Sempervivum belongs to the genus of plants, called Sempervivum, which means “to live forever.” In recent years, there has been an increasing interest in this group of succulents, in their hybridization and the creation of new forms. Entire associations of collectors and lovers of these many-sided plants arise, which really seem to be going to live forever. They leave alive under the snow and appear the same from under it after the snowdrifts melt. The Sempervivum are grown in open ground and at home, they create living wall paintings and dry aquarium compositions from it, it requires minimal maintenance, but the creation of harmonious and impeccably stylish compositions based on it requires knowledge of the specifics of growing this succulent.
Description of the plant with a photo
Sempervivum is an evergreen succulent perennial herbaceous type with bare or glandular-pubescent fleshy leaves. Forms a dense basal leaf rosette, which at the same time is its vegetative shoot. The shape of sessile entire leaves can be pointed and elongated, short and oval, and their color is very diverse. From light gray, pale pink and yellow to orange, purplish red, purple and almost black, most often in soothing, muted tones. It can be the same over the entire surface of the sheet or with transitions between shades, with contrasting strokes, marbled color and silver fringe – it is this variety of colors and colors that allows enthusiastic florists to create whole picturesque pictures from youth. The surface of the sheet plate is glossy or matte,
The collection of juveniles contains monstrous and crested forms, which arise on the basis of anomalous development and disorderly division of growth points. As a result of uneven vegetation, plants sometimes appear with absolutely fantastic outlines.
The rosette can grow and produce daughter shoots without flowering for many years. But most often in the 2nd or 3rd year of life (in some varieties and varieties much later), the plant is preparing to bloom. You can see the preparation for flowering by enhancing the color of the foliage and the rapid elongation of the central stem, as well as by the fact that the specimen that decided to bloom stops producing vegetative offspring. And, if he prepared for this, no one and nothing can prevent this. Even a cut.
Straight leafy peduncles grow from the center of the rosette up to 30 cm in height. The inflorescence is of the apical type, paniculate or corymbose, bearing 6-20 flowers of the correct star-shaped form. Their color is white, yellowish or purple-red. The sepals fuse at the base. After flowering, a multi-leafed fruit with many seeds is formed. Rejuvenated refers to plants of the monocarpic type, in which, after flowering and fruiting, the entire aerial part dies off. However, the process concerns only one flowering rosette, the death of which most often goes unnoticed due to intensive vegetative reproduction and the rapid growth of daughter shoots. The empty space is quickly taken by other flowers. Flowering occurs in the second half of summer and lasts more than a month.
Among the people, this plant has many other names with which confusion often occurs – stone rose, tenacious, hare cabbage and others.
Types and varieties Sempervivum
Regarding the number of varieties of culture, information is contradictory – from 3 to 6 dozen species representatives, not counting the numerous varieties, which, it seems, are no longer in number. The scatter of data occurs due to the easy crossing of species representatives in culture, due to which new hybrid forms are formed. But even within the same species, you can see a very diverse picture, since these flowers are very changeable. Even one specimen can repeatedly change its color and shape throughout its life, depending on the light, season, soil composition and its own age.
It is the most common variety, it grows everywhere throughout Western and Eastern Europe. The unusual name of the flower was due to its use in ancient times as roofing. The rosette can have a flattened or spherical appearance, the diameter of the central one reaches 15 cm. A characteristic feature of the species is pointed leaves with a purple-lilac color of the tips. Flowering time is mid to late summer.
The area of natural distribution is the alpine meadows of the Alps and unknown rocks. The rosettes are medium-sized, the leaves are green, smooth, with a red-purple tint and soft cilia along the sharp edge. Subsidiaries are kept on thin hard shoots. When flowering, a 25-centimeter peduncle is thrown out with bright yellow inflorescences with a burgundy base.
Not the most common, but one of the most spectacular varieties. It differs from other species in thinner leaves and contrasting colors. The leaves at the base are light green with a bluish-gray muted tint and a dark color along the sharp edge.
Forms spherical rosettes 5 cm in diameter. The leaves are light green, the flowers of the same tone or yellowish hue.
Despite the name, it is found not only in Russia (mainly in its European part), but also in Asia Minor, as well as in the Balkans. Blooms in July and August with tall yellow corymbose inflorescences. The leaves are elongated. with a pointed tip, pubescent on peduncles.
It is widely distributed in the Caucasus. Forms very small, not more than 3 cm, rosettes, painted from light green to maroon. The tips of the leaves have long thin hairs that intertwine and form a cobweb cocoon as the specimen grows. It serves as a protection against summer desiccation, gradually thins out with the onset of autumn, and again densely entwines the plantation with the onset of spring. Inflorescences are rare, large, yellow.
Medium-sized rosettes are painted in a bright green tone with a muted red color at the border.
Growing from seeds
Planting of Sempervivum seeds is carried out both by seedling method and by open sowing in open ground. When growing for seedlings, the algorithm of actions is similar to planting seeds for growing succulents at home as a houseplant.
Sowing is done at the end of February. Since seedlings require little moisture, even cardboard boxes with a cut bottom, installed on a pallet, can be used as a planting container. If the seedlings are to be used as an outdoor plant, sandy soil should be used for sowing seeds. When growing at home, it is advisable to immediately plant the seeds in a suitable substrate. You can use ready mix for cacti and succulents. The soil is slightly moistened, seeds are sparsely laid out on it and pressed no deeper than 1 mm.
The place for seedlings in the house should be sunny, warm. You need to moisten the soil superficially (spray), but daily. Not later than a week later, the first sprouts should appear. Unlike other plants, juveniles can be sown with the onset of spring heat and until September itself. The main thing is that the sprouts have time to take root well before the first frost.
Thanks to a small but tenacious root system, the plant can grow anywhere, even in crevices between stones, so the youth does not impose requirements on soil fertility. However, with regard to its permeability, the situation is opposite. It should have high rates, since the stone rose, like all succulents, does not tolerate waterlogging of the soil. It is also desirable that it is not acidic. Clay soil must be diluted with a material with high drainage qualities (sand, expanded clay, broken brick, etc.). You also need to take care of the rapid drainage of rainwater.
Mulching the soil with small pebbles will help eliminate the possible rotting of the lower tier of leaves in a rainy summer from prolonged contact with moist soil.
Further planting care is very simple – it can be carried out according to the principle “the less attention, the better.” The plant is extremely unpretentious. Ideally, even the soil should be extremely poor, since its fertility contributes to the growth and weakening of the curtain, reducing its winter hardiness. From this it becomes clear that the culture does not need either watering or fertilizing. An exception for irrigation can only be a very hot and abnormally dry summer. But excess moisture can easily create a problem, so it is advisable to make a bed with Sempervivumsters on a hill with the obligatory arrangement of high-quality high drainage.
As for lighting, the requirements for it are very high. The place should be sunny, open, without shade from garden large-sized plants. The plant does not require shelter in winter, wintering well under snow cover.
It is impossible to plant juveniles under trees, not only because of their intolerance to the shade, but also because of the danger of rapid decay under a layer of fallen leaves.
The propagation process of a stone rose is even easier than caring for this crop. First of all, it perfectly reproduces itself, growing with daughter rosettes. Even a one-year-old copy begins to produce them in sufficient quantities. They are connected to the mother bush by thin shoots and, as soon as they touch the ground, take root quickly and easily. If you separate them from the central outlet before they take root, then just put them in a new place, and very soon they will take root there. It is not difficult to transfer already rooted specimens to a new place, since they tolerate transplantation easily and take root quickly. Moreover, the plant calmly tolerates a temporary stay outside the ground, so it can even be sent by mail.
Weeds and pests
At first, it is necessary to carefully deal with weeds, which can easily “suffocate” immature seedlings and prevent them from starting a qualitative development. Subsequently, a stone rose easily prevents the growth of weeds, but if strong grass nevertheless breaks through a dense curtain, it will not be easy to remove it without damaging the turf of a dense coating. For this reason, it is recommended to thoroughly clean the bed before planting the Sempervivum for the remains of weed roots.
Serious attention should be paid to the presence of harmful insects in the ground. A stone rose can be severely damaged by the larvae of the cockchafer, bears and other large insects. Ants can also spoil the look of the plant if they are present on the site in large numbers.