Sempervivum forum→Blooms: their beauty and derivative species

Page 1 of 2 • 1 2
Views: 564, Replies: 39 » Jump to the end
Name: Sol Zimmerdahl
Portland, Oregon (Zone 8b)
Sempervivums Garden Art Container Gardener
Image
GeologicalForms
Nov 11, 2020 3:12 PM CST
Sempervivum blooms come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Often overlooked as the swan song of the rosette, I thought it might be nice to have a thread to celebrate their beauty and differences.

I will continue to edit this opening post to include new information as it pertains to the colors and shapes of blooms and their derivative species.

The bloom stalks can range from two and a half feet tall to just a centimeter above the rosette. Their shape, the shape of the flowers themselves as well as their color can be correlated with various contributing species of sempervivum. The following information will be a compilation of aspects gathered from members contributions. I'll start us off by listing some species I'm aware of and the distinctive characteristics of their subtypes:

S. arachnoideum
Bloom stalks are often medium or small, under 10" tall, some varieties cascade while others stand more erect. Flowers from pure species range in color from reddish pink to white and tend to be monochromatic. Petals are soft and wider than other species.

S. pittonii
Stalks are extra short, under 6", standing erect with very small numbers of flowers often less than 10. Flowers are pale yellow with brown dotted sepals. Petals are soft, small and thin.

S. montanum
Stalks are small to medium in size ranging from under 6" to over a foot depending on the size of the rosette and tend to stand upright. Pure flowers are a strong pink and closely spaced upon the stalk, slightly hybridized versions may have multi-tonal pink/mauve flowers.

S. ciliosum
Thumb of 2020-11-11/GeologicalForms/ff2a7c
Stalks tend to be small, under 7", and their flowers are more widely spaced often leading to smaller numbers per stalk. Larger stalks tend to branch out, but often there are so few branches that they appear to be very laterally oriented. Blooms are pale green with yellow/white overtones.

S. Calcareum

Bloom stalks are small but not necessarily short due to their strongly lateral formation. Fewer flowers and branches. Flowers are small with fewer stigmas/anthers per flower than other sempervivum. Petals are very distinct, glossy, yellow/white with a subtle green terminal stripe

S. tectorum
Thumb of 2020-11-11/GeologicalForms/2c1a68
None of my pure tectorums have bloomed, so I could use some help with the specifics on pure species to add to this list. What I can say is that tectorum bloomstalks tend to be large, 10" or more and contain larger numbers of flowers arranged conically. I believe them to have predominantly pink flowers of medium size with sepals often bearing the color of the rosette. Petals are soft with a satin texture.

S. marmoreum
I'm also less certain of this entry but from what I've observed these flowers tend to be bright pink on stalks that vary largely depending on the size of the blooming rosette. Upright branching on the smaller blooms while the larger ones tend to be conical. I was surprised to see that the cultivar 'Gold Marie' (which I'd thought to be nearly pure marmoreum) has white flowers with only a touch of pink. Some editing required here.

S. Grandiflorum
Thumb of 2021-01-31/GeologicalForms/1c5df7
(photo by F. Wischka from sempervivum-liste.de)
Stalks tend to be medium or small under 10" and branch off at a near 45 degree angle. Flowers tend to be sparse and widely spaced. Particularly fragrant. The pure species have yellow flowers, but the hybrids I've seen have multi tonal pink/mauve blooms.

S. nevandense
Thumb of 2020-11-11/GeologicalForms/cc4d17
Bloom stalks are medium large, 12" or less with a slight cascade of looser hanging branches fanning outward. Blooms are white with pointed, soft petals that are exceptionally wide at the base.

J. heufelii
Stalks are medium height 12" or less with branches directed at a sharp 45 degree angle from the stalk. They are sturdy and firm, as are their rounded petals which bear a slight gloss, overlap one another and are oriented in a closed tubular form. Tightly spaced flowers ranging in color from greenish white to bright yellow. Less anthers/stigmas than other sempervivum per flower.

J. globiferum
Similar to the j. huefelii blooms, these have tightly spaced flowers with overlapping petals forming a closed, tubular bloom. Petals tend to be more sharply pointed than their heufelii cousin's and are white with a touch of green. Less anthers/stigmas than other sempervivum per flower.

S. cantabricum
Thumb of 2020-11-25/GeologicalForms/9179f9
(a photo Lynn posted of one of the selections)
Medium sized bloomstalks under 10" with loose branches of pale white flowers with subtle tan and pink overtones.


I'd love to add other species to this list, such as S. atlanticum, S. wulfenii and other's I am less familiar with. And please say something if I've misspoke on any points, I'm an enthusiast not a scientist and will most likely have missed a thing or two.


I'd also like to discuss the dominance in flower colors. So far I've gathered that the following is true:

Pink is dominant to all other colors, though the mixing may lead to deviations in hue or create a more multi tonal pink.
Thumb of 2020-11-11/GeologicalForms/cd8ed3
('Luftsprung', a grandiflorum cross involving a pink flowered cultivar)

Green is highly recessive, and will mimic the color of any flower it is crossed with.
Thumb of 2020-11-11/GeologicalForms/246931
(ciliosum borisii)

White blooms with pink centers will lead to pink blooms even when crossed with yellow lowers (thanks Kevin). Pure white flowers may be co-dominant, changing the hue of the flowers they cross with drastically but ceasing to be pure white, I base this conclusion on the variations in monochromatic arachnoideum pink shades (some of which are extremely light) and the presence of white flowers with pink centers on some montanum and marmoreum hybrids.
Thumb of 2020-11-11/GeologicalForms/4020b7
('Crazy')

Yellow is typically recessive but has the capacity to slightly alter the shade of flowers it's crossed with.
Thumb of 2020-11-11/GeologicalForms/cf8020

I will know much more about the dominance and blends of flower colors when all of my first year seedlings have bloomed, check back next summer for an update.

Ok enough of the science! if you have some nice bloom photos I'd love it if you could help us keep the thread alive by posting them here! Some of these blooms can really be beautiful, so show us your favorites.


[Last edited by GeologicalForms - Jan 31, 2021 12:59 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #2379749 (1)
Name: Julia
Washington State (Zone 7a)
Photo Contest Winner 2018 Garden Photography Region: Pacific Northwest Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Dog Lover Sempervivums Container Gardener Foliage Fan Greenhouse
Image
springcolor
Nov 11, 2020 3:45 PM CST
Whirl-l-gig
Thumb of 2020-11-11/springcolor/754f34

Great thread.
Sempervivum for Sale
[Last edited by springcolor - Nov 11, 2020 3:46 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #2379762 (2)
Name: Sol Zimmerdahl
Portland, Oregon (Zone 8b)
Sempervivums Garden Art Container Gardener
Image
GeologicalForms
Nov 11, 2020 6:25 PM CST
I love your Whirl-l-gig bloom pic Julia! What an interesting bloom to help us get the ball rolling. Once upon a time I had a 'Whirl-l-gig' bloom to, very wild looking, but unfortunately mine set no seed. I figure it must be some form of a mutated montanum hybrid as so many of those have white flowers and velvet.
Glad you like the thread!
-Sol
Name: Kevin Vaughn
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
JungleShadows
Nov 11, 2020 9:19 PM CST
Sol,

Basically right although your tectorums with 10" flowers are something I want to see! 10" STALKS maybe although some are bigger especially the larger forms.

Both 'Persephone' and 'Lion King' have huge stalks, although cantabricums aren't as big as 'Lion King' but the shape is similar and the blooms look almost identical. Howard Wills thought the same although he told me that 'Lion King' just appeared so he doesn't know the pedigree. Calcareum has very small branches so it makes for a very tight cluster.

My 12" in diameter semp seedlings have enormous stalks, with over 200 flowers on the stalk. You can't believe how much seed that have generated. I'll be plowing a field in the spring to have space to row them out.

My arachnoideum 'Album' that I had as a kid came from Peter Mitchell and I'm betting its the same clone that Howard Wills has too.

My grandiflorum F2's have an odd mauve color to their flowers that definitely show both the marmoreum and grandiflorum colors overlaid. You get the same sort of blends of anthocyanins and carotenoids in irises. Oddly enough, I've never seen a pure yellow flower segregate back out of wulfenii hybrids like 'Silverine' although I do get some quite pale ones. I'm sure the presence and distribution of pigments is controlled by a large number of genes and of course I'm selecting for rosettes not flowers so I may have missed/ pitched the pale or yellow ones. I saved 4 very wulfenii-looking seedlings from 'Silver Song' X self so it will be interesting to see if I get yellow flowers back too.

Kevin



Name: Kevin Vaughn
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
JungleShadows
Nov 11, 2020 9:21 PM CST
Sol,

'Whirl-i-gig' is a sport of 'Cleveland Morgan that Shirley Rempel found. It is monstrose, so sterile.
Kevin
Name: Sol Zimmerdahl
Portland, Oregon (Zone 8b)
Sempervivums Garden Art Container Gardener
Image
GeologicalForms
Nov 11, 2020 10:57 PM CST
Kevin,
A 10" flower, now that really would be something wouldn't it! Look out Irises haha I'll edit that in just a moment.
I hope you like those purple sepals on the tectorum photo I posted, that's from one of your 'Borscht' siblings, the flowers almost look purple to as they are a darker pink with purple structures holding up the pollen and dark polen sacks to cast purple shadows on the petals. I crossed that one with lion king this summer, it is VERY dark purple all year. I remember you saying that the albinism in the white arachnoideum flowers could be coralated to the rosette's lack of color, perhaps the opposite (but same principle) is causing these tectorum flowers to be so dark, and maybe that purple hue could be advanced even further till the flowers were unmistakably purple?
So cantabricum, medium under 10" with loose branches full of flowers that look like this...
Thumb of 2020-11-12/GeologicalForms/710e28
(a photo Lynn posted of one of the selections) would you say this white/tan/pink flower is accurate? I did have a great big 'Lion King' bloom last summer but I can't remember the flower color. Like you, I'd never put much thought into the blossoms before about halfway through this season and lion king had already done its thing by then. I did notice a few standouts in the bloom department in 2019 and tried to self them, but hadn't taken photos till this year. I think next season I'll try to document every bloom in the yard, it might give me an excuse not to cross all of them!
A field sounds appropriate for those big ones, can you imagine selecting for mound development?
I noticed the white blooming arachnoideum 'Albium' that Lynn mentioned was crossed with your 'Album' to produce 'Baby Boo'. Interesting as that is, unfortunately it's a white x white cross so it doesn't tell us much about the dominance of white arachnoideum blooms. However it's open pollenated seedling 'Shampoo' has bright pink flowers so white is likely recessive, not that it can be definitively said based on a single example.
I thought Whirl-i-gigs flowers looked like a distorted 'Cleveland Morgan', which is where the montanum suggestion came from. Color's the same to.
So marmoreums are contributing the pink to the grandiflorum's you have then? Any explanation for why Goldmarie has white blooms? I thought it was such a casebook marmoreum but I guess it is much larger than most.
I got this extremely wulfenii looking seedling from 'Grey Lady' x 'Lilac Time', I do plan to keep it because it's large and makes a nice tight mound fast. Perhaps I'll be surprised to find yellow flowers on it when it blooms...
Thumb of 2020-11-12/GeologicalForms/79fafc
I've never seen a pure wulfenii bloom, and as you'd imagine I would have expected them to be pink. 'Thunder' which we've pinned as a wulfenii x montanum has pink blossoms, since neither of those should be pink on their own, one has to assume theres a third species at work. Maybe the perpetual presence of pink flowers in most wulfenii descendants is because somewhere along the line the wulfenii genes paired with a tectorum and all of our tetraploid descendants have WT genes that continue to pair in each generation.
-Sol
Name: Kevin Vaughn
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
JungleShadows
Nov 12, 2020 12:04 AM CST
Sol,

No wulfenii has yellow blossoms, although pale ones. It bloomed for me once in MA. I almost cried though as it left one small increase!

Another possibility is that the various white flowers are from different mutations so that two different whites crossed give the complementary pink. That is w1 w1 W2 W2 (white) X W1 W1 w2 w2 (different white) gives W1w1 W2 w2 (pink). I had selfed Shampoo but didn't keep any of its kid to maturity. Too much like mom.

Kevin

Name: Sol Zimmerdahl
Portland, Oregon (Zone 8b)
Sempervivums Garden Art Container Gardener
Image
GeologicalForms
Nov 12, 2020 3:41 PM CST
Kevin,
It seems we are at a loss for pure grandiflorums and wulfeniis here in the pacific northwest. I've tried to purchase both before and think in both cases I wound up with hybrids not pure species.
The differing genetic combination leading to a completely different phenotype makes sense. I had noticed some pictures of the white flowering 'Baby Boo' show red leaf backings, so perhaps that one isn't an albino but has a different gene that turns flowers white. So many of the arachnoideums look similar that I imagine it'd be tough to select for distinction. Pure arachnoideums have been a very small segment of my program, I do have some self crosses from 'Spumoni' and an arach cross or two, but I'm mostly interested in crossing them to other species. Yes the biggest issue with breeding for blooms is that to make optimal selections you'd have to wait till each plant has finished it's lifecycle completely, that's a lot of time. The ones I've bread for flower color this year will likely be selected on the basis of the rosette, and I'll just cross my fingers that the blooms look as I'd imagined on whichever ones I select. One thing I've considered to solve the issue of space when selecting for blooms is to only keep the first rosette and an offset or two for each seedling, discarding all other offsets to minimize the volume of potentially unwanted plants until you've seen all of them bloom and a selection can be made on the basis of the flowers. Just a thought at this point, I don't know how it'll work out in the end, but I have crossed for blooms and will do whatever I can within reason to see that the proper selections are made, be the blooms a second or first priority over the rosettes.

nice day today, I'm considering moving some 1 year old seedlings from a shady bed to a sunnier one so I can see what they look like with good light next year, it's a lot of work just to adjust light exposure, and it's getting late in the year for transplanting, don't know if it's worth it to carry them over, and I only have a few hours of daylight left. What do you think Kevin? ever try selecting from a shadier area?
-Sol
Name: Kevin Vaughn
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
JungleShadows
Nov 12, 2020 7:00 PM CST
Sol,

The pure wulfeniis are really not good plants. Pretty yes but horrid for growth, one increase/ year and on "too sturdy" stolons, at least for my taste. Mine eventually bloomed itself out.

The only problem is it does make lovely formed rosettes and we'd love to have that form in all sorts of colors and sizes. It is in the pedigree of things and it might be possible to select for things that carry lots of wulfenii genes but not the horrible growth. I was pleased to get some things from 'Silver Song' that are more wulfenii-like in form.

Kind of late for transplanting as they won't make new roots until spring from what I've seen. I'd hold off until March.

Kevin

Name: Sol Zimmerdahl
Portland, Oregon (Zone 8b)
Sempervivums Garden Art Container Gardener
Image
GeologicalForms
Nov 12, 2020 9:29 PM CST
Kevin,
That's why I'm excited about this prolific wulfenii looking seedling. 'Soul' is probably the closest to the real thing as I've ever had, and it didn't make an offset for two years, then bloomed out, not very impressive. I do have crosses between it and other wulfenii hybrids in their first year now though, some of these have superb forms already and I'm expecting all to have good wax, now if I can get some proliferation and health out of them I'll be set.
-Sol
Name: Kevin Vaughn
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
JungleShadows
Nov 13, 2020 8:12 PM CST
Sol,

'Soul' has done a bit better for me but I don't like it as well as 'Silver Song' for things in that color range. Am hoping one of these new ultra-wide seedlings from 'Silver Song' will be more towards wulfenii too. They do seem to make bigger rosettes.

I also have one that is blue and pink and makes very large (10" +) rosettes with the wulfenii form from ('Silver Song' X 'Polly Bishop') X self. It is a prolific increaser too. That one will be marketed. I finally got a good crop of seed from it too.

Kevin
Name: Sol Zimmerdahl
Portland, Oregon (Zone 8b)
Sempervivums Garden Art Container Gardener
Image
GeologicalForms
Nov 14, 2020 3:23 AM CST
Kevin,
'Silver Song' is a much better grower than 'Soul', I may prefer the monochromatic color of 'Soul' in some seasons, but that in no way makes up for the discrepancy in growth. It's been difficult for me to select between my own wulfenii hybrids, often those with the most interesting form are also the slowest producers and the most rot prone. I have one with extra wide leaves held tightly in a rounded rosette, but it's now entering it's third year without sprouting a single chick, I don't know if I can justify using it in further crosses, despite the cool form. That one is 'Silverine' x 'Lilac Time' so I'd bet it's got lots of wulfenii genes.

I wanted to run this bloom by you, any ideas on it's heredity? This is one of the stronger pink shades I've seen, it's coming from 'Saharasonne', which I suspect to be a tectorum x marmoreum, but these blooms are a darker pink than I'm used to...
Thumb of 2020-11-14/GeologicalForms/593e75
-Sol
Name: Kevin Vaughn
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
JungleShadows
Nov 14, 2020 10:36 AM CST
Sol,

That is exceptional bright for a cultivar without arachnoideum. I'm sure there are genes for depth of color floating around. 'Dyke' has very dark flowers probably mostly marmoreum too so I'd probably point to the marmoreum side as the species responsible.

One of the older marmoreum selections' Rubicundum' had rather dark flowers and it's behind a whole bunch of things.

Kevin
Name: Sol Zimmerdahl
Portland, Oregon (Zone 8b)
Sempervivums Garden Art Container Gardener
Image
GeologicalForms
Nov 14, 2020 12:21 PM CST
Kevin,
Good to know that the vivid dark pink a likely marmoreum trait. 'Saharasonne' is about as hairless as it gets and rarely blooms, so I'd say that pretty much rules out arachnoideum as a genetic contributor.
I have rebought 'Rubicon' again this year because I love the shape of it. The color is interesting to, but it hates our winters here. My most recent soil mix is pretty nice, it uses potting soil instead of native soil as a base, something I'd hoped to avoid but seems to yeild better results, Ive got rubicon potted up in that and I'm hoping it makes it to spring this time around. I have half a mind to bring it in with the tenders, but if it takes that much pampering perhaps I shouldn't be looking to use it as a parent. I've never seen the improved version available for sale.
-Sol
Name: Kevin Vaughn
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
JungleShadows
Nov 14, 2020 3:44 PM CST
Sol,

Yes 'Rubicon' and 'Rubicon Improved' are marmoreum seedlings. The "improved" was less of a rotter although in MA the original was fine too. It doesn't like the Pacific NW wet winter. It does have very bright color that we really don't have much of. My new 'Red Zinger' is a good red color and I have a ew seedlings from it that are redder still. These are more tectorum types but with the bright color of these marmoreums.

Like you I don't want to use a wimpy plant in crosses. Of course our wet winters are a good selective agent for killing the wimps. I don't cry over the ones that die, just saves me anguish in the long run.

Kevin

Name: Sol Zimmerdahl
Portland, Oregon (Zone 8b)
Sempervivums Garden Art Container Gardener
Image
GeologicalForms
Nov 15, 2020 12:01 AM CST
Kevin,
'Rubicon' is a good red for being an older cultivar. I had reds pop up all over the place in spring, but by August they'd all faded except for a small handfull of ones from the 'Blue Balue' bee seed patch. Is 'Red Zinger' still red now? it's such a fleeting hue. I think there are two different kinds of red, those where the color rests atop the leaf (very similar to the good strong purples you've released) and ones where the color seems to radiate from deeper within the leaf and has a more translucent, glassy quality than the others which appear more as though someone has painted them with opaque acrylic. Both seem to be more prone to fading than purples with similar properties. I only made one cross for red in 2018, and only a couple more in 2019, I expect my best reds will come from this years crosses of which I've made many more than the previous years. 'Lady of Fire' is probably my favorite red and I've crossed that one with 'Cleveland Morgan', itself, a seasonal red seedling I raised from 'Ysolde' and a red cull I bought from you at the last clinic. I'm hoping it proves to be fertile, it had the reddest pink flowers I've ever seen, mostly because it's filaments were blood red and they cast a hue on the rest of the bloom, but as you can see in this photo from the German page there's actually some red in the center of the petals to, not to mention that the sepals are also red. Too bad my only rosette of the cultivar bloomed so I may not get another chance to work with it.
Thumb of 2020-11-15/GeologicalForms/a2d92e
Now that's a beautiful semp bloom! I'd love to increase the red color on the petals, could you imagine such a thing as a pure red sempervivum flower! How spectacular that would be!
-Sol
Name: Kevin Vaughn
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
JungleShadows
Nov 15, 2020 9:02 AM CST
Sol,

Yes 'Red Zinger' is still red and the kids from it seem to be year-round reds too. I pulled two of these for further evaluation.

I think selling the public to flowers will be a tough one. Most people think they are ugly and yank them off before they bloom. I only keep them for crosses and because the bees love them. They really work them.

Kevin
Name: Sol Zimmerdahl
Portland, Oregon (Zone 8b)
Sempervivums Garden Art Container Gardener
Image
GeologicalForms
Nov 15, 2020 11:54 AM CST
Kevin,
It's a fair point, many collectors and folks in the know will clip blooms to try and save rosettes and avoid stray seedlings showing up in their cultivar plantings, and it'd be hard to deny that especially once a bloom has died and gone crispy, it becomes thoroughly ugly. However in my nursery tours, and at my friends yards, I've seen layman become fascinated by the blooms. My comments; "it's just gonna die by Fall" usually don't deter this enthusiasm. I've seen nursery customers pinking the 4x4 with "the one that's sticking up" a few times now. While I acknowledge the bloom will always be second to the rosette in value, I think it's worth acknowledging the fascinations of the layman, who doesn't know that colors will look better in the spring and who hasn't become numb to the mystery of a rising bloom stalk. May as well throw some fireworks for them if you can. In the case of 'Lady of Fire' we have a situation where breeding for a red bloom wouldn't be mutually exclusive from breeding for a brilliant red rosette as I can tell the color is transferring onto the bloom from the rest of the plant, much like the way your purples can get a purple tinge to the petals and on their sepals, and you weren't even trying to select for that! You just wanted to select for extraordinarily dark plants and wound up with near purple flowers by accident! This is the sort of thing that may just happen naturally over time to hybrids with highly advanced color depth. In the wild, colors provided little to no benefit, but in the garden they are a chief point of selection, who knows what continuing these beautifications might lead to by association.
-Sol
Name: Kevin Vaughn
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
JungleShadows
Nov 15, 2020 3:57 PM CST
Sol,

Well I think I'll just be happy IF the lovely rosette has a pretty bloom too. I can't wait to clear out the unselected ones to wait for bloom. It would make things too much of a mess. In fact a couple weeks ago I just went crazy and cleared out two beds of selections and I have my eye on two others. Polly always encouraged me to "get rid of the clutter". I plan to do more as I have too many seedlings I saved for possible breeding and evaluation. Those that don't make the cut are gone!

Kevin
Name: Sol Zimmerdahl
Portland, Oregon (Zone 8b)
Sempervivums Garden Art Container Gardener
Image
GeologicalForms
Nov 15, 2020 6:34 PM CST
Kevin,
Yes it'd certainly be tough to wait for a bloom on each seedling while they send offsets all over the place. Even now many of my 2 year olds that HAVENT bloomed have colonies about a foot in diameter! I think if you wanted to take breeding for blooms seriously you'd have to cull most of the offsets until you saw the goods. My sedum selecting has essentially been a failure for similar reasons, not only because so few of them can intercross, but also because the mounds are stringy and spread way too fast to keep track of, one might say where I've failed to make a sedum selection I've succeeded in producing sedum sod!
I've begun to cull plants in the last week that I actually like. I recently sold a large silver-yellow that was pretty nice, it had a slightly smaller sibling with more of the yellow hue and for a longer duration. The stolons were kind of ropey to, I must admit I kind of miss it, but if I allow the bar to be set that low my beds will be brimming with maybe's.
Lots of these are really nice, but there's really only enough room for the extraordinary.
-Sol

Page 1 of 2 • 1 2

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Sempervivum forum
Only the members of the Members group may reply to this thread.

Member Login:

[ Join now ]

Today's site banner is by dirtdorphins and is called "Globularia"

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.