Like many other hens and chicks plant species, Sempervivum and Jovibarba are also mixed up by hobbyists. But botanists, who are keen observers, can often tell the difference. Of course, there are plenty of things about these plants that are confusing on their own, considering the classification of Jovibarba was under dispute for the longest time.
But if it’s practical differences and similarities of Sempervivum vs Jovibarba you are looking for, here’s the lowdown.
There are a few things that can help you tell the difference between these two plant species. Here are the details.
Both of these plant species come in different colors and shades of red, burgundy, purple, pink, orange and green. But Sempervivum plants change colors quite rapidly when the seasons change. They are known to change from pale shades of peach to bright shades of pink to dull shades of violet in one year.
But Jovibarba plants are different as they stick to one vivid color throughout the year.
These two flowering succulents may look similar, but the blooms help experts tell the difference. For instance, in the flowering season, Jovibarba plants produce pale yellow flowers. They have 6 to 12 petals and stay closed in a bell shape for the most part.
Sempervivum plants, on the other hand, produce flowers that could be in any color, from yellow to pink. They have 12 to 18 petals and are open in a flashy and starry style.
The third difference between these two species is that while both of them develop offsets, Jovibarba plants are inside the layers of the primary rosette. If they are not disturbed, they turn into full-fledged rosettes separate from the primary rosette. You can use them to propagate the plant.
But Sempervivum plants are different since the offsets are connected to the stolon which is a modified stem. Over time, the stolon becomes dry and the offsets grow separately next to it.
Now, let’s see how these two plant species are similar.
1. Growth Conditions
Both these plants require roughly the same type of climatic conditions for their growth. They both grow well in sunny weather and must be kept in a dry location. They do well without a lot of watering as well.
Both these plant species are also confused with each other because they look quite alike. Both of them produce individual rosettes and have leaves that are blushed.
3. Nature of Growth
Both these species are also monocarpic succulents, which means that after one flowering season, the mother plant dies. Both of them produce offsets before the bloom that can be used to propagate the plant.
They grow in colonies that grow large and lush over time. And both these species attract pollinators like bees and butterflies.
Just because they look similar doesn’t mean the care instructions are the same. Here’s how to take care of both these species.
These plants need well-draining soil that has 25% to 50% sand or some other type of grit for the water to flow through easily. They don’t need a lot of care and so you can plant them even among rock piles or wood—they will be fine as long as they get enough sunlight and some water.
Most Sempervivum plants are also quite impervious to temperature drops. So, you don’t need to worry about winter care. But not every variety is frost hardy so you should check which ones you have. You can propagate the plants through offsets that grow separately next to the mother plant.
These plants are succulents that can be grown in containers. They suit tiered gardens and rockeries. But they need to be in well-draining soil and must be protected from dry winds.
Make sure the soil is mixed with some sand or vermiculite so that it drains well. And you will see that it will grow on rocky ground which has small gravel. Snowy temperatures are not a problem since these plants do well even when the mercury drops to -10°F (-23°C) but some varieties might need a little bit of shelter.
Poor soil is not a problem. In fact, they grow very well in such soil and they can tolerate drought for a short period after they are established. You must give these plants some supplemental water in the summer to make sure they pull through.
You don’t have to add fertilizer, but it’s not a bad idea to add just a touch of it in the spring. The care for this plant is minimal so to speak, but they don’t respond too kindly to neglect.
They are monocarpic, so you can pull the dead rosettes out after the flowering season and fill the space with a soil mix or plant a pup.
Obviously, since they are different species of succulents, there are plenty of things that separate them. Both species might grow in the same kind of environment, more or less, but the specifics of taking care of them are different.
Look closely and you will notice that one species also has a stable but more vivid color palette and the other has a limited palette but has the ability to change its colors through the year.