Sempervivum reproduction

xanadu(8/9 N.CA)May 16, 2004

How many chicks do you typically get on your semps? What makes them reproduce? When do they typically reproduce? At what age? I am interested because one of my semps had 14 chicks (pretty impressive on a one inch sempervivum), some had 5 or 4, a few had two and some had none. Some have chicks their first spring, others have none for years. One post here indicated that the person's semps started reproducing in winter and kept producing more chicks all winter into summer. None of my 30+ varieties has ever produced multiple flushes of chicks and I'm wondering what I can do to improve their conditions.

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There really is no rule here Xanadu. Each specific type or named variety does its own thing. Some are known for being very slow to produce new rosettes. Growing conditions, soil type and weather will also have an influence. Personally I don't think that growing Semps. in soil that produces lush growth makes them look at their best. Unless you are wanting to sell these plants I don't think that maximum rosette production is an important issue. I grow mine to enjoy - it's a visual thing.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2004 at 1:06PM
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xanadu(8/9 N.CA)

Robert, my question is focused on improving my cultivation of semps, since I guess production of chicks reflects a happy plant. During the Great Semp Die-off of 2002 where I lost half of my first batch of semps from Squaw Mountain Gardens, I learned the sad truth: sempervivums are marginal plants here, at least in pots, due to the severe summer heat (105+ F degrees for weeks on end) and 50 to 70 inches of rain during the winter. As a result of the die-off I have only one specimen of some semps and they still have not reproduced. They tend to do better in the ground but I can keep track of them in pots. I want back-up in case I lose them. Even now I occasionally lose a semp. The different hybrids appear to have quite different watering needs and it is water that kills them here, either from drowning them during the winter or steaming them during the summer. I had no problem growing semps in Zone 6 with snow cover during the winter.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2004 at 1:45PM
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