Growing Pains: Chicks blooming

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Growing Pains

By valleylynn
January 1, 2010

A plant clinic for Sempervivum, Jovibarba and J. heuffelii. This is a companion article for the Sempervivum and Jovibarba forum.

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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, 2010 4:52 PM CST
Dr. Houseleeks, why are my one year old offsets (chicks) blooming before they have a chance to make offsets? I understand they die after blooming.

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Name: Randy
Central IL
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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colormyworld
Jun 30, 2010 7:03 PM CST
I was told not sure if its true because it was a seller and some that I am getting from them bloom after I get them. So I complained a little about the adult semps blooming, they said it may be from fertilizing But I don't fertilize but once a month.
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, 2010 7:07 PM CST
I don't fertilize at all Randy. It is really odd this year. I have a couple of hens that have this spring's chicks still attached and some of the chicks are blooming. I'll have to go take a picture.
I just went and took the pictures. Guess what, both of these are ones I bought this spring and were nursery grown (so probably fertilized). Non of them I have had for a year or more are doing it.

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Name: Randy
Central IL
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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colormyworld
Jun 30, 2010 7:41 PM CST



I really didn't think it was fertilizer the plants were to old that they sent. I have some that haven't bloomed in 4 years. Also I heard that the cobweb ones bloom a lot , but I really don't know why year old ones bloom. Sorry that's all the info I have.











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, 2010 7:49 PM CST
Dr. Houseleeks will come along soon and help us understand. The picture I posted of Red Rubin shows chicks turning to bloom stalks before they even complete forming a chick rosette. : (

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
twitcher
Jun 30, 2010 9:37 PM CST
Question: Why do some offsets bloom during their first year?

Answer: Well, it is to be expected that the first question I am asked also is one of the more difficult ones I expect to see in this forum. Confused

The truth is that at this point in time, no one really understands why this happens, at least as far as I have been able to find out. There are, in fact, other written references to offsets blooming in their first season. These have speculated and been associated with unusual weather conditions. I don't know what Lynn's weather has been like offhand, but here where I live (and I've had first year chicks bloom this year) we had an unusually early start to the growing season, with 80 degree temps hitting while there was still snow on the ground. As a result, I had plants still buried in snow while plants beside them were growing and already putting on spring colors. Weather has cycled between really hot spells and really cold spells, considering the general climate for the area. The growing season this year will end up being a lot longer than typical.

Taken all together, the unusual weather may be confusing the plants regarding what point in their growing cycle they should be in. Keep in mind that Sempervivum and Jovibarba are generally alpine type plants, growing at elevation, and definitely not from the United States.

One of the nice aspects of the weather this year is that water marking on new leaves seems to be much more prominent than other years. This makes the plants more interesting visually.

Related to this question is some experimentation I am doing and would hope that some of you would try as well. I'd like you to help me collect data to some day do a graph showing a relationship, if it exists, between blooming and population density of plants. Here's what needs to be done. Each time you have a plant bloom in a pot, write down the name of the plant, the size of the pot and the number of plants (adults, first year and second year chicks). I'll collect the data and when there is enough of it, plot a graph to see if that relationship exists. I think that the higher the density of plants in the pot, the fewer flowering plants you will see, so we'll plot number of plants per square inch v.s. number of flowering plants/season.

This is part of a bigger picture in that I think our Sempervivum talk to each other, probably via chemical signals. The biggest plant effectively says "I'm the biggest so I am going to bloom - the rest of you mind you place until I'm gone". When no single plant is dominant, the plants all refrain from blooming until one gets dominant for some reason. No particular reason to set seed if you are surrounded by hundreds of your self-clones. On the other hand, if a plant has no neighbors, then there is the possiblity that there is something wrong with the local environment that may kill the colony of few plants or one plant. Therefoe it makes reproductive sense to flower and grow seed, so that 1) there is the chance of adaptability to the condition 2) seed is spread beyond the local situation. This is just speculation on my part (about communications), but I'd like to find out one of these days if it is likely true.
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, 2010 10:11 PM CST
That is a very interesting concept. Thank you Dr. Houseleeks.
I think it is also more difficult to do this type of research with newly acquired plants, as some are difficult to tell if they are first year or older rosettes. But in the case of Red Rubin, it is making offsets, most of which are developing normally. Three of the offsets are elongating and starting to form flower heads.
We definitely have been having some very strange weather for our part of the country also.
I will start keeping records of the plants that are having this issue.
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 1, 2010 1:35 AM CST
Twit, regarding the data you are collecting, do you want it only for potted plants, or plants in the ground too? If so, I assume that should include size of the clump in inches?
Cubits Store: The Sempervivum Patch - plants, containers, accessories!
Also stop by Timber Treasures and Garden Buddies on Cubits

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
twitcher
Jul 1, 2010 5:12 AM CST
Chris, The pot actually defines the area confining the plant. I assume that plants in the ground would have an outer edge that they could continually expand into. Thus, I think potted plants would produce better data to support or invalidate the hypothesis as the defined area would be much easier to measure and establish. Thanks for asking! I tip my hat to you.
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 1, 2010 5:41 AM CST
Sounds good - I'll start keeping track for you!
Cubits Store: The Sempervivum Patch - plants, containers, accessories!
Also stop by Timber Treasures and Garden Buddies on Cubits
Name: BlueFox
Grand Forks, B.C. Cdn. Zone 5A (Zone 4a)
Romantic & Rustic, Xeric & Organic
Charter ATP Member Sedums Sempervivums Region: Canadian Garden Art Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Cactus and Succulents Butterflies I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Xeriscape Garden Ideas: Level 1
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BlueFox
Jul 5, 2010 6:12 PM CST
I'll be watching this thread to see what comes of it - that's a fascinating theory - if only I could keep my Sempervivum from flowering before they have their chicks! I have about 100 varieties and species in 4" pots so I'll keep track too.
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 5, 2010 6:31 PM CST
Awesome Jacki, the more we have helping with this experiment the better. So far the only ones I have blooming as chicks are ones that I got this year and they were nursery grown. They came in pots but most went into my raised beds when I got them home. Here is a picture of Red Rubin which I got the first week in May. As you can see she set many chicks, but several are getting ready to bloom.

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Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
twitcher
Jul 5, 2010 6:55 PM CST
Interesting. I have not seen any of my Red Rubin bloom, and none of the first year chicks.
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 5, 2010 7:12 PM CST
This is a nursery grown Red Rubin, will be interesting to see if this years remaining chicks produce offsets that bloom.
Name: Charleen
Barnesville, Ga. Zone 7b-8 (Zone 8a)
Walk in Peace / I'm Charley's Mom.
Miniature Gardening Mules Tip Photographer I sent a postcard to Randy! I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Level 2 Seller of Garden Stuff Butterflies Birds Region: Georgia
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Ridesredmule
Jul 13, 2010 5:00 PM CST
Wonder what kind of fertilizer they use. I used Charley Tea ths afternoon. About 2 pints tea to one gal jug water. Is that too strong?
Chris gave me some semps and I moved them to new flower bed. they were looking rough. they will get better now. they are in a raised bed.

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
twitcher
Jul 14, 2010 1:58 AM CST
I would avoid fertilizing your Sempervivum and Jovibarba until they are well established. Easy does it. The plants get most of what they need from the air and the dust and dirt that will settle around them over time.

I'm having problems with Cubits thread and forum watchers giving me correct information. Sometimes they do not flag new posts and at others, the flags for new posts are incorrect.
Name: Charleen
Barnesville, Ga. Zone 7b-8 (Zone 8a)
Walk in Peace / I'm Charley's Mom.
Miniature Gardening Mules Tip Photographer I sent a postcard to Randy! I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Level 2 Seller of Garden Stuff Butterflies Birds Region: Georgia
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Ridesredmule
Jul 14, 2010 7:11 AM CST
No problems, I hope, We are getting afternoon rains. so, I'm sure it's already washed out.
Went and got those first Semps Chris sent me and brought them over. They will get better now.

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Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
twitcher
Jul 14, 2010 10:45 AM CST
Ribbit...
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 14, 2010 7:56 PM CST
Rolling on the floor laughing
Name: Charleen
Barnesville, Ga. Zone 7b-8 (Zone 8a)
Walk in Peace / I'm Charley's Mom.
Miniature Gardening Mules Tip Photographer I sent a postcard to Randy! I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Level 2 Seller of Garden Stuff Butterflies Birds Region: Georgia
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Ridesredmule
Jul 15, 2010 6:26 AM CST
Rolling on the floor laughing You all are Bad, but I love it! Group hug

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