Sempervivum and Jovibarba forum: Anyone else growing these in the desert?

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Name: Paul
Antelope Valley, S. California
Zone 8B/9A
Region: California
cahdg6891
Jun 12, 2016 7:58 PM CST
Hi everyone! Hurray!

I just found this forum the other day when I was Googling for pictures of different hybrids. Nice to see there are other people who love these plants as much as I do and I am very glad there is a forum dedicated to them! Green Grin!

Is there anyone else growing these in really hot climates? I've never known of anyone else in my area that grows them besides myself. Some information about where I live: high desert in the Antelope Valley in southern California, where I am is zone 8b or 9a depending on which website you punch your zip code into. Very hot and dry summers (100F +) with nice chilly winters and snow a few times a year (usually). And almost always very dry and windy with a very high UV index.

I've had a few sempervivums for a long time but have no idea of their proper names, they were labeled as assorted hybrids when I bought them if memory serves. They aren't stocked very often here (except Cebenese) and I see echeverias and other succulents much more often. This year I decided to expand my collection and went crazy Drooling and now have almost 100 different species and varieties of sempervivums and jovibarbas. All have done well thus far, even growing noticeably during a week of temperatures just under 100 F. The most damage has come from a ground squirrel who slipped through a gap in my bird netting and did some damage the other evening to my oldest ones and some of my new ones. Grumbling

Anyway, hello again and I look forward to having many conversations with you all!
Name: Marilyn
Greenwood Village, CO (Zone 5b)
Garden today. Clean next week.
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CDsSister
Jun 12, 2016 8:08 PM CST
Welcome! Welcome! You will find this group is really chatty and informative. nodding

Did the squirrel eat it or just dig it up to plant his nuts?

100 is a lot of semps to care for. I am on my second try of getting a few to survive for me with hot intense heat and dry winds of winters 1-30 below. I am never sure if it is the winds or the cold that get mine.

Hope you have better luck. Crossing Fingers!
Name: Julia
Washington State (Zone 7a)
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springcolor
Jun 12, 2016 8:14 PM CST
Welcome! to the forum.
Sempervivum for Sale
Name: Paul
Antelope Valley, S. California
Zone 8B/9A
Region: California
cahdg6891
Jun 12, 2016 9:56 PM CST
Thank You! both Smiling The ground squirrel (a pox on the fiend's house) did a little bit of everything. A few of my jovibarbas were uprooted but not nibbled and two of them were eaten and half eaten. All of my older ones were almost eaten in half along with virtually all of the offsets, I hope this isn't the year they decide to flower as one of them no longer has any little ones. Crying The worst besides my oldest ones was my Canada Kate which was almost completely devoured Crying all that is left is the two smallest offsets and stumps of two of the larger rosettes. One of them had all the leaves torn off and left in a tidy little pile. Hopefully they grow back and thankfully the rest of my collection was too high for it to reach!

And yes Big Grin as I counted how many I had purchased and realized I had bought so many I surprised myself haha. Fortunately I have plenty of room.

Hopefully my newer ones endure the heat the rest of the year as well as they have done this past week or so. When I started looking at other ones to buy earlier this year, I just read that they were heat tolerant and that coupled with my experience of my older ones all doing well in our summers, I kept ordering whatever caught my eye. And then Rolling on the floor laughing I read further and found that not all of them are so tolerant of heat.
[Last edited by cahdg6891 - Jun 12, 2016 9:59 PM (+)]
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Name: Greg Colucci
Seattle WA (Zone 8b)
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gg5
Jun 13, 2016 12:22 PM CST
Hello Paul Welcome! Glad you found your way here! The semps are going to love your winters for sure!! I'm guessing any new/little semps will need a bit more shade while they acclimate - even for me here in Seattle, I'm having to shade some that seem more susceptible to full sun - actually I grow some in flower boxes, and have now moved them into part sun (it is bright but not direct sun)
They seem to wilt a little in the hot full sun...However Lynn in OR grows all of hers in full sun - so it seems individual. Shrug!
I tip my hat to you.
Plants bring me peace and calm, more of what we all need Smiling
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Jun 13, 2016 12:49 PM CST
Hello Paul! I do grow some of them. My area is at the beginning of Central Valley, just over the hill to our west is Bay Area. So we get the Central Valley thermal dry heat, but no snow here during winter, just the tule fog during the cooler months and some cold temps in the mid 20's to mid 30's range during some nights in winter.

I have some semps, but to be honest it is a struggle to grow them here due to the heat, even when shaded by the city trees. The blanket heat is intense, though this year has been extra nice with the longer Spring cool down. Most of my semps are noids too. Sometimes it is so frustrating when I buy semps from Bay Area, once I get to have them planted here, they would bolt quickly due to the heat, so I have learned to try and move them to as much shade, to help cool them down.
Name: Paul
Antelope Valley, S. California
Zone 8B/9A
Region: California
cahdg6891
Jun 14, 2016 3:16 AM CST
Hi Greg, hi Tarev! Smiling I am glad I made it here, too. I was up until 3 AM last night reading through many of the older posts on here. nodding

Yes Greg I agree! The first few new ones I bought a few months ago got quite sunburned when I moved them into full sun too quickly! I lost a few ciliosum var. borisii and the surviving rosettes from then did much better in more shade, they opened almost immediately after I moved them. My older ones I have always kept in full sun until the temperatures hit about 85, at which point they start to grow higher on one side until I move them into dappled light or onto my patio where they only get sun from dawn to about 10:30 or so. I left them out in full sun this year longer than usual and they grew so high on one side that they all looked almost lopsided. My tectorums on the other hand didn't seem phased by being left for a day in 96 degree full sun. A few of the rosettes that were still closed popped open and not a single sunburned leaf on any of them! My grandmother used to keep her pots of the regular/standard tectorum in full sun and used them like aloe and for other things.

Tarev, I haven't seen fog at my house ever I don't think. Sometimes you can see it trying to creep over the mountains but it never makes it, which is too bad because I love it Smiling what do yours do in the heat? My oldest ones just turn green and seem to slow down in their growth, then when cooler weather comes they get more red coloring. It should be interesting to see how my new ones do. Hopefully just as well Hilarious! I wish that I knew the names of my noid (does this mean no identification?) semps as well! Sighing! Last night I read in one of your older posts that Kalinda has done well for you. Is it still doing well? I stopped at Armstrong when I visited my aunt in the valley today and they had two Kalindas and so I grabbed one because I read about it in your post Hurray!
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Jun 14, 2016 9:12 AM CST
Hi Paul, I find some of the semps can bear the heat, but a lot can't so the leaves dry out or they bolt. So I have to move them to shade, and hope for the best that they just go somewhat semi dormant till the intense heat passes by. But this week is cool down week woohoo, so they get a reprieve, next week back to the oven. Yes, noid means no identification.

I find the semp arachnoideum ones, the ones which seems to have cobwebs can tolerate our heat, but I do get some shade from the city trees. But as I have said once that blanket heat is here, it is survival of the fittest. I try to water them, directly at rootzone early in the morning before the sun hits the garden, to help these succulents cool down. My Kalinda did well, but unfortunately a nasty pesky found its way and killed it...so sad. That is something you have to watch out for, at times, something at the base of the plant. Fuzzy white annoying thing, so hard to reach since it hides right at the leaf end nearest to the plant's stem. I tried to use diluted alcohol mix, but I guess it was in stress with the heat and being attacked by that thing.

Yes. most of the succulents seem to go in semi-dormant state when temps are in the upper 90's to triple digit range, going into self preservation mode. They just wait till temps return to the amiable 80's. Sometimes you seem them quickly dropping their outer leaves and just keeping the tighter rosettes.

Something I learned here in the Semp forum, using chicken grit as top dressing, my semps and other succulents love it!
Name: Paul
Antelope Valley, S. California
Zone 8B/9A
Region: California
cahdg6891
Jun 14, 2016 3:42 PM CST
Hi Tarev, yes I have had good luck with shade too! For my noids, keeping them under the dappled light of my mulberry trees or on the far side of my patio that gets morning sun works for them in summer. I think this year everyone will have to spend the summer on my patio because I made the mistake of mentioning to my father while he was over that I needed to prune my trees and when I next looked outside he had done it for me and done it too well Rolling on the floor laughing So now I am busy moving things around before we get the heat wave coming this weekend! Supposed to be 107 here. The best thing about the heat is that my lemon verbenas grow like weeds when it is hot. Hurray! I wonder of all arachnoideums do well in heat? Maybe that is why Cebenese is sold here so often. My tomentosum arachnoideums have grown more in the heat as well!

Sorry to hear about your Kalinda Crying I had something similar on one of mine a few weeks ago but the next day they were gone, some good insect must have come along. It was almost like a cochineal insect I sometimes see on my prickly pears, a ball of very sticky white goo when I pulled one off with a toothpick. But no dye.

Where do you buy chicken grit? We have several feed stores here but none of them carry it so I have always just used crushed gravel. All anyone seems to carry here is pigeon grit, but it has charcoal and minerals added to it.

Here are some pictures of some of my oldest semps, taken today. You can see where the squirrel nibbled some of them the other night. The one off to the side has all of its offsets between its leaves this year! I kept waiting for it to push them out on stolons but it hasn't. The last picture is flowers from two of my S. ciliosum which began flowering several weeks ago.




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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
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tarev
Jun 14, 2016 5:35 PM CST
Ohhh, they are so pretty!

At first I can't find chicken grit too, then I saw them at our local Ace Hardware Store. When I did not have chicken grit before I use either pumice, kanuma or akadama, or sometimes if I get those little crushed lava rock. But I prefer chicken grit now, the one that is insoluble crushed granite.

These are my remaining ones:

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Thumb of 2016-06-14/tarev/514379

I have been experimenting where else to keep them cool, seems to like being beside a rock:

Thumb of 2016-06-14/tarev/e7c6d2 Thumb of 2016-06-14/tarev/e1012e Thumb of 2016-06-14/tarev/5a6524

Name: Greg Colucci
Seattle WA (Zone 8b)
Sempervivums Sedums Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Cactus and Succulents Container Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 1
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gg5
Jun 14, 2016 6:40 PM CST
Nice pics!! Tarev yes agree the amount of shade rocks provide is perfect for semps!!! One difference for you Paul is that it is so dry where you are, I'm not sure if they'll like that better or less so than where Tarev is...Either way I'd say do what you did for the other semps...Morning sun is what they like best I have found
Chicken grit is crushed granite and for me here they have 2 different sizes #1 or #2 and I use the #1 because it is more fine. The small offsets are able to push their roots out easier than other things I've used, and yet it keeps a bit of water but not too much! I tip my hat to you. The cilliosum types have always seemed fussy to me I have a couple and they look sad! I tip my hat to you.
Plants bring me peace and calm, more of what we all need Smiling
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
Jun 14, 2016 7:04 PM CST
I am glad we are in a week long cool reprieve here once more, but it is so windy, so humidity is just so low. But the semps will like it Big Grin After this week, we will return to oven temps.

Greg, what does a cilliosum type look like?
Name: Greg Colucci
Seattle WA (Zone 8b)
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gg5
Jun 14, 2016 10:09 PM CST
Here is a rough example but on this site you can find several others - green with cilia on the edges that is long enough to make the semps look fuzzy
http://www.sempervivum-liste.de/Sempervivum/ciliosum%20%28ba...
Plants bring me peace and calm, more of what we all need Smiling
Name: Paul
Antelope Valley, S. California
Zone 8B/9A
Region: California
cahdg6891
Jun 14, 2016 11:34 PM CST
Tarev, yours are beautiful! I love the shade of light green that the ones in the first picture are. Are those some of your noids? I never thought to check a hardware store for chicken grit! We have an Ace Hardware about 20 minutes away that I will check out the next time I am close to it Thumbs up

Greg, will they send roots down through the pebbles to reach the soil? Before I would just clear a spot for the offsets to rest on top of the soil and then pile gravel around them.

I think the ciliosums and hairy cultivars are some of my favorites. A bit sad that those two rosettes are flowering, but they have plenty of little ones to carry on and the flowers are a treat to see.
[Last edited by cahdg6891 - Jun 14, 2016 11:53 PM (+)]
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Jun 15, 2016 9:42 AM CST
Hi Paul, yes those are my noids. It used to look like this when I first got it: got it in June 2013, from a Bay Area nursery, repotted it, and then kept on bolting through summer as it felt our summer heat here:

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Then I repotted it after the blooming was done, with lots of empty spots, moved it to the bonsai containers it lives in now. I still lost some, the following years were really so dry and hotter then. So thankful we had rains last winter and the cool Spring season this year was longer, it seems to help them cope much better.

Greg, thanks for the links! So those are the cillosum ones! Oh I love those that get red tipped! Lovey dubby
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
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valleylynn
Jun 17, 2016 9:03 PM CST

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Hi there Paul. I just found this post, late to the party. *Blush*
A grea big Welcome! and so glad you found your way here.
Your semps look wonderfully healthy so you must be doing right by them. Your crushed gravel looks very nice and seems to do well for you.
One that my daughter had good luck with in Las Cruses, New Mexico was Sempervivum calcareum 'Limelight'. Hen-and-Chickens (Sempervivum 'Limelight')
Here are some more ciliosum listed in our database. http://garden.org/plants/search/text.php?ppid=186377&q=cilio...

Tarev you semps are looking great. You sure have figured out how to take care of them in your part of the world.
Name: Paul
Antelope Valley, S. California
Zone 8B/9A
Region: California
cahdg6891
Jun 18, 2016 4:01 AM CST
Hi Tarev, I am glad that that one has made it through your summers! I love the color and the shape of the rosette and leaves, such a beautiful little plant. How much time do your semps spend in the sun every day? Today I was draping my racks of succulents with shade cloth, the next few days are supposed to be hot (107 on Monday!). You can see a lot of the smoke from the wildfires going on too which makes it feel even hotter.

Hi, Lynn and Thank You! for the welcome! Smiling going through the database I have been amazed at how many photos you have contributed! I can't imagine how much time it must have taken you to take and add all of those photographs, they are a pleasure to go through.

Thank you for the links! I have just added 'Limelight' to my list of plants to buy Green Grin! I have several standard calcareums and their growth rate and hardiness here has surprised me. Hopefully they continue to fare as well for me as Limelight has for your daughter!

Originally I didn't add gravel or anything as a top dressing in my pots, and many of them would have droopy lower leaves, almost as if they were trying to lift themselves right out of the soil. But as soon as I surrounded them with gravel and made sure to tuck it up under their leaves as well they perked right up. I wonder how they can tell. My only peeve is not knowing their proper names. They are tough little desert dwellers!
Name: Tim Stoehr
Canby, Oregon (Zone 8b)
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tcstoehr
Jun 18, 2016 10:02 AM CST
cahdg6891 said:Greg, will they send roots down through the pebbles to reach the soil? Before I would just clear a spot for the offsets to rest on top of the soil and then pile gravel around them.


I had the same question at one point and was assured that, yes, the roots are easily capable of growing through air, between pebble crevices, and seeking out the soil below. I have since seen it myself. Any chick that has grown to a decent size seems to have roots down through the gravel I use.
Name: Paul
Antelope Valley, S. California
Zone 8B/9A
Region: California
cahdg6891
Jun 18, 2016 11:57 PM CST
Hi Tim, good to hear that Thumbs up I've seen little white roots coming out of some of my jovibarba rollers when they were still suspended in midair above the parent plant. Very interesting. Will leave my offsets sitting on top of gravel from now on and let them do their own thing.
Name: Greg Colucci
Seattle WA (Zone 8b)
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gg5
Jun 19, 2016 12:15 AM CST
Paul that is a good idea - don't know if I ever even answered your question about the roots, but I have found as Tim states once they begin developing and spreading into the gravel, then they continue on into the soil!
Thumbs up
Plants bring me peace and calm, more of what we all need Smiling

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