Sempervivum and Jovibarba forum: Keeping babies alive in captivity... Advice please!

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Name: Melissa
Northern Nevada (Zone 6b)
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MLewis
Jul 21, 2015 1:12 PM CST
I just received a much anticipated box of ├╝ber cool babies but find myself in a major predicament. I live in the high desert (read sagebrush and sand) of Northern Nevada, summers are dry and more dry here. Only this year is nuts, we've had weeks of thunderstorms, and rain. To top that off, the thunder storms that have been rolling in are not only gracing us with TONS of rain, but hail... My garden looks like it was assaulted with a shotgun.
Thumb of 2015-07-21/MLewis/dadcfc Thumb of 2015-07-21/MLewis/fcf8b3

Since it is hot (95+) humid (UGH) and hailing Grumbling I have planted the new babies in terra cotta pots and have them in the house for now. But, I've never not just planted semps in the ground. I have NO IDEA how to care for them inside. How often should I water them? Should I just mist them occasionally and hope for better weather soon? I'm freaking out that I'm gonna kill them before they can be planted outside.

Here are some of them, right after planting.
Thumb of 2015-07-21/MLewis/4f34bc Thumb of 2015-07-21/MLewis/ca8106

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, 2015 3:11 PM CST
Melissa without knowing a lot of your current conditions outside and what tomorrow will bring, I would put the pots out in a protected porch where there's indirect light but not direct sunlight. Misting will be fine for now so that plants can be acclimated to the pots and the new location. Since we sometimes don't know what conditions new plants were in before receiving them in a box (unless you if seen for yourself), we might want to be on the safe side and not expose them to lots of light and water yet. I would leave them in the pots for now until they look more ready for transplanting.
Name: Melissa
Northern Nevada (Zone 6b)
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MLewis
Jul 21, 2015 3:51 PM CST
Thanks Webesemps,
I've been moving them in and out to my front porch which gets morning sun when it's not raining, hailing, or having horrid winds.

It's just been so hot and wet that i'm really worried about rotting them, but I don't want them to dry up and die either...

My bigger plants that are in the ground are doing ok for the most part, but I have a few which are showing some ill effects from all the water and humidity, mostly the few that are flowering, I'm noticing the flower stalks on a couple are flopping over and rotting.
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, 2015 7:46 PM CST
Yes, you can control overwatering by keeping them away from the rain/hail and you can control the drying out with your misting. I would direct the water spray (twist the nozzle to get water to come out of spray bottle as a spray) into the potting soil instead of spraying/misting the leaves.
Name: J.c. S.
Kansas (Zone 6b)
Sempervivums Sedums Lilies Garden Ideas: Level 2
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StaticAsh
Jul 25, 2015 5:22 PM CST
Melissa,
I don't know if you've already got them into the ground, but I've been keeping some semps strictly inside as an experiment. The one thing I've found is it is definitely better to under water them than to possibly give them too much water. The main issue I've run into is rot due to too much moisture (even though I very rarely ever water or mist them).

So now I error on the side of too little moisture and they appear much happier.
And I also agree with Bev, be sure to only mist/water the soil, not the semps themselves. Thumbs up
Name: Melissa
Northern Nevada (Zone 6b)
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MLewis
Jul 26, 2015 2:29 PM CST
Thanks StaticAsh, I was actually thinking of watering them again, but decided to hold off after reading your advice.

We are finally back to the super dry desert weather we usually have, but I haven't planted them out yet because now I'm a bit worried that after traveling 5.5 thousand miles in a box, then living under a grow light for weeks, now in and out onto the porch that they will burn if I don't acclimate them a bit more to our (usual) weather.

The ones in the yard have mostly survived the unusual weather, the only major rot that has happened is a few flower stems. There are a few lower leaves that were starting to rot on a couple of the really big plants. I clipped those off and am hoping that the areas exposed by the leaf removal will dry out quickly now that it is is the 90s with almost no humidity or precip, and that the rot will not advance.
Name: J.c. S.
Kansas (Zone 6b)
Sempervivums Sedums Lilies Garden Ideas: Level 2
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StaticAsh
Jul 26, 2015 3:04 PM CST
Your weather sounds like the weather here... Ugh!
Yeah, slowly acclimating them to more sun is a very good idea.

And my indoor semps will usually let me know when they need a drink. I literally wait until they are showing signs of drying out and right before they start losing leaves, I'll give them a little drink. Sticking tongue out
I've also noticed that the larger the rosette (hen) is, the more susceptible they are to rot. The little chicks seem to survive in damper conditions easier, but it appears to be much more difficult to keep a large hen alive when strictly indoors.

Good luck! Smiling
Name: Greg Colucci
Seattle WA (Zone 8b)
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gg5
Aug 29, 2015 12:36 PM CST
Hi just catching this post - JC didn't realize you were experimenting with keeping some indoors, really curious how that works out for you long term. I have had such poor luck with them inside. I did realize that when I water I was watering too much at a time, cutting back and just giving them a little sip helped but they never really thrived indoors. Also if I gave them some shade (usually a piece of slate or something large enough to block direct sun) they recover really quickly once outdoors.
@MLewis how are your semps doing?? Did you plant them outside yet? Smiling
Plants bring me peace and calm, more of what we all need Smiling
Name: Melissa
Northern Nevada (Zone 6b)
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MLewis
Sep 4, 2015 10:44 AM CST
It was a mixed bag, they are outside now, but only just.

There were a total of 35 plants (14 varieties) a few died, most simply survived, but surprisingly a few really thrived.
3 individuals died, 2 were the same variety, with the third a different variety. The second chick of the variety that one died of is looking like it is going to die as well. Which makes me think some varieties are better suited to indoor living.

All in all 12 of the 14 varieties made it through fine. The one I lost was a "bonus" with my order, so I am not as heartbroken as I might have been. I am really hoping the other makes it, but frankly it isn't looking good.

The whole thing did make me consider keeping a few of the ones that really did well inside long term, but only for about 3 minutes. Then I looked around at what my family joking calls my "greenhouse" actually the living room, and I thought better of it. :)
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
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valleylynn
Sep 4, 2015 2:31 PM CST

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I am not surprised that they are not doing well for you Melissa. Being alpine type plants they really don't like the conditions that a house offers. Plus they just don't get enough of what the sun gives them in their natural habitat.
Growing them in containers would make it easy to move them around outside depending on your weather conditions. Summer heat/sun you can move them to a filtered sun area, winter you can give them full sun.
Name: Greg Colucci
Seattle WA (Zone 8b)
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gg5
Sep 4, 2015 8:04 PM CST
Melissa me too - I have 'roommates' is how I describe my situation to friends Rolling on the floor laughing
Plants bring me peace and calm, more of what we all need Smiling

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