Sempervivum dolomiticum Facchini
Dolomite Houseleek, Houseleek of the Dolomites
Sempervivum lehmannii, Sempervivum oligotrichum, Sempervivum tectorum var. angustifolium
This species is native to the Dolomites in the province of South Tyrol in northern Italy. It generally grows in cracks in the rocks or stony slopes at elevations from 5,250 to 8,200 feet (1,600 to 2,500 m).
Sempervivum dolomiticum is a low-growing succulent that forms densely tufted, subglobose, mostly closed rosettes with a whitish center from flexuous hairs on the tips of young leaves. The rosettes grow up to 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter, producing offsets on slender, up to 0.8 inches (2 cm) long stolons and forming a mat. Leaves are bright green with brownish tips and sparsely hairy with apical cilia coarser than lateral ones. They are oblong–lanceolate, up to 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) long and up to 0.2 inches (0.5 cm) wide. Flowers have deep purple sepals, deep reddish-pink petals with a darker central stripe, and red anthers. They are star-shaped, 10- to 14-merous, 0.8 inches (2 cm) across, and appear in clusters on upright, leafy, up to 6 inches (15 cm) tall stalks in summer. The rosettes die after flowering but offsets ensure the plant continues.
The specific epithet "dolomiticum (doh-loh-MY-tih-kum)" means "belonging to the Dolomites" and refers to the Dolomites, also known as the Dolomite Mountains, Dolomite Alps, or Dolomitic Alps, a mountain range located in northeastern Italy.
How to Grow and Care for Sempervivum dolomiticum
Light: This succulent prefers a spot in full sun but will appreciate some afternoon shade if planted in hot climates. It is unsuitable for indoor growing because it usually does not get as much sunlight as it likes.
Soil: To ensure S. dolomiticum thrives, it needs a well-draining soil mix with 25 to 50 % sand, gravel, and perlite or pumice. A commercial soil mix for succulents should be sufficient if planted in a pot to keep the roots dry and happy.
Temperature: S. dolomiticum is perfect for cold climates, as it can handle temperatures down to -30 °F (-34.4 °C). It is also heat-tolerant but prefers average summer temperatures between 65 and 75 °F (18 and 24 °C). USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 4a to 9b, -30 to 30 °F (-34.4 to -1.1 °C).
Watering: Water thoroughly during the spring and summer and allow the soil to dry out between watering. Reduce watering in the fall when S. dolomiticum enters dormancy. Mature rosettes planted in the ground can overwinter without receiving extra water from you. Plants in containers may need a little water to make it through winter. Never let water sit in the rosette or underneath the pot.
Fertilizing: This succulent grows well without feeding but benefits from a controlled-release fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season. It can also be fertilized once a week with a diluted liquid solution.
Repotting: Plants in containers will benefit from being repotted. Repot as needed, preferably during the spring.
Propagation: The easiest way to propagate S. dolomiticum is by dividing the offsets produced each season. The best time to divide the offsets is spring or summer, once they are at least a quarter of the mother rosette's size. Propagation by seeds is also used. Sow the seeds in the fall to have seedlings in size for transplanting in spring.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Sempervivum.
Toxicity of Sempervivum dolomiticum
Sempervivums are not known to contain any toxic compounds. Therefore, S. dolomiticum is considered a safe plant to grow around pets and children.
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