Informational Forum forum: Identifying Sempervivum Plants

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Jun 28, 2016 6:34 AM CST
Name: Chris
Wisconsin z4
It’s frustrating to receive a plant and not be able to properly identify it. First, I’d like to say that I am by no means an expert on the subject, but I belong to the National Gardening Association where we have a huge sempervivium (world-wide) database ( We work together to try to make sure the plants are properly identified and it’s a never ending process. We also work with companies that sell sempervivum to assure the plants they’re selling have correct IDs, and if possible, we also like to work with the hybridizers themselves. I can’t tell you how many semps I’ve purchased over the years that have wrong IDs. The “rule” with semps is pretty much once you lose a label, the plant should remain a NOID (NO IDentification). The problem with guessing the ID is that the plant now gets passed on to more and more people and the market is again filled with another plant incorrectly identified. Many people don’t really care what the name is, but if you’re a collector or a seller, it’s very important.

Characteristics to look for in reviewing plants are size, color, leaf width, leaf thickness, leaf shape, whether the leaves are smooth, fuzzy, have cilia, tufting, webbing, bloom color, etc. But depending on growing conditions a semp can look very different in a different location – even in your own yard! Some factors affecting how a semp looks includes amount of sunlight, growing medium, temperature, moisture, season of the year, climate zone, maturity of the plant. If you have a semp that has an ID, it’s easier to determine if it’s correct or not, but nearly impossible to have nothing to start with and try to determine which semp it is.

Below are some pictures of the sempervivum ‘Artist’ and how it looks in my garden throughout the year.

'Artist' in April
Thumb of 2016-06-28/goldfinch4/d71503

'Artist' in May
Thumb of 2016-06-28/goldfinch4/12a189

'Artist' in June
Thumb of 2016-06-28/goldfinch4/f5f080

'Artist' in September
Thumb of 2016-06-28/goldfinch4/31ba5a

Picture of ‘Plastic’. Same plant grown for a year right next to each other – one in a container, one in the ground – so you can easily see how only the growing medium can affect a plant.
Thumb of 2016-06-28/goldfinch4/6596f5

Not having a name doesn't make them any less beautiful. Just enjoy it as a NOID!
[Last edited Feb 4, 2018 9:20 AM CST]
Quote | Post #1204895 (1)

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