The sempervivum is a charming, strange and oddly plant loved by many people for its unique appearance and vibrancy. The succulent is relatively hardy and can survive with minimal care. The plant got its name from a Swedish biologist named Carl Linnaeus, known for the Latin naming of the Sempervivum species. Sempervivum is a Latin name that loosely translates to “always living.” While gardeners know a lot of things about this succulent, one thing that is always confusing is the flowering pattern of the succulent.
So, does sempervivum bloom? The simple answer is “yes.” However, the succulent will only flower once in its lifetime since it is monocarpic, meaning it dies after blooming. Luckily, a sempervivum will grow for many years (at least three) and produce lots of offsets commonly referred to as chicks before flowering. The offsets (chicks) live on when the mother plant dies after blooming. You can temporarily halt the flowering by scooping out the bloom stalks with a sharp, clean knife. This only works if you manage to catch them as soon as the center rosette starts to close and elongate.
This blog post discusses everything you need to know about sempervivum flowers, including what triggers blooms, when you should expect them to appear, how they look, and how you can temporarily halt blooming.
How Do You Know that Sempervivum is About to Bloom?
One day you wake up and notice your sempervivum bulging and looking strange because the center part no longer matches the uniform growth of the plant leaves. What do you do in a such a case?
Well, you don’t have to be worried about anything but simply keep an eye on the bulging part at the center of your plant because it is most likely a flower stalk that will eventually produce beautiful star-shaped blooms.
Some of the common signs that your sempervivum is about to bloom include stretching the main stem, tilted appearance to the rosette, and closing the center leaves.
As the bloom matures, the center part of your plant becomes even taller and longer. Sometimes, the plant can suddenly grow up to two feet tall.
The process is known as the monocarpic process and signals that the flower is about to come out and produce seeds before the plant dies off. No need to worry because the flowering parent plant will have created several smaller offsets that will take its place.
Cutting the stem off once the succulent has already started growing taller won’t help save the plant. So, if you didn’t notice the signs earlier, it only makes sense to enjoy the unique floral show and bid farewell to the mother plant.
But we must mention that sometimes your sempervivum gets taller and leggy when it is not receiving enough light. The elongation is referred to as etiolation, and it helps the plant reach out for sunlight.
Generally, the stem from a light-deprived sempervivum will look weak and bare, while a flower stalk is strong, round and lush with upward-facing flower bud clusters. So, don’t confuse your light-deprived sempervivum for a sign of flowering.
When Does Sempervivum Bloom?
The sempervivum succulent is highly adaptable and resilient, producing flower-like clusters of rosettes. Most beginners tend to confuse the rosettes for flowers.
However, these succulents take some time before they start producing flowers because they are monocarpic. Generally, a well-maintained sempervivum will flower after three to four years.
The flowering mostly happens in late spring or summer when the long warm days and prolonged hours of sunlight provide the plant with ideal flowering conditions.
The flowering process signals the beginning of the end of the plant’s life cycle, but you shouldn’t be worried because the mother plant will have produced plenty of offsets to replace it.
Stressed sempervivum plants tend to bloom earlier, but the flowers produced won’t be healthy. In most cases, you will only notice relatively small flowers that will disappear within a short time before the plant dies.
When you notice such a thing with the mother plant, be sure to reevaluate your routine care schedule and identify what you have been doing wrong so that the offsets that replace it don’t suffer the same fate.
What Happens When Sempervivum Blooms?
As long as you take good care of your sempervivum plant, it will produce several offsets every year. So, these succulents don’t have to flower to reproduce new seedlings.
But as we have mentioned throughout this article, the succulent is monocarpic. So, any rosette that does flower and produces seeds will eventually die. That is why the plant isn’t usually grown for its flowers but for its beautiful appearance.
The flowers are relatively small and come in shades of yellow, white, or pink. If you love experimenting and your primary objective is to propagate sempervivum through seed germination, then the flowers are a welcome sight.
However, it is always a cause for worry for many gardeners because it marks the end of a generation and the start of a new one. Dead rosettes also leave gaps in otherwise tidy sempervivum clumps.
In some rare cases, a sempervivum may fail to produce offsets meaning the appearance of the blooms marks the end of a colony/generation.
What Triggers a Sempervivum Plant to Bloom?
Blooming is a highly unpredictable process in the sempervivum life cycle. One year, your plant will be growing normally and showing no signs of flowering, and in another, a whole colony can decide to produce flowers.’
It is relatively hard to know what informs the succulent that the end is near and needs to propagate. Plant experts believe that any form of stress can induce premature flowering in the sempervivum.
Drastic changes in watering, light, temperature, and even humidity can threaten the plant’s survival, thus diverting all of its resources to produce the next generation of seedlings as fast as possible.
However, if you take good care of the sempervivum and avoid exposing it to any form of stress, you can predict when your plant will start flowering. In most cases, these succulents will start flowering when they are three years old.
A sempervivum that blooms because its time has come will generally produce healthy flowers and leave behind healthy offsets to take its position.
Does Fertilizing Sempervivum Trigger Blooming
Feeding your plant won’t necessarily force it into flowering. Generally, flowering in sempervivum takes time.
However, you need to do everything possible to keep your plant healthy so that when it reaches maturity, it can put on a magnificent floral show that you will love.
Part of your sempervivum care routine should include applying diluted natural fertilizer to the succulent once in spring and once in summer for potted plants, and only once in winter for those growing in your outdoor garden.
The only ingredient to getting your sempervivum to bloom is patience. As long as you do the right things and remain patient, you will experience great results. The blooms will appear at the right time, and once they are fed, the mother plant will die peacefully.
But it doesn’t mean you will say goodbye to your plant permanently. As long as you take good care of the offsets (chicks) left behind, they will eventually mature and cover the space left by their mother plant.
Sempervivum Flower Care
Just like the rest of the plant, sempervivum flower care doesn’t require you to do anything special. You can leave the plant alone until it finishes blooming. Once it is done with blooming, the stem and base of the center rosette will dry out and die.
Be sure to clip off the stem other than pulling it out of the living cluster of the remaining rosettes to avoid yanking some of the offsets.
Alternatively, let nature take its course and leave the dying stem as proof of the mother plant’s interesting and fantastic life cycle. The stem will remain standing for a couple of months before it breaks off and compost in the pot or garden.
The young offsets will grow larger and fill the space left behind by their parent. The best you can do is enjoy the flowers and the guarantee of everlasting life that the succulent has in its offsets.
Can You Prevent Sempervivum from Blooming?
The idea of sempervivum dying after blooming can give you goosebumps, especially if you have grown fond of your plant. So, can you stop the plant from blooming so that you can spend some more time together?
Well, there are a few things you can do to try and delay the blooming, but there is no guarantee they will work. If you want to delay the blooming a little bit, ensure you clip off the bloom stalk as soon as it appears.
The stem will be tougher if you catch it too late, and the hormones that cause flowering will be already at work. The success of preventing blooming is highest when the bloom stalk is still less than three inches tall.
Sempervivum usually takes years to bloom, but the flowering rosette will die once it blooms. Give your plant proper care for the best floral show.
If you want to prevent blooming from happening, you need to catch the bloom stalk when it is still less than three inches tall and clip it off. We wish you all the best in your effort to keep your sempervivum happy and healthy!
Last update on 2022-10-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API