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Avatar for Jonw37
Jun 17, 2015 3:28 AM CST
Thread OP

I have a number of sempervivums that are not doing well and not sure what I am doing wrong from a watering standpoint. I live in SoCal and they receive quite a bit of direct sun each day. As you can see in the pics, they have both dried areas that may be from too little water/sunburn? and white spots which may be from a fungus/overwatering? Any recs would be much appreciated. Thanks.
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Jun 17, 2015 9:06 AM CST
Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Raises cows Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Texas Plant Identifier
I think you're in the right place to get an answer. Some experts on this forum. I'm not one, but I have a couple of semps that do what is showing in your photo during the summer. They've done it for two summers now and one is showing the same symptoms now that it has gotten hot. Those two have recovered nicely in the fall and look great and full again from then until it gets hot. I also have a couple that haven't ever done it. I thought they would die the first year, but they didn't. I don't water the semps much and the summers here get really hot so I tend to not give them any. We are having some more rain currently and I finally moved some semps out of the rain. It will get steamy now, so I hope they didn't get so much they croak. It's not usual weather for my part of Texas.
Jun 17, 2015 11:23 AM CST
Name: Terri Stanley
Doddridge Co. WV (Zone 6a)
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I am as green as they come and I have my own issues I'm dealing with.
However, i have seen this on a few of my semps. Ithought it was too much sun, so I set up a spot for the "part sun" lovers. Just a spot where they get a break from the afternoon sun.
Everyone who lives in that space really does well. Go figure, partial shade most of the afternoon.
Sunset zone 36
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Last edited by TerriStanley Jun 17, 2015 11:31 AM Icon for preview
Jun 17, 2015 11:46 AM CST
Name: Julia
Washington State (Zone 7a)
Hydrangeas 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
Welcome! Jon. You will get answer soon. I have grown sempervivum for about 4 years now but never had your issue.
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Jun 17, 2015 11:52 AM CST
Name: Marilyn
Greenwood Village, CO (Zone 5b)
Garden today. Clean next week.
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Enjoys or suffers cold winters Sempervivums Annuals Foliage Fan Herbs Garden Ideas: Level 2
Jon Welcome! Welcome!
One of the experts will be along soon. I know @webesemps and @valleylynn may have had experience with So. Cal growing.
Jun 17, 2015 12:05 PM CST
Name: Kyla Houbolt
Gastonia, NC (Zone 7b)
Composter Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Herbs Daylilies Sempervivums
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My vote (another non-expert here for sure!) is with too much sun and I would give some shade. But..... Awaiting word from those who know! Green Grin!
Jun 17, 2015 12:33 PM CST
Name: Olivier
Buizingen, Belgium
These plants need water. Check if your plants yet have roots and remove dead leaves.
Third picture : a plant that will bloom
Jun 17, 2015 1:09 PM CST
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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Hi Jonw37! I am not in SoCal, just a little nearer Norcal but with inland temps. Our temps here are soaring high and dry, so my semps also do that, so I have moved the containers in part sun/part shade. Depending on the orientation of your garden, if you can move them to a spot where in the afternoons it gets part shade, it will help. Or put a garden umbrella to shade them. I usually go around in the morning to spray/mist the plants while the sun has not hit them yet. Typically spraying the root zone to help cool them down, and even if I mist the leaves, it does not really matter, just too dry here anyways, so it quickly evaporates. Morning sun is okay, but as it goes hotter after 11am, it is just too toasty for the alpine succulents like sempervivums.

Most of my other succulents are doing that too, semps or not, closing their leaves when temps are hitting 90F and above. It is their means to conserve their water loss, so they go semi-dormant. I have only found two semps that really relish the heat, but still needs some shade, Sempervivum rubellum 'Mahogany' and Sempervivum kalinda.

As for the white stuff on the leaves, you can try a solution of alcohol and water, spray it on the leaves but do it when the sun is not yet hitting the plants. I have read somewhere some uses straight Listerine original formula.
Last edited by tarev Jun 17, 2015 1:27 PM Icon for preview
Jun 17, 2015 3:03 PM CST
Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
Container Gardener Foliage Fan Sempervivums Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Garden Ideas: Master Level
I agree Welcome Jonw37!
Everybody above gave great advice and from my experience I can only repeat what others have said about being cautious and moving or providing shade during the hottest/sunniest part of the day. Not all semps are created equal and I have found that some can take more sun than others. My arachnoid-type semps don't fare well in full sun. Those semps that I can't move, I throw a large shade cloth over them in the afternoon when the summer heat and rays are at their highest. Watering can be done early morning or evening.
Avatar for Jonw37
Jun 17, 2015 9:11 PM CST
Thread OP

Thank you for all the replies. Will try to water more and create some shade.

Anyone know what's causing the white spots though? Is it simply from desiccation? It looks like some sort of growth (mildew, mold, etc.) to me. Other than an alcohol/water mix would an anti-fungal spray help?
Jun 17, 2015 11:33 PM CST
Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
Container Gardener Foliage Fan Sempervivums Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Garden Ideas: Master Level
Jon, before resorting to anti-fungal spray ,if you can pry some of the leaves apart with your fingers or pick of some sort, check to see if there's some cottony residue in between the leaves but further into the center of the semp head. If you do see something cottony, there may be a mealy bug wrapped up in there. You can verify by placing a dab (with q-tip or dental pick) of diluted alcohol and wipe the cottony residue out from the leaf and check to see if you see a bug that will be colored brown by the alcohol. Try that a few times in between different leaves new and old and on different heads to see if you "wet any bugs". If not, you may have something else.
Not had fungal problems so don't know what to recommend.
Jun 18, 2015 7:53 AM CST
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
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Hi there Jon, and Welcome! to ATP.

I agree with all that suggested shade and careful watering. Don't water in the heat of the day. I also agree with Chromo's suggestion on cleaning the rosettes, removing all the dead leaves. It is difficult to tell from the photos what is causing the white discolorations. Could it be from your water, mineral spots?
Jun 20, 2015 10:24 AM CST
Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Raises cows Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Texas Plant Identifier
I would sure be careful about giving them water. I've just lost one and have damage on another where they turned to mush overnight. The rain and humidity combined with very warm temperatures is an unusual weather combination for me. Usually it's just the warm temperature without any rain and low humidity, but not this year! I've been checking them. The rain has stopped, but the humidity is staying high. I can only hope the pots dry up after receiving the rain. It's going to be a long time before the semps get any water from me. There will have to be obvious signs they are needing it before I give them any. They've already had more this spring than they usually get all year. The rain loving tropicals love it and look great, but the succulents make me nervous. Pots dry up fast, but beginning in May they really haven't had much chance to dry up. I tend to give them more water when the temps are on the cool sign and they clearly are actively growing. When it's very warm, they get to rest.
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