Sempervivum forum: Cool Mystery Succulent Not Looking So Hot

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Name: Jasmine
Greenville, NY (Zone 5a)
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Jas84
Feb 7, 2018 12:02 AM CST
Hi everyone- this past weekend my mom had given me this plant. She's had it for a few months & it was very full & beautiful for awhile. She gave it to me in the hopes that I can help revive it (I think she has more confidence in me than she should). It's still alive, so "revive" isn't the right word, but it's doing quite poorly. Just tonight I switched it's pot & soil & tore off all the dead leaves- and there were A LOT of dead leaves, all on the bottom of the mom and each one of her babies. While I gently ripped the dead leaves away, all but three of the babies broke right off in my hand. Most of them are still attached to the stick like stem which connected them to their mom (stolons, maybe?). I have no idea what to do with them, so I stuck the bottom of the long stems right back into the pot. I'm not too sure of what it was originally planted in, but it looked like some cacti mix, as I saw sand as I re potted it. Tonight, I put it in a combination of an organic potting mix, a cacti mix, ground coconut coir, and half of it was perlite. It wasn't root bound when I took it out of the original pot, so that can't be why it's doing so poorly. My mom didn't water it very often, just when the soil became dry. She had it in front of a huge, bright window, so it received adequate light & I don't believe it was over or under watered. So my questions are these- #1- does anyone know the actual name of this plant so I can research it? #2- would anyone have any advice as to how I can help it get back to it's original, full, healthy state? #3- what should I do with all the babies that broke off? Do I keep them on the long stems? If so, do I bury the bottom of the stems? I'd really like to one day return it to her in much better condition than when she gave it to me (minus a few babies that I'll be keeping, of course). Any help would be very much appreciated. Thank you!
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Name: Suzanne/Sue
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Calif_Sue
Feb 7, 2018 12:16 AM CST

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Those are sempervivums, common name Hen & Chicks, you can see more here: The Sempervivum Database and @valleylynn can give you more care tips.
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Name: Sue Taylor
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kniphofia
Feb 7, 2018 12:51 AM CST
Yes definitely a Sempervivum. Are you growing it as a houseplant? They are extremely hardy and we grow them outdoors here in the UK.
Where did your mom get the plant?
Name: Christine
Saugerties, NY zone 5a
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Christine
Feb 7, 2018 7:35 AM CST
If you are growing this inside it must get a lot of sun, as far as I know they are meant to be out doors, I keep mine in a container also and she spends the winter out in my screened in porch. I tried growing them indoors and they didn't do very well.
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
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valleylynn
Feb 7, 2018 11:52 AM CST

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Hi Jasmine. I see others have already identified your wonderful plant as being a sempervivum.
Good news, it looks fairly healthy and will rebound once it has what it needs. It is what is called etiolated, caused from being indoors and not enough sunlight.
When spring arrives in your area you can plant them outdoors and leave them, either in the ground our in a container. They do need good drainage so they don't rot. A nice layer of chicken grit, or other small gravel, on the surface of the soil and under the plant leaves will keep the leaves up off of the soil.
You can also remove the offsets from the main rosette and replant them. If they already have some roots growing you can cut the stolon off and discard it. If no roots are visible leave a small section of the stolon and set the offset on the soil. It will start to form roots.

It will be interesting to see if moving them outdoors this spring will bring on some other colors besides the green. Many sempervivum change color with the season when outdoors.

Please keep us updated, I would love to see it progress. Hurray!

Sue, would you move this to the Sempervivum Forum?
Thank you so much for calling me on this question.
Name: Jasmine
Greenville, NY (Zone 5a)
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Jas84
Feb 7, 2018 11:54 PM CST
Wow, a Sempervivum, huh?! I never would've figured that out if you guys hadn't told me, thank you! The little insert the plant came with said it was an echeveria nodulsa or something like that. When I looked that one up I realized there was no way it was the correct name! Calif_Sue- thank you so much for telling me. And thank you for the great link & for calling in Valleylynn! kniphofia- I am growing it as a houseplant. I live in an apartment where the yard isn't mine, so I don't want to plant it. And I'm in New York so right now it's way too cold to put it outdoors (I'd assume so anyway). My mom got the plant at a local Home Depot a few months ago & has kept it inside since getting it. Thank you for your help. Christine- I can see how keeping it indoors may create problems, as I've read that many succulents love the sun.. And I guess this is one of them. I plan on keeping it in a South facing window, so hopefully that'll be enough. And hopefully it'll warm up soon so maybe I can take it outside a bit! I have a few other succulents in the southern windows and they're all doing great. This one may require even more sun than the others though, so I guess I won't know until a little bit down the road. Thank you for your help. And Valleylynn- I can see how it became etoliated, now that you mention it. My mom has very large windows in her house, so I assumed it received plenty of light, but she now tells me that they are north facing windows, so I guess this little guy just wasn't receiving enough light. I would love to take it outside once it warms up some, but it's freezing here now! The tip on putting gravel on top is very helpful- I'm sure wet leaves is the last thing this plant needs or wants. What you said about the offsets is very helpful.. That's the part that I was mostly lost on. I'm honestly a little hesitant to trim the stolon down so far though now because my mom just sent me a picture of one of the offsets she ended up keeping. It had the long stolon still attached with the rosette at the tip. And about a quarter of the way up the stolon, a tiny little baby just appeared! It just popped right out from the stem! So now I'm debating as to how to handle all of these guys, I don't want to cut them all down in case anyone else decides to grow, but I don't want to leave them either if they are pointless to have and possibly preventing roots from growing off the rosette. Since there are unfortunately so many babies that fell off their mama yesterday, maybe I can trim some of them while leaving a few others long and I can decide which method is best in a few weeks, depending on how everyone's doing. I will absolutely keep you posted as to what happens! You have all been SO helpful, and I am very appreciative. Thank you again! -Jasmine Oh, and I am attaching the pic my mom just sent me, so you can see the adorable little guy that made a huge surprise visit!
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Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
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valleylynn
Feb 8, 2018 10:13 AM CST

Moderator

I love that you are going to experiment with different methods of growing to see which one works best for your situation. That is a great.
It is not unusual for new offsets to grow from a joint on the stolon. It just doesn't happen very often. What a cute little guy that is.
Looking back at your first post and second photo, you need to place the young rosette so it is making contact with the surface of the soil, so it can form roots into the soil. After the offsets forms established roots the stolon shrivels up and dies.
Name: Jasmine
Greenville, NY (Zone 5a)
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Jas84
Feb 8, 2018 4:42 PM CST
Oh boy- thank you so much for telling me that! I will bury them much farther into the soil mix so that the rosettes are making contact and can grow roots. Thank you so much for all of your help! If/when I see any action coming from these guys, I will be sure to post an update. I really appreciate all of your help! -Jasmine
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
Feb 8, 2018 9:03 PM CST

Moderator

I look forward to see their progress. You are such a good semp mommy. Big Grin
Name: Jasmine
Greenville, NY (Zone 5a)
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Jas84
Feb 11, 2018 5:42 PM CST
Hurray! Thank you!! I'm trying!

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