Sempervivum species, including Jovibarba and Jovibarba heuffelii, need full sun (in hot arid climates they will benefit from filtered sun). Plants prefer average to rather poor, sandy or rocky soil, which must drain quickly; so water only when the soil has completely dried out. They usually do not need fertilizer, however it may be beneficial to apply bone meal as a top dressing with a sprinkling of slow release fertilizer when plants begin to grow in spring or early summer. Do not fertilize in the fall or winter, as this can harm the plants. Fertilizing stimulates new growth that may be too tender to withstand winter conditions. Once blooming has finished remove the dead rosette and replace the empty spot with a small amount of well draining planting medium. You can place one of the chicks in the empty spot. If your soil tends to be heavy, you may need to amend it with coarse sand (not builders sand) or fine gravel. If your soil is light or summers are hot and dry, add some peat moss or extra humus.
These are mainly alpine plants so most species like a blanket of snow in the winter. Some hybrids may need more protection from severe freezing, but will usually survive. They have done well for me here in the Pacific Northwest in spite of wet winter/early spring conditions. They have also survived 10°F weather for several days without snow cover. Drying winds (both freezing and hot arid winds) can be the worst enemy of your Sempervivum. When necessary, provide a wind break to shelter them.
I find it very interesting to see the changes in color and shape many of these plants go through in a year's time. Weather, soil and light conditions can have a big affect in color, size and sometimes shape. In some, the chicks look very different from the hen. All of these variations can make it difficult to identify a plant as to cultivar. If knowing the cultivar name of your plants is important to you, be sure to keep legible ID tags in place.
Sempervivum are monocarpic, meaning they flower once and die. Most species produce many chicks before blooming, which makes up for the loss of the flowering rosette. Many live 2 to 3 years before blooming. Most grow in zones 4 and up.
Cold hardy, deer proof, drought tolerant, easy care, evergreen, fast growing, heat tolerant, multi-seasonal interest.
Good for: Rock gardens, containers of all kind, xeriscaping, borders, topiary, wreaths. Your imagination is the only limit to their use.
Have some fun with Sempervivum.
Stop by and visit us at the Sempervivum Forum
Here is the same plant last Oct 09 as a rooted chick.
Links to picture of Sempervivum