Four summers ago one of my very ordinary green sempervivums produced some rather extraordinary flowers. This sempervivum was a very small rosette, but the flower clusters were unusually large… and although most of the flowers were the usual pink, a few flowers had a definite bluish-purple tone.
Sempervivums (Hens & Chicks)
If you’re new to growing sempervivums (commonly called hens and chickens)… the flowers, and especially the flower stalks, can come as somewhat of a shock. If you know what to look for, it is usually obvious when a rosette is about to flower… first it becomes larger than the surrounding rosettes, then a fleshy stalk starts to grow out of the center of the rosette. Eventually clusters of small buds form at the top of the stalk. Sempervivums are monocarpic, which means that after the flowers open and fade, the original rosette dies.
I have taken hundreds and hundreds… maybe even thousands… of pictures of my sempervivums. Some day (hopefully) I will get them all organized according to name. Right now, though, I thought I would share some photographs of my sempervivums in their bright spring colors. I must especially like the red tones, because I have so many in this group. Here are just a few…
Recently several readers have written to me because the tubes of their Oddity are no longer tubes, and they suddenly have a sempervivum with broad flat leaves. They are concerned that their Oddity is reverting back to a non-tubular form. I think their plants might just be adjusting to the colder temperatures.
I think all my sempervivums are wonderful, but one of my very special favorites is Oddity. When the deer decimated my sempervivum gardens last winter, I felt especially sad to have lost so many Oddities. For many, many years they have been a unique part of my gardens with their colorful rosettes of long hollow red-tipped tubes.