Sempervivum Globe

Those Hens and Chicks strike again...

What a treat to use these great plants for crafts; this Sempervivum globe is a one piece sphere, which was a challenge to figure out how to fill and plant.

Sempervivum Globe - a different method

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Wire frames covered with plastic coating can be found in mail order topiary stores, or if all else fails, use the two wire baskets wired together system outlined here.

This odd creature was something I came across in a garage sale; most likely because the owner couldn't figure out how to refill it.

Here's a novel way around that issue; fill a pair of panty hose with soil mix (in this case Sunshine Mix #4, which I use because it's easy to re-wet even when completely dried out because of the water holding polymer it contains). 

Insert and coil the legs into the globe; pack it tightly, because it does shrink up with time.

Click on any picture to open the gallery and see them in a bigger size:

Before the exciting evolution of using panty hose...

The pre-panty hose incarnation of the globe

The next strategy was to fill panty hose with soil...

No, that's not a strange creature drinking from a bucket...

...and coil it around inside the globe

The way it looks is so organic and muscular, but just look at all those creases!

Done - and not a moment too soon - I had to really cram the last bit in
Now for the fun part - planting chicks
Now it just remains to leave it alone, and give it the odd drink...

Plant Sempervivum chicks by gently pushing them into the creases between the coils.  They will root right through the nylon mesh into the soil inside, eventually making a solid mat. The first time I used this method for Panty Hose Wreaths I actually cut holes for them, but these are messy and can cause runs (just like when you're wearing them!)

Filling in with more chicks, the Sempervivum globe will finally be complete...

This Sempervivum globe is now two years old, going on three and just starting to fill in. 

For maintenance, I occasionally reset any chicks that have come loose, and add more into the bare spots, but apart from the occasional watering through hot spells, and the odd bit of fertilizer (compost or worm tea, usually) that's it. 

The plants are filling in nicely now...

It's July now, and the plants are all showing their lovely summer hues.  They are almost covering the wire - another month or so, and it will be completely hidden.

August is when the Sempervivum show their true colors...

The Sempervivum are almost completely covering the whole globe - this has taken just over a full two years. 

The Sempervivum constantly change with the seasons...

The colors of the Sempervivum change with the seasons, here, going into the last flush of gorgeous growth before dormancy.

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