Sempervivum forum: Identifying Sempervivum Seedlings

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North Richland Hills, TX (Zone 8a)
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Rido
Jan 7, 2020 8:31 PM CST
Hello, could anyone ID these sempervivum.seedlings or what species they might be? They are two months old and a lot different than other sempervivum seedlings. I have ordered seeds online and received more than I have ordered so I have about 1500 seedlings to worry about when spring comes up. Only 7 out of all seedlings look like the ones in pictures. They have glossy dark green leaves. My interest for Sempervivums started 3 years ago however keeping them healthy through all seasons in Texas have been challenge especially during summer. I have not give up yet. I will learn as much as I can about these plants , hopefully I will find some that are tolerant to heat and direct sun at the same time. Thanks.
Ridvan
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Name: Sol Zimmerdahl
Portland, Oregon (Zone 8b)
Sempervivums Garden Art Container Gardener
GeologicalForms
Jan 7, 2020 10:41 PM CST
Those certainly are interesting ones Ridvan.
When their that young it's hard to tell anything about them. They have so much changing left to do.
Early stage deformities are much more common than ones that stick around, but sometimes you luck out and get an oddball that stays that way. The second photo looks like a double headed rosette and the first also looks a bit odd. I had a lot of weird looking rosettes when my first batch germinated during the spring of last year, only two of them retained their odd shapes and a few of the others were weak and passed away before I could see if the deformities stuck.

In general, when I think of smooth leaved species I think of Tectorum, Calcerum, Wulfenii, and Marmoreum (which like Heuffelii, sometimes come with a little fuzz), but there are many other less common species that might not have fur. It's worth saying also that they are quite possibly not a straight species but hybrids of some kind. In fact, that is much more likely, as nearly all named cultivars grown in nurseries are combinations of various sub-species. All Sempervivum can intercross (theoretically) and hybridizers have been breeding with mutts for generations.
I've always wondered about those internet seed packages, you'll have to keep us posted as they develop!
-Sol Zimmerdahl
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
Jan 7, 2020 11:03 PM CST

Moderator

Hello Ridvan. Nice to meet you, and welcome to NGA. So glad you found your way here.
What sweet seedlings you have. Just so you know, sempervivum do not come true to the parent from seed. So what you have are genetically unique and different semps. Each with it's own sets of genes. Hurray!
They need to be at least 2 years old to begin to see what they might look like as a mature rosette. You are getting relatively warm weather right now? Be sure you don't let the seedlings dry out, they will quickly die.
Let's see what Kevin can add for more advice on growing them in Texas.
@JungleShadows
Name: Kevin Vaughn
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
JungleShadows
Jan 8, 2020 12:48 PM CST
Ridvan,

You will get a lot of weird little seedlings especially in some crosses. Most of those weirdly formed ones will either perish or turn into a more normal form most of the time. One I named 'Weirdo' was weird from day one though and kept right on staying weird. 53 years later, it still is!

In the South you must provide protection from sun and summer humidity. One of my friends had the best luck with 50% shade cloth but probably 75% in summer would be even better. In MS the only way I could grow them was in troughs in a very light mix and in high shade (not dense shade but shade from high trees so there is good ventilation. Half whisky barrels worked well as they had enough soil plus could be moved. One warning: FIRE ANTS love to make a nest in the whisky barrels. That is a NASTY surprise.

Kevin
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
Jan 8, 2020 2:32 PM CST

Moderator

Thank you Kevin, it helps that you have in the past grown semps in some very difficult situations.
North Richland Hills, TX (Zone 8a)
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Rido
Jan 8, 2020 9:35 PM CST
Thank you all! I enjoyed reading your responses and I will keep your recommendations in mind. I will try to good take care of these odd seedlings to see what they look like in a year or two if they survive that long. I will keep posting my experiences with these.
I am attaching pictures of new seedlings (first 4) and some sempervivum seedlings along with store purchased semps. from previous years. Semps. in 2nd from last picture were on the ground in sunny location. I was able to save these during the month of August before they disappear under brutal sun and heat. Seperated chicks and placed them in partial shade however the one in last picture was on the ground in sunny location until November. It is in a second year grown from seed and survived summer in Texas. It is a keeper, I know it looks boring now but rosette would open early spring with nice shape , also other colorful ones had a hard time during hottest time of the year. I need it to have some chicks. Do anyone of you know how to encourage sempervivums to have stolons organic way? I read somewhere that plant hormone called 6-BA would do that.






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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 Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level
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valleylynn
Jan 9, 2020 1:05 AM CST

Moderator

Using Miracle Grow Quick Start helps them to grow faster, and possible produce offsets quicker. It is inexpensive and safe to use.
I will let Kevin explain how to use it.

Your seedlings are looking healthy. You are doing something right in all your heat. Thumbs up
North Richland Hills, TX (Zone 8a)
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Rido
Jan 9, 2020 6:53 AM CST
Thanks Lynn! They love the winter here in Texas, sun is not intense and day temps around 50s and 60s, they started showing some color, although it is slightly warmer this year. I also use bacillus subtilis spray on soil and also around the pots, it seems to keep fungus away.
I lost more than half of the previous years sempervivum during summer. Saving the chicks during summer definitely helps and get them rooted indoors. I will provide more shade like placing them under deciduous trees upcoming summer and see how they do. Most will be in clay pots, hypertufa and wood containers this time around. Thank you for your suggestions.
Ridvan
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
Jan 9, 2020 10:00 AM CST

Moderator

I look forward to seeing your progress. Would love to see more photos as the seasons come and go. This could be very helpful to others that live in Texas. My daughter just bought a place outside of Wylie and was hoping to grow some.
Name: Kevin Vaughn
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
JungleShadows
Jan 9, 2020 12:20 PM CST
Ridvan,

Yes I use Quick Start at half strength to get the seedlings growing. They get a treatment every other week. For more details you can read the chapter on hybridizing and growing seedlings in my book on Sempervivum. It's for sale on Amazon.

The semps looked best for me in winter in MS too. Just cold enough to get the pretty colors. If most of yours are in pots then moving them to shade in summer is definitely a help. In MS, I moved mine under the patio in summer so they got less rain and less sun. I think MS is even LESS like the Alps than TX!! We had in excess of 80" of rain some years.

Kevin

Name: Sol Zimmerdahl
Portland, Oregon (Zone 8b)
Sempervivums Garden Art Container Gardener
GeologicalForms
Jan 9, 2020 2:51 PM CST
Ridvan,
Kevin's book is fantastic, it has detailed step by steps on raising seed and hybridizing, as well as notes on various cultivars, nurseries and a history of the species. Very comprehensive, I bought mine a couple years back and have read it multiple times.
Here's a link to our sempervivum seedling chat thread, it's jam packed with experiences of seed raisers and discussions about the topic. It's a great place to get feedback and see other people's work, it'd be fun to have another seed raiser adding to the discussion. The whole thread is almost 100 pages long, but feel free to jump in at the end with seedling pictures, thoughts or questions...
https://garden.org/thread/go/5...
Goodluck Ridvan! Looks like you've got quite the operation going!
-Sol Zimmerdahl
North Richland Hills, TX (Zone 8a)
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Rido
Jan 9, 2020 9:25 PM CST
Lynn,
Wylie is one hour away from where I live, she can come here some time in spring to pick up a few. I have way too many for my planting needs.

Kevin,
That is fantastic. I now know someone have written a book about Sempervivum. Growing plants such as sempervivum will be full time hobby of mine when I retire so I will need some references. Thank you!

Sol,
Your seedlings look great. Two of them have a lot of babies. Have you done anything special for them to have this many babies?

Thanks,
Ridvan
Name: Sol Zimmerdahl
Portland, Oregon (Zone 8b)
Sempervivums Garden Art Container Gardener
GeologicalForms
Jan 9, 2020 10:28 PM CST
Ridvan,
Glad you got a chance to see some of my seedlings! I do use some quick start during the growing season, but my soil is also hand-mixed. I use a 1inch layer of potting soil on the surface (as suggested in Kevin's book), but beneath it is a combination of 50% inorganic and 50% organic components. I use worm castings and charcoal which really give the plants a boost, the rest is steer manure, compost, clay, pine bark, fine gravel, landscaping sand, which help with aeration drainage and add some nutrients of their own. Charcoal added to soil (or "Biochar") has been proven to increase yeild in a controlled study on corn, it's my belief that it has a similar affect on Sempervivum as it is a clean, microbe free source of nutrients. I use compost, but very little, it is easy to over do it with compost and expose the plants to excessive amounts of the very plant eating microbes that could turn on a weak semp and cause rot.
Your plantings look very organized and healthy, a good palette for growth and observation. I look forward to seeing what you come up with.
-Sol

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