Sempervivum is a succulent plant that comes in a rainbow palette of hues – but one shade that’s oft overlooked is white. I might be able to see why… if you’ve got access to all of those colours, why would you pick the least colourful variety? Well, Sempervivum ‘Arctic White’ is one white succulent that certainly won’t be overlooked!
How to care for Sempervivum Arctic White
Flowering time: May to July
Location: Containers, rockeries, xeriscaping, living walls
Soil: Well-draining compost with horticultural grit for added drainage
Light: Full sun
Water: Water in hot weather
Size: 10cm height, 15cm spread
Care: No feeding needed, but mix some slow release fertiliser into soil if repotting
What’s different about this plant?
Sempervivum ‘Arctic White’ has a ghostly, glowing appearance. In fact, it looks like it’s covered in many thick layers of spider webs – hence its species name, ‘Arachnoideum’! Planted solo or with compatible plant pairings, ‘Arctic White’ stands out as quite cute and unusual. Planted en masse, however, it really makes an impact – like a carpet of spider webs!
How was Sempervivum Arctic White created?
The creator of the award-winning Sempervivum ‘Arctic White’, Jef Gielis of Belgicactus, says, ‘It’s a crossing from Arachnoideum species, better known as the ‘cobweb varieties’. We had some varieties that we had already grown: a good rooting and branching variety but not white enough; and a good white variety that suffers from root diseases and in winter it was not suitable to grow outdoors.
‘We made several crossbreeds, selecting the best white varieties with the best root performance, and cross-bred these again. We then selected Arctic white from about 50,000 seedlings in 2013’.
Jef says the qualities noticed in ‘Arctic White’ are:
- better root performance
- more chicks/offset production
- better winter performance and in late spring and summer
- the whitest cobweb variety I know… you’ll need a pair of sunglasses to view a block of thousand here in the nursery!
Where can you plant Sempervivum Arctic White?
Like all sempervivums, ‘Arctic White’ performs well in a container, but these plants also do well in rockeries, xeriscaped gardens and vertical living walls.
As mentioned earlier, they’re fantastic when planted en masse. However, ‘Arctic White’ produces a lot of offsets in very early spring to April, so be prepared to watch your sempervivum spread – and maybe even separate a few babies to grow into bigger plants!
Wherever you plant ‘Arctic White’, ensure it is positioned in a sunny area in well-draining soil. It doesn’t like a soggy bottom one bit!
Where can you buy Sempervivum Arctic White?
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Images courtesy of Plantipp.
Michael has been involved with gardening and plants since he was just five years old. He is a self-professed Plant Geek, and was listed in the Sunday Times top 20 most influential people in the gardening world, thanks to his plant hunter role at Thompson & Morgan.
Michael was responsible for new plant introductions such as the Egg and Chips plant and the FuchsiaBerry and keeps busy travelling the world in search of new plants as well as lecturing worldwide, including stints in Japan. He is very active on social media – so why not give him a follow at @mr_plantgeek or Facebook – and writes a plant-focused Substack called Grow This, Not That.