Sempervivum and Jovibarba forum: Watering and other needs?

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Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
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Jul 21, 2015 11:09 AM CST
I have some hen/chicks planted at the base of some boulders that edge a flagstone patio. They are basically in a sand/gravel mix, with whatever soil lodges itself in the cracks (certainly enough for many weeds to feel at home). They did fine last season with no particular care and threw off lots of babies. This year they seem rather parched and struggling. We have had an unusually dry June/July (I think we've had a total of less than an inch of rain for both months). What are their general watering/fertilizing requirements? Is full sun good or do they prefer some shade? It seems the ones with a bit of rock overhang are doing better than those in full blasting sun, or those may just be in a better line for the sprinkler. I have no idea what cultivars I might have, they came from the grocery store or from friends, so just a mish-mash of the more common forms I assume. They all rather look alike to me, with perhaps a bit of color change.


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Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
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Jul 21, 2015 3:33 PM CST
Sounds like your semps were doing well when the weather wasn't so dry. With the higher temps and drier conditions, you may have to water more often. Sounds like you have good drainage with the sand and gravel mix so a thorough watering when the conditions are dry will help. Not all semps do well in full sun; some do better with just morning sun. Can the semps that are suffering be moved under the rock overhang too?

Some people fertilize their semps; some don't. I think it may depend on one's soil conditions. I find that a lot of semps I've purchased have these little time-released fertilizer pellets already in the soil.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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Jul 21, 2015 3:47 PM CST
In my hot and dry area, most of my semps are struggling too, so I moved some in a bit more shade. Misting them early in the morning and deep watering them ahead if I know our forecast for the week will be 95F and beyond also helps. But heat is such, so these semps knows to close up and wait for cooler conditions to return. I do not give them fertilizers. Different varieties can take a bit more sun and heat, and some just close up and wait for the cooler conditions it prefers.

At least you got some rain..nada here.
Name: Julia
Washington State (Zone 7a)
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Jul 21, 2015 4:21 PM CST
Water in declining heat or early AM. The water sitting on the foliage can scorch with it's hot.
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