Sempervivum and Jovibarba forum: is my plant a type of cactus?

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springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
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Frillylily
Feb 8, 2016 12:36 PM CST
I won a plant at a club meeting and I thought it was a cactus. It has a tag which says hens and chicks. But it is named 'cobwebs' on the tag. It looks like it has fine hairy looking 'stuff' on it. I need to know if it will hurt my son if he touches it? Hopefully, he won't. but in the event he decides to grab it and dump it out all over, will it hurt him? If it will, I need to rehome it. My son is 19 but he is mentally handicapped and once in a while he has mishap with houseplants, so I don't normally keep many of them.
I tried looking it up in the database but couldn't find it.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Feb 8, 2016 12:48 PM CST
That maybe Sempervivum arachnoideum, it forms those cobweb-like fine white threads. Not a cactus, it has no areoles that has thorny spines.

This is my plant when I first had it in March 2013: they are actually cute, if they get to multiply and form a mound. Your son might find it interesting to pull the new babies as it forms though. Smiling

Thumb of 2016-02-08/tarev/9b74b7 Thumb of 2016-02-08/tarev/4907f4 Thumb of 2016-02-08/tarev/9401e7

Editing to add this other photo of my other semp arachnoideum before, more tight, mounding type growth, it came from a very small container before, so it looks less flat , but it still has the cobweb-like hair at the center of each rosette:

Thumb of 2016-02-09/tarev/a71d0a

[Last edited by tarev - Feb 8, 2016 10:51 PM (+)]
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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
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valleylynn
Feb 8, 2016 3:58 PM CST

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Hi Frillylilly. Can you take a photo for us? We certainly don't want your son to be injured. And if it is a sempervivum (Hen & Chicks) the best place for it is outdoors.
Have you tried touching the rosettes?

Great photos tarev.
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Feb 8, 2016 10:20 PM CST
No I am scared to touch them! I will try to take a photo tomorrow and post it.

Tarev, I think mine look taller, instead of short/squatty like yours, but it is hard to id from a photo. The cobwebs look like yours though.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Feb 8, 2016 10:38 PM CST
Tall?? Hmm..better post a photo then..hens and chicks are typically growing in rosette form, unless it is an echeveria which often times gets dried out lower leaves that exposes a neck/stem.
Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
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Bubbles
Feb 8, 2016 11:10 PM CST
Could it be an "Old Man" cactus? It's also known as Grandpa cactus. Check out the plant data base.


[Last edited by Bubbles - Feb 8, 2016 11:22 PM (+)]
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Name: Greg Colucci
Seattle WA (Zone 8b)
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gg5
Feb 9, 2016 2:23 AM CST
Hi Frillylily also if it is truly a sempervivum - they are not poisonous to humans, even if they are eaten, in small amounts. They used to make skin tonics using these plants. So totally safe to touch.
But like other's have said a picture with help the most for us to guess what it is!
If it is a catcus, they too can have soft fuzz on them, if you touch it gently you won't get pricked.
The fuzz on a sempervivum will be soft though and not prickly Thumbs up
Best to you! I tip my hat to you.
Plants bring me peace and calm, more of what we all need Smiling
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Feb 9, 2016 12:59 PM CST

Thumb of 2016-02-09/Frillylily/198dc2

Right now it is about an inch and a half tall, but they are not even rooted well, just kinda sitting on the soil.


Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Feb 9, 2016 1:30 PM CST
They look cute! Thanks for the photo! Yup, those are semp arachnoideums. Somehow the tall growing ones seems to be preparing to bolt, meaning to make some blooms.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Feb 9, 2016 1:34 PM CST
This is what my semp arachs did when it went bolting, late Spring 2013, so when it starts to do that, buds, blooms..then bye bye plant, sadly it is monocarpic but you can try harvest seeds later Smiling

Thumb of 2016-02-09/tarev/150835 Thumb of 2016-02-09/tarev/593e36

Name: Greg Colucci
Seattle WA (Zone 8b)
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gg5
Feb 9, 2016 6:57 PM CST
Frilly - these are super easy plants, except that they don't want to be too wet! Depending on what your winter is like (if it isn't too many days in a row of below freezing temps) then you can put them outdoors in a sunny spot under an ever or somewhere they won't get too much rain! Otherwise a windowsill until spring is here! Thumbs up
Plants bring me peace and calm, more of what we all need Smiling
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Feb 10, 2016 9:05 AM CST
well they don't seem mature enough to bloom, they look like they are just little starts that were just put in this pot recently. Do they even get roots at all,? maybe they are supposed to just kind of sit on the soil like that? I can't tell they are attached to the soil hardly. The pot btw is about 2inx2in so these are really little. I have it in a north window now, just moving it around the house to get sun but not too much. So these should live outside in zone6? The tag doesn't say if they are hardy, just assumed it wasn't. I may try putting it outside for the summer and see how it does. If it increases and grows well I may try leaving it next winter. Are all the semps cold hardy?
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Region: California Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Composter
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tarev
Feb 10, 2016 9:38 AM CST
They are alpine succulents, so they can take the cold but preferably not too much rain, but my growing area is different. Here it is at its happiest during our mild winters, and suffers big time when we go back to our hot and dry warm days and into summer.

I would imagine someone uprooted it from their own collection and put it in that little container to be given away during your club meeting. It does make roots, but they are rather shallow, so it does not really need big containers. But they will really enjoy better growing outdoors as already mentioned.

They are fun to grow, if my growing conditions are really ideal for it, I would plant more of it. Smiling
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
Feb 10, 2016 9:44 AM CST

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Frilly, sempervivum are alpine plants that live in high elevations with lots of snow during winter. And they require at least 1/2 day of sun. Unless you live in an area that has very hot and harsh summers. Then the would need filtered/dappled sun/shade.
Right now it would probably do better in a very cool room/garage, or a covered deck/porch. Like Greg suggested. Just give it sips of water, don't over water.
The three rosettes at the bottom right corner look good and should produce many offsets for you this year. The other two will bloom and die. Many things can trigger blooming, stress, age, etc. Many of the arachnoideum types of sempervivum stay small, as you can see in tarev's excellent photo in her above post.
I see it has the name of 'Cobwebs' on the nursery label. That is not a correct cultivar name, just a descriptive name they gave it.

You are going to love your little Sempervivum arachnoideum. I can't wait to see updated photos as it starts producing little chicks surrounding the hen. Hurray!
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 10, 2016 9:46 AM CST

Moderator

Tarev, we cross posted. I love your new avatar photo. Thumbs up
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Region: California Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Composter
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tarev
Feb 10, 2016 9:50 AM CST
Thanks Lynn Big Grin
Name: Tim Stoehr
Canby, Oregon (Zone 8b)
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tcstoehr
Feb 10, 2016 9:54 AM CST
In the Winter I'd let them get as much sun as possible indoors. If inside they won't know it's Winter and they'll try to grow and they'll need sunlight for that or else they'll get leggy and weak.
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Feb 10, 2016 10:43 AM CST
ok, guys! Thanks for the id and the tips. I really appreciate it.
I have not watered it much, cause I knew whatever it was it wouldn't like water. I am going to plant it outside later this year, so now that I know it is cold hardy, the prickly hair thing won't matter anyway! I just didn't want to have it in my house around the kids if it was unsafe. Will post updates as they come....

Thank You!
Name: Tim Stoehr
Canby, Oregon (Zone 8b)
Sempervivums Region: Pacific Northwest Vegetable Grower Cactus and Succulents Sedums Bee Lover
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tcstoehr
Feb 10, 2016 11:02 AM CST
About water, you are correct to be cautious, but this is not a cactus. If the soil is dried out then moisten it conservatively. Not so much that water comes out the bottom, but enough that the water soaks down into the soil. This plant may have almost no roots, which is OK. But it it will need to grow new roots and get established, and moisture will help out with that. But go ahead and let it dry out between the occasional waterings. Too much water is more often the problem than not enough.
[Last edited by tcstoehr - Feb 10, 2016 11:04 AM (+)]
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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
Feb 10, 2016 7:23 PM CST

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Very good advice Tim. Thumbs up

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