H. Perennial & Old Fashioned Garden Plants & Flowers by John Wood
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Sempervivum Laggeri - Hardy Perennial
Author: John Wood
Sempervivum Laggeri Described.
Sempervivum Laggeri - Lagger's Houseleek; Nat. Ord. Crassulaceæ.
Of the numerous species and varieties of Houseleek, this is at once the most curious, interesting, and beautiful. It is by far the finest of the webbed forms. It has, however, the reputation of not being quite hardy, but that it will endure our severest winters is without doubt, and if we recall its habitats, which are in alpine regions, its hardiness in a low temperature need not be further questioned. Still, partly from its downy nature, and partly from the dampness of our winters, this climate causes it to rot. There are, however, simple and most efficient remedies, which shall be mentioned shortly.
The illustration gives some idea of its form and habit. The flowering rosettes send up stems 6in. high; they are well furnished with leaves—in fact, they are the rosettes elongated; they terminate with a cluster of buds and flowers, which remain several weeks in perfection, however unfavourable the weather may be.
The flowers are more than an inch across, of a bright rose colour, and very beautiful; the central flower is invariably the largest, and the number of petals varies from six to twelve. The leaves are in rosette form, the rosettes being sometimes 2in. across, nearly flat, and slightly dipped in the centre; a downy web, as fine as a cobweb, covers the rosette, it being attached to the tips of the leaves, and in the middle it is so dense that it has a matted appearance. The leaves are very fleshy, glandular, and of a pale green colour. Slow in growth, habit very compact; it has a tender appearance, but I never saw its web damaged by rain or hail.
Many grow it in pots for indoor use; it finds a happy home on rockwork or old walls; it should have a dry and sunny situation, and, with these conditions, it will prove attractive all the year round. It thrives well in gritty loam; a little peat rubbed in with the grit will be an improvement and also more resemble its native soil. To preserve it from the bad effects of our damp winters, it need not be taken indoors, but sheets of glass should be tilted over the specimens during the short days, when they are dormant; the glass should not touch the plant. This seems to be the nearest condition we can afford it as a substitute for the snows of its mountain home, and I may add, for years it has proved effective; in fact, for several years I have left specimens in the open without any shelter whatever, and the percentage of loss has been very low, though the seasons were trying. It propagates itself freely by offsets; if it is intended to remove them from the parent plant, it should be done early in summer, so that they may become established before winter, otherwise the frosts will lift them out of position.
Flowering period, June to August.
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