Growing Pains: Flower Stalks

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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: 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 2:24 AM CST
Dr. Houseleeks, the flower stalks on all my sempervivums have maybe 6-10 flowers on them. This is a picture of my Rotmantel flower stalk which shows a huge number of flowers forming. Is this normal for some semps, or is this one a freak?

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Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
twitcher
Jul 1, 2010 9:03 PM CST
Let me see what I can find out and I'll get back to you. A little research is required for this one. I know that semperviva will regenerate flower buds if you cut off the initial group of buds and even produce more flower buds than previously as a result lf the surgery, so there appears to be some flexibility in flowering. I'll take a trip through my own garden tomorrow counting blossoms. I was just looking at a larger sized no-id velvety semp earlier today with a huge flower stalk and tons of flowers like your pic so I know it can happen. What I don't know offhand is if the same type of plant always tries to produce the same number of flowers or if there is a typical number of flowers in general for semps. I suspect not, but we need to look.

There are chemical treatments that will cause your plants to produce greater numbers of offsets, so in this case, at least, there is some ability to adapt or change the number of growth points. I would suspect this applies to flowering as well.

I've read that some flower stalks can approach 2' and become woody. Who says that the flowers on these plants are not significant?
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 2, 2010 1:36 AM CST
I had no idea they could reach 2' - amazing! Nor did I know about removing the initial group of buds to produce more flowers.

Do you use the chemical treatment to produce more offsets? Thanks for checking this out, I'll be anxious to see what you find out.
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 2, 2010 12:38 PM CST
No, I don't use chemicals. Too much risk IMO, but tempting for that favorite plant that does not do many offsets.

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
twitcher
Jul 3, 2010 7:57 AM CST
Question: Are flowering Semperviva with large numbers of flowers freaks? What determines the number of flowers on a particular blooming plant?

Answer The number of flowers a particular variety of Hen and Chick's produces does vary with the health and size of the individual plant that is blooming. However, observation shows that different varieties of Sempervivum can vary widely in how many flowers is typical for that variety. For example, I have a large no ID sempervivum that typically produces over 80 flowers per flower stalk, as long as the plant is well grown. I have verified this with observation by comparing two flowering plants grown in two different locations about 25 miles apart. Both plants well grown and flowering at the same time.

Some sempervivum types produce only a few flowers per flower stalk while other types normally produce at least 80. I'm confident that this is also affected by environment such as light, temperature, nutrition, and other conditions affecting plant health and vigor.
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 3, 2010 1:43 PM CST
Thank you! Wow - 80 flowers - amazing! I'll have to count mine.
Cubits Store: The Sempervivum Patch - plants, containers, accessories!
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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
Jul 3, 2010 2:18 PM CST
Chris & Dr. Houseleeks, what great information.
Chris more info for the database for Rotmantel. Thumbs up
This is going to eventually be one amazing database with such great info and pictures. YEAH!!!!!

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
twitcher
Jul 21, 2010 8:56 PM CST
Here is a picture of one of my semps flower spikes. It's a no id that just might be 'Purple Beauty' but I cannot verify. Note that it's in an 8" pot, to give you an idea of its size. Also, it has lots more then 12 flowers.

Thumb of 2010-07-22/twitcher/8f3e7e

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
twitcher
Jul 21, 2010 8:57 PM CST
Same plant, closeup of the (mostly spent) flowers.

Thumb of 2010-07-22/twitcher/660285

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
twitcher
Jul 21, 2010 8:58 PM CST
And one of the rosettes...

Thumb of 2010-07-22/twitcher/d50844
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 21, 2010 9:05 PM CST
Oh, just look at the fine cilia on it's leaves. It is gorgeous twit. That is some flower stalk.

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
twitcher
Jul 21, 2010 9:20 PM CST
One of my favorites that I've had a long time. I wish I knew its name. It's a bit unique. For years, I had it all in a single small pot and they never got bigger than 1.5". They were really crowded. Then I moved one to it's own pot and it grew to 6", changed color and developed the cilia. It actually has a gray/silver sheen at some points in its growth cycle. It a very nice semp. Now I give them much more space, as you can see.
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 21, 2010 9:59 PM CST
They are such amazing plants.
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
Image
goldfinch4
Jul 22, 2010 3:51 AM CST
That is one huge flower spike! What pretty color leaves too.

I know exactly what you mean about the changes they go through when they have more room to grow. I like the look of large clumps of them but it sure does restrict their growth. I'm in the process of dividing all my clumps up. Silver Thaw is one of my favorites. Sorry about the picture quality of these 2, but I just went out and took these in the garage because it's still dark out. These pictures aren't good at all, it's actually a very pretty silver color.

Here is a really crowded pot of Silver Thaw.

Thumb of 2010-07-22/goldfinch4/b15477
Cubits Store: The Sempervivum Patch - plants, containers, accessories!
Also stop by Timber Treasures and Garden Buddies on Cubits
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
Image
goldfinch4
Jul 22, 2010 3:52 AM CST
This is the result when I moved 2 chicks into a larger pot this spring.

Thumb of 2010-07-22/goldfinch4/7161a0
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 22, 2010 4:14 AM CST
Wow, what a difference Chris. That little tiny red NOID of mine is the same way. Always was such a tiny thing until this spring when I moved some out of the pot and gave them room to grow.
Minneapolis, MN; Zone 4a
aka treelover3 @ Dave's Garden
greenthumb
Jul 22, 2010 2:19 PM CST
I have a question: Do most of you grow your semps in pots or in the ground? I grow all of my semps in the ground. If I had them in pots, the squirrels would just dig them out to see if there is anything in the soil they want. Dang critters. (:o(

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
twitcher
Jul 22, 2010 4:49 PM CST
Squirrels are nothing but rats with big tails. I know a lot of people that trap them non-humanely as a way of preventing crop damage. Also know of someone that makes balls of peanut butter and dry plaster of Paris. Apparently works pretty well on the tree rats.

The few squirrels around here have so far not bothered me, so I don't bother them.

Regarding pots or ground, I do mine in pots but the pots are getting bigger.

Lynn this sounds like a survey request!
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 22, 2010 6:39 PM CST
Hurray! Wahoo, thank you Mike and twit for our new survey. On my way to set it up. You two are great. 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
Image
valleylynn
Jul 22, 2010 6:47 PM CST
Here you go, ask and you shall receive. http://cubits.org/sedumandsempervivum/voting/view/102/

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