Sempervivum ‘Koko Flanel’

There are so many good Sempervivums (Hens and Chicks) but it seems that you only see the same 3 kinds over and over. We dug a little deeper and found a collection of exceptional cultivars. This girl/guy forms a very dense rosette with closely spaced leaves in a spiral arrangement. The older the leaves the more red as an under color with soft white hairs all throughout. New leaves have an aquamarine glow. Nice little symmetrical multicolor effect. Things go more towards green in the heat of summer. Pink flowers rise up on 6″ spikes spring to autumn- whenever it feels like it. Great container plant or small scale ground cover- this one multiplies very fast by offsets. Baby you’ve come a long way. Rich, well drained soil with light but consistent summer moisture. Rock walls, troughs, winter containers.

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Sempervivum ‘Maria Laach’

Pretty Maria. Bloody Maria. We have no idea why they named this stunning blood red Semp after her but I’ll bet its quite a story. As this is quite an extraordinary Hens and Chicks. Blood red tipped leaves often fade to green near the center of the rosette. Redder in summer in full sun in average, well drained soil. Each 3″ wide plant is in a continuous color change so its a varied pattern. Forms expanding colonies quickly. Full sun to part shade. Light summer water. Very good for contrast in rock gardens, rock walls, crevice gardens. In summer 4″ stems display red flowers. Easy to detach and move babies. Tolerates drought by shrinking, puffs back up with the first rains.

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Sempervivum ‘Saturn’

Probably the best standard red Sempervivum. Its been around forever and its a good cultivar. Given rich soil that drains well but is enriched with fertilizer a single rosette can swell to 6″ wide. its impressive. So fertilize your Hens and Chicks and turn up the scale. Forms prodigious offsets quickly. These can be stuck in the soil wherever you can’t get enough  of Sempervivum ‘Saturn’. Full sun give the best color red as well as a bit of stress. Red persists through winter which is useful for winter containers. Makes a good small scale ground cover that is dense enough to suppress weeds. Don’t try to cover an area more than a few square feet. This plant doesn’t do that. Living walls, crevice gardens, rock gardens, rock walls. Hot slopes. Drought stressed plants don’t die they shrink and plump back up quickly with irrigation. Pink flowers in summer.

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Sempervivum arachnoides ‘Robin’

RED Robin! Thats how we remember the name of this snappy Hens and Chicks. Tightly growing leaves in a medium sized rosette to 3″ across. The interior of the leaves are bright red with green leaf tips. Multiplies quickly. Retains these bright colors well throughout the year- where as some can become rather dull in winter. Spring – Autumn it may shoot up a 5″ spike bearing pink/red flowers. The rosette then dies but there are so many offsets that you would never know. Move them around the garden like furniture. Easy. Give them to friends, knock squirrels out of the tree with them. Fun to grow. Interact with your sempervivums and all will be good. Full sun and regular summer water to remain vigorous and bright and showy.

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Trachelospermum asiaticum ‘Red Top’

We’ve grown this excellent small scale groundcover for 20 years and it never fails to find a useful place in gardens. ‘Red Top’ Asian Star Jasmine is named for its bright red new growth which settles down to green with  white veins. Each leaf is very pretty but as the plant mounds up and becomes dense its downright elegant. Thick growing ground cover for full sun to full shade in rich, moisture retentive soil. Takes very dry conditions once it has rooted in a bit. Trailing stems will root as they touch the soil providing erosion control. In wind free places with support it will actually  climb as a vine and become self adhering to any rough surface. We’ve never seen it bloom and it doesn’t have to . Moderate deer resistance. To 10″ tall and 3′ wide as a ground cover. Regular water significantly speeds growth. Good winter appearance. Easy to grow plant.

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Vaccinium nummularia

Himalayan Whortleberry. Cool, compact, slow growing very nice looking evergreen blueberry relative from the Himalayas. Small round leaves are dense on the stem and very symmetrical. New growth arrives bright red before settling to deep green. In spring striking red and white striped pendant flowers arrive in clusters. If pollinated they produce small blue/black tasty berries ( so far this has been rare for us). To 3′ x 3′ in 6 years for full shade to part shade in rich, well drained soil. Regular summer moisture. Excellent performance in a woodland or along a margin. Avoid dry compact soils which it intensely dislikes. An annual application of mulch will keep the roots cool and moist during the heat of summer.

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Woodwardia unigemmata

Relatively new fern with a great future ahead. Large growing evergreen chain fern from Asia with new growth lavishly dyed red- it settles to soft green with time. To 3′ across the fronds are held atop relatively long stems. The rubbery green leaves are finely divided with surprisingly soft lobes. Rich, moisture retentive soil in bright shade to shade. Spectacular plant at all times we have observed it. So far it has not suffered damage in my garden below 10ºF and appearance following a rough winter was good. Highly deer resistant. Spectacular.

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