Sempervivum and Jovibarba forum: Vacation- Please!! I need your wisdom!!!

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Name: Jennifer Rockwood
Houston, Texas (Zone 8b)
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msrockwood
Jul 20, 2014 9:29 PM CST
Hi There,

This is my first time posting but I am not sure how to handle vacation. As everyone knows, Texas is not known for the wonderful summers. It is so hot and muggy. So with that I am not sure how to handle my semps while I am gone. I am thinking perhaps I should put them in a sunny window until I get back. I am having someone come check on/ feed the cat once or twice a day but she's young and never got that she is into plants so I don't want to put that on her to mist them or whatever. I personally am scared to leave them outside even in the shade because it is so moist AND hot. The hot texas summers are not so kind to these beauties so I am patiently waiting until fall to keep them outside full time, I know they don't do well indoors 24/7 but they are doing a lot better when I alternate . I haven't been having as many problems with rot and things like that. Anyhow, any advice would be very appreciated.
Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
Sempervivums Container Gardener Foliage Fan Garden Ideas: Master Level Photo Contest Winner: 2014
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webesemps
Jul 21, 2014 8:03 PM CST
Jennifer, not sure how long you will be vacationing, what kind of drainage you have in your soil and what the weather will be like the entire time you are gone but when I go on vacation, I err on the cautious.

I have all my semps planted outside in the early afternoon sun and when I go on vacation, I water deeply right before I leave and then put a shade cover or frost covering over all my semps and then leave them covered entire time until I get back. I make sure the cover doesn't sit on the plants but above the plants so that there is air circulation. I put a heavier cover when weather is predicted to be very sunny and a lighter one (frost cloth), when the weather may be milder according to the weather predictions.

If you think outside is too risky and you choose to leave them inside the house, then right before you leave, do a deep watering of all the pots (no need to have cat watcher water if you aren't gone too long) and place all near the sunny window. They should be good until you get back.

Lastly, Welcome! to ATP!
Name: Jennifer Rockwood
Houston, Texas (Zone 8b)
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msrockwood
Jul 22, 2014 1:01 AM CST
Oh thank you so very much! I have them usually in a shallow planter on a 3rd story balcony and it faces south so it gets plenty of the Southeast Texas sun. Fortunately I have it covered and I have heavy cotton drapes if I need to protect them. I was thinking with it being so hot and extremely humid, it could be a disaster. I have everything to possibly need for drainage....I do regular potting soil mixed with sand, small rocks, and I top dress them with crushed lava rock. I thought the tiny holes might be nice for some air. I had to learn this by trial and error and asking lots of questions. Unfortunately, I have checked so many local gardening books for the Southeast Coastal Region of Texas and also checked the local cactus and succulent society but there isn't a whole lot of info on sempervivums. I envy those who have a more desirable climate for growing these because of coarse, they are my absolute favorite. I can't even think about growing anything else that I grew up with in the Midwest down here (lilac and peonies mainly) because they would all snap crackle pop in the hot sun and suffocate in the clay soil that we have. That's why I love container gardening. When it gets unbearable, I pull the curtains on my balcony and have a mini oscillating fan to put out there for some air circulation. I have so many sempervivum and jovibarba casualties it's really devastating when one gets crown rot suddenly. With all of the things I have tried so far, I am finally losing not as many and I didn't want to come home to some BBQ semps. That would not be a sweet ending to my vacation. I will only be gone for a week but it doesn't take long at all. Thank you so much for everything and the warm welcome.
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 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Jul 24, 2014 10:00 AM CST

Moderator

I Jennifer, Welcome!
Great to hear about your love of sempervivum.
I agree with Bev. A week indoors would not hurt them. And you wouldn't have to worry about them.

I would love to see photos of your semps.
Name: Jennifer Rockwood
Houston, Texas (Zone 8b)
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msrockwood
Jul 30, 2014 1:11 PM CST
I just got back yesterday and......they survived! Thank you so much for the help :)
They even grew a bit and had a ton of tiny little roots. It is so hard not to baby them but compared to when I am home because I like to fuss over them and I have finally learned through this that they don't like it. Now the challenge is to break my bad habits because I get online and buy more and then I always rearrange, etc..

I will post some pics in a couple of days when I am caught up .

Thanks again!!
Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
Sempervivums Container Gardener Foliage Fan Garden Ideas: Master Level Photo Contest Winner: 2014
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webesemps
Jul 30, 2014 1:52 PM CST
Glad to hear that they were healthy when you got home, Jennifer. The majority of my succulent plants are outdoors on the patio and hubby just put up an overhead tarp over 1/3 of the patio so that I can place most of the plants under it while I will be away on a trip. My fear is when I don't have somebody to fuss with the watering and the weather may be in the 90's with sun blasting on the patio. The least I can do is help have them protected from that. Smiling
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 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Jul 30, 2014 4:30 PM CST

Moderator

Great news Jennifer. Looks like you are figuring out what works in your part of the world. I look forward to the updated photos.

Shade always gives them extra protection is we are going to be away for awhile. So are you coming up here Bev? Whistling

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