Sempervivum forum: Hens and Chicks in spring rain

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Ehina
Apr 18, 2019 3:17 PM CST
So I recently decided to bring all my hens and their chicks outside and transplanted them into some outdoor containers. Ever since it had rained quite a bit, we had a nasty storm roll through last night so I went outside and covered them up so they wouldn't get too much rain. They are hardy in my area so I plan on leaving them out year round (I'm in zone 6b) but I'm worried that too much water will kill them! One chick I got from my in-laws lake house property (in the ozarks) where they have them all over and they haven't died from too much rain and the weather there is the same as where I am. I'm just worried. Any thoughts? Sad Confused
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Plant Identifier Plays in the sandbox Greenhouse
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plantmanager
Apr 18, 2019 3:43 PM CST
They will be fine if you planted them in a well draining mix with lots of pumice, perlite or chicken grit in it. Where are you located?
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Ehina
Apr 18, 2019 4:14 PM CST
plantmanager said:They will be fine if you planted them in a well draining mix with lots of pumice, perlite or chicken grit in it. Where are you located?


I have them in some miracle grow potting soil for palms, citrus and succulents. I'm east of St.Louis, Mo
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 18, 2019 6:33 PM CST

Moderator

Hi Ehina, so nice to meet you and a big Welcome! to NGA.

Karen that was great advice. Ehina I am not familiar with the potting mix. Just keep an eye on them for signs of stress. As Karen said, it is all about good drainage.

We would love to see photos of your semps. Smiling

Ehina
Apr 19, 2019 10:05 AM CST
valleylynn said:Hi Ehina, so nice to meet you and a big Welcome! to NGA.

Karen that was great advice. Ehina I am not familiar with the potting mix. Just keep an eye on them for signs of stress. As Karen said, it is all about good drainage.

We would love to see photos of your semps. Smiling


I'm not too sure how well it drains. It's always been something I've tinkered with. I have some large lava rocks that I'm going to bust up and mix into the soil. Hopefully that will make adequate drainage.
heres some pictures, hopefully I attached them correctly Crossing Fingers! *Blush*


Thumb of 2019-04-19/Ehina/7ea71f
Thumb of 2019-04-19/Ehina/98989c
Thumb of 2019-04-19/Ehina/48836f
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Plant Identifier Plays in the sandbox Greenhouse
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plantmanager
Apr 19, 2019 10:08 AM CST
They all look great, Ehina! I love the colors on that first photo.
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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
Apr 19, 2019 11:06 AM CST

Moderator

Great photo Ehina. Thumbs up
They all look wonderful. Lovey dubby
It would be helpful if you added a top dressing of chicken grit/small gravel to keep the bottom leaves from laying on the soil. Put a nice thick layer under the leaves and up against the crown of the plant. This will give added protection.

Ehina
Apr 20, 2019 8:32 AM CST
valleylynn said:Great photo Ehina. Thumbs up
They all look wonderful. Lovey dubby
It would be helpful if you added a top dressing of chicken grit/small gravel to keep the bottom leaves from laying on the soil. Put a nice thick layer under the leaves and up against the crown of the plant. This will give added protection.


I'll have to go pick some up! In the bird bath the middle guy I brought home from my fiancé's great grand mother's house and it's always been pushing itself out if the soil, I never thought to add a top dressing. I'm sure that will help it out!
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 Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level
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valleylynn
Apr 20, 2019 8:36 AM CST

Moderator

I love it when a plant has a special connection through people we care about.
I look forward to watching your babies grow and thrive.

Ehina
Apr 21, 2019 2:58 PM CST
valleylynn said:Great photo Ehina. Thumbs up
They all look wonderful. Lovey dubby
It would be helpful if you added a top dressing of chicken grit/small gravel to keep the bottom leaves from laying on the soil. Put a nice thick layer under the leaves and up against the crown of the plant. This will give added protection.


I'll have to go pick some up! In the bird bath the middle guy I brought home from my fiancé's great grand mother's house and it's always been pushing itself out if the soil, I never thought to add a top dressing. I'm sure that will help it out!
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 Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level
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valleylynn
Apr 21, 2019 4:44 PM CST

Moderator

Yes, it will help with the heaving during freezing and thawing times.
Name: Kaso
Western Idaho
shule
Jun 6, 2019 11:21 PM CST
I know people always say that Sempervivum don't like very much water, and that they love lots of sun, but I've never noticed any of ours dying from too much water. When it rains a lot here, they get huge and nice! I have, however, noticed them dying from too much sun combined with lack of water. We've had them for years, and there are lots of them. I think it's Sempervivum tectorum (but I could be wrong). We don't give ours special soil (just the regular garden soil). Ours grow better in the shade here. I'm in southwestern Idaho. We've got a clay loam type soil (in some parts it drains well and in some parts it doesn't). Soil in our area, including the neighborhood, tends to be alkaline (but we haven't tested the pH in our yard).

I wonder if ours is just a special kind of Sempervivum, or if our soil is special, or what. What is everyone else's experience? Our climate is semi-arid (but it does often rain a lot in the early spring, including this year).

They seem to survive the winter fine here, even if it gets about -20° F., whether it rains/snows much in the winter and spring or not.

I'm guessing where too much water would be more of a problem would be in humid areas, particularly when it's warm while it's super wet (since fungus that causes rot is probably inhibited by the cold). It's very, very dry, and very very hot here in the summer.
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
Jun 7, 2019 12:51 PM CST

Moderator

Hi shule, Welcome! to the Sempervivum forum. So glad you found your way here.

Great observations in your growing area. We have several members that grow in similar conditions. @dirtdorphins and
@plantmanager are two of them.

In my area I only water in the months of July thru September. This is drought season for the Willamette Valley, OR. We get no rain during this time.
I did have to water several times in May and the first week of June this year, a first for me. We didn't get any rain which is unusual for us.

We'd love to see photos of your beauties.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Jun 7, 2019 1:01 PM CST
Hello shule, on my side, my Semps are happiest during late Fall to early Spring. That is the time of the year where we have more rain. The rest of the year, we go too hot and dry, so I have to repositon them to some shade or filtered light and water them practically everyday, but directly to the soil, early in the morning. Otherwise I might rot the rosette, since they will naturally shut down when temps are hovering already in the high 90F to 100F mark. Either they get toasted or bolt when temps goes too thermally hot here. So I realize I have to help the plant cool down at root zone, growing them in a very gritty media, so even if I water often, it will not compromise the roots.
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
Jun 7, 2019 1:18 PM CST

Moderator

Hi tarev. You do such a great job of growing succulents of all types. Have you ever used ice cubes to water semps, thus cooling the roots? Just wondering.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
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tarev
Jun 7, 2019 1:25 PM CST
I tried it, but I realized the semps have naturally shut down, so I just have to patiently wait and reposition them in shade till the hot summer is over. It is interesting to see the coping mechanism this plant does, closing the rosettes to protect itself from excessive heat.

But this growing season is way different. We had more rains in winter to Spring and extended cool period all the way to May, so my semps are very happy for a change. Big Grin
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 Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level
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valleylynn
Jun 7, 2019 2:58 PM CST

Moderator

I bet they are happy tarev. Mine close up in summer drought also, I don't water enough to keep them open during this time. We don't get the extended heat that you get.
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Plant Identifier Plays in the sandbox Greenhouse
Sempervivums Bromeliad Adeniums Morning Glories Avid Green Pages Reviewer Brugmansias
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plantmanager
Jun 7, 2019 3:13 PM CST
With our hot weather and long summer drought I have to water about every 4 or 5 days. If not, they look very sad. Some of them close up.
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Cat Lover Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Region: California Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
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tarev
Jun 7, 2019 6:43 PM CST
It is a bit tricky once they have gone dormant, any watering will just cause rotting too, since it is not going to do any active growing. But they still need some water, to keep the roots safely cooled down.
Name: Bob
North Carolina (Zone 7b)
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DigginDirt
Jun 8, 2019 2:21 PM CST
I live in NC so heat & humidity can get high in the summer. My Semps are in 50/50 mix (topsoil with woody compost I get from a local landscape material seller); I added perma-til (small gravel, often used for mole/vole control).
In my potted mix I substitute some or all the perma-til with Turface (a baked clay product that is usually used for the infield baselines of baseball fields).

All my in-ground gardens are raised beds 4 to 8" or so high which of course helps with drainage (and it's a little easier to weed - something that's becoming a bigger issue for me at my age).

We had a wet summer last year and a soaking wet winter. All my Semps have done very well through that. There is fine-to-medium gravel, perma-til, and Turface around each type of Semp as ValleyLynn said; I used these different mediums simply because they are different colors, so I could add a simple artistic flair, but they do the same thing... keep the bottom of the plants off the ground.

The only Semps I have lost has been to squirrels (I think). I'm not sure if they ate them or stole them for window boxes in their nests; they seem to love to come dig right after I've done anything with the soil - transplanting, weeding, re-mulching, so they are my prime suspect. I haven't had a problem after the first months - I decided if they continued that I would place potted cactus around that area to discourage them. The rest of the Semps have been unmolested for several years now.

Maybe it's a bit naive on my part, but in their natural habitat any plant is going to more rain than usual at some point, and it will also get less at other times. Nature provides for them to "ignore" what they don't need; we just need to make sure we provide a way for excess water to run off rather than standing around the roots, and let nature do the rest.

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