Sempervivum and Jovibarba forum: Caring for semps in extreme winter weather.

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Name: Deb
Buffalo, Minnesota (Zone 4b)
Region: Minnesota Birds Cactus and Succulents Hostas Hummingbirder
dmurray407
Sep 8, 2013 4:55 PM CST
I have a few Sempervivum projects (some birdhouses with succulent roofs) that didn't quite get finished this summer and I would like to work on them during the winter months. The plants are in plastic flats and look great-nicely rooted and sending out chicks I would like to bring them inside when the weather gets "wintery" out in and continue to work on my projects inside.The alternative is the winter them outside under the snow and and have my birdhouses ready to be planted in the spring.
What do you all recommend?
Deb
Also, I have a log I would like to plant but I'm wondering if it's too late to get the plants acclimated before winter if I transplant them now. I know that they are hardy, but our winters can be pretty nasty.
Deb
Name: Greg Colucci
Seattle WA (Zone 8b)
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gg5
Sep 8, 2013 8:00 PM CST
Deb I've never had luck with semps indoors, even by an open window - which really surprised me!! They just seem to prefer the outdoors (in my opinion) Also I know you get crazy winters, but personally I think they'd be fine, as long as you gave them enough water while they weren't frozen Thumbs up
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Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
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valleylynn
Sep 8, 2013 8:53 PM CST

Moderator

It can be very difficult to keep sempervivum healthy indoors. It would be better to let them go through the winter outdoors.
I'm not sure when your cold weather would be starting?
But if it is soon I would leave the semps as they are now, they may not have time to re-establish before winter hits your area.

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twitcher
Sep 8, 2013 9:28 PM CST
I'm in zone 5, so not too different from your zone. If you kept your plants in an unheated garage and did not water them, then you would likely be able to work with them. However, the plants will not be as nice as if they were left outdoors. If you water them or expose to heat, then they will try to grow and would etoliate badly inside. If kept cold and dry, they remain essentially dormant. Note that too dry is also not good, hence the garage. I have overwintered strawberry jars with semps in our unheated garage many time without problems. They sit on the cold garage floor and are ignored until put back outside in the spring.

Greg and Lynn gave good advice. What you want to do is possible in your climate, but difficult.

OK to plant the log, but I would not delay. Make sure that they get snow cover which will protect from drying winds.
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
Sep 8, 2013 9:34 PM CST

Moderator

I agree
Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
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webesemps
Sep 9, 2013 12:00 AM CST
Here in California and in zone 9b, my house in the back is U shaped with a patio in between arms of the U. During the summer the sun on the patio causes a distinct morning sun exposure on the left side and then an afternoon sun exposure on the right side. All my patio plants are potted succulents and so I have my more sun tender succulents on the morning sun side and the more sun hardy plants on the afternoon side.

I noticed from last year's winter that the morning sun side did not provide enough duration of sunlight to keep the plants warm and in good form & shape. So, I had to keep all my succulent plants on the afternoon side of the patio so that the plants could get enough sun to maintain. At nite, with them kept all close together for ease of care and maximal sun exposure, I covered them all with frost and/or shade cloth to keep frost off the foliage. In the day, I peeled back the cloths and let them bask in any sun there was. All winter they were kept this way.

In the spring the patio plants were once again moved into two separate groups, morning sun or afternoon sun.

My point is that with the changing of the season and subsequent changing of sun exposure, potted plants may have to be moved around to acquire optimal survival/dormant conditions as a result of the upcoming winter conditions.
[Last edited by webesemps - Sep 9, 2013 12:06 PM (+)]
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Name: Deb
Buffalo, Minnesota (Zone 4b)
Region: Minnesota Birds Cactus and Succulents Hostas Hummingbirder
dmurray407
Sep 9, 2013 4:52 AM CST
Lynn, it will be a couple of months yet before it starts getting cold-just plannning ahead. I just wanted to make sure that my flats would be adequate to winter then through outdoors. Sometimes it gets really cold without snow cover. I guess they could go into the garage where it is more protected. Do they just "hibernate" through the winter months?
Thanks to everyone for the information! They just look so good right now that I don't want to do something dumb that kills them :)
Deb
Deb
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
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valleylynn
Sep 9, 2013 5:05 AM CST

Moderator

Twit's advice would be very good since you have really cold weather without snow cover. And yes, they would just hibernate through the winter. Thumbs up
Name: Chris
Ripon, Wisconsin
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goldfinch4
Sep 9, 2013 11:19 AM CST

Moderator

Hi Deb, I'm in zone 4/5 too, and I overwinter my flats in an unheated garage. Plants that are established in larger pots than flats do OK outside, even without much snow cover. The ones in the ground do well too. But flats offer much less protection to the roots so I prefer to keep them in the garage. (It's not uncommon to have temps below zero here in winter.) About once every other month I give them just a small bit of (cold) water, maybe a tablespoon per plant. Mine are on a table in the garage where they get minimal light through the windows. They do go dormant, often closing up into tight little balls that look nothing like they did when winter began. That's OK, in spring they quickly return to their beautiful selves. As brutal as our winters are, they'd much rather be outside than in the house.

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Name: Deb
Buffalo, Minnesota (Zone 4b)
Region: Minnesota Birds Cactus and Succulents Hostas Hummingbirder
dmurray407
Sep 10, 2013 3:30 PM CST
Thanks, Chris!! That's exactly what I needed :)
Deb

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