Sempervivum and Jovibarba forum: Hello and help...maybe

Views: 273, Replies: 8 » Jump to the end
Name: Jennifer
St. Martin, Mississippi (Zone 8b)
Image
JediArachne
Jun 4, 2018 12:43 PM CST
Hi everyone, I'm finally joining this forum after gleaning so much information from past posts.

I live in south Mississippi, with lots of heat, rain, and humidity; and my attempts at keeping succulents (mostly Echeveria and hybrids, as I love the rosette shape) have been sporadic and riddled with grief. I finally got the guts to place an MCG order for some Semps in the middle of May. On the 19th I received one each of

Sempervivum heuffelii 'Chocoleto'
Sempervivum arachnoideum 'Cebenese'
Sempervivum 'Purple Beauty'
Sempervivum 'Twilight Blues'
Sempervivum 'Olivette'

I potted them up on May 22 with way too much of their original soil, in some of the finer gravel from the driveway. They sit on our picnic table in the backyard, which generally gets part sun up until 11am, then full sun until 3pm, then part sun for the rest of the day (so about four hours full sun, in the hottest part of the day. Not ideal, I know, but with our trees it's the best I've got.)

May 29 I noticed some really bad looking leaves on Olivette and Chocoleto (adjascent to each other in the pot) and pulled them out; there was a leaf that looked infested with some sort of pest, which I now think was/is either mealybug or some other scale insect. We had several rainy, humid, not-very-sunny days in a row, and we've had ants making their way to and from the pot.

Anyhow I pulled the damaged leaves off the plant and got rid of as much soil as I could before sticking them back in the gravel. After researching further, I pulled everything out, dousing everything in 70% isopropyl alcohol and getting rid of even more of the original soil (the alcohol makes short work of that. Very handy.) and all dead/dying leaves, and replanted all of them in nothing but gravel.

I'm guessing it was May 31 that I saw Olivette had more gross-looking leaves (no photo, so no date reference), and on pulling it out I could see that the stem near the center of the rosette was blackened and rotten. Figuring I had nothing to lose, I cut the rosette off completely and started letting the top callus up indoors, and have been spraying the roots with water daily.

Everyone else has been getting a spray bath of 70% alcohol with a few drops of Dawn mixed in, once or twice a day.

Today (June 4) I stuck my shriveled Olivette back into the gravel and have fashioned a mini-tent to shade it from the full sun. I don't have high hopes for the poor thing, as it's quite shriveled looking, but there are a few roots that look plump and viable, so who knows. Crossing Fingers!

Happily, Chocoleto is showing new growth today where I pulled out the one rosette center.

Sadly, Twilight Blues looks like it's preparing to flower... Crying

What a roller coaster! and it's only been... a smidge over two weeks?

Aaaanyway. If you read this far, thank you! I could definitely use some pointers on what I've done right/wrong, any steps I can/should take immediately, or if I need to just leave the durned things alone.

I'm stressing way more over this than I should, but I've always loved the rosette succulents and would be thrilled to succeed in keeping these things alive long enough for them to multiply.

Thumb of 2018-06-04/JediArachne/f18fa2
The newly planted semps.

Thumb of 2018-06-04/JediArachne/00e1a5
Damage seen 5-28

Thumb of 2018-06-04/JediArachne/9b15f9
Infested leaves.

Thumb of 2018-06-04/JediArachne/240659
The replanted container, 5-28.

Thumb of 2018-06-04/JediArachne/e27992
The current state of affairs....

Thumb of 2018-06-04/JediArachne/00ab9d
the remains of poor little Olivette.

Thumb of 2018-06-04/JediArachne/c392c2
Twilight Blues. It's gonna flower, isn't it? Sighing!
Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
Sempervivums Container Gardener Foliage Fan Garden Ideas: Master Level Photo Contest Winner: 2014
Image
webesemps
Jun 4, 2018 4:23 PM CST
Welcome Jennifer!
I like rosette shaped plants too and am still a big fan of echeverias but have had to give them up as they are not hardy enough for the outdoors. I do not want to keep plants in the house so everything has to be able to survive outside or else they don't come into the household.

I had read somewhere that heat, rain and humidity is not a good combo for sempervivums. They can take some heat but not all the wetness that come with it as the plants don't like their feet wet. Drainage in soil is very important to avoid the plant roots and leaves sitting in moisture.

When you got your semps, you may have traumatized the plants with all the "treatment" you gave them. Normally when I get new plants, I place them away from my other plants and observe them checking for any flying insects coming out of pots or infestation on the leaves. I also place them in less light exposure initially until I slowly acclimate them to stronger light. I never assume that where new plants came from has the same exposure as where they are at my house outside. Unless you can see where they were sitting when you bought them, you never know under what light conditions they were in.

I know that MCG uses a coir planting material which the plants' root system is evenly distributed. In removing much of that material, you run the risk of removing a lot of the root system which can traumatize the plant. Placing the plants out in the sun right after may have been premature. I would have waited at least a day or two.

When I see "infestations" I go the cautious route first by getting out the Q-tip or a sharp dental pick, dip it into wintergreen alcohol (the oilier consistency helps the mealybugs, aphid to stick to the tool's surface) and dab at any bugs that I see. For surfaces covered with debris/deposits, like in your leaf photo, I just use the tool to sweep over the leaf to clean it and check the next day for more activity/deposits.

I'm thinking that spraying alcohol everyday is a bit much. Rarely do I drench or douse alcohol unless infestation is rampant and it is a last ditch effort before disposing of the plant.
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
Image
valleylynn
Jun 4, 2018 6:02 PM CST

Moderator

I agree with Bev about keeping them in a more protected area, away from direct sun. Filtered light under a tree can work, but you would need to protect them from your Mississippi rains.
A good sandy potting mix would work, one for cactus. It needs to be very fast draining in your climate.
It is not unusual to have older dead leaves on the underside of the rosettes. I always remove them and the soil they came planted in before replanting.
Name: Jennifer
St. Martin, Mississippi (Zone 8b)
Image
JediArachne
Jun 4, 2018 7:38 PM CST
Thanks, Bev and Lynn. I've brought the container under my porch overhang during the heavier rains, but I feel it's too dark for the semps as it is on the northeast side and gets almost no sun, just a smidgen in the early morning.

(plus it's not exactly "protected" from my two daughters. Rolling my eyes. ) Maybe I can scoot the table somewhere shadier.

Will the plants still keep their colors in so much shade? Is it more the sunlight or the heat that makes them bright?
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
Image
valleylynn
Jun 4, 2018 8:21 PM CST

Moderator

It is usually a combination of sun, day length, soil type, not so much the heat. High humidity can and heat can take it's toll on them.
Bright shade would be best in your part of the country.
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
Jun 4, 2018 9:04 PM CST
Welcome! Jennifer! Glad you posted and hope your questions have been answered! I tip my hat to you.
I've found that heat makes semps want to bloom out. In your weather it is challenging keeping semps because the heat could activate blooming.
I'm curious what went wrong when you attempted echevaria, which would be much better suited to your environment? Anyway good luck and do let us know what the final results are.
Sorry that your semp experience so far hasn't been great! I tip my hat to you.

Name: Jennifer
St. Martin, Mississippi (Zone 8b)
Image
JediArachne
Jun 7, 2018 7:14 AM CST
Thanks, Greg Smiling

Honestly echeveria has mostly had bad luck with me. Root rot from rain - moved indoors. Etiolated - moved outdoors. Cats had a fight and broke them all to pieces (and we Never have cats in the neighborhood.) Tried to propagate the pieces (indoors) with no luck. Tried some new ones (a year or so later) indoors, a rat decided RIGHT THEN to move in and eat them. I mean I just can't win. Glare

I'm starting to think I should just *paint* succulents and be satisfied with the tropical stuff that thrives here. Rolling on the floor laughing

The heuffelii is continuing to put on new growth. I continue to see new pests daily - they are tiny white dots, barely visible, and my eyes are still decent - so I'm continuing with the alcohol treatment for now. Shrug!
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
Image
valleylynn
Jun 7, 2018 9:42 AM CST

Moderator

Jennifer, keeping my fingers crossed Crossing Fingers! that the heuffelli survives and thrives. Hurray!
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
Jun 7, 2018 8:29 PM CST
Jennifer that sounds crazy wow! The things we do for our plants Sticking tongue out
I'm sorry about your plants having mealy bugs (I'm assuming that's what your plants have) Good luck! And now that you mention heuffelii I've heard they do better in hotter weather
Crossing Fingers! I tip my hat to you.

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Sempervivum and Jovibarba forum
You must first create a username and login before you can reply to this thread.

Member Login:

Username:

Password:

[ Join now ]

Today's site banner is by plantmanager and is called "Aloe Sinkatana"