Sempervivum Arachnoideum AKA Cobweb Houseleek: Complete Care Guide
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The Sempervivum Arachnoideum is an evergreen perennial succulent that is low-growing. Its most common name is cobweb houseleek, which sure is less of a mouthful to say than its scientific name!
This flowering plant grows up to 8 centimeters tall and can grow to 30 centimeters wide. The cobweb houseleek grows naturally in the Alps, Carpathians, and the Apennines.
The translation of this intriguing succulent’s name is quite mystical. Its name means ‘always alive spider web’, and that is exactly what it looks like! Growing a cobweb houseleek in your home will spark some conversations and give your decor more of an exotic look and feel.
Cobweb Houseleek Appearance
With such a spidery name, you can only imagine what this succulent skype looks like! The cobweb houseleek grows in rosettes and has triangular-shaped leaves that grow in a flower formation.
The leaves’ tips produce a fibrous substance that looks a lot like a cobweb, and this web spreads from one leaf to the other, with the majority of the web mass concentrating in the middle of the plant. Its rosettes have a fleshy texture and are usually green in color, although it is not unusual to find reddish-green cobweb houseleeks either.
From mid to late summer, you can expect your plant to bloom pink flowers that take over the majority of the plant. These flowers can sometimes even cover the rosettes beneath.
Some plants produce gorgeous yellow flowers instead of the usual soft pink flowers. These plants are few and far between, so if your succulents produce these soft yellow flowers, then you are one lucky grower!
Complete Care Guide
As you probably already know, succulents have a notorious reputation for being easy to care for and every tolerant to neglect. Although they are easy-going plants and usually very hardy, there are some important things to remember when caring for them.
Now that you know a little bit about these weird and wonderful succulents, it is now time to dive into how to care for them so that your plants can grow to their full potential. Follow the instructions in this care guide for cobweb houseleek growing success.
Make sure you pot your plant in well-drained soil to avoid suffocating them or exposing them to root rot and other diseases. The soil you choose to plant your succulent in is one of the most important decisions you will make while caring for these plants.
We recommend opting for unfertilized cactus soil rather than pre fertilized potting soil. Not all fertilizers are appropriate for succulents, and unintentionally using the wrong fertilizer for your soil can be detrimental to your plant.
If you purchase your cobweb houseleek from a garden center or online, always repot your plant in a porous soil of your choice. Often, the soil your plant is sold in is not ideal and has been chosen just for show so that the plant is aesthetically pleasing.
If you have done a little bit of research into succulents, you would have noticed that some succulents have a layer of rock on the top of the soil. This is called a soil topper, and as well as being an aesthetic element, it also helps the water drain into the soil quicker.
Adding a soil topper is not recommended for cobweb houseleek plants due to their low-growing nature, as it can interfere with growth and development. As your plant becomes more established, you will not be able to see much of the soil, so be patient and do not be tempted to add a soil topper.
Plant your cobweb houseleek plant in full sun or partial shade, just as long as your plant gets about four to six hours of sunlight every day. Sunlight is vital for any plant, but especially so for succulents, so if you are thinking of placing them in pots around your home, make sure you keep them somewhere that has a lot of natural sunlight, for example, on a windowsill or near your balcony.
Finally, a succulent that is cold hardy, and loves the chilly weather! These succulents can survive in below-freezing temperatures and can even grow in areas that reach -30 degrees celsius.
As well as being very cold hardy, these plants are drought tolerant too, which is great for many reasons. Just remember that these plants hate humidity, so if you live in a humid area such as Florida, you might want to grow these succulents indoors rather than in your garden.
Water your plant as close to the soil as you can. This is to avoid spreading any disease or infection to other parts of the plant. You should also use the ‘soak and dry’ watering method and water the plant only when the soil is completely dry.
Your watering schedule can be thrown out of the window for this succulent. One week you may need to water your plant every couple of days, while during winter months, your plant might not need to be watered at all!
In order to stay on top of your watering chores, keep a plant care journal (you can do this with all of your plants if you like) and tick off and date every time you water, fertilize, and de-bug the plant. This will prevent you from forgetting about your plant.
You can gently touch the soil using your finger to see if it is damp, wet, or completely dry and ready to water. You can use a moisture measuring device too if you want to be really fancy, but it isn’t necessary.
Fortunately, cobweb houseleeks are very low-maintenance plants. Most of the year, there is nothing to do for them maintenance wise other than to add fertilizer during the summer if you feel that your plant is in need of it.
The only time you will need to do a bit of grooming is at the very end of the flowering season. When the season comes to an end, the plants need to be deadheaded. You can do this by carefully removing spent rosettes and blooms that you feel are too mature and interfering with new ones’ growth.
Common Succulent Mistakes
Mistakes are easier to make when you take care of a low-maintenance plant than when you have a care schedule for a more time-consuming plant. Don’t worry; we have all made mistakes while caring for plants, and we want you to be as prepared for them as possible.
Below are the most common mistakes people make when caring for cobweb houseleeks. Read through this information so that you can avoid making classic care mistakes.
Cobweb houseleeks are undoubtedly striking, especially when they are in full bloom, and it goes without saying that you want them to be in an area where people will see them. Unfortunately, that may mean that your plant doesn’t get enough sunlight if it is located in a bedroom or office and not near a sunny window. A lack of sufficient sunlight will kill your plant very quickly!
Potting and Planting
Never plant your succulent directly into the ground. If your succulent is planted in the ground, you will not have the ability to move it around if the sun is too strong, if it isn’t getting enough sunlight, or during extreme weather conditions. Planting your succulent in containers and large pots in your garden is a better solution all-round for your plant as that way you can move it around if you need to.
A lot of people forget the importance of water drainage and plant their succulent in a pot without enough drainage holes. This is a big mistake as your plant will deteriorate quickly if the water can’t drain out of the pot, even if it has been planted in well-drained sandy soil.
Top Tip: You can always drill more drainage holes at the bottom of the pot.
Watering your succulent over-head could spread pests and diseases to the healthy part of the plant. Succulents do not need their leaves watered, just the soil itself, and excess water on the leaves can cause them to freeze in cold conditions or overheat in the hot summer sun.
Just because these plants are both cold hardy and drought tolerant does not mean that you should expose them to every weather condition. Bring your plant indoors if it is raining heavily or if it is a particularly sunny day and your succulent has been exposed to more than eight hours of direct sunlight that day.
Top Tip: Succulents can actually get sunburned! Give them shade when the sun is very bright and hot to avoid permanent damage.
Failing to remove deteriorating rosettes and dead flowers are more of an aesthetic mistake rather than one that can affect the health of your succulent.
Propagating cobweb housekeep succulents is a fiddly job, but it is something that can be easily done with tender loving care. Here is a short step by step guide for you to follow:
- Remove the baby rosette carefully from the main plant. The easiest way to do this is by carefully cutting it with sharp scissors.
- Move it to its new pot and press it gently into the soil.
- Water it and wait for its roots to become established.
- Once it has grown strong roots, you can move it to a larger container or a more permanent location for it to grow fully.
Here is a summary of all of the do’s that are associated with growing cobweb housekeep succulents:
- Re-pot your succulent in sandy soil with good drainage, even if you purchased your plant from a reputable garden center.
- When you are shopping around for your succulent, look out for a plant with more than one rosette. If you see a plant with small baby rosettes growing near the main plant, remove it from the pot and check to see if its roots are established and strong.
- Water your plant when the soil is completely dry.
- Plant your succulent in sandy soil with good drainage.
- Propagate your plant and enjoy watching new succulents grow!
- Do not assume that your succulent has been potted in the ideal soil. Forgetting to replant it in well-drained soil could prevent it from growing to its full potential.
- Don’t be afraid to shop around for healthy succulents! After all, you want your plant to have the best chance for success.
- Succulents in garden centers are usually propagated and then sold to customers, and the plants you see on display could be newly propagated.
- Do not overwater your plants or water them overhead as this could spread disease or cause its roots to rot.
- Avoid planting your succulent in shop-bought potting soil unless it is specifically suitable for succulents or cactus plants.
- Don’t be afraid to propagate your succulent and give the fruits of your labor as a special gift for your loved ones. We are sure they will love it!
Would this even be a complete care guide if we didn’t answer the most common frequently asked questions about these amazing plants? Here is a collection of questions that lots of succulent growers ask along during their succulent growing journey.
Q: Are succulents toxic to animals?
A: Some succulents can be toxic for your pet. You will be pleased to know that these plants are not very common, and from the 10,000 types of succulents that grow around the world, only a small percentage are toxic.
Q: Do succulents grow in the desert?
A: Most types of succulents do in fact, grow in desert climates; however, there are some that grow near the sea and other unexpected locations.
Q: How much sunlight do succulents need every day?
A: Succulents need a minimum of six hours of sunlight every day to thrive. Succulents that get less than the recommended hours of sunlight may become discolored and will not grow to their full potential.
Q: Should I grow succulents indoors?
A: Succulents are great indoor plants. Not only do they look fantastic, but they are super easy to care for. Lots of interior designers recommend placing small pots of succulents and cacti around your home to brighten up your home.
Q: Why do my succulents keep dying?
A: Take a look at the common succulent mistakes section in the article above. This section explains the textbook mistakes that budding succulent growers make.
Q: How long do succulents live?
A: A succulent’s lifespan varies from type to type. The cobweb housekeep succulent will only live for about three or four years; however, it grows lots of offsets that can be propagated and grow in its place during this time.
While cobweb housekeep succulents will only live for a few years, Jade plants can live for 70 or even 100 years! So as you can see, every succulent is different!
Q: Can I keep my succulent in a small pot?
A: young succulents can be kept in small pots for a number of months or even years; however, at some point, you will need to re-pot the plant in something more appropriate.
Q: Do succulents like to be touched?
A: Although succulents are pretty tolerant plants, they hate being touched! Their leaves are the most delicate part of the plant. If its leaves are damaged, permanent scars will form, which will make your succulent look unaesthetic.
Q: Why do succulents have a white powder on their leaves?
A: Succulents produce their own sunscreen, which is the white powdery substance you often see on their leaves. Touching this powder will leave a permanent fingerprint on the succulent’s leaves as they do not have the ability to reproduce this substance.
Q: Do succulents like to be misted?
A: No! Succulents do not like to be misted. Misting succulents creates a humid environment around the plant that could cause parts of the plant to rot and deteriorate.
Q: What succulents are poisonous?
A: Here is a shortlist of the most common toxic succulents:
- Aloe vera (Medicine Aloe)
- Sansevieria trifasciata (Mother In Law’s Tongue)
- Crassula ovata (Jade Tree)
- Euphorbia tirucalli (Pencil Tree or Firesticks)
- Euphorbia milii (Crown of Thorns)
- Kalanchoe tomentosa (Panda Plant)
- Kalanchoe daigremontiana (Mother of Millions)
Q: Should I water my succulents with tap water?
A: Yes, you can water your succulent with tap water. Most plants prefer being watered with distilled water or rainwater, but obviously, this isn’t always a possibility.
Q: How do I know if my succulent needs water?
A: Your succulent needs to be watered if its soil is completely dry. If your plant starts to wilt and discolor, it could be a sign that your plant has been overwatered. Use the ‘soak and dry’ method for watering your succulent for the best results.