House Leek, Hens-and-Chickens, Jupiter’s Beard, Live Forever
Sempervivum cv. Oddity
Sempervivum x comollii
(S. tectorum x S. wulfenii)
sem-per-VEE-vum tek-TOR-um X sem-per-VEE-vum wool-FEN-ee-eye
Sempervivum ‘Oddity’ was developed by Sandy McPherson and introduced in 1977. It won the 1978 Best Bronze Award for best new variety. Information suggests it is possibly a mutation of Sempervivum x comollii, which is a hybrid between Sempervivum tectorum x Sempervivum wulfenii. Nowhere did I see where she actually said how ‘Oddity” came about.
Sempervivum tectorum L. is the correct and accepted scientific name for one possible parent of Sempervivum ‘Oddity’. It was described by Carl von Linnaeus in the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753.
Sempervivum wulfenii Hoppe ex Mert. & W.D.J.Koch is the correct and accepted scientific name of the other possible parent. It was described by Franz Carl Mertens and Wilhelm Daniel Joseph Koch in the 3rd edition of Deutschlands Flora in 1831. David Heinrich Hoppe was the first to describe the species, and possibly named it, but his description wasn’t accepted for some reason. SO, Mr. Mertens and Mr. Koch used his description, giving him the credit in 1831.
Sempervivum wulfenii was named after Franz Xavier von Wulfen, an 18th-century botanist from Austria and Jesuit abbot. He named a lot of plants and many were named in his honor.
I found this Sempervivum ‘Oddity’ at Lowe’s on April 20, 2013. I bought several other plants that day. This Sempervivum reminded me of the Crassula ovata ‘Lady Fingers’ with its tubular-shaped leaves. The label on this plant said Sempervivum tectorum cv. Oddity. Well, they got close and it is, no doubt a Sempervivum tectorum hybrid.
I thought it was very unusual how the offsets were inside the larger plant. I had never seen anything like this before. There was no use thinking about it. I had to bring it home. 🙂
Once it was warm enough I took the plants outside repotted the Sempervivum ‘Oddity’. It was without a doubt one of the fastest growing Sempervivum I had ever had.
Origin: Mountains of southern Europe
Zones: USDA Zones 3-8 (° F) (DG says 5b-10b (-15 to 35)
Size: At least 2-3” tall
Light: Sun to part shade
Soil: Very well-drained. Potting soil amended with additional grit and pumice or perlite.
Water: Average during the growing period, barely in winter.
Information online says the leaves of Sempervivum ‘Oddity’ are folded lengthwise, upsidedown and backward. The tubes start out flat and solid and open up as they get older. A few people reported the leaves on their plants unfolded then folded back up later. Sometimes they would observe the seam where the leaves were fused together. I have noticed the seam both on the Sempervivum ‘Oddity’ and the Crassula ovata ‘Lady Fingers’. I have not observed any of their leaves unfolding.
As far as care goes, they have the same requirements as other Sempervivum. A well-draining soil is a must because these plants will rot is the soil stays to damp. I recommend planting Sempervivum in a slightly elevated area or raised beds so the soil will drain well. They make great container plants provided their potting soil is amended with additional grit and pumice or perlite. I use a 2-1-1 combination. Two parts of potting mix to one part of chicken grit (from the feed store) and one part of perlite. I haven’t found any pumice locally but many cactus and succulent enthusiasts recommend it over perlite.
Information online says they do well in sun to part shade. There is, of course, a catch. Sempervivum, for the most part, does enjoy bright light but the intense sun during hot summers can burn their leaves. Sempervivum does best in light shade but will even tolerate part shade. I had this plant on one of the plant tables behind a shed under an elm tree. They received a hint of morning sun and filtered sun throughout the day until in the afternoon when the sun went behind the shed. Despite the many issues with the elm trees, they were great to put plants under.
I moved the potted plants inside for the winter as temperatures started dropping in October. Many of the succulents I had did much better in the basement during the winter than upstairs in the heat. I found that many succulents will stretch (etiolate) when not given adequate light in warm temperatures. In the basement, they were allowed to go dormant much better even though the light was not very good. The Sempervivum did very well in the basement even though some of their leaves died.
Once outside again in the spring, I put them in another larger pot. They continued to thrive and there was never an issue. I had other obligations later on in the summer and didn’t take photos after that until the next spring.
I gave up many plants at the end of the summer of 2014 and possibly the Sempervivum ‘Oddity’ otherwise why is it in a smaller pot? I know I had given a few to the owner of Wagler’s Greenhouse and apparently had to get one of them back in the spring of 2015.
This photo shows a good example of the leaves on the smaller offsets. As you can see, their leaves are flat but I think they are folded from the start. As they get older, their leaves become tube-shaped.
Next time I have this plant I will take more detailed photos of the leaves so I can give a better description from my own experience.
I am not going into the details, but I there was a disaster with the Sempervivum ‘Oddity’ shortly after the above photo was taken. I did get another one from Wagler’s in 2016 but it didn’t do well for some reason. Hopefully someday soon I will find another one to bring home.
I finally found another Sempervivum ‘Oddity’ at Lowe’s on June 10, 2018. This one is growing offsets a little differently than the plants I had before.
The stems on the offsets of the Sempervivum ‘Oddity’ before were very short but this plant’s were longer so I put it in a large enough pot for them to spread out. Where they were sticking up in the small pot, after a few days in the larger pot they laid down.
I will continue adding more photos and information as time goes by.
I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus and species of this plant.