Thursday, October 7, 2010

Sempervivum sadness.

I wanted to start a rock garden this year so I started to collect lots of sempervivums (they're also known as hens and chicks). I think I brought home just about every one I saw at a nursery this past spring because it was too hard to make the decision to leave even one variety behind. Every one of them was gorgeous and besides, I was smitten.

Some had dangerous looking pointy tips...

...and some were rounder and gentler looking.

Some had intriguing names like this one, Mrs. Giuseppe...

Some were fuzzy...

...some to the point where they looked like they were covered with spiderwebs. This one, appropriately enough, was called "Cobweb."

Some had flowers...

Very pretty ones.

I repotted all my baby sempervivums into pots filled with cactus mix and rock, making sure they had exceptional drainage. They looked so young and fresh and happy and I was looking forward to watching them grow big this summer.

But then, just a few weeks later, this...

Huh and how?

Unrelenting humidity.

I watered them exactly once and then it started to rain. It rained for days. And then weeks. Although I had moved the sempervivums to an area away from direct rainfall, they never had a chance to dry out because of the constant saturation of the air. And so, they started rotting away.

It was sad. Once I saw what was happening, I moved as many of the hens and chicks I could into the dry, dry air indoors. There they sat in a window for a couple months, avoiding the typical Missouri humid summer, not really doing anything but at least they were alive. They got moved outdoors again a couple weeks ago and some of them look like they're finally trying to grow again...

Hopefully what I have left will last until next spring...where I can plant the sensitive little things somewhere with their own umbrellas and fans.

It's so discouraging. Rather than try to grow things with fancy unpronounceable names like Rosularia Muratdaghensis...

Maybe I should just stick to the "perrinals" I can find at the local hardware store...

Errrgh.

9 comments:

Rural Rambler said...

Oh Maria that is sad. And I fell in love with Mrs. Giuseppe. I have some Fire on The Mountain or Euphorbia you can have!

Mental P Mama said...

I love these! And they regenerate like crazy...

Maureen said...

I hope Mrs. Giuseppe survived, she's gorgeous. I'm moving to Cape Cod in a couple weeks and have some enormous houseplants (one is 30 years old) that I can't take with me and don't know what to do with. Maybe I can find someone in the building with front windows and a green thumb!

Leenie said...

Wow. I had no idea "hens and chicks" had so many varieties. And they are truly wonderful. I've seen them often here... surviving in some neglected flower garden among the quack grass and dandilions. Thought of them as a weed. Now I'm trying to figure out where among my "perrinals" (hehe) I can find a spot for Mrs. Giuseppe.

So sorry about your pretty babies. This was not a year for "normal" growing conditions. Weirder than usual weather here too.

Maria said...

PIx-I found another little Fire on the Mountain on the driveway a couple weeks ago but now that it is fall, it kind of disappeared. It sure wasn't as pretty as what YOU are growing on the other side of the state. Did I tell you about finding another native euphorbia called "hogwort?" It's the plant that the Harry Potter Hogwarts school is named after.

I like that Mrs. Giuseppe too. And I am happy to say that she is one of the two hens and chicks that has made the most dramatic recovery. I don't think she'd be a difficult one to find at the garden centers. I can always send you some chicks in the spring (if she continues to survive) if you can't find her. :-)

Mental. I HOPE the remaining ones regenerate like crazy. The word sempervivum translates to something along the line of "live forever." Um, mine had a definite demise. I still love them though. Maybe next year I'll figure out a way to get them going before the humidity overwhelms them.

Maureen-Yes. Mrs. Giuseppe DID survive. I think she's third from the bottom of the photos I posted. In the spring she had those pretty little burgundy tips but now...all green. Odd.

Take cuttings of your plants if you can. That might help a little bit when you have to say good-bye to them.

Leenie-Oh my gosh. You would not BELIEVE the number of varieties of those things. They are very promiscuous. I didn't have much success with them this year but one thing I can say for the little stinkers, they sure don't cost very much. I don't think I paid more than 5 dollars for any of them...more like just a couple bucks.

Yeah, "perrinals." Hahaha. I was lucky to have my camera the day I saw that signage. Bad spelling makes me laugh.

And thank you for your sympathy about my sempervivum loss. They were so darn cute. It was sad to see them wither and rot away. :-( But I'm a gardener and I know these things happen. Maybe next year will be the perfect year for them. <:-)

Lancashire rose said...

Some times a gardener just finds things out the hard way. I love those hens and chicks too but they just don't like Austin. Even some of the succulents I brought back from Ca last winter hate it here. I have one little chick in a pot of gravel. So far so good! Not to say that we shouldn't experiment though. Sorry for all your losses

Maria said...

Lancashire Rose- Ohhhhh my. If you're having trouble with them and TEXAS is having problems with them, I am not going to question myself at all. It was getting to the point where I was going to take them all out of their pots, turn them upside down and then put a fan on their roots to dry them out. Maybe I'll have better luck next year...

Thank you for your sempervivum sympathy. :-)

Eve said...

I'm a lover of Sempervivum....too Maria! HOW sad to see them shrivel. I hope they all come back. Last year I purchased a Kangaroo Paw...it was lovely, but didn't know it couldn't take the winter. We had NO rain this summer...I mean NO but I think that may be over as we dodged tornados all last evening.

Anonymous said...

Hi,
I'm a sempervivum fan too! To avoid problems, you should plant them in a soil with a good drainage, and remove the plates from your pots.

Rui Marques
ruimtmarques@outlook.com