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.
Although the Oddities I have now were purchased from several sources, and I suppose it is possible that they are somehow different than the Oddities I had previously, I am starting to believe that the changes in leaf shape I have seen over the past several months are normal and that I just never paid attention to them before.
I have noticed that early in the spring the mature, larger Oddities have almost flat blade-like leaves. As it gets warmer the flat blades change back into round open tubes… all of the Oddities in my gardens, regardless of size, had only tubular leaves all during the hot summer months. Now, as the temperatures are dropping again, some tubes have already flattened out.
I have also noticed that the tubes on the older and larger Oddities are the first to change back into blades, and that almost all of the tubes on these larger plants show this change. Interestingly, the smaller “chicks” mostly keep their tubular leaves, with only a few of their larger outer tubes becoming flat. I am guessing that these changes in leaf shape in some way provide a protection for the plant, which may explain why a mature plant is more likely to survive severe winter temperatures. I have not been able to find any verification for this other than my observations of the changes in my own plants.
Just before the first snowstorm last week I brought three Oddity chicks… all with still tubular leaves… and three large mature Oddities… all with only flat blade-like leaves… inside for the winter. It will be interesting to see how those leaf shapes change during the months ahead. I am expecting that as they adjust to the warmer indoor temperatures… all of the Oddities, regardless of their size… will eventually revert back to tubular leaves.
I’ll let you know what happens.