Sempervivum forum→Where has all the blue gone?

Page 1 of 4 • 1 2 3 4
Views: 2423, Replies: 60 » Jump to the end
Name: Sol Zimmerdahl
Portland, Oregon (Zone 8b)
Sempervivums Garden Art Container Gardener
Image
GeologicalForms
Apr 6, 2021 1:41 AM CST
It's bizarre how the blue hues fade so swiftly this time of year. While pink's and reds are just warming up and purples are deepening, all of my blue's have gone purple or green!
There's definitely less wax on the leaves right now, and that's likely the primary reason for both the diminishing blue hues and the brightening of some pinks and purples.

I took an account of my favorite blues in their worst season, these pictures are far from glamorous but I want to document the shifts they're going through:

One of my favorite sempervivum cultivars of all time, and among the best of the widely available varieties is 'Pacific Blue Ice'. The blue hues are completely gone, instead we are left with purple and a light green...
Thumb of 2021-04-06/GeologicalForms/0b928d

'Blue Boy' has also completely lost it's waxy blue luster, leaving a fairly basic green rosette. There is still a touch of wax in the center but it's more of a silver tone...
Thumb of 2021-04-06/GeologicalForms/1a90bc

'Virgil Ford' paradoxically is showing more wax than usual now. It's never really a blue cultivar but the grey it's taken on does suggest the color, later in the year it's purple will intensify and it won't even be in the running for a good blue...
Thumb of 2021-04-06/GeologicalForms/8d1a74

'Frost and Flame' in my opinion is usually the bluest cultivar available, because of that it's one of my absolute favorites. It doesn't hurt that it's such a prolific grower either. All that said, we aren't seeing much of that blue tone at the moment, more blue than most varieties is still being displayed in it's watermarks though...
Thumb of 2021-04-06/GeologicalForms/3c0096

'Nordwind' is a newer variety I normally consider to be silver, but it's showing more blue now than just about anything, actually several of the silvers look somewhat blue now, unfortunately when the weather warms up they'll go so light that you won't see the blue...
Thumb of 2021-04-06/GeologicalForms/5a6362

I only have a few velvets which approach blue, 'Engle's 13-2' is one of them, well usually it is! now it's looking pretty purple...
Thumb of 2021-04-06/GeologicalForms/4392b2
'Neptune' is never all that blue, but it does get closer than most velvets...
Thumb of 2021-04-06/GeologicalForms/dd85ac

As for my own blue selections, I'm almost ashamed to show images of them right now, but in the spirit of scientific rigor I feel like it's only fair.
Here's my favorite blue seedling. There's still a touch of blue in it's core but yeah, very green...
Thumb of 2021-04-06/GeologicalForms/d29984

This one is alright I guess, it's interest really comes more from the purple core and it's wide leaves than it's blue hue though...
Thumb of 2021-04-06/GeologicalForms/68cde1

This is a planter full of my bluest 'Silverine' selections, not that you can really tell...
Thumb of 2021-04-06/GeologicalForms/07da0d

More theoretically blue seedlings...
Thumb of 2021-04-06/GeologicalForms/2bbf32

Here's possibly the bluest thing in my yard right now, though it's very purple, a 'Thunder' x 'Soul' seedling. Not all that true a blue, but the edges show some promise...
Thumb of 2021-04-06/GeologicalForms/bcc5ef

If anyone out there reading this has a plant showing some early spring blues I'd love to see some pictures! The topic is open for discussion, but to me, seems like it's just not the season for blue right now.
-Sol
Name: Kevin Vaughn
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
JungleShadows
Apr 6, 2021 8:10 AM CST
Sol,

Blues are transient. 'Blue Boy' looks bluest in the summer. Many of the blues turn purple in winter so some haven't changed to their spring color. This cool spring hasn't helped.

My bluest ones right now are the 'Silver Song' X 'Polly Bishop' F1 and F2. They are very blue (and with bright pink bases). The 'Blue Whale' kids are also blue. I have one huge grey-blue (10"+) that may see the market.

Kevin
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
Apr 6, 2021 9:26 AM CST
Great thread Sol. Love the pinks and blues. I'll check my blues see what's up out in the beds.
Sempervivum for Sale
Name: Alex
Virginia (Fairfax) (Zone 6/7) (Zone 7a)
Sempervivums Sedums Region: Virginia Garden Photography Container Gardener Bookworm
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Houseplants Native Plants and Wildflowers Cactus and Succulents Tropicals Amaryllis
Image
sedumzz
Apr 6, 2021 9:29 AM CST
Wow, what a big color change.
Mr. Max says "Hi"
Name: Sol Zimmerdahl
Portland, Oregon (Zone 8b)
Sempervivums Garden Art Container Gardener
Image
GeologicalForms
Apr 6, 2021 11:59 AM CST
Kevin,

Yes I find August to be the best month for blues, lots of plants which normally aren't go blue then. I almost posted a photo of 'Silver Song' because it's showing some blue for me right now, but I do see that in most silvers, 'Lilac Time' is doing it some to. So I'm not surprised your getting some good blues out of silver song in crosses to darker plants, it always has a cold hue to it.

I'll be getting 'Blue Whale' from Chris this year, really excited to finally be growing that one. I do like the grey blues, and having one in agave size would be fantastic!

Julia,
I'm interested to see if you're weather protected conditions have changed the hues any. Seems like the moisture may take some of the frostiness out of the wax and I'm wondering if you're coverings are keeping some of the blue on.

Alex,
They're definitely all over the place right now. The wax seems to be the most pertinent contributor to the blue color and now that it's diminished we're seeing the layers of color beneath which would normally combine with the wax to create the blue. It's interesting that so many different base colors can appear blue when covered with the wax coating.

I'm fascinated by blue semps, hoping to learn more about them by sharing what I've found.
-Sol
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
Apr 6, 2021 12:12 PM CST

Moderator

Sol, heading out to play in the yard. I look to see if there are any blues showing up. Thumbs up
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
Apr 6, 2021 2:22 PM CST

Moderator

Okay, I found some hints of blue, but the camera is not picking it up.
'Anka' is a blue/gray
Thumb of 2021-04-06/valleylynn/13623a

'Blade of Steel'
Thumb of 2021-04-06/valleylynn/055576

Blue is starting up in this 'Pink Pearl' seedling
Thumb of 2021-04-06/valleylynn/86d784

The photo is not picking it up, but my 'Silver Song' is showing some blue/silver
Thumb of 2021-04-06/valleylynn/1ef83d


Name: Sharen
Hollidaysburg PA (Zone 6b)
Image
Dbfarmgirl
Apr 6, 2021 2:32 PM CST
Kevin, will the new huge grey blue be named Moby Dick? Orca?

Here are my not so blue ones

Thumb of 2021-04-06/Dbfarmgirl/4358b3


Thumb of 2021-04-06/Dbfarmgirl/539836





Thumb of 2021-04-06/Dbfarmgirl/1e5488



Thumb of 2021-04-06/Dbfarmgirl/803f3b

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
Apr 6, 2021 3:40 PM CST
I walked the beds but nothing is really blue. Even Rita Jane and Thunder are not what I would call blue at the moment. I'm a blue/pink collector too.
This is the best that is out there.
Thumb of 2021-04-06/springcolor/4567a6

Pacific Lilac


Thumb of 2021-04-06/springcolor/8373b7

This one is a noid but the name on the tag was Blue Suede Shoes.

Either one is not really blue but they will be soon.
Sempervivum for Sale
Name: Sol Zimmerdahl
Portland, Oregon (Zone 8b)
Sempervivums Garden Art Container Gardener
Image
GeologicalForms
Apr 6, 2021 4:29 PM CST
Lynn,
Yes the camera does even less justice for the blue color this time of year. I considered altering my photos but the difference wasn't drastic and I think the eye unknowingly compensates a bit. Those are some good pics, 'Blade of Steel' looks pretty good and so does your calcareum, but none of them are screaming blue, at least not in the pictures. 'Anka' is certainly an interesting cultivar, some big shifts in that one, some tend toward the blue look, it's new to me and I'm looking forward to seeing it through the seasons.

Sharen,
You're 'Blue Boy' is much darker than mine now, but even in your conditions it's not showing the wax. My 'Twilight Blues' looks pretty similar, almost took a picture of it for the thread. Beautiful photos, despite their lack of blue!

Julia,
'Pacific Lilac' tends to be waxier than 'Pacific Blue Ice' though it seems smaller and often a little less blue. It's probably more blue now because of the same reason some of the silvers go blueish this time of year, it's like they have wax to spare and during the season when wax production is lower they appear less white and more blue. It's as though blue is a result of some wax vs. silver which is the result of lots of it. I like your NoID, never heard that name before, but it reminds me of one Melissa gave me.

-Sol
[Last edited by GeologicalForms - Apr 6, 2021 4:36 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #2470827 (10)
Name: Kevin Vaughn
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
JungleShadows
Apr 6, 2021 7:54 PM CST
Sharen,

I'd say yours are mostly still showing their winter colors, lots of dusky purples. When I lived in MA, the best colors were ~ Memorial Day. Here in Zone 8 Oregon it's late April. Think with the cool spring we're a bit behind normal too.

I'll try to get a picture of my blue-pink combos as they're already quite blue.

Kevin
Name: Jo Ann
Washington State (Zone 7a)
Sempervivums
Image
ricos
Apr 7, 2021 12:36 AM CST
This is a great thread you have created sol.
It's dark now. I'll get some pics tomorrow. I have quite a few that were blue last summer that are now bright pink. I do have a couple of those pics
Thumb of 2021-04-07/ricos/17d9a4


Thumb of 2021-04-07/ricos/ccbbf4

These photos were taken on a very cloudy day and the colors appear darker than they really are.
Name: Sol Zimmerdahl
Portland, Oregon (Zone 8b)
Sempervivums Garden Art Container Gardener
Image
GeologicalForms
Apr 7, 2021 3:35 AM CST
Jo Ann,
I do like the colors of your seedlings at the moment, but it'd be interesting to see what sort of a blue you'd get from the wax overlay on such a strong pink. Most of my blues have gone purple or green, but 'Pacific Blue Ice' has gone partially pink, though not as strongly colored as those you photographed.


When I first became interested in hybridizing sempervivum, I remember looking at color wheels to get a grasp of the associations between adjacent colors. I then tried to plan my crosses accordingly. Blue was on the agenda so of course I focused on cool greens and purples to develop my own blues. I remember the summer I'd started crossing, I walked by a shrub downtown which had a gradient in it's leaves from purple new growth to greener mature foliage. As though it was mocking me for my plans of crossing green with purple to produce blue, none of the leaves were actually blue, though the gray at the very center of the gradient was such an obscure color it could almost pass as blue for lack of a better word to describe it. I plucked the leaf and pressed it in a phone book, thinking to myself; "this color with the help of some surface wax will do the trick". That's probably why I like 'Frost and Flame' so much, the mottled purple/green base tone which is now visible without the wax is comparable to the color on the leaf I described.

-Sol
Name: Jo Ann
Washington State (Zone 7a)
Sempervivums
Image
ricos
Apr 8, 2021 1:53 AM CST
I went looking for photos of these pink plants from last summer but it seems I did not take any photos of them in the blue period.

Here are a couple that were a very nice blue last summer but look at them now. ...Not what I had in mind. Maybe this is going to be as elusive as the blue day lily. Blinking
Thumb of 2021-04-08/ricos/8d9a22
There is some blue there but way too much green.


Name: Alex
Virginia (Fairfax) (Zone 6/7) (Zone 7a)
Sempervivums Sedums Region: Virginia Garden Photography Container Gardener Bookworm
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Houseplants Native Plants and Wildflowers Cactus and Succulents Tropicals Amaryllis
Image
sedumzz
Apr 8, 2021 5:38 AM CST
No blues in my bed, only a minty blueish seedling.
Mr. Max says "Hi"
Name: Kevin Vaughn
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
JungleShadows
Apr 8, 2021 8:15 AM CST
Jo Ann,

I have some very blue daylilies now! I've been at it for 13 or 14 generations!

Kevin
Name: Sol Zimmerdahl
Portland, Oregon (Zone 8b)
Sempervivums Garden Art Container Gardener
Image
GeologicalForms
Apr 8, 2021 10:06 AM CST
Jo Ann,
The one at the bottom of your photo has at least a touch of the blue tint. But once again, nothing spectacular.

Alex,
Seems like they all take this season off from doing the blue thing doesn't it?

Kevin,
Why does that not surprise me? haha
Hoping you get a chance to photograph your blue/pinks, maybe even the lavender cobweb, ya know, just if it's convenient Crossing Fingers!

-Sol
Name: Kevin Vaughn
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
JungleShadows
Apr 8, 2021 6:17 PM CST
Sol,

I know many of you think I just do semps but I have 10K daffodils out today and am crossing them, weeding 2 1/2 acres of garden, digging out last year's selections of many genera, readying the beds for new seedlings, planting a display area for the upcoming daylily convention, play oboe in a woodwind quintet and serve on the symphony Board.

Photos are the last things on my mind other than the fleeting blooms of daffs and dwarf irises.

Kevin
Name: Jo Ann
Washington State (Zone 7a)
Sempervivums
Image
ricos
Apr 8, 2021 8:44 PM CST
Kevin
I think it may take that long to get a real blue Semp. too One that will stay blue all year.

In day lilies do you keep crossing and back crossing only the bluest that you have available?
Name: Kevin Vaughn
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
JungleShadows
Apr 8, 2021 8:54 PM CST
Jo Ann,

This started in Polly's yard in 1986 when she was trying to convince me that 'Siloam Tiny Tim' was showing blue in its eye zone. I made crosses with it that year and the first generation progeny had much more blue in the eye zone. 13 generations I'm STILL working on it.

As in blue semps, blue is an optical illusion created by green throat plus purple eye zone plus white watermark all laid perfectly on top of each other and in exact ratio. I have expanded the eye out onto the petal and gotten the eye itself pretty blue. It's no delphinium but MUCH closer than when I started. When I get it, the plant will be named for Polly, who had the vision WAY BACK then.

Of course semps use different elements, such as wax, a soft green and a little anthocyanin to create blue. As in daylilies, if you mess with the ratios you get greens or purples.

Kevin

Page 1 of 4 • 1 2 3 4

« 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 Paul2032 and is called "Rose Bill Warriner"

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