Sempervivum and Jovibarba forum: Help my sempervivum are elongating!

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Name: Sandi
Denver, Colorado (Zone 5b)
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picklepuff
Mar 31, 2012 6:13 PM CST
The weather here in Colorado has been unseasonably warm! Eighty plus degrees today! My semps on my hillside are elongating. Almost as if they are going to bolt. Has anyone ever had this happen? Is it due to the fact that it is extremely hot or the they are planted on a hillside? Shrug!
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
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valleylynn
Mar 31, 2012 7:38 PM CST

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Can you give us a photo Sandi?
Name: Sandi
Denver, Colorado (Zone 5b)
Crested lover
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picklepuff
Apr 1, 2012 11:27 AM CST
Ok..... so here are some pictures. the semps that are elongating are on a hillside on the south facing side of my house. This is a new bed for me. At least 90% of the semps in this location are elongating. I'm not sure if this is in reaction to the extreme temperature changes we have had here in Colorado or if it is the location. The temps have been in the mid 70's and low 80's for about 2 weeks.




Thumb of 2012-04-01/picklepuff/c39bfd

Thumb of 2012-04-01/picklepuff/c826db


Thumb of 2012-04-01/picklepuff/f06da6
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
Apr 1, 2012 12:46 PM CST

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The first photo definitely looks like it is getting ready to send up a bloom stalk.
When were they planted there? Where were they before you planted them?
How much shade do they get?
Any other information you can give us about their history may help. Do you know how old the rosettes are?

By the way, great photos. Thumbs up

Just a note, many of us last year ended up with new plants that were young offsets that ended up bolting. We are not sure why.
Some of the responded to twits method of beheading them, once you are sure they are going to form a bloom stalk. Almost all of them that I did that to last year ended up giving me a few offsets to carry one.

From last year.
S. 'Hookerii' went from this:
Thumb of 2012-04-01/valleylynn/1eb746

and finally to this:
Thumb of 2012-04-01/valleylynn/be3ba7

to this:
Thumb of 2012-04-01/valleylynn/2b87b7

This is what it looks like this year:
Thumb of 2012-04-01/valleylynn/ad0966

Every single tiny offset bloomed. : (
But beheading them all did force the plant to form more offsets some of which still bloomed, but it did leave some to carry on.
Name: Sandi
Denver, Colorado (Zone 5b)
Crested lover
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picklepuff
Apr 1, 2012 1:22 PM CST
All are new (less than 1 year old) from North Hills Nursery, SMG, and Timberline Gardens. The rosettes from Timberline are mature and are in large clumps. The rosettes from SMG and North Hill Nursery are young. I planted all plants in pots first then moved to the bed last fall. The elongated look started about a week ago and is progressing rapidly. Our weather here in Colorado changed within a few weeks from 40-50 degrees to 70-80 degrees. The bed is on the southside in full sun. Minimal shade. I have watered every few days but only for the past 2 weeks.
This is a picture I took before the semps started elongating.
Thumb of 2012-04-01/picklepuff/5e1b18


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
Apr 1, 2012 2:23 PM CST

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What a beautiful rock garden Sandi.
We still aren't certain what will trigger the young ones to bloom. It could be to many moves within a year?
Weather?

I know the ones that I had problems with last year came from many different places, so it's not the source. I am really beginning to think it was the weird weather we had last year, along with moving/transplanting them. Although none of my own (not new last year) didn't have the problem. I know some I sent out bloomed at their new home.
So maybe it is a combination of a number of events that meet at just the right time?

This will be an interesting year, it has already shown to be an unusual winter and spring for us. Who know what will happen this growing season?
Name: tabby
denver, colorado zone 5
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tabby
Apr 1, 2012 6:36 PM CST
Mine haven't done that yet, but mine are probably a couple of weeks behind yours. I sure hope the news ones that are single hens don't end up doing that or I could be out a lot of varieties.

It's been WAAAAYYY too hot here!
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
Apr 1, 2012 6:52 PM CST

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It's way to cold here and wet. I just came in from walking across the lawn to the shed. Water was coming up from the grass and going over my shoes. Sad

We are just never happy with our weather, are we. Whistling

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
twitcher
Apr 5, 2012 2:00 PM CST
The asymmetric growth pattern that the pics are showing indicates that the light source that the plants are responding to is coming from an angle. It would be normal for the plants to adjust their shape to maximize the amount they are getting, so do not be too concerned when you see one side of the plant get longer than the other. They are probably getting either late afternoon or early morning sun, then a fair amount of shade during the mid-day. The last pic shows a plant in shade. I would watch to make sure that the plants are getting at least some sun every day. Too much shade is not good for them and will cause them to elongate, especially in damp conditions.

Otherwise the plants look healthy. Lynn has given you great advice about dealing with blooming. I believe that the plants respond to stress in a number of ways that trigger blooming. A mature rosette, removed from a colony, may decide to bloom early when it senses that it is the only one around. It is normal to lose the larger rosettes within a year of getting a new addition. Always "look" at the pots that contain mature or larger rosettes to see what the plants look like, but "buy" the pots that contain the most offsets that are not mature. (Patience to grow them out really is a virtue in this case Whistling )

The urge to produce seed when the population is low would be a survival trait. I've noticed that plants in a colony will often suppress blooming for years, then all of a sudden you'll get a lot of flowers when something about the environment changes.

The Hookeri cross shown in Lynn's picture is a very tiny semp and difficult to tell mature rosettes from 1 y/o rosettes, so it can be hard to judge age with them. Trust the plants to decide what is the best thing for them to do in their growing conditions. However, know that it is not unusual for a collector to lose a plant when just getting started with them. If you have a single, large semp you think might bloom or is starting to bloom, then move immediately to propagation strategies, such as "Vertical Division", if it would be difficult for you to replace it. Try that method using semps you have plenty of, to learn how to do it, before you need to use it to rescue a valuable plant.

Name: Audrie
Parker, CO (Zone 5a)
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t1nkerbelle
Apr 5, 2012 5:04 PM CST
Lots of valuable information here!!! Thank you!!!! So wish I had found you guys last year.... I purchased some cobweb hens and chicks and two of the plants went to bloom in its entirety and this year they are dead. I was hoping they would sprout some chicks but NOPE!!! Beheading would've been valuable info.... Crying
Henderson, NC (Zone 7a)
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dahtzu
Apr 13, 2012 2:47 PM CST
HAHAHAAAAAAAA I'm so greedy...... Drooling Rolling my eyes. Whistling
Just love them all, even the elongating ones. Lynn your S. 'Hookerii is beautiful in all forms.
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
Apr 13, 2012 4:11 PM CST

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Thanks Faye, I was so glad I didn't lose them all last summer. I love those tiny semps. : )

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twitcher
Apr 13, 2012 6:05 PM CST
If you want to make your semps elongate and if they are in a pot, prop the pot up so that it is standing at an angle. You may see some semps elongate that way.

(Asymmetrical elongation of some leaves)
[Last edited by twitcher - Apr 14, 2012 4:47 AM (+)]
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Name: Sandi
Denver, Colorado (Zone 5b)
Crested lover
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Butterflies Hummingbirder Sedums Xeriscape
Bulbs Dog Lover Echinacea Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Peonies Plant and/or Seed Trader
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picklepuff
Apr 13, 2012 6:41 PM CST
Ok....so I think I solved the mystery of the semps elongating. I'm sure it was in response to extreme temperature changes. I decided to move a couple to a shadier area of my yard. Almost within days, the semps opened up and started to "flatten out" some. This is the last semp pictured above. S. 'Iwo'

Thumb of 2012-04-14/picklepuff/2e185c Thumb of 2012-04-14/picklepuff/227d64
Henderson, NC (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Tip Photographer I sent a postcard to Randy! Sempervivums Irises Region: United States of America
Daylilies Dog Lover Garden Ideas: Level 2 Region: North Carolina Lilies
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dahtzu
Apr 17, 2012 3:26 PM CST
Awesome!
Name: Audrie
Parker, CO (Zone 5a)
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t1nkerbelle
Apr 19, 2012 5:20 PM CST
Awesome!!! Glad you figured it out!!!

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