun right now and shade after that. I will keep them dry and start misting some. Great advise and I will see how it goes. More pictures to come!!

Thanks

Andrew
Name: Andrew
North-East Florida (Zone 9a)
Andrewsreef
Jul 19, 2012 8:31 AM CST
Ok Lynn, here is the first pot with mostly "groups of 3". They are absolutely awesome!! This pot has cactus soil mixed with gravel, similar to my other pots that are doing well with the semps.

Going to do another pot later and then some in the rock garden after we pick up some chicken grit. More pics to come!!

AndrewThumb of 2012-07-19/Andrewsreef/0d4cdd
[Last edited by Andrewsreef - Jul 19, 2012 8:33 AM (+)]
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Name: Chris
Ripon, Wisconsin
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Forum moderator Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Seller of Garden Stuff I sent a postcard to Randy! Sempervivums Sedums Region: Wisconsin Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
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goldfinch4
Jul 19, 2012 8:32 AM CST

Moderator

Very nice Andrew!
Cubits Store: The Sempervivum Patch - plants, containers, accessories!
Also stop by Timber Treasures and Garden Buddies on Cubits
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
Image
valleylynn
Jul 19, 2012 9:34 AM CST

Moderator

Awesome Andrew. They look like they never made a trip across the US. Thumbs up
I look forward to the next photos. Hurray!

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