Sempervivum forum→Sick Sempervivum caucasium?

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Massachusetts
dairyfreechocolate
Jan 17, 2020 6:58 PM CST
Hello,

I'm new to this forum but I think it's exactly what I need! I have a sempervivum caucasicum I got over the summer, but I'm worried it might be sick. I keep it indoors, in the sunniest window in the house; it happily gave me four chicks a few moths ago and those all seem to be doing well. The lower half of the mom's leaves, though, are all turned down and I don't know why. I tried moving it to a different room, and gave it a little more water than usual, with no signs of change. Its been like this for a while and I just want to make sure she'll be okay! I think I read somewhere that some sempervivum don't like being indoors and need a winter frost to be really healthy; I live in hardiness zone 5b-6b (not totally sure oops).

Any tips?
Name: Lynn
Oregon City, 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 17, 2020 7:05 PM CST

Moderator

Hi dairyfreechocolate, so nice to meet you. And so glad you found your way here. You came to the right place, there are many here that are happy to help you figure out what is going on with your S. caucasium.
You are correct, they don't like to live indoors, they are outdoor alpine type plants that enjoy winter weather.
Let's start out with talking about where you live? What kind of potting mix are you using?
It also really helps if you can take a few photos for us to see what it looks like, it also lets us see what your potting mix looks like. Can you do this? Hurray!
Massachusetts
dairyfreechocolate
Jan 17, 2020 7:34 PM CST

Thumb of 2020-01-18/dairyfreechocolate/d85326
Thumb of 2020-01-18/dairyfreechocolate/20a76b

Of course! I can't believe I forgot to attach pictures. Its night here so the light quality isn't great. The second picture is the chicks. This was actually the first succulent I bought for myself (along with 2 others in the same trip); I live in Massachusetts. I made the rookie mistake of leaving them in the soil (and pot) they came in when I got them at my local nursery, but I was thinking of re-potting them soon, in a mix of store-bought succulent and cactus soil with some perlite mixed in. I tend to give them about a tablespoon or two of water at a time, around every 5-8 days, whenever the soil looks dry.
Name: Lynn
Oregon City, 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 17, 2020 8:53 PM CST

Moderator

Good news. They should make it just fine until your spring weather arrives. I wouldn't put them outside until then, they need time to acclimate to MA weather.
I can see they are definitely etiolated for lack of proper sunlight. That is why the bottom leaves are pointing down. The offsets need to be planted higher in the containers so they have better air circulation.
I wouldn't waste money on cactus mix, plus the semps don't really seem to like it very much. You can mix very coarse sand with some regular potting mix, maybe 1 part each?, and pumice is good, or chicken grit. You can also place chicken grit under the base of the plants about an inch deep to keep the leaves from touching the soil. When you repot them remove all the dead and soft/mushy leaves. They won't need much in the way of watering until they can go outside.
@JungleShadows Kevin can tell you about when they can go outside, and the best environment for them in MA. He is a master at growing them and started in MA.

Welcome to the group. Hurray! Before you know it you will have many different cultivars. Big Grin
Name: Kevin Vaughn
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
JungleShadows
Jan 18, 2020 5:13 PM CST
I would start bringing your plant outdoors, at first in some shade, in warmer days of March, gradually increasing the exposure, but bringing the plant back indoors at night when freezing temperatures are still possible. Usually in May things are safe enough to plant outdoors although cover it should there be any chance of frost. It will also take a while for the plant to adapt to higher light levels. You can scorch a plant taking it into too much light. S. caucasicum is a bit of a harder specimen to grow as it wants a dry, cool summer.

So take the pledge NOW! NO MORE SEMPS INDOORS!!

I remember during one dwarf iris tour in early May we had 12" of snow at my folks' place. We brushed off the snow and the irises looked pretty good, actually protected from the cold by the snow. Of course snow in May is why I'm in OR not MA now. Love the people; hate the climate!

Kevin
[Last edited by valleylynn - Jan 19, 2020 12:02 AM (+)]
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Massachusetts
dairyfreechocolate
Jan 21, 2020 6:44 PM CST
Thank you all for the help! The re-potting has given my semps a bit of a pick-me-up, and I definitely won't be keeping any more as indoor plants after this! What would you say about keeping them in pots outdoors? I'm going abroad for the semester so I'm going to have to leave the semps for my mom to take care of and move outdoors.
Name: Mark McDonough
Massachusetts (Zone 5a)
Region: Massachusetts Enjoys or suffers cold winters Garden Procrastinator Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Foliage Fan
Birds Seed Starter Hybridizer Sempervivums
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AntMan01
Jan 21, 2020 7:53 PM CST
Hello DairyFreeChocolate,

I'm in Massachusetts and have grown semps in pots and planters for years, they live outside all year long. On sunny mornings in winter (such as today 01/21/2020) I sit outside on my deck for a hot cup of tea (yes, only 11F this morning, LOL) and observe some of my potted semps that I have on the deck, they're happily frozen with rosettes hunkered down for the winter. Good luck with your semester abroad.

Thumb of 2020-01-22/AntMan01/c5dac6

Avatar: Jovibarba x nixonii 'Jowan'
I use #2 chicken grit to feed my hens & chicks :-)
Name: Lynn
Oregon City, 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 21, 2020 11:24 PM CST

Moderator

Yes, have a wonderful semester abroad. You can start a new thread here in the sempervivum Forum and keep us updated on your travels. We would love to travel along with you.
Massachusetts
dairyfreechocolate
Mar 28, 2020 11:31 AM CST
I'm back for Spring! I've started moving my semps out on warmer days, they already seem to be enjoying the increased sunlight. I hope everyone is doing well!
Name: Lynn
Oregon City, 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
Image
valleylynn
Mar 28, 2020 6:39 PM CST

Moderator

dfc, yay your back. Hurray!
We look forward to seeing your sun happy semps.

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