Sempervivum is an evergreen succulent plant that is remarkably low-maintenance, as well as being so hardy that they can survive winters as far north as zone 3.
Because they are succulents, Sempervivum will rarely need watering, and only when their soil is completely dried out. Young transplants should be watered once or twice a week until they are established, and then you should only need to water them in extended periods of drought.
How to Tell if a Sempervivum Needs Water?
Sempervivum has to be very dry before it will let you know that it needs watering. However, if you see that its leaves have become wrinkled and limp or brown and crispy, it’s a clear sign that you need to water them.
How Do You Know When Your Sempervivum is Sufficiently Watered?
If you are growing your Sempervivum in a container, it’s best to plunge the pot into a pail of water and let the soil absorb the water, and then let it drain away all excess before placing it back in its saucer. That way, you know that the soil is uniformly moist but not soaking wet.
If your Sempervivum is growing in a rock garden or as a ground cover, use a small container set amongst the plants to act as a water gauge. When there’s an inch accumulated, you’ve watered enough.
What’s the Best Time to Water a Sempervivum?
Avoid watering a Sempervivum in the middle of the day, as the water droplets left on the leaves can act as a magnifying glass and concentrate the sun’s rays, causing damage to the leaves. It’s best to water either early in the morning or in the evening.
Can You Overwater a Sempervivum?
The worst thing that you can do for a Sempervivum is to keep its soil sopping wet, as that will encourage the development of root rot, which will kill the plant. For that reason, only water when the soil is completely dry, and only use enough to get the soil moist, not soaked.
What are Signs of an Overwatered Sempervivum?
When a Sempervivum is overwatered, it is very prone to rot. The leaves will turn a sickly shade of yellow and fall off, starting at the center of the rosette.
How Long Can a Sempervivum Go Without Water?
Sempervivum can go for extended periods of time without water, although growth will be more healthy and vigorous with occasional deep waterings.
The plants can go for weeks without supplementary watering in dry weather and will recover even if they have started to wilt and wrinkle. Giving them a really good soaking will quickly perk them up.
Should Sempervivum Soil Be Moist?
Sempervivum soil should not be consistently moist. Because these plants are succulents, they store water in their leaves that they can draw upon when their soil starts to dry out. For that reason, it’s usually recommended that you only water when the soil has completely dried out. Then, the moist soil will help replenish the water in the leaves until things dry out again.
Why is my Sempervivum Turning Brown/Yellow?
Your Sempervivum may be turning brown because the soil is so dry that the leaves are starting to dry up.
If they’re turning yellow, it’s much more likely that the soil is too wet, and the plants have developed root rot. It’s very important to plant these succulents in very loose, gritty soil so that the roots will be able to breathe.
Why is my Sempervivum Droopy?
A droopy Sempervivum may need watering, or it could be suffering from root rot from too-wet soil.
Does a Sempervivum Need Fertilizer?
Sempervivum will thrive in poor, sandy soil, but an occasional dose of fertilizer can be used to keep its growth as healthy as possible. The most it needs is some slow-release granular fertilizer sprinkled on the soil surface once a year in early spring.
How Much Sunlight Does a Sempervivum Need?
Sempervivums love the sun. They are used to growing on mountains in western and central Europe, so they have evolved in the high light levels of that environment. 8-10 hours a day is optimum.
Will Temperatures and Humidity Affect a Sempervivum?
While Sempervivum grows best between 65-75°F (18-24°C), it will also tolerate higher temperatures, although some shade might be best during the hot afternoon hours. It will do well in a wide range of humidity.
Will a Sempervivum Survive in the Winter?
Sempervivums are extremely winter-hardy, as you might expect from mountain natives. They will survive winters as far north as zone 3 with no protection. In fact, they do better when they get an annual period of cold dormancy.
Will a Sempervivum Survive in Direct Sunlight?
Because they are mountain plants, Sempervivum are used to lots of sunlight at high altitudes, so direct sunlight all day is usually just fine. The only exception would be in extremely hot climates, where some afternoon shade is a good idea.
If you want hardy, evergreen plants that require hardly any attention once they’re established, then Sempervivum is the plant for you! Thriving in poor soil with little need for watering, they’re the ideal plant it and forget it species.
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Janice is a retired High School teacher who is spending her leisure years keeping busy with all sorts of projects. Aside from freelance writing, she’s an enthusiastic amateur chef, home wine maker, and tends a large raised-bed vegetable garden, while at the same time running a Bed & Breakfast.