Sempervivum

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Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

An update on my semp planter, the season is progressing well, and semps and jovibarbas are coloring strongly, the rosettes now expanding and opening up, the chicks just starting.

My wheelbarrow planter is looking good too, although I have too many red-leaf types planted, needs better color variety, so I'm going down to a local nursery tomorrow that typically has a good selection of semps, a few Rosularia, and some hardy "mesembs".

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

Mark, the red-leaved ones contrast very nicely with the rocks.

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

Both are looking great, Mark!  

An ambulatory planting!  ;D  ;D  Excellent concept!  

I'll keep an eye out for 'Gold Bug'.   I've never seen one like that - very nice!

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

Sempervivum octopodes var. apetalum - The name is an apropos description, as its stolons are very long (5+ inches on a vigorous plant) before it sets its new babies.  I've had the fingers reach out over two pots before depositing its offspring in the third.   You can imagine how a single rosette with these long "tentacles" would look very much like an octopus.

This is a December photo:

             

I am not always a fan of green flowers, but I do like this one.  Flowering now:

             

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

I like that one too.  That's an amazingly early bloom, or is your season that different from here?

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

It is very early, but that is normal for the species according to the literature.  The next sempervivum to bloom that I have(had) is another ciliate type, 'Maigret', and it will be another week and a half to two weeks yet.  (I donated that 5 inch potful to the Chapter sale.) 

The biggest difference, I think, between our climate timing is that we have a very compressed spring, and leap right into summer quickly.  Three days ago we had a 101 F day!  Most years, we don't even reach 100 degrees all summer long.  It has changed the growth pattern of several plants.  Lilium szovitsianum infolorescence are very compact and only half as big as they should be, but still will the same number of flowers.

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

RickR wrote:

 

The biggest difference, I think, between our climate timing is that we have a very compressed spring, and leap right into summer quickly.  Three days ago we had a 101 F day!  Most years, we don't even reach 100 degrees all summer long.  It has changed the growth pattern of several plants.  Lilium szovitsianum infolorescence are very compact and only half as big as they should be, but still will the same number of flowers.

We have prolonged springs! They start in February and last to June ;D
101F  :o We'll never experience that here (at the coast where I live). If we hit 85F that would be front page stuff.

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

I see.  Yeah, it doesn't reach 100 deg F here until.... err, well, never in recorded history actually.  ;D

Glad to hear your lily will still bloom well despite the hot spring.

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

RickR wrote:

Sempervivum octopodes var. apetalum - The name is an apropos description, as its stolons are very long (5+ inches on a vigorous plant) before it sets its new babies.  I've had the fingers reach out over two pots before depositing its offspring in the third.   You can imagine how a single rosette with these long "tentacles" would look very much like an octopus.

I am not always a fan of green flowers, but I do like this one.  Flowering now:

A species not often seen, I too like S. octopodes, I used to grow it in the days of having a bigger semp collection. Typically I prefer semps with short stolons so that they build into tight mats, but this one makes such a mass of criss-crossing stolons and chicks, that it visually fun. Good cilia too, I'm a fan of ciliolate semps. Google this semp and you'll see lots of good images.

I wonder however about the var. apetalum part, as the variety apetalum "differs from the type mainly by the absence of petals and stamens, also having more numerous sepals".  There are a couple good links that describe this species in the wild, as well as describe the variety.  My guess is, much of what goes around as var. apetalum is actually the type species S. octopodes.

Sempervivum octopodes on Mt. Pelister, Macedonia
http://stalikez.info/fsm/semp/site/octo_gb.php

http://www.deeproot.co.uk/pbo/plantdetail.php?plantname=Sempervivum+octo...

So far as early bloom on semps, it's not unusually early in this area; with some moisture and warm to hot weather they surge into bloom.  Here's one that I lost the label on (might be S. 'Maigret') that is nearly in bloom, taken on June 6, 2011, nearly a week ago.  

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

I had seen that same original description about the variety before, Mark.  In fact I had saved the page on my pc.  Frankly, I don't think I could distinguish between petals and sepals for verification, even if I dissected the flower.  Also, how it could be a true variety if it doesn't produce stamens (and therefore pollen) for reproduction?  So I wonder if that part of the 1929 description is an anomaly.   But I also read the rest that same literature quote that is more consistent with my plant:

For var. apetalum
--- "The rosettes are generally larger than these of the type and can reach between 2,5 to 3 cm in diameter" (I have had ones larger than that.)
--- "[leaves] with a less well defined brown marking on the apices." (Depending on the season and care afforded, my rosettes can look like my pic below.)
--- "Offsets are very freely produced on even longer stolons than the type, up to 9 cm in length." (As I said, I have had 5+ inches [12+cm])
--- "Unlike the type, this plant withstands the winter damp well and is very easy of culture." (Never had any hint of a cultural problems here, for the four winters that I have grown it.  It's as easy as any semp.)

Obviously, I've been wrong before; what do you (or anyone) think?

Edit: Further study has me convinced that I have the type species, not the variety apetalum.

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That 101 F day was really freaky, and very windy.  It was like being in a windy, dry sauna all day.  Like when you're in the sauna and blow on yourself, and it feels hotter rather than cooler.  Weird for us northerners.  Fortunately, it was only one day - 85 F the day before, 75 the day after.  But blooms really took it hard and withered rapidly.  Out of many, I have one promising seedling from Iris setosa 'Tourist': saw it opening at 5:30am when I went to work, and it had shriveled by the time I got home.:(

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

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