An update on the Semps

Just under two weeks ago I received a large order of new plants: a few sedums and two dozen sempervivum species and hybrids. I potted them up right away and put them on my growing table indoors under lights. They were shipped bare root and were a little dehydrated, but it didn't take them long for them to wake up after potting.

Although each of these varieties of "hen and chicks" are nice plants on their own, when viewed together their differences in colors and textures are really enhanced.


They're all fattening up, changing colors somewhat, opening, and growing:

One variety is even putting out some "chicks" already:

Sempervivum 'Aross'

But all is not perfect here. Although most of the plants including those that didn't have any roots yet are doing well, a few of them have died:

I assume that rot killed these, but I don't know what was different about these few that didn't make it while all of the others are thriving. Perhaps they were damaged -- crushed  or bruised. I don't think I watered them too much because I'm waiting until they dry out before giving them more water. Sempervivum, like most succulents, need well-drained soil -- sitting in wet soil for too long makes them very unhappy and probably dead.

Luckily these plants spread pretty quickly, so the loss of a single offset when there are others still alive doesn't matter too much. Before too long I won't even notice that these offsets are gone.

Sometime in the next 2-4 weeks I'll be moving these outside and probably transplanting them to larger pots, as some of them are almost out of room already. Plants like these that spread quickly and are difficult to kill are my favorites!

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Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (February 26, 2011 at 11:37 AM)  

You got a nice variety of textures, colors and sizes. They'll make a fantastic display in your garden.

Steve Lau  – (February 26, 2011 at 1:09 PM)  

I plan on getting some more species of sempervivums, but there are so many kinds so I don't know what to choose.

Alan  – (February 26, 2011 at 2:27 PM)  

Steve: that's one reason I just bought a "sampler", where the grower chose for me. Saved me money and also saved me from putting too much thought into which ones I wanted, when I really didn't care.

Steve Lau  – (February 26, 2011 at 2:54 PM)  

Cool, How much did it cost you for just a sampler?

I checked out their website and they have the $3.35 choice as well as one above $30 so I'm not really sure which one to choose as far as getting like one of each.

Alan  – (February 27, 2011 at 7:28 AM)  

Their "assorted" for $3.35 is a single plant of their choice. That doesn't make sense to me, as that's the same price as named plants, so you're pretty much just saying "give me any plant -- I can't choose". What made more sense to me was to buy one of the "collections", 12 plants for $33, or 24 plants for $60.

If you're looking for a bargain though and don't care which plants you get, go for the "offsets" for $0.35 each. You may not be able to ID all of them, and I'm not sure how many different varieties you'd get, but it's a bargain for sure.

Steve Lau  – (February 27, 2011 at 9:01 AM)  

Thanks. I might try a few offsets. The main reason is because I already have chicks and hens and I know that an offset can potentially turn into 8-15 full sized hens if given enough space within a growing season.

Steve Lau  – (March 1, 2011 at 1:37 AM)  

I bought 30 offsets to try out and hopefully I'll get a good array of colors and shapes. I don't really care about the names since I probably won't memorize them or be able to tell many of them apart anyways. Looking at your sempervivums, if you give them lots of growing room, good soil and sunlight, I bet you'll have like 20 of each kind by the end of the year.

Looking at these guys, I doubt they are hardy to zone4 since they have soft succulent leaves, but they grow so low to the ground so that they probably never see temperatures lower than the 20s around here due to snow cover. During the thaws, I've never seen any of my hens & chicks dessicated, even if they are out of the soil.

Steve Lau  – (March 1, 2011 at 1:38 AM)  

BTW I think picture 1 with the green leaves & dark tips is the same species I have already.

Alan  – (March 1, 2011 at 7:00 AM)  

Steve: if you can take a good closeup of one once your snow melts, I can compare it to what I have. I think if I had to bet though, I'd bet against you having one of the hybrids I do. There are just way too many that look similar except to "the expert eye" -- which I don't have. =)

Steve Lau  – (March 1, 2011 at 10:23 AM)  

I've taken pictures before and here's a pretty good close up of them last spring during May when chicks were getting produced.

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