Sempervivum and Jovibarba forum: Sempervivum questions (My first post!)

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Name: J.c. S.
Kansas (Zone 6b)
Sempervivums Sedums Lilies Garden Ideas: Level 2
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StaticAsh
Feb 25, 2014 12:43 AM CST
Hello all! I’ve been lurking in the shadows for quite a while and figured it was about time to actually write my first post.
My Sempervivum sickness has been constantly growing and many of you who post on here have had a hand in it. I tip my hat to you.
Since I am still new to them, I have some questions that I was hoping anyone might be able to answer.

1. What are some of the larger Semp species? I’m looking for a variety of colors and have so far compiled a list of about 20 that are supposedly large. The problem is that some sites say they are large (up to 12”?!) at maturity, while other sites list the same thing as only 3-4”. I can post the list if needed.

2. Can there be wide differences of sizes at maturity in the same species? If so, what mainly causes these size variations?
3. Is it true that rosettes will grow much larger if all the chicks are removed? If so, does this impact the life cycle, the time before bloom, or the production of new chicks at all?

4. What are some respected, reputable mail order sellers of these large Semps? I’ve looked at quite a few sites, but many appear to now be out of business or they sell Semps that are possibly mislabeled or have made up, commercial names. Few, if any, of the active sellers I’ve found sell the larger species.

5. Any other hints or tips that one new in this area of plants should know ? (Besides good drainage and don’t over water, of course.)

Thanks for any help!

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
Feb 25, 2014 2:50 AM CST

Moderator

Welcome to ATP and the semp forum StaticAsh! Welcome! I'm so happy we've been able to help your semp addiction grow even though we didn't know you yet! Hurray! I'll give you a few answers, but I'm sure lots of people will be by to offer advice and suggestions.

1. Large Semps - There is a specific thread dedicated to that topic here: The thread "Semps Geeks...Need Advise on Large Semps" in Sempervivum and Jovibarba forum Size is determined by a lot of different factors that affect growing conditions. What might grow 6 inches for me could grow 10 inches for someone else. The better you can match their ideal growing requirements, the better chance you'll have of reaching their maximum potential. (This is pretty much includes the answer for your questions #2 also.)

3. Removing chicks from the hen will give her more room to grow without crowding, which could limit the size if the clump was too large. It will not affect the life cycle or bloom time. If the removed chicks are mature enough to survive on their own, they will reproduce just fine. If they're removed too young they may not develop roots on their own.

4. Here is a list we've complied of good on-line semp nurseries: The thread "Succulent Nurseries" in Sempervivum and Jovibarba forum The inventory for many of these nurseries will continue to change as plants become available.

5. On the right hand size of each page on ATP is a list of some site features. Click on "ideas", then in the search box type in "sempervivum". That will bring up a bunch of ideas and articles with some good information on these wonderful plants.

Again, great to have you here!!
Cubits Store: The Sempervivum Patch - plants, containers, accessories!
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Name: Kate
S Wales UK (Zone 9a)
Region: Wales Region: United Kingdom Cat Lover Sempervivums Cactus and Succulents Container Gardener
Region: Europe Butterflies Roses
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Eviesmummy
Feb 25, 2014 4:25 AM CST
I think Chris has all of your questions answered, but I wanted to say Hi and welcome to the madness! Hurray! Hurray! Hurray!
Kate UK
Name: Julia
Washington State (Zone 7a)
Garden Photography Region: Pacific Northwest Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Dog Lover Foliage Fan Greenhouse Container Gardener Heucheras Sedums
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springcolor
Feb 25, 2014 10:29 AM CST
Welcome! So glad you posted.
Another way to find different semps with specific characteristics is to go to the Plant data base. You will find that on the left side of the site. Then scroll down to sempervivum in the plant list on the right. Then you will see 2nd on the list about characteristics. That should bring up a check box list. Kind of fun to pull up just semps with watermarks or red coloring or large sized. Big Grin
Sempervivum for Sale
France
Sempervivums
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mick64
Feb 25, 2014 11:15 AM CST
Welcome! from moi... I tip my hat to you.
Name: J.c. S.
Kansas (Zone 6b)
Sempervivums Sedums Lilies Garden Ideas: Level 2
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StaticAsh
Feb 25, 2014 12:29 PM CST
Thank you all for the kind welcome and the information, it's truly helpful!

So regular growing conditions affect rosette size more than the removal of all chicks? Removing chicks merely makes more room, but doesn't actually affect the growth drive of the hen? That makes sense, I just wasn't sure. I read somewhere that the removal of all chicks forces the hen to put more energy into growth instead of reproduction, but I have read so many contradictory things that's it's hard to know what is actually true. Sticking tongue out

Thanks again,
J.C.
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
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CDsSister
Feb 25, 2014 1:36 PM CST

Perhaps @JungleShadows can chime in to give some input as well. Since he is a breeder he must have tried all the various ways to get the best from his plants. Most all the participants of the Semp forums are fairly knowledgeable, especially Lynn and Chris the moderators and .................. the list goes on and I am afraid I will miss mentioning someone by name.

Welcome! Welcome! Welcome! Always good to meet a new semp fan.
Name: Greg Colucci
Seattle WA (Zone 8b)
Sempervivums Sedums Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Cactus and Succulents Container Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 1
Garden Art Birds Dog Lover Cat Lover Region: Pacific Northwest Hummingbirder
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gg5
Feb 26, 2014 2:08 AM CST
Hey JC welcome! I personally have found that its better to begin with smaller semps, (not talking variety but age of plant. If you are getting a large plant, it is probably more than a year old and may bloom out)
Last year I bought several that were already larger because I wanted to see how big they'd get! They did get large and it was great looking, but they bloomed, and therefor died (the blooms were amazing, and since they aren't very expensive individually, I considered them to be my "annuals" for that year)
Ones that I've heard of or seen or grown that are large
'Red Lion'
'Fame' (or Fame Montrose)
'Sanford's hybrid'
'Silver King' (the red and green bicolor one, I've seen 2 plants that look totally different, both called Silver King, but the one I had which grew to a 9inch rosette!! was green and red and smooth, rather than fuzzy)
Can't wait to see photos if you decide to share some!! Most of us get a kick out of seeing what others are doing with their semps!! Hurray! I tip my hat to you.
Plants bring me peace and calm, more of what we all need Smiling
Name: J.c. S.
Kansas (Zone 6b)
Sempervivums Sedums Lilies Garden Ideas: Level 2
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StaticAsh
Feb 26, 2014 12:11 PM CST
Thanks for the welcome and info!

Greg, I’m planning on getting small (young) semps, for the exact reason you stated.
I’m a constant target of Murphy’s Law. As such if I would get an older one, it would be the most amazing semp I’ve ever seen, then it would bloom a week later. Sticking tongue out

Maybe you would know the answer to a question I‘m still unsure about? Is it true that rosettes will grow much larger if all the chicks are removed? I read in a blog that the removal of all chicks forces the hen to put more energy into growth instead of reproduction. Then while I was trying to find that original blog again, I ran into another one that said essentially the same thing (but with different reasoning). Is this true? And if it is, do you know why?

Also, is there only 1 species of Sanford’s Hybrid? It appears so and that’s pretty cool. I’ve got one on order from a while back when I knew next to nothing about semps and didn’t even know it grew large.

Yeah, it will be probably months away but I will share photos when I can. I have to get my plants in (mid March through end of April), then plant 110 feet of beds (not sq feet but length of beds), then buy a replacement for my dead camera. Hilarious!

Thanks again,
J.C.

Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
Sempervivums Container Gardener Foliage Fan Garden Ideas: Master Level Photo Contest Winner: 2014
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webesemps
Feb 26, 2014 1:06 PM CST
Welcome, JC. Hurray! Sounds like a big project you will be doing w/the one thing we get on this forum for: SEMPERVIVUMS!

Sorry I can't answer your questions regarding hens and offsets but I have this habit of snipping off blooms once they start on any of my tender succulents because I feel that energy is sapped from the foliage growth. I don't have a scientific reason for doing this but long ago I had noticed a few of my plants waning while in bloom and I decided then to cut bloom stalks whenever I see them. Of course now I see how important these stalks are to keep if one is concerned with identification and seed harvesting.

Good luck with your delivery of new plants and execution of your project!
Name: J.c. S.
Kansas (Zone 6b)
Sempervivums Sedums Lilies Garden Ideas: Level 2
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StaticAsh
Feb 26, 2014 8:47 PM CST
Thanks Bev, I think I'm going to need all the luck I can get.

My head is about ready to explode trying to get all the plans, materials, fill dirt, finding rocks, deliveries, etc all lined up in the proper order so I don't shoot myself in the foot.

It's like playing dirt chess. Sticking tongue out
Name: Greg Colucci
Seattle WA (Zone 8b)
Sempervivums Sedums Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Cactus and Succulents Container Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 1
Garden Art Birds Dog Lover Cat Lover Region: Pacific Northwest Hummingbirder
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gg5
Feb 26, 2014 10:25 PM CST
Ooh JC that really does sound amazing!! Lots of room for semps!! (and other things!) Bev is a purist and only likes semps with semps, but myself I love to mix hardy sedum in with semps, and they look pretty together!! Although for the beds I began keeping them separate, since the sedum can take over!
Honestly I think semps will grow pretty readily in a garden environment, because of the availability of nutrients. I'm pretty sure most people on here only lightly fertilize, but I think many nurseries fertilize and that's partly why they have larger sized semps. (but if they get too much there is a strong chance they'll bloom!) Here in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle and surrounding areas, the main thing we have to worry about is dampness, so having well drained soil is really important!! Its meant though that I sometimes have to water, even succulents if its been a couple of weeks without rain. Thumbs up
Mostly though I've noticed the opposite of what you're talking about wanting to do...which is that I have amazing hens, and its not putting out any chicks!!! Thumbs down Smiling I also think that a single large semp isn't as effective as a mixing of different sizes as they naturalize in the beds!! Its such a lovely site to see clumps! Thumbs up
Plants bring me peace and calm, more of what we all need Smiling
Name: Greg Colucci
Seattle WA (Zone 8b)
Sempervivums Sedums Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Cactus and Succulents Container Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 1
Garden Art Birds Dog Lover Cat Lover Region: Pacific Northwest Hummingbirder
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gg5
Feb 26, 2014 10:27 PM CST
Also JC I don't think Lynn has seen this thread, so I'm calling her attention to it! I know she'll love to read what you're asking!
@Valleylynn
Cheers I tip my hat to you.
Oh and finally JC what is your avatar? It is really cool looking!
Plants bring me peace and calm, more of what we all need Smiling
[Last edited by gg5 - Feb 26, 2014 10:27 PM (+)]
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Name: J.c. S.
Kansas (Zone 6b)
Sempervivums Sedums Lilies Garden Ideas: Level 2
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StaticAsh
Feb 26, 2014 10:50 PM CST
Yeah I like a lot of different plants too. In the new beds some of the plants will be semps, sedums, kniphofias, grasses, agave, etc. Oh, and a 70 foot long fence with Major Wheeler Honeysuckle (as a backdrop).

I'm also interested in clumps of semps and all assorted sizes. The main reason I'm trying for some large ones is I made the questionable decision to grow some agave in our wet freezing climate. I left some outside over the winter to test them and I might lose a few. I need large semps to take their places. (And then varied sizes and species of semps to fill in the gaps). Sticking tongue out

My avatar is artwork from the band Tool.

Have a good one,
J.C.
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
Feb 26, 2014 11:32 PM CST

Moderator

Thanks for the heads up Greg. Smiling

J.C. I have found that I may not see the full potential of a new variety until the second or third year for the rosette.
This one was a real surprise to me. Third year rosette. And as you can see it went out with a huge bang.


Same rosette 2 months earlier. As you can see I did not remove the offsets. I also don't fertilize. I find that they seem to be much tougher letting them grow without assistance.


@JungleShadows (Kevin Vaughn) has some very large varieties. Maybe he will be able to post a few photos for you.
Name: J.c. S.
Kansas (Zone 6b)
Sempervivums Sedums Lilies Garden Ideas: Level 2
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StaticAsh
Feb 27, 2014 12:43 AM CST
Thanks Lynn, that's a very cool Red Lion pic.

I'm in no hurry to see the rosettes at absolute max size, I just want some in specific places huge eventually. Hilarious!

I'm just wondering if anyone has done (or knows the results of) this experiment: Two rosettes of the same species are grown under the same conditions, one being left to clump naturally, one having every chick ever produced be removed from the plant and the area. Will the rosette with all chicks removed be larger in diameter at maturity?

I've seen the idea put forth in two blogs that it forces the rosette to focus on growth instead of reproduction (supporting chicks), and then today I also stumbled over this quote on this forum from Twitcher on May 30, 2013:
"Growing conditions can have a big effect on size. If you want large ones, transplant a young rosette to a private spot. Semps appear to communicate with each other when growing in a clump to keep the sizes down."

Anyone know if it makes a definite difference? And why?
[Last edited by StaticAsh - Feb 27, 2014 1:04 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
Feb 27, 2014 1:46 AM CST

Moderator

Sorry, but I really can't answer your question if removing the chicks promotes more growth on a hen. I do know though that if clumps start getting real large it often causes crowding which I think seems to reduce the size of all the plants in the clump. If I have a large clump, remove some rosettes and plant them elsewhere, they do get larger than the ones all left crowded together in a big clump. If the clump is small with only a few plants it doesn't seem to matter much.

Its really exciting that you have so much room to plant! I'm really looking forward to pictures too. Hurray!

And I agree - cool avatar!
Cubits Store: The Sempervivum Patch - plants, containers, accessories!
Also stop by Timber Treasures and Garden Buddies on Cubits
Name: J.c. S.
Kansas (Zone 6b)
Sempervivums Sedums Lilies Garden Ideas: Level 2
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StaticAsh
Mar 1, 2014 5:37 PM CST
Thanks Chris!

I hope to one day try the experiment myself, but I'm afraid I won't be able to keep conditions clinical enough to truly call the experiment successful one way or the other when it's completed.

Well, I was able to work outside for two days, then today the snow and sleet hit again. Looks like I’ll be stuck inside for the next couple days due to weather which isn’t a horrible thing since I’m so sore I can barely move. Blinking

Thursday I manually carried in over a half ton (literally) of rocks, then yesterday I brought in the landscaping timbers and spent a few hours breaking rocks down to more usable sizes.
I also got two loads of fill dirt delivered, of which I moved about 1/3 to where it needs to go.

Getting closer to ready for plants to be delivered…

I borrowed a camera for a couple days, then it started snowing before I could take any outside pictures. So now I'm stuck learning how to use it by taking inside pics.
Oh well...
Here's my rock waterfall. For perspective it's about four feet tall from the floor to the top of the rock.
Thumb of 2014-03-23/StaticAsh/c271fe

[Last edited by StaticAsh - Mar 23, 2014 4:11 PM (+)]
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Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
Sempervivums Container Gardener Foliage Fan Garden Ideas: Master Level Photo Contest Winner: 2014
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webesemps
Mar 1, 2014 5:41 PM CST
JC, are you going to do any crevice planting on that waterfall rock?
Name: J.c. S.
Kansas (Zone 6b)
Sempervivums Sedums Lilies Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
StaticAsh
Mar 1, 2014 6:01 PM CST
Yeah, that spot in the top right hand corner is basically set up for a plant. I've tried many times before but I've never found anything that can survive being so wet constantly. I've also thought about trying a semp on the far left side where it is drier.

Any ideas?

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