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by Andrew S.
(Ithaca, NY)


So, recently I was at the local farmer’s market and since my friend had killed my newest container of propagating polka-dot plants, he bought me a new plant.

One woman had a bunch of hens and chicks, so I picked one out.

First, I keep seeing bugs on them, which I am worried these little black specks are (maybe eggs or something). But, it also looks like it’s growing tall and is thinking about flowering or something, and I’ve read that they die after that.

I know that you have a lot of information about these plants, but I’m needy and I really love asking you questions, so any tips you can give me about this little plant would be wonderful.

PS. I’m going to try and restrain myself from going and yelling at this woman that I bought this from, but if it really is infested with bugs I might have to shank someone.

Please – no killing! These things happen. For bugs, well, if the plants have been grown outside as they should be, occasionally they pick up hitch hikers, and there’s only one thing to do – careful inspection, and then spray as needed with my all purpose bug killer, insecticidal soap. Try and identify the pest first, in case it’s something beneficial.

Sadly, I think your instinct with this plant is right on the money. If it doesn’t produce any chicks (and I don’t see any) then it will a short lived pleasure watching it bloom. You’re correct, the flowering rosette will die once it finishes.

You can, however, keep the seeds and try growing those. You’ll have to pollinate it if you don’t see any insects on it, like bees, by taking one of the florets and dabbing it on each of the other flowers in turn.

I have no idea what the results will be, but I grow many of my favorite plants from seed, and I’ve had excellent success with Sempervivum.

Hope this helps; you can see more about these fascinating and beautiful plants here:

How to Grow Sempervivum

Happy Hardy Succulent Growing!

Comments for My first Sempervivum

Jul 09, 2012
by: Andrew S.

I currently have this plant outside, and I do see some bugs on it, but I don’t know if they have done any pollinating.

What should I do to try and ensure that this happens? I don’t see how I can dab one flower on another without ripping one of them off. Suggestions?

Also, how do I know when there is a seed?

Yes, rip one flower off (or surgically remove it with a sharp razor blade or scissors, if it makes you feel better) and then dab it, or, use a paintbrush and transfer the pollen. It also helps to make buzzing noises.

You will know there is seed because the flower will shrivel up, leaving a seed pod behind. Don’t worry, you’ll be inundated with seed. They make a lot with each flower. I’ve still got seed from two years ago, which I will never be able to plant.

I’ll await further developments.