Sempervivum forum: Hello and Introduction from a hopefully soon to be former 'lurker'

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Name: Wren
Wake Forest, NC (Piedmont) (Zone 7b)
Sempervivums
Image
ZenAndCoffee
May 3, 2017 1:25 PM CST
Hello all!

I have lurked the semp forum for a few months now - taking in information and 'accidentally' growing my want (need) list of semp varieties - and felt it was time to finally drop in and introduce myself and begin posting! I will apologize in advance, as this ended up being quite a lengthy post Whistling

For me, it all started with a sad little Jade plant I picked up when we bought our first house 3 years ago this past April. The first year it sat there under the kitchen window, getting pretty much ignored until I remembered to water it, which thankfully was exactly what it wanted ;P The second year my fiance knocked it with a plate while washing dishes, and to my surprise the parts that had fallen off began their own plants. I was so mystified with this, and began reading up all I could on how this was possible. Early last year, I discovered my dad had a nicely established 'Crosby's Compact' Jade that was actually flowering, and took a few clippings to propagate back at home. After rooting those and watching them grow I began looking into other succulents to add to the mix for variety and to fill my growing propagation interest. I got hooked hard, but quickly learned that many of the soft succulents I loved were not as happy having to live indoors during the North Carolina winters. I began branching into aloe hybrids and a few haworthia, but was still sad that none of these plants which I had come to enjoy could live outside year round here or find a permanent place in my garden.

I've never been much for the traditional gardens that are typically kept in NC. One of the first things I did after buying our house was tearing out all the Lilyturf in the front bed and planting Lavender, Rosemary and Sage. I also planted a few Hydrangea, which while more common, no one around my area really seemed to have in their yards and I loved the big puffy blooms.

Near the end of last year though I discovered semps. Well - that's not really correct. I had seen photos of them before, but was always turned off by them as I have a big aversion to cacti because of their spines, and had gotten it in my mind that the cilla on sempervivum were just as spiky and unwelcoming, especially the arachnoideum types. I also assumed given my climate and that they were succulents, that they would have to be mainly indoor plants, so I just wrote them off - that is until I learned that they are actually hardy in my zone year round, and that they were not mean little pokey plants ;)

I tentatively ordered a few from Mountain Crest after educating myself as much as possible on how best to plant them, what would keep them happy, and above all - how to make sure I wouldn't kill them accidentally ;P. They arrived, and I fell in love. This was the plant I had been looking for - and to think I had almost completely written them off! I immediately ordered a few more, planted them in temporary planters and began laying out plans for my first bed. Thank goodness I am a little ocd - I made sure each was neatly grouped and labeled from the start - as I quickly discovered that without a label and remembering what it was that they would otherwise become happy little 'noids' lol!

I had been looking up each semp to see the various color changes it went through before selecting ones I wanted, and stumbled across this site - a true wealth of information from others growing semps. After lurking and reading for a while, I finally created a profile last week and loved how easy it was to use as a resource to keep track of the ones I already had and those I wanted to track down. I've since purchased a few more and discovered that the person I had bought them from was a member here as well - goldfinch4 - and what beautiful semps they are that I received!

And so here I am, finally making my intro post as I am eager to join in the fun and conversation! My first two beds are planned out, but I have been trying to wait out the crazy rain and storms we've been having the past few weeks to get them in the ground, as well as hunting for a place where I can purchase larger garden rocks for around their new 'homes'. So sadly no photos from me yet as they are still in temporary planters but hopefully very soon as it looks like the worst of the crazy rains are behind us here *knocking on wood*.

I have been planning for my soil mix to be cactus soil, perlite, paver sand (the bigger grittier particles), and pea gravel but was curious if perhaps given the awful clay we have deeper down here if maybe something like turface or pumice might be a good amendment to consider, especially with the extra rain we have had here lately. I originally planned to use 'slightly larger than pea gravel' sized stones for a top dressing, but am now instead trying to track down chicken grit or like sized granite gravel for that as I like the appearance of that more and feel it will fit better underneath them to help keep their 'heads' dry.

Anyway, now that I have written a mini novel of an introduction I will wrap this up ;) Happy to be here and to hopefully becoming part of the community!
- Wren

www.ZenAndCoffee.com
[Last edited by ZenAndCoffee - May 3, 2017 5:34 PM (+)]
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Name: Julia
Washington State (Zone 7a)
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 Foliage Fan Greenhouse Container Gardener Heucheras Sedums
Image
springcolor
May 3, 2017 2:13 PM CST
Welcome! to the site. So glad you decided to post, so much better with more sempers. Sounds like you have done lots of reading on the threads. It is a challenge to get the soil just right for your climate. I have 4 raised beds and 5 sheep troughs and finally in the 4th bed the soil seems right. We don't all have the beautiful soil the Oregon group use. Looking forward to some pictures and glad you posted.
Sempervivum for Sale
Name: Paul
southern California
Zone 8B/9A
Region: California Herbs
cahdg6891
May 3, 2017 4:34 PM CST
Hello Wren and Welcome! ! No worries about long posts, I tend to do the same thing Hilarious! the more information the better! Neat that you are from North Carolina. One of my grandmothers was from the coast of NC, and cried when she first arrived in California because everything was so dry and brown. Sticking tongue out it is very easy to get addicted to sempervivum. I only had Sempervivum tectorum and a few mystery ones, and all it took was finding Mountain Crest Gardens and some other places for me to buy whatever caught my eye. Funny you mention being turned away by the cilia - I remember seeing an arachnoideum once when I was little and not wanting to touch it because I thought it was infested by spiders Rolling on the floor laughing

Hopefully you can find chicken grit or pumice! Where I live, no one close to me has any of it available Thumbs down if our climate was cooler, I suspect sempervivums would grow happily here in our soil, mostly deep rocky sand with some underlying sandy clay in places.

Welcome! again and can hardly wait to see photos once you have everything set up Green Grin!
Name: Marilyn
Greenwood Village, CO (Zone 5b)
Garden today. Clean next week.
Bookworm Region: Colorado Garden Procrastinator Heucheras Region: Southwest Gardening Container Gardener
Enjoys or suffers cold winters Sempervivums Annuals Foliage Fan Herbs Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
CDsSister
May 3, 2017 5:21 PM CST
Welcome! Wow I am impressed with all the research you have done. I will just say be patient. What works in one area does not in another. I keep trying to find the right mix and placement to have some survive for me, but I do have crazy weather.

Am going to look forward to seeing great things from you and your new project.

Congrats on getting such a good start. Hurray! Hurray!
Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Photography Bee Lover Region: Utah Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2016 Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
dirtdorphins
May 3, 2017 5:54 PM CST
Hi Wren Green Grin! Welcome!
So glad you rediscovered semps!

apparently, I never noticed intro threads before *Blush* and of course, I failed to ever introduce myself and welcome new peeps as a consequence---so, for all ya all that I've never 'met' and 'welcomed'--oops, sorry and Hi, and you don't know me either Hilarious! fortunately, we are all welcome and the semp peeps are the bestest Angel

Indeed, we don't all have the blessed soil of the enchanted valley, nor the rain...one thing I've learned the hard way living somewhere that freezes in the winter and bakes in the summer with about 13in annual precip, is that I don't actually have the same drainage worries of so many others D'Oh! despite my evil clay

Too fumy Paul--I always wondered how the spiders made such perfect webs in the spidersemps and nowhere else Hilarious! kept trying to find the responsible spiders and put them on the other semps,
... 'till finally grandma explained...
Name: Greg Colucci
Seattle WA (Zone 8b)
Sempervivums Sedums Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Cactus and Succulents Container Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 1
Garden Art Birds Dog Lover Cat Lover Region: Pacific Northwest Hummingbirder
Image
gg5
May 3, 2017 8:01 PM CST
Hello Wren and welcome!! Hurray! I gave you some acorns, they are used if you live in the US as a way to purchase raffle tickets which I think is going to be happening once per month for this year! Thumbs up From me you have enough for one ticket! Good luck and welcome!
Totally agree with Dirt that it depends on your local situation, many of us are from the Pacific Northwest and rain is a constant so we talk about drainage, but then I find myself having to water regularly during summer because the drainage is too fast...figuring it out is work. I will say that for me using less rather than more items in the mix seems to be good. Currently I just use pumice, regular potting soil and chicken grit. Then top dress with chicken grit (unlike Lynn I use the smallest kind, so it is like large sand, it dries really quickly and the plants seem to love it!) Like Lynn and others, I make the chicken grit deep, like 1.5 inches or more, but again that is a personal thing, I feel it helps the chicks to root and therefor builds up a colony faster.
Welcome!

Name: Chad
Oklahoma (Zone 7b)
Region: Oklahoma Sempervivums Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Bulbs Enjoys or suffers hot summers The WITWIT Badge
Hostas
Image
chadu82
May 3, 2017 8:32 PM CST
Welcome! Wren!

I look forward to seeing pictures and reading your posts. This group has become my new addiction, lol..... I have to say it's a nice little group of friends to have and I used to read more than I would post but Greg said something at one point about me posting pics and such and next thing you know I like to comment or post about everything.... Rolling on the floor laughing

Once again welcome to the group!

Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Plays in the sandbox Greenhouse Sempervivums
Bromeliad Adeniums Avid Green Pages Reviewer Brugmansias Garden Ideas: Level 1 Tropicals
Image
plantmanager
May 3, 2017 9:54 PM CST
Welcome! Wren! I'm a newbie here, just reading and learning about semps. My want list is long, and my list is growing of ones I already have. This is a wonderful, very helpful group here. I'm glad you rediscovered semps and have joined us.
Handcrafted Coastal Inspired Art SeaMosaics!
Name: Paul
southern California
Zone 8B/9A
Region: California Herbs
cahdg6891
May 3, 2017 11:11 PM CST
Hi there Dirt, I don't think I have ever chatted with you on here either Hilarious! nice to meet you Big Grin your arachnoideum story made me laugh Rolling on the floor laughing it really is easy to imagine them full of spiders, whether the webs are attached or whether they have detached for the summer and blown all over the place!
Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
Sempervivums Container Gardener Foliage Fan Garden Ideas: Master Level Photo Contest Winner: 2014
Image
webesemps
May 3, 2017 11:49 PM CST
Welcome, Wren. Smiling Your intro tells me you are already wise in the ways. nodding I agree
Name: Patty
Washington State (Zone 8b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
Patty
May 4, 2017 8:13 AM CST
Welcome! ZenAndCoffee aka Wren Thumbs up We are here to help you on your way to being a true sempahic! Smiling
Patty 🌺
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 Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level
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valleylynn
May 5, 2017 10:00 PM CST

Moderator

Welcome! Wren, so nice to meet you. And very happy you found your way here to the Sempervivum Forum. Hurray!
With all the research you have been doing it won't be any time at all that you will figure out what will work in your growing conditions.
I can't wait to see photos of your new semp babies. Hurray!
Name: Daniel Erdy
Catawba SC (Zone 7b)
Fruit Growers Permaculture Hybridizer Plant and/or Seed Trader Organic Gardener Daylilies
Region: South Carolina Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Photography Herbs Region: United States of America Seller of Garden Stuff
Image
ediblelandscapingsc
May 5, 2017 10:10 PM CST
Welcome! I'm so glad you joined us Wren, you are going to love it here and I also look forward to seeing your photos.
🌿A weed is a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered🌿
Name: Jo Ann
Washington State (Zone 7a)
Sempervivums
Image
ricos
May 5, 2017 10:29 PM CST
Welcome Wren...Love the Zen and Coffee too. So glad you are here. I read every word of your post and will be happy to give up my "title" of Queen of the very long post Rolling on the floor laughing I used to live in Ahsville but your summers are way hotter. Afternoon shade for your babies. At least you do not have as much rain as we do here in the winter. It sounds like you are well on your way to having a great collection. Yes.. pile on the grit. pea gravel, pumice, anything but gets them out of the clay Thumbs up
Welcome!
Name: Peggy C
Graham NC USA (Zone 7b)
hand drumming with friends
Region: North Carolina Butterflies Irises Garden Photography Cat Lover Zinnias
Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
PeggyC
May 6, 2017 9:43 AM CST
ZenAndCoffee said:Hello all!

I have lurked the semp forum for a few months now - taking in information and 'accidentally' growing my want (need) list of semp varieties - and felt it was time to finally drop in and introduce myself and begin posting! I will apologize in advance, as this ended up being quite a lengthy post Whistling

For me, it all started with a sad little Jade plant I picked up when we bought our first house 3 years ago this past April. The first year it sat there under the kitchen window, getting pretty much ignored until I remembered to water it, which thankfully was exactly what it wanted ;P The second year my fiance knocked it with a plate while washing dishes, and to my surprise the parts that had fallen off began their own plants. I was so mystified with this, and began reading up all I could on how this was possible. Early last year, I discovered my dad had a nicely established 'Crosby's Compact' Jade that was actually flowering, and took a few clippings to propagate back at home. After rooting those and watching them grow I began looking into other succulents to add to the mix for variety and to fill my growing propagation interest. I got hooked hard, but quickly learned that many of the soft succulents I loved were not as happy having to live indoors during the North Carolina winters. I began branching into aloe hybrids and a few haworthia, but was still sad that none of these plants which I had come to enjoy could live outside year round here or find a permanent place in my garden.

I've never been much for the traditional gardens that are typically kept in NC. One of the first things I did after buying our house was tearing out all the Lilyturf in the front bed and planting Lavender, Rosemary and Sage. I also planted a few Hydrangea, which while more common, no one around my area really seemed to have in their yards and I loved the big puffy blooms.

Near the end of last year though I discovered semps. Well - that's not really correct. I had seen photos of them before, but was always turned off by them as I have a big aversion to cacti because of their spines, and had gotten it in my mind that the cilla on sempervivum were just as spiky and unwelcoming, especially the arachnoideum types. I also assumed given my climate and that they were succulents, that they would have to be mainly indoor plants, so I just wrote them off - that is until I learned that they are actually hardy in my zone year round, and that they were not mean little pokey plants ;)

I tentatively ordered a few from Mountain Crest after educating myself as much as possible on how best to plant them, what would keep them happy, and above all - how to make sure I wouldn't kill them accidentally ;P. They arrived, and I fell in love. This was the plant I had been looking for - and to think I had almost completely written them off! I immediately ordered a few more, planted them in temporary planters and began laying out plans for my first bed. Thank goodness I am a little ocd - I made sure each was neatly grouped and labeled from the start - as I quickly discovered that without a label and remembering what it was that they would otherwise become happy little 'noids' lol!

I had been looking up each semp to see the various color changes it went through before selecting ones I wanted, and stumbled across this site - a true wealth of information from others growing semps. After lurking and reading for a while, I finally created a profile last week and loved how easy it was to use as a resource to keep track of the ones I already had and those I wanted to track down. I've since purchased a few more and discovered that the person I had bought them from was a member here as well - goldfinch4 - and what beautiful semps they are that I received!

And so here I am, finally making my intro post as I am eager to join in the fun and conversation! My first two beds are planned out, but I have been trying to wait out the crazy rain and storms we've been having the past few weeks to get them in the ground, as well as hunting for a place where I can purchase larger garden rocks for around their new 'homes'. So sadly no photos from me yet as they are still in temporary planters but hopefully very soon as it looks like the worst of the crazy rains are behind us here *knocking on wood*.

I have been planning for my soil mix to be cactus soil, perlite, paver sand (the bigger grittier particles), and pea gravel but was curious if perhaps given the awful clay we have deeper down here if maybe something like turface or pumice might be a good amendment to consider, especially with the extra rain we have had here lately. I originally planned to use 'slightly larger than pea gravel' sized stones for a top dressing, but am now instead trying to track down chicken grit or like sized granite gravel for that as I like the appearance of that more and feel it will fit better underneath them to help keep their 'heads' dry.

Anyway, now that I have written a mini novel of an introduction I will wrap this up ;) Happy to be here and to hopefully becoming part of the community!
- Wren



Welcome from another North Carolinian ... Piedmont area.
Look forward to seeing what is in your Garden photos .. semps included!

Thumb of 2017-05-06/PeggyC/5b1af5

Peggy
Welcome!

Live like every day as it is your last because one day -- it will be.
(if I can find who said this, I'll credit that dear Soul -- wasn't me, but it makes a lot of sense)

This isn't a dress-rehearsal ~
Name: Ed
Central ,NJ (Zone 6b)
Cactus and Succulents Container Gardener Sempervivums Houseplants Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
herrwood
May 7, 2017 6:47 AM CST
Semps are fun to grow and and you have received some great advice in this post by those who take very good care of their semps. I am at the other end of the scale and just stick them in a pot and let them grow, they seem to grow in most any soil and thrive on neglect basically a plant you can't kill.
Plants are like that little ray of sunshine on a rainy day.
Name: Daniel Erdy
Catawba SC (Zone 7b)
Fruit Growers Permaculture Hybridizer Plant and/or Seed Trader Organic Gardener Daylilies
Region: South Carolina Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Photography Herbs Region: United States of America Seller of Garden Stuff
Image
ediblelandscapingsc
May 7, 2017 6:58 AM CST
herrwood said:they seem to grow in most any soil and thrive on neglect basically a plant you can't kill.

Maybe I'm trying too hard Sticking tongue out
🌿A weed is a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered🌿
Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
Sempervivums Container Gardener Foliage Fan Garden Ideas: Master Level Photo Contest Winner: 2014
Image
webesemps
May 7, 2017 9:34 AM CST
I have had a fair number die whether by my hand or by Mother Nature. Crying
Name: Ed
Central ,NJ (Zone 6b)
Cactus and Succulents Container Gardener Sempervivums Houseplants Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
herrwood
May 7, 2017 11:21 AM CST

It may be that I have many, mostly all the same that I do not notice if a few pass on.
I can't say the same for other plants that I have.


Plants are like that little ray of sunshine on a rainy day.
Name: Wren
Wake Forest, NC (Piedmont) (Zone 7b)
Sempervivums
Image
ZenAndCoffee
May 8, 2017 4:58 PM CST
Hello everyone and thank you so much for the fantastic replies and welcome!

I finally found a place to get my granite gravel! Its about the size of chicken grit so just what I was looking for! I used it in a few pots just to get a feel for it - and since a few semps will be spending a little time potted vs in the ground until they give me a few chicks so that I have less risk of 'losing' them ;). I absolutely love it. It fits so much better under their heads and is so much easier to work with...outside of when it ends up falling into the rosettes D'Oh! .

I know I said no photos until they were in the ground, but I am going to have to go ahead and break that promise! Some are a little more cramped than I'd like, but most of these will be going in the ground soon and will be able to grow to their hearts content so its just a temporary 'home'. Also, sorry for the stray dog hairs in a few photos. I have two giant Great Pyrenees, and their hair pretty much ends up in everything Rolling my eyes.

I have no idea if these will post correctly, but I am going to give it a shot!

Gold Marie and Adeltruid left | Blaukraut and Smokey Jet right
Thumb of 2017-05-08/ZenAndCoffee/2f95c9

Blue Boy and Eomer left | Jeramia right
Thumb of 2017-05-08/ZenAndCoffee/d2041d

Treebeard and Blue Light left | Arondina and Slate right
Thumb of 2017-05-08/ZenAndCoffee/bd4b1f

C William and Serapis
Thumb of 2017-05-08/ZenAndCoffee/c0d150

Drachenblut and Starshine
Thumb of 2017-05-08/ZenAndCoffee/f517f7

Saharasonne and Belladonna left | Dark Cloud and Purple Beauty right
Thumb of 2017-05-08/ZenAndCoffee/98baeb

Jungle Shadows | Desert Bloom | Ruby Heart | Purple Passion | Bronco
Thumb of 2017-05-08/ZenAndCoffee/ca0183

NOID (was labeled Flamingo but I have since seen in the forums thats not correct >.<) | Red Beauty | Gizmo
Thumb of 2017-05-08/ZenAndCoffee/5fffb5

Lilac Time and Raspberry Ice
Thumb of 2017-05-08/ZenAndCoffee/54170c

Aymon Correvon | Downland Queen | Grey Dawn | Lady Kelly | Maria Laach | Neptune
Thumb of 2017-05-08/ZenAndCoffee/01484b

Twilight Blues | Rita Jane | Atroviolaceum | Legolas | Pacific Shadows | Commander Hay | Grammens
Thumb of 2017-05-08/ZenAndCoffee/ef5811

Saturn | Tederheid | Desert Bloom | Lavender and Old Lace
Thumb of 2017-05-08/ZenAndCoffee/b15cd6

Grammens | Unicorn | Emerald Empress | Lavender and Old Lace | Plum Parfait / Prairie Sunset (top row l to r)
Pacific Blue Ice | Director Jacobs | Skrocki | Legolas | Boromir | 2 Black chicks (bottom row l to r)
Thumb of 2017-05-08/ZenAndCoffee/0e2108

What I call my 'island of misfit semps' - these are ones I ordered from somewhere that sadly came infested with mealy bug - I didnt think they would make it through the harsh systematic dip I gave them all, plus a dip in rubbing alcohol before that and not getting enough light the first week while I kept them in quarantine. 3 did end up dying, and some of these look rough, but seem to be pulling through!
Grey Lady top left | Twilight Blues bottom left | Skrocki (barely hanging in there) | Emerald Empress top right | Purple Passion bottom right
Thumb of 2017-05-08/ZenAndCoffee/79c2a6

Black | Silver King
Thumb of 2017-05-08/ZenAndCoffee/9cff8f

Old Rose | Pacific Jordon | Pepito | Proud Zelda | Rose Queen | Silver Spring | Abba
Thumb of 2017-05-08/ZenAndCoffee/25f33c

So thats the tally so far Whistling I dunno - I *think* I may have a problem Rolling on the floor laughing It doesn't help that I have a long and ever growing want list too haahaa!
www.ZenAndCoffee.com
[Last edited by ZenAndCoffee - May 11, 2017 6:11 AM (+)]
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