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Name: Glenn
Vancouver WA (Zone 8b)
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glenng
Jul 10, 2012 11:33 PM CST
Good evening everyone. I'd like to preface my question by acknowledging everyone here for all of the knowledge I have gained in my few short days of being a member. Thank you for sharing your experience(s).

My question is this. How can I really be sure of what any sempervivum I purchase will look like? As I peruse the many databases, nursery galleries and personal pictures online, I see that so many of the varieties exhibit a fantastic amount of variation within each variety. i.e., I've seen Pacific Blue in every color from maroon to pale silvery blue. I've seen Raspberry Ice in everything from tight little dark spheres to green, spiky urchin-like balls. I'll add that I also see numerous photos of plants that exhibit the "ideal" habit of the variety.

Does that much variation truly exist in the species or is incorrect identification such a common occurrence?

I understand that each variety has an "ideal" form/shape/color, but how can I increase the odds that mine will achieve and/or maintain the "ideal"? Or is it even possible to do so?

Thank you for entertaining my long-winded inquiry. I tip my hat to you.


-Glenn

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 11, 2012 1:21 AM CST

Moderator

Hi Glenn Welcome! Great to have you here!

To increase your odds of getting correctly identified plants, it's important to purchase from a reputable dealer, and/or trade with people you trust. Once the correct ID for a sempervivum has been misplaced, it's almost impossible to correctly ID it again because of all the changes they go through.

It's true that one sempervivum can look extremely different from one picture to the next and they could all be the correct plant. They change in color and shape throughout the growing season and as they mature. Many other factors influence this including soil, temperature, amount of sun, stress (wind, ice, drought), season, etc. The same plant can even look different when planted in different areas of my yard, or in the ground vs. a pot. When I first started growing them I expected them to remain looking like the picture when I bought them. Was I in for a big surprise! But it turns out that's part of their charm and the excitement of growing them and you'll soon be looking forward to see what changes they're going through.

Do you currently have any sempervivum?

Cubits Store: The Sempervivum Patch - plants, containers, accessories!
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[Last edited by valleylynn - Jul 11, 2012 10:07 AM (+)]
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Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
twitcher
Jul 11, 2012 1:21 AM CST
Glenn, wecome to the forum. To answer your question,yes there is that much variation within each variety. That is part of the fun. But there are patterns that will start to become apparent after some experience with them, which helps. Conditions influence color and size, but texture, ciliation, relative size,etc will remain.
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 11, 2012 1:22 AM CST

Moderator

Good morning Twit - who would've thought we'd cross post at this time of the morning!!! Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing
Cubits Store: The Sempervivum Patch - plants, containers, accessories!
Also stop by Timber Treasures and Garden Buddies on Cubits
Name: Glenn
Vancouver WA (Zone 8b)
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glenng
Jul 11, 2012 8:27 AM CST
Thanks to each of you for your welcome and your reply. I guess I'll have to be more flexible with my expectations of this new hobby, but isn't that always the way with any sort of horticultural activity?

Yes, we do have a few semps so far, but only what we've scrounged up at the local supermarkets and variety stores. We figured it would be best to experiment with a few inexpensive and easily obtained varieties before we went too nuts. Here's what we have:

Silver King
Black
Red Rubin
Cobweb
Saturn
Jade Rose
Fire Dragon
Cebenese
A couple of unidentified finds and volunteers

My wife and I are currently drawn towards to calcareums, arachnoideums and other tight, geometrical varieties; and I'm certain the collection will expand once we've figured out how to best care for our new garden dwellers. Right now we're collecting, dividing and propagating. I'm hoping to construct a few vertical frame plantings and wreaths over the next year. We're also working on a method to convert a couple of unused fence panels into vertical propagation spaces that will double as camouflage for our garbage/recycling bins. Green Grin!
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 11, 2012 8:31 AM CST

Moderator

You already have a nice assortment. I'm sure we'll be able to help you expand that collection as time goes on. Whistling

The projects you're working on sound great and I can't wait to see pictures! How fun that you and your wife are working together on the projects. Twice the fun! Thumbs up
Cubits Store: The Sempervivum Patch - plants, containers, accessories!
Also stop by Timber Treasures and Garden Buddies on Cubits
Name: Marilyn
Greenwood Village, CO (Zone 5b)
Garden today. Clean next week.
Garden Procrastinator Region: Colorado Heucheras Region: Southwest Gardening Container Gardener Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Sempervivums Annuals Foliage Fan Herbs Garden Ideas: Level 2
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CDsSister
Jul 11, 2012 8:59 AM CST
Welcome!

Watch out, Glenn, This site aids and abets the Semp and Jovi addiction. In no time at all, you too will be visiting local nurseries and online sites seeking more varieties. Hilarious!

I speak from experience of just a few weeks. This is a great community of gardeners. 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
Jul 11, 2012 10:13 AM CST

Moderator

Welcome!
I'm late to the welcoming party.
Hi Glen, so glad you joined us. I agree with everything said above in response to your questions.
Have you found our semp database yet? Many of the species and cultivars have photos of different seasons and growing conditions that will give you a glimpse of what each one can do.

We love learning together, something new comes up almost daily to give us insight on these wonderful hardy succulents. Hurray!

We look forward to see photos of your semps and what you are doing with them. Thumbs up
Name: Chris Tuttle
Victoria, BC, Canada (Zone 8b)

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Tophertuttle
Jul 11, 2012 2:39 PM CST
Hi Glenn and Welcome! from another newbie to the forums!
I get the distinct impression that few people apply for variety protection under things like the plant breeders act when creating semp hybrids. I've never seen 'do not propagate' on a tag so far which is a bit of a sign that way. To get such protection you have to prove that the variety is 'stable' and 'breeds true' leading to quite homogeneous populations. Without that it is likely varieties carry many complicated and some hidden traits coaxed out under different growing conditions.
Additionally with semps (and many other plants especially in crassulaceae) different colours show up at different light/heat/water levels. Greens are favoured in bright conditions (or 'light' conditions) and fade if it is constantly dark. they also fade when the plant is dehydrated though to a lesser extent. Reds and blues come out to protect the plant from getting so much light that it would damage the photosynthetic equipment. This is usually when it is very hot, dry, or under intense sunlight. As all these conditions change often in a garden, especially on the micro-climate level of single plants much variation is possible.
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
Jul 11, 2012 3:11 PM CST

Moderator

Blinking Wow! What Chris said. Thumbs up
Name: Chris Tuttle
Victoria, BC, Canada (Zone 8b)

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Tophertuttle
Jul 11, 2012 3:28 PM CST
Ran out to get these they are all 'big blue' and likely clonal (same genes) but are recovering from a prolonged dark period.



Thumb of 2012-07-11/Tophertuttle/223daf


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Name: Glenn
Vancouver WA (Zone 8b)
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glenng
Jul 11, 2012 3:57 PM CST
Thanks for the welcome and the education, Chris. Very helpful indeed! 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
Jul 11, 2012 6:14 PM CST

Moderator

The offsets from your Big Blue are clonal. Most hybrid semps are stable in reproducing by offsets. That does not apply to the seed they produce.
There are a few semp varieties that can have a tendency to be unstable, producing non-clonal offsets.
One would be Fame Monstrose: Hen and Chicks (Sempervivum 'Fame Monstrose')
Oddity is another one. It can produce normal and quilled offsets from the same rosette. Hen and Chicks (Sempervivum 'Oddity')

Another reason they are so fascinating. Thumbs up
Name: Chris Tuttle
Victoria, BC, Canada (Zone 8b)

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Tophertuttle
Jul 16, 2012 1:44 PM CST
And on that note I'll share a picture of one of my big blue clones that just flowered.

Thumb of 2012-07-16/Tophertuttle/275fb0

Looks like this one produced fasciated flowers Smiling
Other flowering clones have normal ones (though no one flower here is missing reproductive structures



Thumb of 2012-07-16/Tophertuttle/dbb387

Now I think I'm going to have to do some reading Smiling thanks valleylynn Sticking tongue out
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
Jul 16, 2012 2:03 PM CST

Moderator

Great photos Chris. Love the fasciated blooms.
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
Oct 24, 2012 9:33 PM CST

Moderator

Glenn, how are your semps doing? Smiling

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