Sunday, 25 August 2013

Sempervivum Sunday: S. 'Packardian'

To be honest this Sundays selection alternates between being a great plant and not living up to expectations. Sempervivum 'Packardian' is another hybrid, with red leaves that are described as velvet looking.  On the good days there is no doubt its a very hansom form. The leaves are covered in fine hairs which combined with the dark red colour really does make it look like velvet.

Size wise, it should fit into the large group, and was purchased in the quest for the largest sempervivum. Sadly it has never quite lived up to the size promise and mine seem to stick around 7-10cm.

It could be the size thing, is a reflection that it's fussy for a sempervivum and can be difficult to settle. Strangely unlike some that fade away when they are unhappy, this one just stops growing, although it still offsets and goes on to flower. They tend to produce 2 or 3 offsets on mixed length stolons, it hasn't really formed a decent clump.

So far they haven't flowered for me, so can't describe them in detail, but photos on the internet suggest pink.  Given that I have owned the plant for 3 years, it's a surprise to have had no flowers.

They're fine over winter with little die back, but are one of the least colour-fast forms I own. The deep red is only their spring colour and if fades through the summer until they end up green/grey with only a hint purple for winter.

This is probably the first form I've highlighted here, that while it's worth a place in a collection, it is not always a stand out plant. So unlike some forms, this is one to move out into view for spring while it looks great and then move out of sight for the rest of the time.

The stats:

  • Cultivar
  • Size: Should be large, but mine seem to stay medium, 6 - 10cm
  • Summer Colour: dark red, winter colour green/grey.
  • Rosette: Neat
  • Offsets: Few, on medium length stolons
  • Clump: Slow to clump, but lives for a long time.
  • Flower: Pink
  • Winter hardiness: Good.


  1. Interesting to see a collection of photos of the same sempervivum hybrid. They do change from season to season, and they do look different depending on where they originated. At one time I was also looking for the largest semp I could fine. My winner was 'Rubra Ash' a cultivar by Sandy McPherson of the US. it wasn't the most beautiful of semps, and the leaves were very long and open, but I had several plants grow approx. 11 cm in diameter. It was pretty in spring when it was red and fuzzy.

    1. Yeah some change a lot more than others. I try to keep track for my records which ones are more stable.

      I haven't come across 'Rubra Ash' yet. The biggest I have are Orthello and one called Major White (which I can find no record of)I am sure they will appear here at some point.