Sempervivum and Jovibarba forum: Trying to 'get it' . . .

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Name: Deb
(Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Fruit Growers Ferns Dragonflies
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Birds Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
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Bonehead
May 18, 2017 10:18 PM CST
OK, I get that semps and their ilk are the latest rage. I'm not opposed to them at all, but am really just trying to figure out the attraction. To me, they are squatty little non-descript plants that all kind of look the same. Some might be more reddish, others have that cobwebby thing going on, and how do you really showcase them. ?? They seem to like gravel which then makes them kind of fade away. So, what is it that draws you folks to these? I'm genuinely curious, not meaning any disrespect. Thanks.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Paul
southern California
Zone 8B/9A
Region: California Herbs
cahdg6891
May 18, 2017 10:37 PM CST
For me personally it's the shape/look of the rosettes and the fact that people have been growing them for so long, and the folklore and medicinal uses as well. Even occasionally culinary if one is so inclined (for S. tectorum anyway, not sure about other species or hybrids...). I do agree that a lot of them look the same though Green Grin! my personal favorite is the common Sempervivum tectorum. There's something to admire about plants that can grow clinging to snowy mountain sides, on roofs, in gardens, etc, and it's fun to be able to share with people and see one little offset grow and multiply itself.
Name: Connie
Willamette Valley OR (Zone 8a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Region: Pacific Northwest Lilies Sempervivums Sedums
Pollen collector I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier
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pardalinum
May 18, 2017 10:47 PM CST
Compared to other plants, they help keep my summer water bill down. They get a few quick splashes over our hot summer here. The cost of water here is ridiculous. Most plants that I grow are drought tolerant.

They are also useful for crafty type situations (frames, tables, benches etc)
Name: Greg Colucci
Seattle WA (Zone 8b)
Sempervivums Sedums Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Cactus and Succulents Container Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 1
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gg5
May 18, 2017 11:07 PM CST
Deb this is a good question! For me personally I don't fully know, agree with both Paul and Connie - I do like that they need less water. I like knowing some history about them in Europe and England. But it is almost like a spell...I've lived in Seattle for 30+ years, and some of the places I see semps planted look like they have been there nearly that long, and I never noticed them much until noticing them!!! It is wild! Shortly after I began seeing them around I saw several in a patch blooming and I was like "What the heck plant is that such a fat bloom stalk" walked over for a closer look and it was semps...made me like them even more, but also, I totally agree with you that in some ways they are nothing grand or special, and that makes me enjoy them too! I did read that in europe they had at one time been called 'Witches wheels' and I'm like yep, totally! They have me bedazzled! I actually ask friends can I use space in your yard to expand my semp collection...at no time in my life would I have ever done that - and they said Yes and are totally happy to have these things outside their diningroom window! it is crazy but also inspiring! At the same time I've been getting into other succulents, so it isn't just semps, but semps have my interest the most! One other quick story...I needed to move a bed so asked a friend to help me, he owed me a favor so reluctantly said 'ok' and we began picking up semps and bagging and labeling them, at the beginning he kept saying, how can you possible tell them apart, but then I'd point out very minor differences, by the end he became a semp lover haha, so there is a part that is contagious! Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing
I tip my hat to you.

Name: Connie
Willamette Valley OR (Zone 8a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Region: Pacific Northwest Lilies Sempervivums Sedums
Pollen collector I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier
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pardalinum
May 18, 2017 11:17 PM CST
I guess I should also add they are dirt cheap compared to many other plants (generally $2-$4) and easily traded too. Shipping is easy too since they can go bare root and without water for a short time.
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
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gg5
May 18, 2017 11:34 PM CST
pardalinum said:I guess I should also add they are dirt cheap compared to many other plants (generally $2-$4) and easily traded too. Shipping is easy too since they can go bare root and without water for a short time.

I've had plants out of the ground for months and they do great when I plant them, so yes that is one thing I love about them! Currently I have one that I dug up and put into a pot with little soil - that was a year ago, and now I feel like I'm trying to see how long it'll go, it is putting out offsets Lovey dubby


Name: Paul
southern California
Zone 8B/9A
Region: California Herbs
cahdg6891
May 18, 2017 11:52 PM CST
Greg, I do the same thing with my parent's house! Rolling on the floor laughing "yeah um, can I plant this in your flower beds? I'll keep it pruned back, I promise!" Green Grin!
Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
Sempervivums Container Gardener Foliage Fan Garden Ideas: Master Level Photo Contest Winner: 2014
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webesemps
May 19, 2017 12:18 AM CST
Deb, semps may be the latest rage for some people now but they were a "rage" for me in the early 90's when I started to use them in my container projects like vertical frames.

Here are some of my lesser plain plants and a couple of ways that I've showcased them.
Thumb of 2017-05-19/webesemps/170ca7 Thumb of 2017-05-19/webesemps/582264

Thumb of 2017-05-19/webesemps/e82a7c Thumb of 2017-05-19/webesemps/c530c3

Thumb of 2017-05-19/webesemps/d4b7a1 Thumb of 2017-05-19/webesemps/3aa295

Thumb of 2016-12-23/webesemps/b7d76d Thumb of 2017-05-19/webesemps/870403

Thumb of 2017-01-31/webesemps/3539a5 Thumb of 2017-05-19/webesemps/f41b28

Thumb of 2016-12-23/webesemps/1075fc Thumb of 2017-01-31/webesemps/b3c7ce

Thumb of 2016-12-26/webesemps/e3b444 Thumb of 2017-05-19/webesemps/04d417

Thumb of 2017-05-19/webesemps/31d289 Thumb of 2017-05-19/webesemps/c7d7a9

Name: Michael
Darmstadt, Hessen, Germany
Sempervivums Hybridizer Container Gardener Cactus and Succulents Region: Europe Garden Ideas: Level 1
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parttimegardener
May 19, 2017 7:40 AM CST
Don't forget that you can do all kinds of neat crossings that will lead to a diversity of seedlings... That's what drew my attention to semps - besides the fact that they grow well even when neglected and the variety of colour and shape available both in named varieties and especially in NOIDs.
Name: Deb
(Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Fruit Growers Ferns Dragonflies
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Birds Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
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Bonehead
May 19, 2017 8:14 AM CST
I picked one up outside the grocery store, but my neighbor saw me and slapped it out of my hands. Later that evening she brought me a full flat of miscellaneous hen/chicks. I planted them along the edge of my flagstone patio, against boulders, and they are all thriving. Nice little fillers.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Chris
Ripon, Wisconsin
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Forum moderator Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Seller of Garden Stuff I sent a postcard to Randy! Sempervivums Sedums Region: Wisconsin Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
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goldfinch4
May 19, 2017 9:14 AM CST

Moderator

Another reason I love them is that they're one of the few succulents I can grow outdoors in Wisconsin.
Here's one of the ways I showcase mine.

Thumb of 2017-05-19/goldfinch4/cbba8c

Cubits Store: The Sempervivum Patch - plants, containers, accessories!
Also stop by Timber Treasures and Garden Buddies on Cubits
Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
Sempervivums Container Gardener Foliage Fan Garden Ideas: Master Level Photo Contest Winner: 2014
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webesemps
May 19, 2017 9:20 AM CST
Yes, your gardens mostly certainly come to mind, Chris! nodding
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents Adeniums Sempervivums
Salvias Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Art Plumerias Bookworm Hibiscus
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plantmanager
May 19, 2017 9:21 AM CST
Hi Deb, I'm new to Semps just this year. I stumbled across this forum, and drooled over the lovely pics of semps nestling in with rocks. Our property in NM is very rocky and carved out of a granite hill. It's a rustic, natural landscape and the semps just fit in beautifully.

I also love how they change during the seasons, so they are not boring. They grow faster than most of the plants I've planted. I enjoy looking at a single rosette one day, and then seeing little offsets popping out the next day. There's always something to see if you look closely.

The low cost is a definite plus! Low water use is another great advantage. We are on a well that is fine during the winter, but nearly dry in summer. We can't spare a lot of water for plants. If you give them a chance, you might become a fan too.
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Name: Deb
(Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Fruit Growers Ferns Dragonflies
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Birds Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
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Bonehead
May 19, 2017 10:53 AM CST
I do have some planted here and there in my garden beds. I also planted out a strawberry planter with various semps and sedums, which is nice looking. I find them a nice enough ground cover but none have really grabbed me with a 'wow' moment. Maybe it's the area I'm in - everything here gets pretty big and bushy due to the consistent rainfall, and the semps and low sedums just kind of disappear for me.

Goldfinch, your bed is really pretty, reminds me of the SW desert - I was surprised to see you are in Wisconsin!

I'll keep trying. I was averse to primroses for much the same reason (short squatty blah plants) until Springcolor gifted me some really lovely ones, much prettier than the grocery store variety!

Keeping my mind open...
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents Adeniums Sempervivums
Salvias Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Art Plumerias Bookworm Hibiscus
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plantmanager
May 19, 2017 11:10 AM CST
Hurray! Deb!
Handcrafted Coastal Inspired Art SeaMosaics!
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
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springcolor
May 19, 2017 11:14 AM CST
Deb, you come see me. I'll change your mind.
Sempervivum for Sale
[Last edited by springcolor - May 19, 2017 11:15 AM (+)]
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
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tarev
May 19, 2017 11:29 AM CST
I love semps too though my area's extreme hot temps is quite a challenge so I grow them in containers, but I grow some, just got to reposition to shade as needed. Goes so well with my other succulents here, being drought tolerant, though I hate it when it blooms, end phase, but it does makes new offsets or you can harvest the seeds so life goes on. Easily propagates itself.

It is most happiest here during late Fall to mid Spring, then it goes dormant during the hottest, driest days.

And it is a good representative of alpine succulents, so it goes well in my collection of various succulents..desert, tropical and alpine. It completes my collection, though collection still open for new additions always.
[Last edited by tarev - May 19, 2017 11:42 AM (+)]
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Name: Chris
Ripon, Wisconsin
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Forum moderator Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Seller of Garden Stuff I sent a postcard to Randy! Sempervivums Sedums Region: Wisconsin Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
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goldfinch4
May 19, 2017 12:01 PM CST

Moderator

Thank you Deb! And glad to hear you're keeping an open mind. Keep hanging around in this forum and we'll have you converted in no time! Whistling
Cubits Store: The Sempervivum Patch - plants, containers, accessories!
Also stop by Timber Treasures and Garden Buddies on Cubits
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
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gg5
May 19, 2017 12:46 PM CST
Thanks for starting this thread Deb, I'm sure there are a lot of people feeling the same way! I tip my hat to you.

Name: Marilyn
Greenwood Village, CO (Zone 5b)
Garden today. Clean next week.
Bookworm Region: Colorado Garden Procrastinator Heucheras Region: Southwest Gardening Container Gardener
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CDsSister
May 19, 2017 7:50 PM CST
Although I have little success in growing them, they have hooked me and I keep trying.

I think there is something mystical about the little hummers, once they catch your heart. They change so much from season to season, and then they put out those interesting bloom stalks and if you are lucky they have left a few rosettes behind to carry on. They don't take up much space and they really are so different once you really start looking at them.

Hope you catch the semp addiction too. But if you don't that's OK too, different strokes and all that stuff. Hilarious! Nice to see your on the forum. It is always good to ask ... "now why do I like that so much." Plus these are some pretty great semp friends on the forum. Hurray!

I forgot to mention they are great conversation starters --- YOU GROW WHAT? HENS AND CHICKS???? in the city??? Hilarious!
[Last edited by CDsSister - May 19, 2017 8:17 PM (+)]
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