Ask a Question forum: Growing Succulent

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Louisville, KY
Missyb61480
Oct 24, 2017 7:46 PM CST
My husband bought me these beautiful succulents in May, because I’ve never been able to keep a plant alive, ever, with the exception of some chickens and hens from 9 years ago. I have no idea what they are called, and even more concerning, I have no idea what to do with this tall stalk growing out. It was very short last month, but this month it has grown a few inches, and now had these flowers blooming at the top, which must be heavy, because it is starting to lean. Should I cut this stalk off and replant? Do I cut it at the base, in the middle, or just remove the flowers? Also, can I leave these outside in the winter months, like I have my chickens and hens? Thanks in advance..
Thumb of 2017-10-25/Missyb61480/fc5b05

Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
Sempervivums Container Gardener Foliage Fan Garden Ideas: Master Level Photo Contest Winner: 2014
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webesemps
Oct 24, 2017 8:17 PM CST
Welcome Missy! Your hens and chicks are considered hardy succulents and the ones depicted in your post are tender succulents. These can not take temps below 50 or so. Looks like you have a type of Graptopetalum on the left side of the photo and 2 types of Echeverias. The Echeveria with the stalk looks to be giving you nice looking flowers and after you enjoy it, you can remove the stalk by cutting at the base of the stalk within the rosette. Any stalk left behind after cutting can be easily removed when the stalk dries up. Nothing to replant. For winter, these can be placed near a bright window indoors. Some types of the above plants have survived colder temperatures outside but usually in an area protected from possible frost.
Louisville, KY
Missyb61480
Oct 25, 2017 8:14 AM CST
Thank you so much for your advice.. I will continue to leave the chickens and hens outside during the winter months, and bring the other more tender succulents inside. Follow up question: for the time being, would you recommend me bringing these babies in at night, while the temperature falls, but placing them back outside during the day hours, when it is above 50 degrees, or would moving them in and out do more harm than good? I only ask bc where our home is located, we get plenty of sun on the front of the house in the mid-late afternoon, but we never get any early morning sunlight in the house. It’s going to be somewhat difficult for these plants to get adequate sunlight indoors during the cold months. I will need to move them around the house several times per day to catch the sunlight, which I am more than happy to do, bc I am so excited that I have kept these succulents alive for even a few short months!! (Not that I did too much work, just a little pruning in the evenings) I am extremely sensitive to sunlight, due to a prescription medication, which is why our home is designed the way it is, and probably why I’ve not ever been able to maintain any flowers indoors. The chickens and hens, were from an arrangement at my Fathers funeral 9 years ago, and they have travelled all over the world with me- KY, NC, AL, AZ, MD, Japan, Germany.. They have survived it all!! && every spring I have to replant so many of them, they produce so many babies!! I now have 8 pots of them myself, and I’ve probably given away at least 10-15 small pots of them every year to family, friends, neighbors. As you can see in the new photo, my hens are producing 20-25 chickens every year. I’m not sure why some produce and some don’t, why some only produce 2-3, whereas some 5-6, and this year, one of them has 13 hens growing! Sometimes when I replant them they die, but mostly they survive. I’ve not ever known or been told how to care for them. Honestly, I just assumed they would die off like every other plant I’ve ever owned, but they haven’t. So, any tips you may have on re-potting the hens would be much appreciated! Thanks again Thank You!
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[Last edited by Missyb61480 - Oct 25, 2017 8:15 AM (+)]
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Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
Sempervivums Container Gardener Foliage Fan Garden Ideas: Master Level Photo Contest Winner: 2014
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webesemps
Oct 25, 2017 10:04 AM CST
Ok, a lot of points to bring up for you. Because I don't know what zone you are in, I will just suggest that you think about whether you can place some of the potted tenders outside in protected area (maybe with coverings) and also consider putting them together in a bigger pot and then onto planter trays on wheels and move them from a protected area outside to a sunnier area during the winter. The trays on wheels facilitates moving them around easier for providing better lighting or moving them into rain or away from heavy rain. If temps prohibit leaving the tenders outside and if you are willing then yes, you can move them outside if warmer temps are happening that day but remember to move back outside if temps hit the danger zone.

From your picture, I see that your semps (hens and chicks) could use a little bit more sun as the rosettes could be tighter and the babies look like they are stretching out for more light. Do you have these located in the sunny spot you mentioned? If not, then slowly acclimate them to the sunnier spot.

As sempervivums differ in color and size, they also differ in growing rate, blooming rate, and number of offsets produced. Some semps are prolific and some are not so much but its nice that they produce to continue the line, thus the name Sempervivum ('always living'). In regards to repotting semps, don't separate the chicks from the hen until you see signs of the chick having a little of their own roots. Then remove the chick leaving very short part of the stolon to help keep it in the dirt. Also, make sure that the soil you use provides good drainage. Semps can rot if the soil is keep too moist.

Just a thought, why not just keep sempervivums as they can be outside all the time without having to worry about moving them. And in regards to having some plants that do well in the house, why not consider indoor plants that don't need as much sun as succulents.
Louisville, KY
Missyb61480
Oct 25, 2017 2:56 PM CST
Oh, I am in zone 6b. As far as everything else you said, I don’t know much.. I’ve not ever noticed any of the chics having roots, I usually just separate them in the spring. Also, I’m not sure what a stolon is. I also have no clue what “stretching out” means. I’ve read about it online, but it never shows a picture.. I keep all of these in the front of my house, bc that is where the sun is for the longest amount of time during the day, which is mid-late afternoon. If I keep them in the back of my house, they would get morning sun, but not for as long as if they were in the front. So based on what you’re saying though, my succulents are not supposed to look the way that they do?
Name: Paula
NYC suburbs (Zone 6b)
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Turbosaurus
Oct 25, 2017 10:23 PM CST
As for adjusting/moving plants... do it one time- stable environment is more important than brief periods of ideal environment with large fluctuations. Plants need photoperiod, temperatures, humidity in air and soil, etc to adjust. Stability helps them prepare for seasonal changes

Inside its gonna get drier over the winter than outside. Many tender succulents live in zones where they evolved to handle dry season vs wet season as opposed to hot vs cold. If you can help them meet a new baseline they will be able to adjust; if they're not sure if its spring, summer, winter you may interrupt the natural processes. I wouldn't move them back and forth.

Vocab= a stolton is branch that comes out from the base of the main rosette/rootball along soil surface where new rosettes (plants) grow once it hits sunlight.

On a personal note, now that LED lights are affordable and wide ranging in color temperature/wavelength there is a lot more flexibility for people with light sensitivity. I don't know the extent of your photo-sensitivity but it has become very affordable to mange discrete boundaries in the last 5 years. If you are unhappy with current conditions seek out hobbyists where lighting is important. Reef keepers were some of the first in the general population to understand the light dynamics, reputable pot growers right behind them, they both have a lot of anecdotal wavelength specifics where published data is entirely missing.



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