Native to the Alps, Sempervivum Cobweb is just like any other hens and chicks plant-- except for the thin strands of fiber that decorate the tips of its leaves. Their spiderweb-like fibers are what gives them their name: Cobweb Hens and Chicks, Cobweb Sedum, or the Cobweb Houseleek. Typically, plants with such unique characteristics would seem difficult to care for. Still, just like other Hens and Chicks, Sempervivum cobweb is a hardy plant that just about anyone can care for given the right tools.
Since this succulent hails from the Alps, Cobweb Houseleek is no stranger to cooler temperatures and climate, and its hardiness allows for easy adaptation to a variety of environments. Additionally, during its winter dormancy period, the Cobweb Houseleek has similar care requirements to any other Sempervivum.
The Cobweb Houseleek’s adaptability means that it’s not too picky about sunlight-- it can survive in lighting conditions anywhere from full sun to light shade. This is fantastic for anyone looking to add this succulent into a succulent arrangement since it’ll thrive under a wide variety of light levels.
When alone, consider keeping your Sempervivum in full sun, and as always, avoid putting your succulent in direct sunlight to keep the leaves from burning.
During the growing season, it’s best to keep up a regular watering schedule. Although the Cobweb Houseleek doesn’t need too much water to survive, so you’ll need to water it whenever the soil gets dry using either a watering bottle or through bottom watering. After watering, let the excess water drain completely. To help determine if your Sempervivum Cobweb needs water, consider using a moisture meter to check the dryness of your soil.
You can reduce watering to a minimum during the winter since the plant will be dormant.
3. Temperature and Humidity
The Sempervivum Cobweb thrives in temperate climates and has quite a range of climate options, ranging from zones 5a to 8b on the USDA Hardiness scale. With a summer growing period, these succulents will do best in temperatures ranging from 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit and will feel quite at home in the average household.
Like most succulents, fast-draining soil is a must for the Cobweb Houseleek. Succulent soil mix with high levels of drainage work best, as does poor, sandy soil. If you’re looking to make or modify your own soil mixture, consider using peat as a means of thinning out the soil for optimal drainage.
You won’t need to fertilize your Sempervivum Cobweb in most situations. However, a diluted mixture of succulent fertilizer works best during the growing season.
Potting and Repotting
Good drainage should be at the top of your priority list when choosing a pot for your Cobweb Houseleek. Pots made from porous materials like concrete, terracotta, and ceramic work best for plants in need of high drainage and can help prevent root rot. When choosing what size pot your succulent needs, always go with something roughly 5-10% larger than the succulent itself.
When you repot your Sempervivum, it’s best to do so during the summer growing season, so your succulent can easily adjust to its new home. If you’re giving it a larger pot, make sure it’s at least 10% larger than its previous pot, so your baby has plenty of room to grow!
Due to their compact shape, chances are you won’t have to prune your Sempervivum Cobweb often. Additionally, pruning the succulent will also damage the fibers surrounding it-- while this won’t kill the plant, it can be a bit disappointing. However, if you keep the plant in partial sun, it may become leggy due to uneven lighting. In this case, trim off any leggy portions with clean, sharp scissors, or turn the pot so your Sempervivum gets even lighting.
To propagate your Hens and Chicks, you can simply separate one of the “chicks” from the other parts of the plant. To do so, cut off the full rosette using a pair of clean, sharp scissors, and dig out any roots that have begun to grow from that particular rosette. When you’ve got your cutting, plant the rosette in its own pot to propagate.
When choosing rosettes to cut, look for ones that have the beginnings of a root system forming underneath. That way, you’ll be more likely to succeed in your propagation!
Sempervivum of all kinds bloom once every three years, and this is no different for the Sempervivum Cobweb. Like all plants of its type, the Cobweb Houseleek blooms when one of its rosettes is about to die. These pink blooms will grow from a stalk that rises from the center of the rosette and act as a method of spreading seeds for future plants.
A single rosette blooming does not spell the death of the whole succulent. When a Sempervivum Cobweb rosette dies, surrounding “chicks” will fill in the area as the rosette decomposes and fertilizes the soil. The smaller rosettes will then grow and become the new “hens” of your plant.
Although Sempervivum Cobweb is toxic to most animals and children, ingestion doesn’t mean death. Instead, these plants are more likely to cause stomach irritation and vomiting. To prevent your Sempervivum Cobweb from becoming a snack, keep it someplace out of reach for pets and children.
Additionally, Sempervivum Cobweb leaves hold a toxin of their own. Similar to poison ivy (but nowhere as severe), you may experience a rash or skin irritation after touching your Sempervivum Cobweb. When handling, use gardening gloves to avoid irritation.
The Sempervivum Cobweb is susceptible to common pests like aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, and scale like any other succulent. However, it is especially susceptible to developing root rot if not given adequate drainage. Always make sure to use fast-draining soil for your Cobwebs to avoid potential root rot and mold growth!
See more about How to Care for Kalanchoe Panamensis
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