Sempervivum

 In Category Cactus

Family: Crassulaceae
Habitat: South Europe, North Africa and Middle East
Cultivation: To best develop the plant, it is advisable to prune the rosettes that eventually die after flowering, leaving space for the new ones. Limit the watering to prevent the rot of the roots and put the plants in a very bright spot.
Curiosity: Probably of tropical origin, Sempervivum has spread and acclimated spontaneously even in temperate climates and even in mountainous areas. The name makes it evident that it is a perennial plant and, like the other crassulaceae, very robust.

SEMPERVIVUM KEY FEATURES
The Sempervivum genus groups about forty species, but never as in the case of these succulent plants the conditional is a must because it is a constantly evolving genus. These are plants with different stems (almost absent, for example, in the S. grandiflorum and long and robust in the S. tectorum) from which rosettes of different sizes come out,  ometimes larger, other they grow in height, they usually have got numerous, long and narrow leaves. Rosettes can have different color nuances: light green, violet, reddish. They often have different shades on the tips, which make them very decorative. From the botanical point of view they are monocarpic: that means they are destined to dry and die after flowering and making seeds (which usually happens after a few years). New rosettes come out and they will take the place of the old ones. Flowers can have very different colors: they are often red or rose, rarely yellowish or white.

VARIETIES AND TYPES

As already mentioned, Sempervivum species are subject to new continuous classifications because it is a genus that hybridizes very easily even in nature. Here are the main varieties recognized today.

  • Sempervivum altum
  • S. arachnoideum
  • S. arachnoideum tomentosum
  • S. armenum
  • S. atlanticum
  • S. balcanicum
  • S. borissovae
  • S. calcareum
  • S. cantabricum v. cabionense
  • S. cantabricum v. gredense
  • S. cantabricum v. guadarramense
  • S. carpathicum
  • S. caucasicum
  • S. ciliosum
  • S. davisii
  • S. dolomiticum
  • S. fauconnettii
  • S. × giuseppii
  • S. globiferum
  • S. grandiflorum
  • S. heuffelii
  • S. iranicum
  • S. italicum
  • S. jakucsii
  • S. juvanii
  • S. kindingeri
  • S. kosaninii
  • S. leucanthum
  • S. macedonicum
  • S. marmoreum
  • S. minutum
  • S. montanum
  • S. montanum v. stiriacum
  • S. nevadense
  • S. octopodes
  • S. octopodes v. apetalum
  • S. ossetiense
  • S. pittonii v. pumilum
  • S. rhenanum
  • S. ruthenicum
  • S. sosnowskyi
  • S. tartaricum
  • S. tectorum
  • S. tectorum f. clusianum
  • S. tectorum ssp. verlotii
  • S. tectorum v. andreanum
  • S. tectorum v. boutignanum
  • S. × thompsonianum
  • S. transcaucasicum
  • S. vicentei
  • S. webbianum
  • S. wulfenii
  • S. zeleborii

 TIPS FOR CULTIVATION

To best develop the plant, it is advisable to prune the rosettes that eventually die after flowering, leaving space for the new ones. Apart from this, we see together the other indications for cultivation:

  • EXPOSURE: Choose a place in full sun, but sheltered in the hottest hours of the day.
  • TEMPERATURE: They are very durable: depending on the species they also stand at -15 ° C or even -20 ° C. This is why they also fit well into the temperate gardens.
  • WATERING: They are very sensitive to rotting. This is why moderate watering is recommended, every 3-4 days in the vegetative period and then reduce in autumn. Suspend completely during the winter months.
  • SOIL: Choose a light and non-clay soil: the clay holds the water, increasing the risk of rotting the roots. A mix of sand and peat is a good solution.
  • CONCIMATION: Fertilize at the beginning of spring with a specific liquid product for succulent plants.
  • REPOTTING: Choose wide and shallow vessels to leave to the rosettes the right space to expand and emit suckers. After repotting, do not expose the plant to direct sunlight for a few days (but make sure it is still in a bright spot).
  • REPRODUCTION: Sempervivum is reproduced either by seed or by cuttings. As a cuttings, it is advisable to use the young rosettes that sideline to the plant, but sometimes even the simple leaves can root.
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