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How to Grow and Care for a Cobweb Houseleek (Sempervivum arachnoideum)

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Sempervivum arachnoideum, commonly known as Cobweb Houseleek, is a species of flowering plant in the family Crassulaceae, native to the Alps, Apennines and Carpathians.

It is a low-growing, evergreen, perennial succulent, forming a mat of fleshy rosettes up to 1.2 inch (3 cm) in diameter. Leaves are green or reddish, with cobwebby white hairs at the tips. Starry pink flowers are up to 0.4 inch (1 cm) in width in flat cymes on stems up to 5 inches (12.5 cm).

Because of the variability of Cobweb Houseleek, they easily adapt to the local conditions, and due to the small gene pool, they become a form or variety quite quickly, perfectly adapted to the local conditions of heat and cold as well as the amount of snow or rain and at which times of year.

They form the genetic basis for many named varieties too, using their special characteristics to influence the growing habits, adaptability and just plain good looks to make low maintenance hardy succulent additions to trough gardens, crevice gardens, hypertufa pinch pots and many more succulent crafts.

Photo via blog.libero.it

Growing Conditions

Light: Full sun to light shade.
Hardiness zones: USDA plant hardiness zone 5a – 8b.
Soil: Cobweb Houseleek, as with most succulents, need excellent drainage. Poor, sandy soil would be just fine. You could work some peat into heavier soil, to lighten them and improve drainage.
Water: Regular in growing season, very little in winter.

General Care

Relatively easy to grow in container or in rock garden, scree bed, wall crevice, trough or alpine house. They are ideal in so many ways, as they quickly start to form very tight clusters of rosettes, filling in Sempervivum walls, mosaics and topiary, and their shallow yet fibrous root systems hold soil in place even in vertical plantings. After the plant blooms and sets seed it will die, but there will be many offsets to take its place.

Plant in well drained succulent soil mix in full sun to light shade. Water regularly during the growing season and allow soil to dry out before watering again. Water very little during the winter months.

Propagation

Propagate by seed sown in spring, or root offsets in spring.

Pests and Problems

Cobweb Houseleek can get vine weevil and may be subject to a rust.

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